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My Confession

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Hiram posted 3/13/2018 14:41 PM

I found SI recently when an old friend told me of his post here about his wife's EA/PA, which ended their marriage. I read his thread and the various posts with interest and then thought back to the summer/fall of 2015 and my own EA. The OW lives 1,000 miles away from us, there was at no time an actual F2F meeting (though it was planned), but still I have to face the fact that I was a WS. The OW & I knew each other in HS, we were in the same social circle but we never dated. She reached out to me by Facebook private message coincidentally on my W's birthday in July of 2015 and so began a series of FB PM's, phone calls, and a few texts escalating the whole thing to a planned rendezvous several weeks later when my W would be out of town for a few days. I have no excuse for what I did and I'll offer no excuse. Our marriage had and has no shortcomings that drove me to anything. I was just weak and venal, I responded to an interest expressed by a woman not my wife.

For background, my wife and I have been together since I was a HS senior and she was a HS sophomore in the fall of 1977. After my goal of an appointment to the Naval Academy fell short, I seriously intended to join the French Foreign Legion. I had the full enlistment package in hand, which at that time could only be obtained by an in-person visit to a French Consulate and an interview with their military attache'.

My wife (GF at the time), was instrumental in helping talk me out of that, instead I joined the Marine Corps, where I remained until after the first Gulf War. We stayed together by visits and letters, I took her to her senior prom two years later wearing my dress blues (at her insistence), I proposed that night, and we were married the fall after she graduated. I was an infantry Marine, I obtained a degree via the California University system rather than drink and party my paycheck away as many others did, and I was commissioned an officer in 1982 at which time I completed training as an infantry officer. We lived the life of a military family for the next 10 years as I rose through the commissioned ranks. There were deployments, work-ups for deployments, and other exigencies of the service which led to many separations long and short. I never once strayed, I observed no "500 miles from the flagpole" policy. To the best of my ability to know and to know the heart of another, my wife never strayed either.

Now to the present. I left the service in 1992 to take over the construction company my father had started in 1968 and in larger part because I had at that time, missed literally half the lives of our three young daughters (our oldest was 7 at that time, our twins were 4). We lived the life I had hoped for when I resigned my commission. Family vacations, outings, activities, etc. Our oldest became a seriously competitive figure skater to the extent that she went far in trials for the 2002 winter Olympics team. Life was well beyond good. Fast forward to 2012 when the last DD was married and we began living the empty nest life. In the summer of 2015, the contact I described above began, the attention from what had nearly 40 years earlier been one of the hottest girls in HS was exhilarating, and I began seriously fantasizing about what it would be like to be with her. The EA ran its course without the planned meetup ever occurring. I found I simply could not go through with it, my epiphany of that occurred during a long Sunday drive with my wife 2-3 weeks before the illicit meetup was to take place. I went NC with the OW when the third conversation after the cancellation of our rendezvous elicited her declaration she was "in love" with me and I should expect her to just show up and "tempt me away" from my marriage. After an unambiguous response from me, I ghosted the OW 100%. There has been absolutely NC since that conversation. I strayed emotionally and had the intent to stray physically for which I will be eternally regretful and remorseful, but that was stopped right there and cut dead.

I never confessed this to my wife after much thought, prayer, and consideration about it, because I came to the conclusion that I have no justification in assuaging my guilt, no entitlement to the absolution of that guilt, by laying it off on my wife. If there were any useful purpose for doing so I'd have to do it, but I cannot come up with any reason that should be done to her. I betrayed my wife and my marriage, the fact that it never became a physical affair changes that fact not at all. Frankly, this horrifies me, it is not the man I ever was, but my actions of that several week period three years ago this summer belies that. This is my burden, I'll bear it until I die, and I know the weight of that on me will never leave me. That I am not the man I thought I was will lay upon my soul forever. I'll strive every single day to be the husband to my wife that I should've been all along. I have spoken of this to no one, ever. This is my confession, freely given.

gtflng posted 3/13/2018 14:47 PM

I don't see a stop sign here so..

As a newly BS- I say give your confession freely TO YOUR WIFE. You're right, she doesn't deserve the burden. You don't deserve to get the weight off your chest and crush her with it. But you also don't deserve a loving, caring, loyal wife if she doesn't get to CHOOSE to do that.. if she doesn't have all the information. She has a right to autonomy. She has the right to make a decision. She has a right to honesty. If you were worried about hurting her, you wouldn't have done it. Plain and simple. She didn't get a vote before you did it. I say she gets a vote now.

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 15:02 PM

Does the fact that I stopped the EA before I stepped off the cliff into the abyss of a PA factor in? On that Sunday drive I mentioned, I kept looking at my W as we talked and I realized exactly what I was on the verge of throwing away. Not risking throwing away, but actually throwing it away. Because I knew the second I closed that hotel room door, it would be finished even if the whole thing never came to light. I should also clarify something: I classify this as an EA because in the absence of any physical contact I don't know how else to describe it. The OW expressed feelings for me, I never had feelings nor expressed any. It probably doesn't paint me in a favorable light, but I was "all het up" over illicit affair sex with someone from far in the past. Which I know is awful and wrong but it was nothing more than that. I have sincerely believed that keeping this completely internalized is the right thing. Your comments cause me to re-examine that.

gtflng posted 3/13/2018 15:08 PM

If you believe it's innocent enough and forgivable (not that you're downplaying it, just not sure how to word what I'm saying), then what's the risk in telling her?

If you think it's unforgivable, doesn't that mean she has all the more right to know?

If you bear this burden, won't she notice? Won't she feel a change? Won't she start to question why you're off?

It's a hard call. I wish I didn't know what I know. But you were able to cross a line that many people don't. Not that I wish any pain on your wife, but I think it should be openly addressed.

Just my two cents! Hopefully you get some more input.

psychmom posted 3/13/2018 15:20 PM

Is there any chance this OW could contact your wife at some point? If so, would you rather your wife hear this from you, or from the OW?

Only you know the answer to your question of whether you should tell your wife or not. What is your inner voice telling you? I know you're scared of how she may react. But you also know her and how she generally deals with tough situations. As a BS myself, I would rather hear something like this from my H, and have him fully involved and part of the devastation he may witness as the words sink in. How you respond to her, if you choose to tell her your secret, will be an important piece in this. You might do well to tell her why you are choosing to tell her this new, how you feel about what you did, and why she deserves to hear this news, since she might never find out otherwise.

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 15:21 PM

I haven't forgiven myself for it, so I'd have to say I don't see it as forgivable. I violated a personal code of honor I have tried my best to live by since I was an adolescent. I lusted in my heart for another woman, and made plans to act on that. I am certainly guilty of conspiracy, which in any court of law is a prosecutable offense. I have silently borne that since the September day in 2015 when I cut it dead. I had intended to do so until the last beat of my heart, but I will sincerely reconsider that. Please allow me to ask the BS's here, most especially the BW's: How would you receive a confession of this nature nearly three years later? Is not disclosing at the time a worse offense than confessing the events themselves would've been at the? I deliberately omitted the "Stop Sign" icon, I'd like your comments. If you need to blast me, then blast me. All I'd ask is you not project whatever your WH did onto me. Fair enough?

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 15:28 PM

Psychmom, that chance is statistically as close to zero as can possibly be. My W eschews social media of any kind. As to how I feel about it? I'd like to be clear about that. I am ashamed and embarrassed to know that I'm not be the man I always thought I was. I don't want to make too much of my past life experiences, but I was literally an officer and a gentleman. I was trusted with possibly the most weighty obligation a person can accept, I was responsible for and commanded a Company of Marines in garrison and in battle. Now I see myself differently. Also worth mentioning is that only since having cause to read here on SI have I begun to think about all this again in so compelling a manner.

tikismom posted 3/13/2018 15:29 PM


I am a BW. You sound like a really great man & I thank you for your service to our country. My brother is a fellow Marine.

This is a really tough call. The OW could potentially at any time come to your wife with all the messages, etc. She hasn't yet, so likely won't, but its something you would have to live in fear of for the rest of your life.

If you decide to tell her, I would be honest with her about everything, dont trickle truth. Also tell her how ashamed you feel and what you have done in the meantime to be a very safe partner for her.

Editing to add, this will likely cause her great heartache. She will look at the years since this happened & think it was all a scam since that moment in time.

[This message edited by tikismom at 3:31 PM, March 13th (Tuesday)]

sassylee posted 3/13/2018 15:55 PM

I am a BW. I also suffered greatly at discovering my H had an emotional affair. What would have made this easier? If my H had realized his folly and ended it on his own because he found me and our marriage too valuable to you did. Now - its 3 years later. And you find yourself on a website of anonymous strangers discussing this.

I believe you donít want to hurt your wife. Iím sure youíre thinking ďWhat she doesnít know wonít hurt her.Ē But it probably is hurting her. Itís hurting you...therefore its hurting both of you. This secret is weighing on you, or else you wouldnít be here asking. Itís secrets and lies that are probably impairing your connection with your wife. Lies and secrecy block intimacy.

Imagine sharing this with her...the way you discussed it with us. How do you think it would feel to share this with her. Iím sure thereís fear there - but is there anything else? By keeping this from her - you are depriving her and you from having the relationship you both deserve, one built on honesty and authenticity.

I would want to know. That why when i learned of my Hís EA, I proceeded to search for evidence of any previous affairs. Finding them would have hurt...but i was determined to learn the truth of my life.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 3:57 PM, March 13th (Tuesday)]

gtflng posted 3/13/2018 15:57 PM

I agree, Sassylee. Hiram, you ended it. The realization hit you. You realized the worth of your marriage and how much you value your wife. It's the best confession that can be given.

[This message edited by gtflng at 4:00 PM, March 13th (Tuesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 3/13/2018 15:58 PM

Hiram, you say the odds of her finding out are really low. She may not ever find out, that's true. It's a HUGE risk, though. I'll tell you what will happen if she does find out without you telling her. She will never believe that it wasn't physical. She will assume that you've been with other women no matter how many times you say not. She will wonder if you cheated throughout the marriage. When a spouse finds out on their own, I don't know if they ever truly believe that it was only the instance they found out about. Your odds of it being a complete dealbreaker are much higher if she finds out on her own. Your odds of her believing that you're being honest after she finds out on her own are right around zero.

I understand the reluctance to tell. I really do. Just understand the risk you're taking by not being honest with her.

devastated43 posted 3/13/2018 16:05 PM


I have a lot of respect for you because you have a conscience. If you tell your wife exactly what you said here she damn better appreciate your honesty. I cry as I write this: I wish my WW had the same courage as you before she f-ed up.

I believe the fact that it did not escalate to a PA and that you have really learned something in this process is HUGE. You got derailed and you steered that shit right back to where it should be going. That's what marriage is all about. We get tempted, but we fucking control that shit not the circumstances.

It is still betrayal in my book because it is a betrayal of trust. I cannot stress this enough that the strongest pillar in the center of marriage is trust. All other stuff is just ancillary and supportive. Marriage is only good when there are no secrets otherwise it's a fucking charade.

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 16:37 PM

"... I believe the fact that it did not escalate to a PA..."

No TT here, I give you my word on that. It is exactly as I have written, including (especially?) the distance between myself and the OW. Folks, I have not thought on this to the degree which I am right now since I made the decisions I did in the fall of 2015. I'm reading all the comments which I solicited from you and thinking about what it is that I need to do. God Almighty, reopening this sorry chapter of my life to possibly a different course is so damned hard to contemplate doing...

Tren0R201 posted 3/13/2018 17:38 PM

because I came to the conclusion that I have no justification in assuaging my guilt, no entitlement to the absolution of that guilt, by laying it off on my wife

Ah the old "I'm doing my partner a favor by no telling them."

There you go. You win a medal of honor.

No seriously. How is this being authentic, and most importantly how is this treating your supposed love with they respect they deserve not only to decide their life but also the option of working together to build something stronger if they so choose?

But hey, you're a hero for not telling.

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 18:01 PM

Spare me your scorn, bud. Your particular word choice actually tells much about you...

"Ah the old "I'm doing my partner a favor by no telling them."

There you go. You win a medal of honor.

No seriously. How is this being authentic, and most importantly how is this treating your supposed love with they respect they deserve not only to decide their life but also the option of working together to build something stronger if they so choose?

But hey, you're a hero for not telling.

HellFire posted 3/13/2018 18:27 PM

I won't comment about his choice of words.

However, you choosing to have an affair,and continue to lie to your wife, says a lot about you. It says you are a liar,at the very least. It says you don't have any problem with taking away your wife's ability to choose for herself what she wants in her life.

You sound like you've been a man of integrity most of your life. The last few years, not so much.

Are you ok with that?

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:28 PM, March 13th (Tuesday)]

Hiram posted 3/13/2018 18:35 PM

Are you ok with that?

Sure, blast away. No one owes me constructiveness or encouragement. I did what I did three summers ago, and regardless of your comment or any others of that nature, I chose what I believed at the time was the harder path. If anyone thinks this hasn't weighed on me they would be incorrect. Obviously something made me start this thread, and it sure wasn't a gun anyone held to my head.

Edit to add (again, sorry): On re-reading your comment I think you're asking if I'm OK with not being the man of high integrity I have always tried to be. I believe that sentiment comes through in my posts above as a clear "No I'm not."

HellFire posted 3/13/2018 18:57 PM

Yes, that's what I meant,and yes, it's clear you're not ok with it.

But you can change that. Show your wife the respect she deserves,and tell her the truth. Show her you're the man she thinks you are. Be kind, gentle, patient, and most of all, honest.

You sound like a good, strong, and moral man. You can make this right. It won't be easy, but isn't your wife,and your marriage,worth it? Aren't you?

Cooley2here posted 3/13/2018 19:00 PM

I might be the lone voice telling you not to tell. When my husband and I were young and married he went on vacation with some buddies to Mexico. While he was there he hired a prostitute. I never knew anything about it and I think it was the one and only time he has ever done that. Several years later for some reason, out of the blue, I ask him if he had ever cheated and he did not have time to come up with a lie so he admitted it. We have gone on with our lives and I have never brought the subject up again but it makes me wonder what in the world gets in the minds of people sometimes. I wish I did not know. He is a good husband and a good father and that was many years ago.
The only reason I can think of for you to tell is if you think the other woman would tell her. If you donít think she will then the best thing you can be is the best husband anybody has ever had. Still, there is some reason why you are on this site. Is this something that is eating away at you? If so then maybe having a third person, such as a therapist, help you tell. The problem is if you tell youíre transferring your burden on to your wife.

demolishedinside posted 3/13/2018 19:15 PM

Hiram, you did choose to ask us. The question is what you are looking for in our answers?

I found out on my own. Society says cheating only happens in bad marriages. That is not true. What IS true is that one partner chooses themselves over the other, over the M. As a betrayed, that is a difficult pill to swallow. Finding out left me believing nothing was true or real in my world. I shook constantly for six weeks. It was emotional and physical pain of the kind I have never felt before.

What would have helped was his honesty. And frankly? In the end, you chose her. I wanted to believe I mattered, that he SAW me. You did. You saw her. THAT is what she needs to hear. She needs the truth of her life, and all you felt and feel about her. She needs to know that you chose these actions, why, and why you wonít ever again. She needs to know you are a safe and loving partner. I believe a good therapist could help you articulate this. At any time, the OW could deal a painful blow. Your wife sounds wonderful. She deserves the truth from you.

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