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Finally came clean about my infidelity

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TillyJane posted 5/13/2018 19:49 PM

So here's our story... I have been married to my husband for almost 20 years. Before we were married I cheated on my husband several times. After we were married I continued an on and off relationship with my husband's best friend. During that time I also was seeing someone else. My husband found out about the 1 guy but not his friend. I came clean about that and we reconciled and moved on. After that affair was done the friend and I ended as well. I have remained faithful for the past 16 years. Shortly after the affair with the friend ended he tragically died and my husband was devastated. I never told him about the friend or anything else that I had ever done. I was so ashamed!!! After the friend died, I decided that I would not ever tell my husband about him. I knew it would hurt him so terribly, I just couldn't do that to him. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing. For years I have dealt with the gut wrenching guilt of all the horrible things I have done. In the mean time my husband got a tattoo of the now dead friends initials. I begged him not to do it, but he did it. I still couldn't tell him why. After that tattoo I knew I could never tell him what happened. I figured I could live in pain and silence for the rest of my life as long as he never knew what I had really done. Then we ended up giving our son the dead friends middle name!! I'm not sure why or how that even happened. I have battled back and forth about coming clean so many times over the years. Finally on Wednesday I broke down and told my husband everything. It was literally the hardest thing I have ever done! I broke him, I broke his heart all over again. He thought we were through all of this and now we are reliving the past and what feels like it all just happened because of my stupidity and letting this go on for years keeping this secret for so long!! My husband is a mess and rightly so!! He says he has forgiven me and the affairs aren't even what is bothering him the most. It is that who he thought was is friend isn't or wasn't. He has a tattoo that is a constant reminder and our son's middle name. I have literally watched my husband writhing in pain over this. He says he doesn't want to leave me and he wants to get through this. How and why does that man love me so much? I am not the person I was 16 years ago. I have no excuses for my behavior and I take full responsibility for the horrible pain I have caused. I don't know how we are going to make it through this. I love him so much. I will do anything to heal this! I wish I wouldn't have betrayed my husband at all, but I also wish I wouldn't have waited so many years to tell him. What do I do? What can I do? Have any of you been through this and made it?

VinST posted 5/13/2018 20:19 PM

This is exactly the reason I am very much pro D for cheating of any kind from the very get go after finding out. There is always more to it that what they say!

.. the anguish he must feel... all of what you wrote cant describe it.. even though write as if you haven't any idea of what he is feeling... you think you do and it hurts.....multiply that tenfold... then you start to experience a little of it...

Your husband should have divorced you the day he found out about the other notch on your belt... sorry I mean the other guy. But he didn't and now finds himself 16 years later in this situation.

How could you let your son be named after this friend knowing what you did? seriously ? what is your excuse for that? Did you even have a heart back then?

Its a shame for H that you have a kid together. Your husband will stay with you because he is likely a honourable guy who values devotion to family and "friends" (so called)

You have scarred him deeply. I am afraid he will never heal from this really deep hurt you have caused. You ought to know he did not ask for this!
How will you make this up to him? Do you think its possible?
Even after reading the many many way-out-there stories, this is by far the worst..

I am sure you will not be spared many words here, but for the sake of your husband and son, I pray you find some way to ease his pain and keep your family together.

[This message edited by VinST at 8:23 PM, May 13th (Sunday)]

mako1287 posted 5/13/2018 20:22 PM

Firstly, you can stop saying you didnt tell him to protect his feelings, when in reality you were trying to protect yourself, you had plenty of opportunity to not name your child after the OM, saying you "dont know how it happened" isnt helpful, its dishonest. You dont name your child accidentally. Honestly i wouldnt be surprised if you gave the child that name on purpose because of your feelings for the OM, or at least your BS will have that thought in their head. You had plenty of time to stop your husband from tatooing OMs name on his body, now he is stuck with multiple constant reminders of two of the most important people in his life betraying him in the most awful way possible.
But posting here is a positive step, I hope you figure it out.

[This message edited by mako1287 at 8:26 PM, May 13th (Sunday)]

TillyJane posted 5/13/2018 21:08 PM

I will never be able to understand the deep hurt I have caused my husband. I know this is the most awful scenario. There is nothing anyone can say to me to make me feel worse than I already do. I don't need sympathy. I'm not looking for that. I am just looking for a place to talk out my story and hopefully get an ounce of support even though I don't deserve it! I also said at the time that I"thought" I was protecting him by not telling. I know that was wrong on so many levels. I know I will never in a million years ever understand the pain I have brought to my husband. I also know that I am a dispicable human for what I have done. I deserve everything bad that comes to me, and I don't deserve my husband, but I do pray that we can get through this and heal. One of the ways we are starting that is I came up with money to have his tattoo covered. We are changing our son's middle name. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg of pain, but I do hope it helps even a little.

fareast posted 5/13/2018 21:31 PM

I am a BS. I think you are just beginning to see the heartbreaking emotional damage caused by delaying telling your BH the truth. The only thing worse than going thru the pain of infidelity once, is to have to endure it twice. On the plus side you finally did confess on your own rather than have your BH find out some other way which would be worse. Also, on the plus side you indicate you have been faithful the last sixteen years. After being so unfaithful early in your relationship, what caused the change?

If you really want to help your BH thru this shitstorm, first work on healing yourself and let go of the outcome. It is up to your BH if the relationship continues after this latest revelation. Please get yourself into IC to help you understand and heal.
Also, by your actions, not words, consistently demonstrate you empathize with the pain your BH is suffering. He will want to vent his anger and hurt. He will be on an emotional roller coaster with wild and unexpected triggers. Of course you see how bad it looks to your BH with the tattoo and your son’s name. You are going to have to help him resolve these constant reminders of your infidelity. You and your BH can get through this with consistent and remorse on your part if your BH is willing. Good luck.

Cooley2here posted 5/13/2018 21:47 PM

I always wonder what causes people to cheat at the beginnings of relationships. That is suppose to be the honeymoon stage. You need to understand that to your husband it is as if it happened yesterday. This is one secret you should have taken to the grave. You have unburdened yourself at the cost of your husband’s happiness. So what if he had a tattoo or your child has the OM name. Overall that is nothing compared to this.
I have no real suggestions because you can’t fix a broken heart. All you can do is be the best wife ever. Wake up every day with the idea that the first thing you do is something thoughtful for your husband. Bring him coffee. Give him a hug. Do something. He needs all you can give him right now.
Be prepared for anger. It is going to show up.

GoldenR posted 5/13/2018 22:28 PM

Your H is still there, so that's a positive.

You came clean on your own. Another positive.

But once the realization hits that not only was his friendship to his best friend totally a sham, he will eventually realize his entire marriage to you has been a lie.

You have an uphill battle.

sassylee posted 5/13/2018 22:35 PM

It’s important that you read “How to Help Your Spouse Heal from your Affair” by Linda MacDonald. It’s a short read that offers you an initial road map that will help you prevent pitfalls and poor judgement when coping after dday.

Until your book arrives, this is an excellent article from the healing library:

I’m sorry you find yourself here but it’s the best place to learn and recover. I feel for the trauma your family is experiencing right now.

Drumstick posted 5/13/2018 23:27 PM


First off... I’m sorry you’re here.

I’ve read your husband’s thread. You’ve done good admitting to it. Further, the desire to help with the tattoo, and name change, are also positive.

So you’re aware... I’m a Betrayed Spouse (BS) that is many years beyond my ex Wayward Wife’s (WW) infidelity. You’ll quickly learn that this board includes all types of BSs... some will project their hurt, and others (like me) have moved beyond the anger, and approach scenarios more matter of factly. Please do not take the hurt of the more reactive BSs, personally.

On the other hand, take the word of regular Wayward Wives (WW) more closely, at this time. As you move forward, and get your footing, you’ll be better able to read projecting BSs words more constructively.

As of this posting, I don’t think any of these WWs have posted on your thread; nevertheless, please keep your eye out for at least:

“Walking on Eggshells;”
“Hiking Out;”
“Evolving Soul;l and
“Mrs Walloped.”

They’ll help.

While you’re at it... you might want to review the “I Can Relate” forum for a thread entitled “For Those that Found Out Years Later.”

Keep moving forward on your journey to make yourself a safe partner, TJ. Best wishes to you.

[This message edited by Drumstick at 11:28 PM, May 13th (Sunday)]

max2018 posted 5/13/2018 23:31 PM

Give him the choice that you stole from him all these years

Sign divorce papers with everything is his favor and give it to him

Keep working on yourself and show him the love that didn't all these years

If chooses to stay then you are lucky

If chooses to leave then you did it to yourself

Deserta posted 5/14/2018 01:56 AM

Request a mod on your post and ask for a stop sign in front of the link. Then only other waywards can post. This should stop people from telling you just to divorce your husband.

The thing is, what's done is done. You can't undue the affairs or the damage you've done. All you can do is try to make amends and try to be a better person. According to you, and your husband, that's what you're trying to do. You've had many years to analyze your actions and thinking so I hope you have steered yourself to a place where it wont happen again. Keep living the good life and supporting your husband. That's all you can do.

Deserta posted 5/14/2018 01:57 AM

Request a mod on your post and ask for a stop sign in front of the link. Then only other waywards can post. This should stop people from telling you just to divorce your husband.

The thing is, what's done is done. You can't undue the affairs or the damage you've done. All you can do is try to make amends and try to be a better person. According to you, and your husband, that's what you're trying to do. You've had many years to analyze your actions and thinking so I hope you have steered yourself to a place where it wont happen again. Keep living the good life and supporting your husband. That's all you can do.

OneInTheSame posted 5/14/2018 02:24 AM

TillyJane, I am a BS who responded to your BH's first post. You know he gave us a history of your horrific childhood, don't you? I hope you have or will be getting some therapy for all the damage you must have sustained in your early life(it sounds like you might have already.) No one should have to endure what you have.

That said, know it is going to take a long time for your BH to heal from this. The double betrayal digs a deep and almost irreparable hole in the heart. He will need your support and compassion and love, but he will also need to see that you are seriously owning what you have done -- your part in this -- in order to heal.

I don't want to judge or pick apart your situation. I just want to say I hope for both of you that you are able to find your way through this, help each other heal, and perhaps the lesson in your story could help others avoid traveling the same path.

TillyJane posted 5/14/2018 06:11 AM

I want to say I appreciate every comment on here. I really mean that. I purposefully allowed anyone to be able to comment. I wanted to hear from whoever wanted to comment, even if the comments are ruthless. I'll admit the comments that are supportive are comforting, but then I start to feel guilty for feeling that way. Because I deserve all the pain and unkind words. In the end the only person who's opinion matters is my husband's. Believe me. I have given him many opportunities to leave me. I have told him that at any point I will walk out the door if he needs me to. If I thought me dying would help him be rid of me I would do it. I do know that he posted about my past. He told me he did. I am ok with whatever he chooses to share about me. I won't post about it though. I don't use my past as an excuse, and I never want anyone thinking that's what I'm doing. This is the first forum I have ever been on, and I am not good at this. If there is anything you want to know, just ask. I'll be honest. I have no choice but to be honest. One of you said that I should read a certain thread on finding out years later. I think you said that was in a different forum than here. I promised my husband that I would only stay in this forum. I will have to ask if he will allow me to read that thread. Thank you for the suggestion.
Also, I did not unburden myself. Trust me, the burden of what I have done will stick with me forever!! I told him because it's what he deserves to know. I know that I single handedly destroyed my husband.

sassylee posted 5/14/2018 06:20 AM

No one is suggesting you use your past to excuse your affairs....but when getting to the root of why you did this - betrayed your husband and family - peeling back the onion to the very core will mean exploring your childhood and FOO (family of origin) issues. It’s not an easy journey but it probably contains the seeds that flourished into infidelity, betrayal and dishonesty.

Part of becoming a safe partner will be identifying these roots of errant thinking and behaviour patterns and working to change into a healthy and authentic partner.

TillyJane posted 5/14/2018 06:34 AM

I completely understand what you are saying. Thank you for your wisdom. I know that my childhood has a lot to do
With the person I was in the past. I plan on working on this in therapy. My husband and I have talked about this. I honestly feel that part of
my behavior is that I kept going back to what I knew. Being used and abused. I know that not one person I was ever with cared about me. I know I was being used. It just felt normal to me. I was uncomfortable being loved by my husband. I didn't think that is what I deserved. Now, that we have gone through all of this, I really don't deserve my husband's love!!

Kamstel posted 5/14/2018 06:49 AM

I think it is a great start that you came up with the money to have the tattoo removed and will be changing your son’s name. These are great FIRST steps

I think it also might be wise if you go through all old photo albums. I say photo albums because it was so long ago. I would destroy any photo that shows the two of you. I would at least remove any photo of your old lover and your husband and put them in the attic, just in case your husband would ever like to se them in the distant future, or better yet, destroy them as well. Ask your husband when he sees you taking things out of the photo album.

I wish you and your husband luck. It will be a tough road, but it sounds to me like you are strong enough to do it.

Root posted 5/14/2018 07:33 AM

I cheated on my BH 28 years ago this past weekend. I planned on taking this secret to my grave. I stayed faithful for 20 years and then had a inappropriate online friendship. Came clean about the ONS when I got caught. My BH was more upset about the ONS than he was the OEA. During R I was dx with BPD and bipolar disorder. I’m now stable with medication. I think him seeing the difference in me after treatment has helped him recover but it still took 3-4 years. I also had a fucked up childhood. Bh is now fine it’s me that can’t stop beating myself up over the monster I grew up to be. I became the people I swore I’d never be. My parents.

Zugzwang posted 5/14/2018 07:49 AM

Another story why a wayward should tell ASAP. My point a person can't change while continuing to manipulate and lie. Your guilt just ate you alive. Overshadowed you your entire marriage. Robbed the true joy and authenticity of intimacy.

If you want to move on. Be real. Tell the truth. Sure part of you didn't tell to spare him pain. But the biggest part is that you were afraid. You were ashamed. You didn't want to lose your husband. You were fearful of being labeled by him that "cheating wife" again. IMO the reason why most waywards that don't tell, have issues with understanding or grasping forgiveness. Tell him that. Tell him the truth, whatever rings true for you no matter how ugly it is. Then, focus on why you felt you had the right/entitlement to manipulate someone for 16 years like a caged bird. Affairs are just wrong. Manipulating someone to keep them (no matter what your excuse is- it is still your choice and control that is the issue) and for so long is IMO a level of disgust beyond affairs. Sorry. I did the same thing for 18months and it was the hardest thing for us to get through. I can't imagine doing it for years.

Butforthegrace posted 5/14/2018 07:57 AM

You need to let go of the lie that you withheld the truth because you "didn't want to hurt him." You withheld the truth because you were afraid of his reaction. You were protecting yourself, selfishly. This continued for the 16 years that you withheld the truth. 16 years of living a lie, so you could enjoy the convenience of not dealing with your husband's legitimate feelings of betrayal.

You need to fix yourself. You also need to let go of the outcome.

If you want to attempt to preserve your relationship, show your husband your remorse, and explain to him what you are doing to work on no longer being a dishonest coward. From your husband's perspective, the person he thought he has been married to for the past 16 years has been killed and replaced with a lying cheat. He will not wish to remain married to a lying cheat. You need to become a new, better person and see if your husband will fall in love with that new person. It is up to your husband to decide whether he wants to do this and remain married to you.

I realize you and your husband have a lot of mileage together, and from his perspective the past 5-10 years in particular have been very good ones. That is helpful. As a BS, my hunch is that his primary worry now is: "What else is out there that I don't know about, and how/when will I ever know that she has told me everything?" Long-term withholding has its own unique set of factors, and that is one. The other factor is that BS's often want to know the details of the A so they can process them and digest them as part of trying to get over them, but since so much time has passed it is likely that you have forgotten many of the details.

I think one thing you could do would be to piece together, as much as you can, the details of all of the interweaving A's that occurred at that time so that your BH has a cogent picture of what was happening.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:29 AM, May 14th (Monday)]

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