I sometimes hear from wives who deeply regret cheating on their husbands. Often, the guilt is weighing heavily on them. Sometimes, they wonder if they wouldn’t feel better if they would just come clean and tell him. But somewhere deep inside, they suspect that once they tell him and let the cat out of the bag, their marriage might never be the same.
I heard from a wife who said: “I cheated on my husband with an old boyfriend from high school. It was incredibly stupid and immature. I don’t know what is wrong with me and why I’m so starved for attention. Basically, he paid attention to me and complimented me and that was all it took. Afterward, I was so ashamed and mortified by what I’ve done and I know for a fact that I will never cheat on my husband again. This guy lives in another town so it’s not like I’m going to run into him again. But, a couple of my friends know and there are texts and emails which I’ve deleted but I always have this sinking feeling that somehow my husband is going to find out from someone else or maybe the guy will try to contact me again and my husband will pick up. The other consideration is that my guilt is affecting my marriage. I always find myself acting strangely. My husband has asked me why I’m so jumpy and of course that just makes my paranoia worse. I hate myself at this point and I really do want to tell him. But every time I think about telling him, I also think about how this is absolutely going to devastate him. He completely trusts me and he has done nothing to deserve this. So what is the best call? Should I tell him I cheated because it’s the right think to do even if it will risk my marriage? Or do I stay quiet and live with the guilt?”
This isn’t a question that I can answer for any one else. In my own case, my husband cheated on me. So I have not been in the position of deciding whether to tell or not. But as someone who has been cheated on, I can tell you that I would have more respect for someone if they did what was right and told me the truth. Being honest would imply that he cared enough about me and the relationship to tell me the truth, even though my reaction might be very severe.
However, I do admit that this would be a risk. Once the truth is out, then it is up to your spouse to decide if your cheating is a deal breaker or not. However, I tend to think that even if you keep quiet, your relationship is still going to be negatively affected. I have actually heard from a select few who say that keeping the affair to themselves helped their marriage. This is because they knew how horrible it felt to know that they could lose their husband. Therefore, they appreciated him more and vowed to be a better wife. I understand the theory of this, but I think that this group must be in the minority. It would be difficult to quiet your guilt and paranoia, although I concede that if you’re not going to tell, then at least making sure that something positive comes out of the cheating is a good idea.
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