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I cheated, now I'm confused


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I married my childhood sweetheart and we have been together (and later married) more than 15 years with three young kids. I had always been faithful until I met someone about a year ago. I will be honest, it didn't just happen. I looked for someone and found her. It was a cyber relationship that turned into a real life relationship after 4 months of emotional intimacy online. I am trying to understand now why I did it. I suppose the biggest part was I felt I couldn't share feelings with my wife in a meaningful way any more. Our daily interests have separated. Communication with my wife had been limited, and sex was a chore to her. Please understand that with these "reasons" I am not looking for justification, I just need to understand why it happened to help me to move forward.

 

I have no reason to suspect my wife has ever been unfaithful. The affair was passionate and in secret in the beginning and my wife was also pregnant for part of its duration. Believe me, no amount of flaming, or negative comments on here can make me feel any worse than I already do, so feel free to flame me if you want to. I am a bastard, I know it, so there is no need to remind me.

 

One morning I decided to tell my wife about the affair. I just woke up and decided I couldn't lie any more. I told her it was serious and it wasn't finished, but that I didn't want to leave her or the kids.

 

She obviously had suspected that it was happening. She was shocked, of course, but she says she is prepared to try to forgive me. She is a wonderful woman.

 

There have been no more lies to my wife since that confession. That was two months ago. We (both myself and the OW) have repeatedly tried to finish the affair, and finally we stopped having sex 2 weeks ago. The truth is, that the OW and I are still in love and are emotionally connected at a very deep level that I never found with my wife, even in the beginning. While I am sure my marriage can be improved, it will never have that kind of sharing and intimacy.

 

There is no excuse for cheating, I understand that. I don't justify my action or expect any sympathy. The problem I have now, is that I found something special in that new relationship that was missing in my marriage. I miss the OW terribly (I know she feels the same way), and know that we would be very happy together (even if it might not last a lifetime). Sadly, I think my wife senses in her heart, that if it wasn't for the kids, I would have left her (even if I would never say that to her, of course).

 

The OW gave up her home, job and long term bf to move to be near me before we had ever even spoke on the telephone. I didn't ask or encourage her to do that, she did it on her own. She always said that she didn't want me to leave my family, and I never made promises that I would, in fact I always categorically told her that I wouldn't. Only when I tried to end it the other day did she finally admit that she wanted us to be together and start a family. For the sake of my kids, I agreed with the OW that we should not contact each other for a period of a few months. I want to give my marriage a chance and also let the feelings of passion and addiction from our affair subside, to find the truth that remains underneath. I told her not to wait for me, find a new relationship if she wants to, go where she wants, do whatever she wants. But if we still feel the way we do now in three months, I will leave my family and be with her.

 

Of course, doing this will leave me completely devastated at "losing" my children. My wife will be devastated at losing me. I am terribly confused at the moment... It seems I have a choice of a lifetime feeling "alone" in the relationship with my wife (who I am sure will forgive me in time), or an alternative option of taking a chance on life with the OW that means hurting my kids, missing them terribly and leaving them to grow up with an absent father.

 

Charlie

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I think you and your wife need some time together, a break from the old routine, to see if you can still be together, enjoy each other, and find that spark that's gone missing.

 

Is there any way of going away on holiday just the 2 of you, with someone looking after your kids? I think you definitely need some time alone with her, and only her.

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I highly suggest marriage counseling. I don't think you're going to be able to get through such a major blow to your marriage on your own. Is your wife willing to go? Are you? This is a massive thing to overcome but if you're both willing to work through it, I believe it's possible.

 

And if you want to make this work, you need to cut ALL contact with the other woman...but I think you already know that.

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Do what you want. Your wife deserves to have someone that will love her and want to be with her and only her. It doesn't sound like that person is you. Although I am very skeptical this new relationship will work out. Relationships that are a result of an affair often don't. And she moved and gave up everything to be closer to you BEFORE YOU HAD EVEN SPOKEN ON THE PHONE?? Serious? What sane and rational person does that? That is just nuts. Big red flag. Big red flag.

 

I think that like other affairs, the newness and lust will wear off over time, like it did with your marriage, and this will fizzle out. I think it's new and exciting and gives you an escape from your every day which you feel had turned mundane. Instead of seeking out an affair, you should have tried your best to reconcile your marriage first, and if you could not, then your final option would be divorce.

 

You say you have never felt this way about your wife, so why did you marry her?

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You might get flamed a bit, but the truth is, alot of people cheat because they are unhappy or their current relationship is lacking. In the end, I think you deserve to be happy, and only you know how to attain that.

 

I will say though, I think you may be mistaken to think you will never have that emotional connection with your wife. I think it will take alot of work but it is possible. IMO - her forgiving you and you two continuing the original behavior that made you feel like something was lacking is not adequate. It's much better than you leaving - but when people are in similar situations, they do similar things. Basically you did it once because of these reasons - why wouldn't you do it again?

 

I think you need to resolve these issues with your wife completely. There needs to be intimacy, passion, a deep connection - otherwise you are cutting yourself short, and you will have to suffer for it until your children are old enough to "understand", even though I think kids are never really old enough, and I know even after they're 18 or 21 alot of kids still stuffer that their parents no longer love each other.

 

I do think you can have that deep passionate relationship with your wife, because I just think you need to get to know her all over again, she's not the same girl you knew as a child. People change and mature, and I think it's likely you don't really 'know' the current woman that is your wife. People fall in love all over again, especially if both parties are willing to mend the relationship.

 

Hope that helped. Correct me if I assumed anything incorrectly.

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You say there have been no more lies since two months - but you just stopped having sex with the other woman two weeks ago, so does your wife know about that?

 

I can't imagine how painful it must be for her to know you are still cheating on her even after your confession. She seems like a great woman who deserves someone who loves her and will stay faithful to her.

 

I understand your situation though, you've known your wife for almost your entire life and have been married for her for a long time, and now someone "new" and "exciting" comes along and you feel like top of the world. But... this amazing feeling that you have right now can, and probably will pass with time, just like it did with your wife. And maybe if you had been married to this other woman for over 15 years, you'd look out for someone "new".

 

You really need to decide what you want - give up your childhood sweetheart and your kids or be with this new woman (who, to be realistic and honest, you don't even know very well). But if you aren't in love with your wife and you just don't want to be with her anymore - don't stay in the marriage for her and your children's sake. Better be divorced but still have a good relationship to eachother than staying in an unhappy marriage that will just make you both resent eachother.

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Yup I agree with the counseling....however, how can you work on your relationship if you are so focused on the OW? You miss the OW & say you want to be with her if things dont work out with your wife in 3 months? Are you serious? You are already "planning" the divorce & not planning to save the marriage. What steps are you taking to save the marriage? Are you staying just for the kids?

 

I think your wife deserves better

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How would you be an absent father if your marriage ended? You would still have rights to see your children. I think your marriage is a sham and I think it would be better if you do end it so that your wife can find someone who is totally committed to her and doesn't actively seek out and affair partner. As for your affair partner...if you settle down with her and make more babies (can you afford to support your three children PLUS any more babies you make with the new woman?) it won't take long for the excitement to wear off and both of you might end up getting bored with each other and look for new partners (both of you now have a history of doing this...so it is very possible either one of you will cheat on the other). When all is said and done, this new women doesn't seem to have any scruples or sound judgement. She picks up stakes to move closer to her married lover...not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed is she!

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Yup I agree with the counseling....however, how can you work on your relationship if you are so focused on the OW? You miss the OW & say you want to be with her if things dont work out with your wife in 3 months? Are you serious? You are already "planning" the divorce & not planning to save the marriage. What steps are you taking to save the marriage? Are you staying just for the kids?

 

I think your wife deserves better

 

Very good point. You need to either make the commitment to work on your marriage or move on...you can't be so focused on the OW.

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I think its so wrong that you're basically giving your wife afew months to buck up her ideas and give you back some old feelings towards her without her even knowing she is pretty much being tested.

 

If you're in love with the OW like you say "afew" months away from eachother won't make a difference and it likely wont last.

 

You would'nt be "losing" your children, you just would'nt be living with them anymore. As much as it would devestate your wife, she deserves to go and find what you think you've found in someone else.

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A real woman of heart would not intentionally set out to destroy someone else's marriage which is what your lover has done by packing up and moving closer to be with you. A woman like this, is not someone you should be seeking to be with in a long term sense.

 

I think somewhere along the way, your marriage reached a dull spot and this new chippy made you feel alive and young again. Truth is, you should have been looking for ways to feel like that with your wife.

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In the same boat as you Charlie. Only I am the cheating woman. I have been emotionally unavailable to my fiance of two years (we have been together for 6 and have 4 year old). I am recently realized that I am also unhappy. I have been having an emotional affair with my ex for the last 6 years. We spoke over the phone every six months or so and wrote each other for a short time. Only over the holiday (New Year's) it became physical. I have realized I do love my fiance, but not in a get married type of love. I want to be with the OM/Ex. But I need to find "myself" first. I need to try to make it work. I hope I can. At this point all the signs I see around me tell me to leave, find myself and then go from there. Don't make any decisions about the other person, make the decisions based on "you" and what is truly right for "you". Trying to make everyone else happy is what got me in this trouble in the first place.

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I think it might be a good idea for you to think through each step of both outcomes: staying or going. Think about what you'd really have to do to re-commit to your wife, and pretty much, you have no choice but to let go of the OW completely, not just half-a**ed. Otherwise, you can never really re-commit to your wife.

 

A lot of people leave their current marriage for their lover. Then they find that things are great for a while but the newness wears off. It usually doesn't last.

 

Have you thought about your kids in this? I hear a lot about your needs but not much about them. Are you ready to rip the rug out from under them so you can have good sex and your own little emotional 'connection' with the OW? Are you ready to leave their home in flames for your own needs? Remember, it's not just a commitment to your wife...you have a commitment to those children too.

 

You're addicted to the OW and that addiction will NEVER subside until you cut off ALL contact with the OW and see that, yes, you can live without her and do just fine at that.

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If you're not married yet and there's already been infidelity, it's not a good idea to marry the person you cheated on. Make yourself happy and get honest - end the engagement and start working on yourself and what makes life worth it for you.

 

Already there, established a N/C with the ex. Talked to the fiance about not being happy. We are trying to communicate more, "trying" the key word there. I am not sure where we will end up, but I have to try I want my daughter to have a better life than I did. I also know that relationships are hard work. I don't want to stay for "her" and it be worse because "we" resent each other. That would only make things worse. He deserves someone who truly loves him.

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Already there, established a N/C with the ex. Talked to the fiance about not being happy. We are trying to communicate more, "trying" the key word there. I am not sure where we will end up, but I have to try I want my daughter to have a better life than I did. I also know that relationships are hard work. I don't want to stay for "her" and it be worse because "we" resent each other. That would only make things worse. He deserves someone who truly loves him.

 

Oh sorry, didn't know you had a child with the fiancee. Or I skipped over it if you already mentioned it.

 

Well, good for you for doing the next right action. Good luck with the outcome!

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Already there, established a N/C with the ex. Talked to the fiance about not being happy. We are trying to communicate more, "trying" the key word there. I am not sure where we will end up, but I have to try I want my daughter to have a better life than I did. I also know that relationships are hard work. I don't want to stay for "her" and it be worse because "we" resent each other. That would only make things worse. He deserves someone who truly loves him.

 

Trying to communicate should mean complete and total honesty about what is going on including the infedility. No amount of effective communication can be done when there are secrets being kept.

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Trying to communicate should mean complete and total honesty about what is going on including the infedility. No amount of effective communication can be done when there are secrets being kept.

 

Truth be told, I will not be selfish and tell him about the OM. Telling him that I am unhappy was the start... Through our 6 years we have been through enough, most married couples wouldn't have made it. He has told me that he loves me, but that he is also unhappy. Is it the start of the end? Only time will tell. I am trying to do the right thing (the right thing for my daughter). If I feel like "trying to make this work" isn't right. I will leave.

 

Charlie b- I send hope, peace and brightness. I wish I had more answers for you, just know that other people are out there going through something similar.

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No doubt what you have done is wrong, but you seem to be in the right frame of mind about it.

 

If you really want to keep your family together and give the marriage another shot I think you can do it

 

Just promise yourself you mean it!

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A real woman of heart would not intentionally set out to destroy someone else's marriage which is what your lover has done by packing up and moving closer to be with you. A woman like this, is not someone you should be seeking to be with in a long term sense.

 

I think somewhere along the way, your marriage reached a dull spot and this new chippy made you feel alive and young again. Truth is, you should have been looking for ways to feel like that with your wife.

 

I agree 100%

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Wow, gone an hour or so and already so many posts. Thanks for your interest and input.

 

 

"I think that like other affairs, the newness and lust will wear off over time, like it did with your marriage, and this will fizzle out. I think it's new and exciting and gives you an escape from your every day which you feel had turned mundane. Instead of seeking out an affair, you should have tried your best to reconcile your marriage first, and if you could not, then your final option would be divorce. You say you have never felt this way about your wife, so why did you marry her? "

 

I know the theory, believe me, but from here it just doesn't feel that way. It also doesn't help me to hear it now. I know all of this. I married my wife because I loved her and I still do. It's just the passion that was lost from the relationship. We talked about it so many times, over several years, but it just never seemed to come back. And now I have found this new way to communicate with someone else - the OW. In that sense there is something different that will not fizzle out with the OW. I'm not saying that relationship would work in the long term. But that aspect was different.

 

And for the poster who asked if I care about the kids... The thought of divorce and being away from my kids is just so horrible to me, I can't even stand to think of it now. It has taken this situation to even get me to consider leaving my wife, even in a theoretical sense.

 

As for cutting off contact with the OW. I am doing my best. Yesterday was our agreement of no contact for 3 months. "3 months" seemed like the best option, since "it's over" hasn't worked. No sex for two weeks. No contact at all since yesterday. All I have is now. The past is the past.

 

For all of those who say that OW is bad and not someone to have LTR with, that is fair enough. She had emotional affair online too, while still with her bf, so maybe we deserve eachother. She had no history of infidelity before she met me. She ended it to start the physical part, but it is still betrayal, I know.

 

Counseling we have not tried yet. We are both quite introverted about these things, I am not sure it will help, and my wife has real problems with communicating feelings, but I am prepared to consider it. I would even go alone if she doesn't want to go.

 

Thanks again for your input...

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I think it is sad that you agreed to no contact for three months. What happens in three months? The fact that you said 3 months rather than for life shows that you are not really that committed to your marriage. It is like you are grudgingly walking away from this OW. You basically have one foot in your marriage and one foot out. Unless you have both feet in your marriage and both feet out of your affair then you are only making a half-hearted attempt to save your marriage. Quite frankly, with this attitude you may as well not bother saving your marriage..because you are still not committed to it.

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i haven't read all the replies here yet, but i think what you are feeling with the OW is just chemical infatuation. the excitement of being with someone new and fresh. it's like that in every new relationship. and i think you know deep down, if you did leave your wife for OW, that things wouldn't work out. you seemed to imply so yourself.

 

i definitely recommend marriage counseling, cutting off all contact with OW, and giving your marriage a real shot. while maybe the 'excitement' and 'newness' aren't there anymore - what you guys do have is a real loving, caring history, you two practically grew up together, and that should really count for something. i bet your wife loves you, and i know you loved her at some point. don't give up!

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I won't try to put any self-valued judgement on you.. it won't help and people seem to have already done plenty of it.

 

I'd advise you reflect hard on your marriage, and its history. Think about WHY you married your wife in the first place. Was it based on mistaken logic and thought processes? You said it was a highschool sweatheart thing.. so perhaps ignorance was bliss, in that you didn't realize relationships could be better. Or perhaps over the years you just "went with the flow" rather than taking a chance and ending it out of fear of being alone or not wanting to hurt your wife. Think about the love you shared with your wife... at the height of love, was it as good as what you have with the other woman? If not, why not?

 

The only reasons the other relationship can be better than your marriage is because the OW has qualities different from your wife which you prefer, OR, the relationship itself is better (perhaps not predicated on pain, negativity, or whatever else might cause tension your marriage).

 

If its that the OW has qualities superior to your wife, is it possible for your wife to change for the better? I'm thinking along the lines of communication, sexual liberation, selflessness, thoughfullness... things that can change when effort is made. Has your wife changed over the years? Have your interests in a partner changed?

 

If it is the relationship itself which is better, then think about if the negative aspects of your marriage are inevitable in every relationship (and would eventually occur in a LTR with OW). Perhaps the hardships you and your wife have faced has put tension on things, and your behaviour towards each other is negatively impacted because of it (the infidelity itself is an example of this). If that is the case, solving it requires that you both have to identify and acknowledge the issues, and work together to overcome them. Unfortunately, not all issues can be solved; once some things are deformed, they can never be put back to their original form.

 

Ultimately, if things are not changable and repairable in order to make you happy, then ending the marriage is a reasonable result. Do not stay together for the kids sake... nobody really wants that, even the kids as they could grow up resenting the fact that they effectively were responsible for their father's (and possibly their mother's) unhappiness. You can still be a good father, while not being married to their mother.

 

Do not take my advise as conditional permission to end your marriage. Many people looking for advice actually just want permission to do something they WANT to do but feel guilty about. If you are just looking for permission, then you've already made your decision but are too cowardly to just do it. If you really do want to figure out the right decision, then spend these 3 months working HARD to learn about yourself, your wife, and your marriage.

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Honestly I don't think you are going to survive this "marriage".

 

It really takes two people completely committed to making changes and forgiving each other. Your wife sounds like she is willing to do that. Sadly, you are not there. You are in love with someone else. And the entire time you are trying to work on a "marriage" you are missing her, and thinking of her. You will do nothing but compare your wife to your "love".

 

You even gave yourself a timetable to get back if the "marriage" didn't work. That isn't committment.

 

I am not judging you in any bit over the affair, the reasonings for finding someone, or even falling in love with someone else. But I have to honestly say that you wont be able to work on this marriage. You have not chosen to remain with your wife because of her, you are doing it for the kids. You have not seriously committed to making the marriage work. You have committed to nothing more than putting off an inevitable. More pain and negativity is going to result in this.

 

Kids are a lot more resilient than you think. They are also a lot more perceptive than you think. They will pick up on this "marriage" and the associated negativity with it.

 

You made a decision. You decided to find love somewhere else. Now deal with the consequences.

 

Good luck.

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