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fred samford

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I have a situation that I need help with.

 

I am recently engaged. I am 38 and my fiancé is 37 with one child. She is divorced since she was 33, separated since 31. Two weeks ago she said she had to tell me something important that she felt I should know about her.

 

As a background, she said her marriage ended because she was just too young and they grew apart.

 

Things have gone pretty well for us after some initial rough, feeling out patches that sometimes occur when dating a newly divorced person. But during the time we were getting to know each until now (we’ve lived together for 1 ½ years after dating for 4 1/2 years) there have been times when we both talked about things in our past—old failed relationships, friendships, working in the corporate world, etc. Over the course of these conversations she admitted to being close to a co-worker while she was married. She said that she was “just friends” and had lunches with him on several occasions. I informed her that I thought that lunches, especially just the two of them and on multiple occasions, was crossing the line because they were both married at the time. She would always drop the subject after grudgingly accepting she used poor judgement. I always felt in my gut that there was something else there.

 

2 weeks ago she told me the truth: She had a 1 ½ year affair with the friend in the office. At first I was a little taken aback, but I grew restless and annoyed with the fact that she has taken so long to tell me, especially when the subject of her old work would come up in passing here and there and she had multiple opportunities to tell me the truth. I have grown more and more distraught thinking about how she could have been sleeping with two people at the same time as well as having this huge deception on her husband for that long a time period. My mind races She said she ended up breaking it off because the situation became so out of hand. She said she lacked a connection with her husband and found it with her friend. Then in a last gasp to save her marriage she had a child. She still ended up getting divorced anyway.

 

My question is: Should I be mad about this recent information, even though it didn’t happen to me? Should she, as she claims, be given credit for telling me? She says she has harbored it for the whole 9 years since its happened and told no one but me, a few close female friends about the affair. I feel uneasy, angry, distressed confused….almost like she had the affair on me. Am I getting all worked up for nothing? Can people grow up and change?

 

Any help is much appreciated.

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First I think people can definitely learn from past mistakes so yes I would say it is definitely possible that she may never behave like that again.

 

In terms of should she have told you?...I don't think it is your right to know. She granted you the priviledge of knowing (and maybe that was not such a good idea). She also has no right to expect or demand that you be comfortable with the knowledge.

 

from what you post, I think you guys better do some more talking about this.

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from personal expirience, I think she probably didnt tell you becasue she is embarrassed and ashamed by the entire situation, and knew that it could impact how you view her. She is older now, and I think she probably has realized the errors of her past, and wanted to be completely honest with you now that the two of you are engaged. Has she done anything during the 4 1/2 years you have been together to make you mistrust her? it seems to me that she finally feels that in order for her to be with you completely, and wholey as your wife, that you need to know the truth behind her failed past marriage. Those of us who have cheated, and caused our marriages to fail, need to completely wipe the slate clean prior to committing to someone. i think you should reassure her of your trust for her, and let her know that you are glad she finally told you the truth, and that it doesnt change how you fell about her, because she is older and wiser now. Her behavior with you should be proof enough of her shame of the past. It's not easy admitting poor judgement. It sounds to me like she loves you, and at the risk of you thinking less of her, wanted you to finally know the truth.

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I don't blame you at all for being distressed about hearing this- I think anyone would. For me, the difference would be in how your fiancee is explaining it. Is she ashamed of what she did and realizes how hurtful & wrong her affair was, or is she more trying to justify what she did?

 

I think people can change, but only if they are willing to admit the error of their ways.

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Tell her " I appreciate you telling me about this past affair. I know it must have been very difficult to share that with me. I also believe, that to share it with me means that you must love and trust me very much. While thinking of any man other then me being with you stings. I realize it is in your past. I would ask one thing, if our relationship ever gets in that condition, that you would come to me and tell me outright that you are having an issue with us. That being said, we need not speak of it again. I love you."

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The aspect of it that should concern you is whether she would likely do this to you. Some people believe "once a cheater - always a cheater" but I don't believe that is necessarily true. There are too many variables.

 

What is important is whether you can trust her - and that is something only you can decide.

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Tell her " I appreciate you telling me about this past affair. I know it must have been very difficult to share that with me. I also believe, that to share it with me means that you must love and trust me very much. While thinking of any man other then me being with you stings. I realize it is in your past. I would ask one thing, if our relationship ever gets in that condition, that you would come to me and tell me outright that you are having an issue with us. That being said, we need not speak of it again. I love you."

 

 

I like this response.

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Tell her " I appreciate you telling me about this past affair. I know it must have been very difficult to share that with me. I also believe, that to share it with me means that you must love and trust me very much. While thinking of any man other then me being with you stings. I realize it is in your past. I would ask one thing, if our relationship ever gets in that condition, that you would come to me and tell me outright that you are having an issue with us. That being said, we need not speak of it again. I love you."

 

Thanks to all the replies, especially this one (above) and the one who detailed that the thought of her with someone else "stings".....you are right on...the thought of her in that situation of deception "stings"...knowing that she cheated for that long makes me physically ill.

 

But I told her last night almost exactly as the response in quotes above. It went a long way, and its pretty much how I feel anyway. She seems to be really sorry and wants to put this behind her. SHe said having a child was her wakeup call and is truly a different person (I guess we all are a little selfish when we're in our 20's).

 

Once again, thanks for all the responses.

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I would be a little upset over her telling you. Its sort of like she opened your emotional door, and dumped a pile of trash inside for you to deal with.

 

Its good that you know, its good that she feels bad about it, and its good that she told you.

 

However its bad that she had numerous chances to tell you and didnt for how long. And its also bad that she could have left this baggage unsaid... and saved you from what will probably always be a nagging doubt (however small) in the back of your mind.

 

What would I do? Probably nothing... but if you ever see any red flags of any kind make sure you got your thinking cap on from there out. Shes proven she is capable of cheating. Maybe not with you, but she has done it. So if the situation ever comes up where theres a fishy looking text message, or unexplained hotel charge on her credit card etc. I think Id lean more towards skeptical than I would have without this info.

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