I regret telling hubby I cheated
DEAR COUNSELLORMonday, July 07, 2014
With Wayne Powell MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor
I have been married for seven years, and about a year ago I was unfaithful to my husband. We have always maintained open communication. It took me a month to tell him what had transpired. Although the man I cheated with told me not to say anything, my conscience just couldn't handle it, so I told my husband. He had previously warned me about the intentions of this man.
When I told him he was away on business, and the first thing he did was to call and tell a family member and explain how devastated he was. He has every right to be upset but when he came back home we agreed to attend counselling together. That didn't seem to help. He said he forgave me, but he brings it up every month and thus we are always arguing. He even went as far as to resign from his job overseas saying he wanted to work on the marriage, but all we do is argue. He said if I gave him a child maybe it would make him forget my unfaithfulness, which to me is foolishness.
I am now regretting being so honest with him, because after we spoke it became clear that he cannot handle difficult situations. I am no longer living at his house as in my anger I packed up my bags and left to stay with a family member. He even went as far as to take out one of his female friends and spent the day with her, and when I asked him to take me out he said he could not find the time. I am seriously contemplating leaving my marriage, for though he says he forgives me he still has not, and I cannot live in an environment of unhappiness and hostility. I need romance. I am slowly not wanting him to touch me; it's like I can't see him as I used to anymore.
Sometimes in life we make some decisions that we later live to regret as the repercussions can be so overwhelming that in hindsight we would have never gone down that road. So you yielded to a male friend in a moment of weakness even though you were warned by your husband to be careful. Your husband was obviously aware that the possibility existed that your friend might have ulterior motives and it turned out that he was right. This is probably the reason why he is so distressed and seemingly not ready to let it go and move on.
As much as you have confessed to the indiscretion and sought forgiveness, it is really the prerogative of your husband to extend forgiveness if and when he pleases. You can't demand that he just forgive, forget and proceed with business as usual. The trust has broken down and will require time and effort to be restored. The fact that your husband rehashes the event repeatedly is a clear indication that he is still hurting and is not yet at the place where he can forgive and forget, hence the continuous arguments.
The apparent interest in a girlfriend could be an attempt to send a message to you that two can play that game. The irony, though, is that you would have no moral authority to warn him of the possible pitfall he may encounter with this friend.
The introduction of a child in the mix is an unfortunate scheme that couples employ in a bid to settle a score. The presence of a child would not necessarily obliterate the regrettable occurrence. A child should never be used as a bargaining tool in a negotiation between partners in a relationship.
So now you are wondering if you did the right thing by confessing, or maybe you should have spared yourself the personal distress by not disclosing what you did. There will obviously be opposing views. Some people would say that you should not have said anything. These people would embrace the notion, "What you don't know won't hurt you." Others who embrace moral and ethical values would say you did the right thing to 'fess up. The fact that you opted to be honest and come clean would mean that you expected your husband to react, but no doubt you were hoping for the best. Not everybody can handle the truth when it confronts them and so your husband, as you mentioned, may not deal very well with issues of this nature. How is he at problem-solving and conflict management? Is he more confrontational rather than conciliatory?
If you are serious about reconciliation, do you believe walking away from the matrimonial home is aiding the process? Certainly your state of frustration is understandable, but you can't lose sight of the fact that it was your indiscretion that caused the breakdown in the marital relationship, and you have to be patient with the recovery process.
If, as you say, you have lost the intimacy you once had with your husband, and efforts at restoring the relationship via counselling have failed, then you would have to make a decision that is in your best interest.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to email@example.com.