I need to end an affair I never should have started. It was a fling that happened over Christmas, when I went home to be with my parents while my fiancée visited her parents in another country.
I couldn’t be away that long so we agreed on this rare time apart.
I never thought that I’d bump into my former high-school girlfriend who recently left her husband.
We went drinking together and I crossed the line because it was so familiar, even from eight years ago.
We got together three times. She knows I’m engaged but was so needy I let it happen. Then I left.
I’ve been beating myself up ever since. My fiancée returns this week and I’m torn between confessing and being so busy for a week that we’re not together much till my nerves settle.
I’m positive that if she knows I cheated, she’ll end our engagement, immediately. She’s strong like that.
It’s one of the reasons I love her so much and feel sick about what I did.
Is there any way I can explain things and be forgiven, or should I just keep my shameful secret?
Guilty and Scared
It’s because you feel ashamed and fearful, this secret will come out.
Your “needy” ex-turned-fling will contact you indiscreetly and you’ll be caught. Or, you’ll let some telling detail slip. Or, behave oddly enough for your fiancée to suspect something.
From this practical view only, you’re going to have to come clean.
On the moral side, there’s further consideration. You’ve already crossed the line before getting married. And you have your excuses… drinking, you didn’t know, familiarity, her neediness, etc.
Through such rationalizations, it easily becomes Step One on the path to a future office fling, an out-of-town affair. And a gradual deterioration of the bond between you and the woman you marry.
Confession won’t be easy… but it’s less painful than discovery of deceit. She’ll be angry, hurt, disappointed in you.
Your best response is to let her vent her feelings, apologize repeatedly, and insist that you’ll go to counselling.
Admit that you need to better understand why you let this happen, and intend to learn how to steel your resolve that it’ll never happen again.
My close friend is getting divorced. His wife won’t consider any compromises.
She says that their kids, nine and eleven, will come through it fine because they’ve both been good parents.
My friend’s livid that she’s taking it all so matter-of-factly while he’s anguishing about the kids, furious at her, and feeling miserable.
But it’s hard to support him though I’m trying. He constantly rants about his wife publicly, and yells when he’s on the phone with her, in front of me.
No matter what I say about trying to accept things, or not making it more difficult by still fighting with her, or keeping things quieter around the kids, he turns on me for not understanding.
Worse, he sometimes just cries. He’s driving me away with his dark moods.
Hard to Help
He needs a caring friend’s shoulder, especially when he cries.
Tell him you’re worried he’s heading for a depression that’ll interfere with his being a support to his kids, when they’re also experiencing this tough transition.
Suggest he see his doctor to prevent sinking into chronic depression. And a therapist who’ll help him communicate with his ex on joint custody issues. A legal mediator would also help with ongoing negotiations.
My stepdaughter’s husband loves and treats her beautifully. She and I have a great relationship.
He’s always pleasant when he’s with me, but I feel that I’m an “extra” in his life since he has his own mother and her mother to please.
They’re invited over more often than her father and me. They frequently bring his mother and hers for outings with the children, though the kids adore my husband and are fine with me.
Do I speak privately with my son-in-law about this, since my husband won’t?
The Extra In-law
No. All the relationships in this family are positive, ranging from “pleasant” to “great” and “adoring.”
It’s natural that the two are closest to their own mothers. And, given a past divorce, it’s possible that your stepdaughter’s mother may be the one who doesn’t want to socialize with her husband’s next wife… you.
Invite the couple and grandkids to your place and some outings.
Tip of the day:
Confess to a fling rather than be found guilty of deceit as well as cheating.