Dear Chump Lady,
About four years ago, I received an out of the blue email from an old high school friend.
We got along so well as we caught up on our lives, that soon it was multiple times a day that we spoke, and we soon decided to see each other. We lived about 2 hours from each other, but saw each other as much as we could.
After a year we started what I thought was a real relationship, he was my best friend, and we had the most amazing chemistry, I quickly fell in love.
Looking back, I should have seem the signs, he didn’t keep contact with any one from our home town, and valued his “privacy” to the extreme, but always seemed to have “valid” reasons for this..
About a year ago, I found out in the most random way on my facebook page, that he also used, because he refused to have his own, that he was engaged to be married — to someone that wasn’t me.
I have never told anyone this, but I really think that I had a breakdown, I was so devastated that I could hardly function for months. I lost 25 lbs in a month, I couldn’t sleep. I was so heartbroken and confused, that I never told him what I found. He never said anything either, and we continued to see each other.
I hate myself for being so weak, and I am NOT making excuses, but we were so happy when we were together, that I almost let myself forget. Except for the hours and hours I spent trying to figure out the HOW and WHY of what he was doing.
It’s been a very long, hard road, but I am finally over this. I’ve said that a million times of course, but I can honestly say that I mean it now, and you can’t imagine how good it feels to be ready to start a new life.
But what do I do now? I am constantly torn on whether or not to tell his wife.
I wish to God that I had found out sooner. I wasted so much time and energy on this man, you have no idea. I feel that she deserves to know so that she can start to take control of her life too.
I keep searching in my gut to see if I would be doing it for the wrong reasons — And I don’t think so. This man has such a history of lying, it goes back to our high school days where he used to make up such detailed stories — half the class were constantly fearful that there were people coming to hurt him — and he had/has the personality that makes you love him, trust him, and willing to do anything for him. But even having this information, I stupidly and sadly lost life-long friends arguing that he had changed. Another thing I deeply regret.
Every morning that I wake up and dont miss him is the most incredibly freeing feeling, but
I feel so guilty for being a part of this, I know the devastating hurt that I felt, and I don’t want to bring that to anyone–but, again I WISH that I could have started my healing long before I did.
I don’t want to hurt her, and believe it or not, I’m not trying to hurt him — I just want be done.
Please advise me if I should find a way to tell her, and if yes, How??
D in VA
Yes you should tell her. If you read here much, you’ll see I almost always give that advice. People deserve the dignity to make an informed choice about their lives. She, the wife, doesn’t have that now. You helped steal that from her by letting the situation go from “he’s engaged” to she is his “wife” without a word from you. Nope, you stood by and enjoyed your “happiness” with him as the OW.
You did the “pick me” dance. Which, as we all know, isn’t happiness at all. It’s a desperate bid to be chosen. You were hurling kibbles at this guy, trying to show him “See? You’re HAPPY with me! See what we have!” You accepted the distance, you accepted less than his full attention, you kept his secrets. Why? Because of chemistry? Happiness? The guy made you miserable with the HOWs and the WHYs and the WTFs, according to you.
You don’t say how you put this all behind you, but I could guess that he might’ve ended it with you first? And now that it’s “over,” you feel bad and would like to tell the wife? Or perhaps you found your strength and ended it with him, and feel at some level that throwing that Molotov cocktail will end things permanently?
Please forgive me, I’m often suspect at the motives of OW. I tend not to believe motives are for the higher purpose of Doing the Right Thing by the wife. It’s rather a latter day concern for her welfare. I mean, you wish to God you’d found out sooner? What about his wife? She hasn’t found out at ALL.
Whatever your motives, if they’re pure or vengeful or you hope at some level that blowing up his marriage will free him up for you (slap yourself if that’s the case) — telling the wife is still the right thing to do.
Here’s how you do it. You call her up. You introduce yourself by name (your real name). And you tell her you’ve had an affair with her husband, and you’re terribly sorry. You send her some proof (emails, cell phone bills). And then you promise to answer her questions if she has any, but from this point forward will respect her enough to go absolutely no contact with her and her husband forever.
And then the next thing you do is get into some serious therapy. You work out your ability to spackle over something as monumental as his engagement and marriage to another woman — to the point you never MENTION it to him. Where did you learn that relationships require eating such shit sandwiches? Why did you not voice your anger and feelings betrayal? You were a chump when you found out about his engagement. After that point, you made a conscious decision to be an OW. You need to work out in therapy why you accepted so little from this jerk and at such a high personal cost of your integrity. Why you were okay with grabbing some crappy-grade “happiness” at the expense of his innocent wife.
This can be overcome. It’s good you feel awful about it all. (There’s a moral compass in there somewhere). Time to stop being gutless and tell her. That’s the first step. Next start doing the hard work on yourself. Good luck, D.