I am the other woman and I am depressed and feel a lot of guilt.
I am married and am having an affair with someone who has a spouse and young children. I want to leave my husband because it is hurting him — he doesn’t know but I am sure he suspects it 99.9% and just isn’t ready to outright accuse me of it. I also want to leave my affair partner because it is the right thing to do. But I am having a hard time doing this because I love him.
We’ve been having an affair for almost 3 years now and I have tried to leave him 3 times. I feel a lot of guilt for allowing myself to fall in love with him. And not choosing to be stronger about leaving both relationships. It is so selfish. Your website helps me — reminds me that I am doing something terrible and I don’t want to continue being that person. I don’t want to feel this guilt. I hope I find the strength to leave without causing everyone any more pain than I already have. I just don’t know what to say, and have therefore not said anything yet.
How do I leave my husband without hurting him more than I have to? If I tell him about the affair I am afraid he will tell my affair partner’s spouse (and break apart his family). If I don’t tell him about the affair I am afraid it will make him question himself (his value, worth, attractiveness, etc.) and lose trust in his own intuitions (what he felt, what he thought, etc.). This is so hard. And I know I am selfish. And a coward. And my mind says I want to be a better person but my heart is still pining for a relationship with my affair partner. I am being so indecisive and I don’t know how to stop.
Full of Guilt
Yes you do know how to stop — you just STOP. You just don’t WANT to stop, that’s your problem. And yes, that makes you a selfish, terrible person.
This is so hard.
No, being a chump is hard. Eating cake at the expense of two chumps and small children is fun! — so much fun that you’ve been doing it for three solid years. You get attention from your husband, you get attention from the Other Man. It’s luv and double kibble portions!
Face THAT and you can deal with your guilt. You like the perks of cake, and when you do the cost/benefit analysis of coming clean and stopping, you give yourself the green light to keep cheating instead. You prefer your bubble of specialness over the well-being of the people you purport to care about.
You can dress it up that you’re afraid to hurt everyone, and that’s why you don’t tell. But really — THREE YEARS? If you truly cared, you would’ve stopped. Our actions communicate louder than our words. Fucking around for three years tells me the guilt and depression don’t eat you up that much.
I don’t want to feel this guilt. I hope I find the strength to leave without causing everyone any more pain than I already have. I just don’t know what to say, and have therefore not said anything yet.
You hope you find the strength? Like this is a mystical matter of faith? Like the Strength Fairies are going to just alight on your porch one day and wave their “Quit acting like a whore” wands and POOF! give you the magic resolve?
You don’t know what to say? Do you think words are like Ouija boards? You just stare and them and feel the vibrations and the spirits will lead you there?
You have agency, FOG. You created this clusterfuck and the only way out is, yes, painful. Those are the consequences of your actions, plus interest. And if you think you’re depressed, that’s nothing compared to the pain and depression your husband and the OM’s wife are going to feel, only they didn’t get to enjoy three fun years of cake. Yes the truth will hurt them, but they deserve the truth. Not telling the OM’s wife is protecting your affair partner. Will their family break up? Yes, it very well might. You should’ve thought of that three years ago. The truth isn’t breaking up the family, the affair is.
Speaking of the truth, quit telling yourself your husband knows (so, hey! at some level he must be okay with it!) Bullshit. He’s a chump. You’ve chumped him. And I guarantee that he’s already questioned his value, worth, and attractiveness. You’re not sparing him from those feelings — he’s been tortured with that shit for years with a wife who checked out on him. You want him to feel better? Tell him the TRUTH. Yes, he’ll be angry, but he’ll also know it wasn’t HIM. It was YOU and the douchebag OM.
Oh, and about that guy — the dude with two small children who you LOVE. You “love” a man who is okay cheating on his wife and small kids. That’s his character. That’s the person you esteem and admire. And you’re a person who gets a three-year high on “I’m The One He REALLY Loves!” You get kibbles from that guy choosing you over his wife and kids — and that’s the ecstasy you’re reluctant to let go of. Only you know, deep down, that he doesn’t choose you. You’re in an eternal loop of the pick me dance. Thus the depression.
If you feel guilty about your part in all of this, if there is a small moral person inside of you trying to get out, then come clean. End it with everyone and get yourself into some deep therapy, pronto. That’s the only way I know to address your depression and guilt honestly — and it’s also your best shot at having a healthy relationship someday.
Please tell, but please also never confuse your “pain” with those chumps’ pain — it’s not in the same universe.