LoveShack.org Community Forums

Reload this Page LoveShack.org Community Forums > Romantic > Marriage & Life Partnerships > Infidelity

Wayward Spouse's Guilt


Infidelity In an affair or suspect your significant other? Share your experiences and concerns here.

 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 2nd November 2011, 2:11 PM   #1
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Wayward Spouse's Guilt

Hello,
Please let me say first that I am not sure that I am posting in the right place. If I am not, I sincerely apologize. If I cause anyone any distress, I will close my account. My last experience at this was not a good one.

How should I start? My husband and I have been married for eight years. At the time that this happened, we were going through some tough financial times and it was a strain on our marriage. I was also having some self esteem issues, that have for the most part, been dealt with, more on that later.

My wonderful husband, in effort to keep us financially afloat, took a job in another state for 6 months. During that time, an old colleague contacted me, I know you'll see this coming, through Facebook. It all seems so stupid and cliche now, but an emotional affair ensued. I think my husband suspected something was going on, and came home from the project early. I confessed to the affair right away. I went NC with the man, and I no longer have a Facebook account. I am transparent in every way possible.

My husband and I went to marriage counseling, including a marriage building retreat. I have gone to counseling individually, and I have worked through issues that led me to the affair.

Everything seems okay, and you're wondering why I am writing this. I am writing this because I am still overwhelmed by guilt and shame at the pain I brought upon my husband, who did nothing but try to support us. At the time, I felt somewhat abandoned, and used that as an excuse. I now make no excuses for the affair, and it is something that I will never ever do again.

My counselor helped me work through why I did what I did, but wasn't helpful in helping me resolve my residual guilt. I posted my story on a different forum, and was basically told that I was worthless, that the marriage was a sham and that I should just leave him. I have to admit that I now feel like I am not worthy of my husband, even though I do things to make myself worthy. Sometimes I feel like he should just leave me and find someone else. When I discuss this with him, it hurts him deeply. He has forgiven me, and he doesn't understand why I can not forgive myself.

The person I was having the affair is not the person I wanted to be, so I worked to change that. I don't want to be this person either, consumed by shame and guilt.

I don't know how to change that.

Please help.
VivienViolet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 3:04 PM   #2
Unconfirmed Account
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 458
I am a BS and can't say I know how to help. But I do frequent another site, Survivinginfidelity.com that has a "Wayward Side" forum. It's probably the safest place for you to post and seek help. I go there because I am inspired by the stories of truely remorseful wayward spouses. I helps me empathize with my fWW. I don't know if it will help you but I think you would find friends there.

Good luck to you. For what it's worth, especially if your husband has forgiven you, I think you should focus more on your consistent actions towards your husband (rather than your guilt - which is ultimately about yourself). Pride in yourself and your decisions will eventually return as a result. My two cents anyway.
Kidd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 3:04 PM   #3
Owl
Established Member
 
Owl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 12,068
Keep putting the effort into rebuilding your marriage, making amends to your H, and doing all that you can to repair the damage done.

You'll find that the pain/guilt will fade over time, as you re-invest in your marriage.

There is no quick, easy fix. But...healing can happen with work and time.
__________________
"Do, or do not. There is no try." -Yoda
Owl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 3:11 PM   #4
Established Member
 
anne1707's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,380
As Owl has said. It may also be worth you going through some counselling on your own to help you deal with this - a safe environment to deal with these issues without having to put your husband through more.

For your info - I was a WS and felt the guilt you feel because of what I did to my H. However I have worked through that and don't feel overwhelmed by that emotion now. I feel remorse but that is, in its way, a healthy emotion and one I want to hang on to.

Successful reconciliation is possible - but it takes a long time and a lot of hard work
__________________
"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.."

- Richard Dawkins
anne1707 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 3:20 PM   #5
Established Member
 
Snowflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: North of everywhere
Posts: 2,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by VivienViolet View Post

My counselor helped me work through why I did what I did, but wasn't helpful in helping me resolve my residual guilt. I posted my story on a different forum, and was basically told that I was worthless, that the marriage was a sham and that I should just leave him. I have to admit that I now feel like I am not worthy of my husband, even though I do things to make myself worthy. Sometimes I feel like he should just leave me and find someone else. When I discuss this with him, it hurts him deeply. He has forgiven me, and he doesn't understand why I can not forgive myself.
I am so sorry that you were bashed to pieces on that other forum...it's not what you need right now or ever.

How long ago did your EA happen? Please know that it takes 2-5 years for a marriage and the individual spouses to heal and recover under the very best conditions.

I am a BS (in your husband's shoes) so I can't speak to how you forgive yourself for having an affair.

I know my H has worked through his guilt by being the best possible husband, father, friend, employee, person, etc. he can be...in all aspects of his life. Like you, he didn't like the person he had become in the affair either.

It will take time. A lot of it--for both you and your H.
__________________
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato
Snowflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:08 PM   #6
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidd View Post
I am a BS and can't say I know how to help. But I do frequent another site, Survivinginfidelity.com that has a "Wayward Side" forum. It's probably the safest place for you to post and seek help. I go there because I am inspired by the stories of truely remorseful wayward spouses. I helps me empathize with my fWW. I don't know if it will help you but I think you would find friends there.

Good luck to you. For what it's worth, especially if your husband has forgiven you, I think you should focus more on your consistent actions towards your husband (rather than your guilt - which is ultimately about yourself). Pride in yourself and your decisions will eventually return as a result. My two cents anyway.
Thank you, Kidd. I will check it out. I have heard of the site, but was afraid to join because I thought it was for the betrayed only.

This part of you post stuck out to me.
"I think you should focus more on your consistent actions towards your husband (rather than your guilt - which is ultimately about yourself). "

I need to think more about this. After marriage counseling, we went to a marriage retreat. It was really grueling for both of us, but that is another story. At the retreat, my husband told me that he forgave me for the affair. I wasn't, and maybe still have trouble accepting it. The counselor at the retreat said that forgiveness is a gift, given by the hurt person to help them heal and I was to accept it with thanks and without question. It's hard for me to accept the gift because I don't think I deserve the forgiveness yet.

I never really considered what you are saying before. Focusing on my guilt is focusing on me. That's pretty selfish of me.

Thank you for your post.
VivienViolet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:13 PM   #7
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owl View Post
Keep putting the effort into rebuilding your marriage, making amends to your H, and doing all that you can to repair the damage done.

You'll find that the pain/guilt will fade over time, as you re-invest in your marriage.

There is no quick, easy fix. But...healing can happen with work and time.
Thank you Owl. Through counseling, I discovered that I engaged in that behavior because at the time, I needed the external validation. The affair had nothing to do with my husband or the other man. It had to do with me. I should have been getting validation from myself and my marriage and my husband, not from someone outside.

It's funny that you bring up investing in the marriage. I always thought I was invested in the marriage.

I will think more upon this. Thanks again, Owl.
VivienViolet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:18 PM   #8
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anne1707 View Post
As Owl has said. It may also be worth you going through some counselling on your own to help you deal with this - a safe environment to deal with these issues without having to put your husband through more.

For your info - I was a WS and felt the guilt you feel because of what I did to my H. However I have worked through that and don't feel overwhelmed by that emotion now. I feel remorse but that is, in its way, a healthy emotion and one I want to hang on to.

Successful reconciliation is possible - but it takes a long time and a lot of hard work
Thank you, Anne. Another post for me to think about. My counselor always used the words guilt and remorse interchangably. I am not sure I know the difference.

I feel badly for what I did and I know that I will never do it again. But I still feel so badly for hurting my husband.

Would you mind sharing what you feel is the difference between guilt and remorse?
VivienViolet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:26 PM   #9
Established Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflower View Post
I am so sorry that you were bashed to pieces on that other forum...it's not what you need right now or ever.

How long ago did your EA happen? Please know that it takes 2-5 years for a marriage and the individual spouses to heal and recover under the very best conditions.

I am a BS (in your husband's shoes) so I can't speak to how you forgive yourself for having an affair.

I know my H has worked through his guilt by being the best possible husband, father, friend, employee, person, etc. he can be...in all aspects of his life. Like you, he didn't like the person he had become in the affair either.

It will take time. A lot of it--for both you and your H.
Thank you, Snowflower. The affair was two years ago last month. My counselor helped me with some cognitive behavior techniques. It has helped me to turn my thinking around, but I have periods where it is very, very difficult and I feel overwhelmed. This time last year was very difficult, but I figured it was due to internalizing the bashing I got on the other forum since it was this time last year that I posted there.
VivienViolet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:41 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by VivienViolet View Post
Everything seems okay, and you're wondering why I am writing this. I am writing this because I am still overwhelmed by guilt and shame at the pain I brought upon my husband, who did nothing but try to support us. At the time, I felt somewhat abandoned, and used that as an excuse. I now make no excuses for the affair, and it is something that I will never ever do again.

I don't know how to change that.
From a guy's perspective, an emotional affair is not nearly as bad as a physical affair.

I believe he does truly forgive you, and although what you have done is bad... so, so many people do worse.

I think you are free to let yourself off the hook somewhat and begin being the woman you want to be.
Untouchable_Fire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:43 PM   #11
Established Member
 
Snowflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: North of everywhere
Posts: 2,257
Quote:
Originally Posted by VivienViolet View Post
Thank you, Snowflower. The affair was two years ago last month. My counselor helped me with some cognitive behavior techniques. It has helped me to turn my thinking around, but I have periods where it is very, very difficult and I feel overwhelmed. This time last year was very difficult, but I figured it was due to internalizing the bashing I got on the other forum since it was this time last year that I posted there.
Please do not internalize what was said to you on that other forum or anything that is said to you here.

Sometimes people can take things too far in an online environment and forget that there really is a live person at the other end of the keyboard with feelings.

Just curious, did you share what happened or what was said on that other forum with your husband? Maybe not the actual posts but what they said to you? Perhaps sharing it with him will help you put in perspective.

So the affair wasn't recent and you still feel that extreme guilt/remorse. I think there is a difference between the two terms. IMO, guilt is largely internalized...YOU feel bad about what you are doing/have done and are beating yourself up for what you did. But really, guilt is all about what YOU are feeling...not so much what your actions did to someone else. It's just that you know what you did was wrong and YOU feel badly about it.

Remorse is a little different...you feel bad for what you did to someone else...and are making true attempts to right the wrong you did. Remorse requires you to focus on the person you hurt and not so much on you and how lousy you feel about it.

I do think it was inaccurate of your therapist to use the two terms interchangeably because they do not mean the same thing.

See the difference?

Which one (guilt/remorse) is your predominant feeling here? No wrong answers because as humans we feel both and it shows that we have a conscience.

(I know you asked this question from anne, another poster but I really wanted to answer too. I'm sure others here will also weigh in with their thoughts on guilt vs. remorse)
Snowflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 4:45 PM   #12
Established Member
 
Woggle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Santa Monica California
Posts: 25,491
You can't undo it but the fact that you have genuine remorse goes a long way. Trust me when I say that means a lot to a man. Just accept responsibility and work on a better future.
__________________
Hanging out at EJ's.
Woggle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 5:23 PM   #13
Established Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,794
Did the affair ever turn physical?
Bryanp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 5:43 PM   #14
Established Member
 
anne1707's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflower View Post
I know you asked this question from anne, another poster but I really wanted to answer too. I'm sure others here will also weigh in with their thoughts on guilt vs. remorse

I think your answer Snowflower pretty much sums up how I feel abouy guilt vs remorse too. Remorse is in some ways indicative of having learnt from what you initially feel guilty about. You do feel bad for what you did, you still feel guilt but in a way where the focus is on looking forward and making positive change. Living in guilt the way you are at the moment OP means you are overwhelmed with your own emotions and therefore less focussed on others.

Do not feel bad though for feeling guilt - I would worry if you didn't as you went through the reconciliation process. You have to work your way through this looking after your H and your relationship with him. You will in time realise that you are not a horrible person and you actually both can be happy together.
anne1707 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd November 2011, 5:45 PM   #15
Established Member
 
Universe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Miami
Posts: 235
I had an EA that got somewhat physical (no sex, but physical) about 18 months ago. My GF of 12 years and I are still together and to a large extent have gotten past the devastation caused by the affair (though it certainly opened a lot of wounds that we're still addressing). I'd been completely overwhelmed with guilt over what I did. I have a guilty conscience in general. My parents passed on a huge guilt complex to me. I've dealt with it my entire life. Finally, with the affair, I now had something truly worthy of my guilty feelings. And boy did I feel guilty. Nothing makes you hate yourself more. It's absolute misery.
So I had to confront my guilt issues head on to survive the fallout of my affair. It was tremendously difficult to get over. But the thing that helped the most (and is still helping) is this book called Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. I read it daily now and it's completely changed the way I see myself and the world around me.
Quote:
I posted my story on a different forum, and was basically told that I was worthless...
You are not worthless. It's horrible what happened to you on the other forum. Similar things happened to me on forums when I first sought advice about what to do about my affair. So many people on these sites have so much anger while suffering a complete lack of empathy. Your EA does not make you a bad person. It's just something that you did. It was not your intention to hurt anyone. You just made a mistake. You entered into a deception to escape the consequences of something that you felt guilty about. All of this was most likely an expression of your deeper lifelong feelings of worthlessness. There's a part of you that needed to be loved in a certain way, but it never was. So now and again, that part of you lashes out. The only explanation in your mind is that that part of you was not loved the way it needed to be because that part of you is worthless. After all, it must be worthless if no one ever loved it. You decide all of this unconsciously. But the truth is that that part of you is not worthless. It deserves to be loved. So you must learn to love it for yourself. You need to realize that no part of you is worthless; that all parts of you deserve to be loved. And you have to learn to love all parts of yourself before you can expect others to. Otherwise certain parts of yourself that haven't ever been properly loved won't know how to receive the love that other people are sending it.
So you have to identify to parts of yourself that believe they are worthless, and learn to love them. Once they feel the love that they deserve, they will stop lashing out. Your EA was a lashing out. The other man probably showed you a form of love that you and your husband never had. So the part of you that needed to be loved in that way lashed out and created the emotional outburst that resulted in your EA.

Seriously - check out Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. It's AMAZING!
Universe is offline   Reply With Quote
 

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

 

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Question for wayward spouses DestroyerOfWorlds Infidelity 32 11th December 2009 2:24 PM
Wayward Wife?? bigguy Infidelity 30 23rd October 2009 4:57 PM
Wayward Wife.................. walsh Infidelity 15 1st December 2008 3:02 PM
Have your wayward spouse read this american-woman Infidelity 4 18th July 2008 10:09 PM

 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 5:57 AM.

Please note: The suggestions and advice offered on this web site are opinions only and are not to be used in the place of professional psychological counseling or medical advice. If you or someone close to you is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation, contact your local law enforcement agency or emergency number.


Copyright © 1997-2013 LoveShack.org. All Rights Reserved.