I don't know what to do. I cheated on my boyfriend of three years one night many months ago when we were going through a rough patch. We've since gotten very close and very serious, and I feel like marriage might be in our future. I'm haunted daily by my guilt over the situation and feel like I should be honest with him if we are going to be married. I know that if I tell him what I did he will leave me, as trust is a big issue for him. Please don't tell me that I shouldn't be with a guy who would leave me over that, and that I should be honest, because in truth I would probably leave him if I found out that he had cheated on me. I know this is a double standard. I dont know what to do. I think I'm really looking for a way to get rid of my guilt without actually confessing to him... any suggestions?
If you cheated on your boyfriend a few months ago, then you need to be honest and accept the consequences of your behavior. You can explain to him what it meant to you, why you did it, what you've learned, and beg for his forgiveness, but if he dumps you, that's life. That's what happens when you cheat. By telling him, you're showing him that you're the honest and trustworthy person you claim to be, and by concealing this from him, you're just reinforcing how untrustworthy you are.
I know you want there to be an alternative -- a way to rationalize this, absolve yourself of responsibility, and get closure -- but there is no good way to do that short of resorting to some form of self-deception where you pretend concealing this is somehow justified. That's a terrible life to live. Disclose what you need to, accept the consequences, learn your lesson, and move on.
Thanks to Cory and Shelly for letting me know that I misread the post. OOPS! I fucked up (too). Post revised.
As a woman who has been married for 14 years and now facing a divorce, there are a lot worse things than having to talk about this very difficult topic with him BEFORE you get married. If you feel no peace now, it is NOT going to get better. In all likelihood, you will lose him, but it won't all be for naught if you learn something from the experience. Then, when you do marry and something really difficult comes up, you will have the tools to deal with it. If you can't deal with this now, any marriage you enter into is already at risk of not lasting. Be brave. Be courageous. Take your licks. Learn your lessons. Marriage is an unbelievable amount of work when the two of you start on the right page, let alone when there is an elephant in the room. And god-forbid you have kids in the picture and then both of you feel stuck, etc.
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