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Dear Stavroula

Dear Stavroula: I Cheated on My Wife and Regret It…

Dear Stavroula,

I am 35 years old and married for five years to a woman I adore. A year ago I was away on business in another state for about two months. One night I went out with a colleague who was working in our department there and we drank too much. One thing led to another and you can understand what happened. When I woke up in the morning I could not believe what I had done. My colleague tried to approach me at work, but I avoided her. A while later, she called me and told me she had feelings for me. I asked her to leave me alone and the truth is that she did. I did not want to see this woman at all. It was a mistake I want to forget. I wondered whether or not to tell my wife – I was always honest with her and that made our relationship so special. But for her, trust and faith are very important, and because of this I decided not to say anything and to punish myself by living with my remorse. But I cannot stand it anymore. Should I talk to her?

Chris

Dear Chris,

You made a mistake and you regret it. You were under the influence of alcohol with a woman who had feelings for you and you did not resist. There was no relationship with this woman (or another), you regretted it, and you are clear that you love your wife. We have, therefore, an isolated case of infidelity and not a recurring situation where things would be completely different.

It is honorable that you want to be honest with the woman you love, but before you decide to talk to her, or not, you have to think about some things.

First of all, think about the character of your wife and the way she will react. You write to me that she loves honesty, but how will she react if she learns that you’ve been unfaithful and then kept it hidden for so long? Will she really forgive you or will it be a thorn in her side that will affect your relationship for a long time? What if it changes her attitude towards you? Maybe she’ll get angry and want to take revenge on you in the same way? You know her character. Surely honesty is valuable in a relationship, but who will it help if your wife learns the truth? Perhaps you, if it mitigates your remorse. But are you ready to cope with a change in her attitude or in your relationship?

It is not easy for a woman who loves her husband to handle the issue of infidelity. It usually changes the way she sees her partner. She feels betrayed, becomes suspicious and tortured by the thought that her husband can do it again. Her dignity and her personality are affected, she feels unsafe, and she is anxious to find what is missing in her that her husband found in the other woman. Even if she rationalizes the situation and persuades herself that it was an act of sexual instinct, she is likely to feel sexually inadequate and that will influence her relationship with both herself and her husband.

There is, of course, the chance she will appreciate her husband’s sincere and remorseful attitude and overcome the problem of infidelity relatively quickly. But this is something that cannot be predicted; it depends on the character of both spouses, the previous behavior of the husband, and how strong and tested the relationship is.

Finally, there are cases when the wife feels threatened by the infidelity and reacts by becoming warmer and reclaims her husband with passion. However, even in these cases, the balance is very delicate and with the slightest problem the issue of infidelity rises up again if it is not effectively resolved.

In case you decide to talk to your wife, you need to prepare for a crisis in your relationship which will not be easily overcome.

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