Regret & Remorse
For those of you who have read all my posts then not much of this will surprise you. Some of you who have joined in in the middle may have missed a few things that may help you understand me.
Brief recap – Just a little less than a year ago I began an affair with someone. My wife and I had been on rocky shores for quite some time and while I do not blame this for my affair it was still a poor relationship. The two of us were not happy. Both of us had fallen out of love, but that is a shitty term, although I did not know it then we really just lost our passion and priority for each other. I know she had been suffering from depression for years and years. Did I understand how much depression can affect someone? Not really or maybe my approaches to save our marriage would have been different. Was I depressed? I don’t know. I was lonely and dying for attention, which is what led me to look for it else where. I did not do this looking for an affair, but just some attention that validated that I was worth something. Then I met the OW, one thing led to another (if you want details read the beginning posts) until I was in a full blown affair. It was just as someone on here described it, euphoria when were together and agony when we were apart. This is what fed the illusion that it was such a great “relationship”. The reality was, that it was just fantasy land and as I began to see her with everyday problems like us, the less and less I wanted to be with her.
I think that sums up things pretty well. So now here is what this post is really about. Regret and Remorse. I think I have mentioned it before, maybe not, but there are things I regret and some that I don’t about what has transpired. There is so much more to what I am writing here but after a number of comments of people thinking I am just looking for pity or validation that I might be somewhat justified in what I did. I am not looking for either of those two things, but comments like those (which I do like by the way because they make me think and dig more into my relationship) sometimes deserve their own posts as a response. I truly love my wife. That has never been the case for me. Mine was the thought that she no longer loved or desired me. Feel free to read earlier posts if you want more information on that topic. Well here goes:
This is hard because with regret you have to decide that what you did was wrong and your fault. Was the affair my fault? Yes, 100% and I have never said otherwise. So do I regret the affair. Yes, I do. Now here is the tricky part, do I regret the relationship I had with the OW. No, I do not completely regret having that relationship. I do regret how that relationship came about, how I handled it, lied to keep it going, and became things I despised in other people. My relationship opened my eyes to a few things and also has made me stronger in some areas. I wish that I could have learned those lessons a different way, but I didn’t. The part I regret is not ending my current relationship before starting a new one. It was cowardly not to. However, in my delusional mind I really thought I was just satisfying a need that would keep me happy in my marriage and relieve the stress between us. It wasn’t until you are in it that you figure out that it doesn’t work that way.
I regret hurting my wife and family. They did not deserve what I have done to them and I regret draggin them through this journey. They did not choose to go down this path but I drug them down it anyways.
I regret hurting the OW. I really do, although the farther and farther away I get from the affair the less and less I think she was as invested as I thought she was. But if I hurt her it was because of my lies and I do regret keeping the full truth from her as well.
I regret ever marrying my wife and putting her through the shit storm she went through with my family. She also did not ask for that but got it anyways. I love her to death, but I have caused her so much pain and suffering just by being around me that I sometimes feel she would have been better off never to have met me.
I regret not being smarter in the right areas. I am very intelligent and therefore I feel very stupid that I never could figure out how to help my wife as she went through her depression for years and years. I tried so many things but none of them were the right ones. I missed looking at it from the appropriate perspective which made my approaches at helping her, not very helpful. I can only imagine where we could be now if I had figured it out.
My last regret, I regret still being here. I really don’t know that my actual existence is worth the amount of hurt I have caused people. My main reasoning that I am still here is: 1. I think my family would believe they won, 2. It would take all my pain, problems, and issues and dump them on someone else (wife, kids) which is not fair to them. They deserve to be happy and not worry about everything else. So I will be here until the end but it will not be from my hand.
This is a little different than regret as some of this may not be a conscious decision but you will be remorseful for it one way or another. I have billions of these but I will try and keep it more relevant to my blog.
I am extremely remorseful for the bond I have destroyed between my wife and myself. It can never be reestablished. While we may build a new bond the original one that we have had for 22 years I destroyed. Every time I see a certain look in her eye or a question that she asks me it will remind me of the bond that I broke, the trust that was lost, and the hurt that she is reliving.
With the last one, I am extremely remorseful for what I have done to my wife in this process. I have destroyed everything that she thought she had and the future she thought she was going to get. Everyday she is a little down, I am reminded of this and I am extremely sorry for what I am putting her through.
I am remorseful for the tension I have made my kids feel throughout this process. They do not know anything other than we are having a few issues and are working towards them, but even them knowing that is so difficult for them. I have taken small parts of their happiness from them whether they know it or not.
I am remorseful that I drug the OW on as I did. I misled her in some instances when I know I should not have. Did she know I was married before we got involved, yes, but I have never given her the full truth and she might not have been so willing of a partner if I had been. I doubt it, but I will never know because I never gave her the opportunity.
I am remorseful that I led my wife through counseling while continuing the affair. This gave her a false hope even though I told both her and the counselors that I was 95% done with the marriage. She clung to that 5% thinking that things were not as bad as they really were. I did not lie in the sessions but I also was not forthcoming on a lot of topics.
I am regretful and remorseful for the first time she confronted me on having the affair because I lied my way through it. I justified it as me not wanting to hurt her any more, when in reality I was guilty and ashamed of what I had done and it was a selfish move on my part. Had I come clean right then I think we would be in a different place right now.
I am remorseful for having to go through the rest of my life never knowing if what we could have had would have been better. I may have sacrificed her “happily ever after” for my “happily right now”.
I am remorseful that no matter how hard I try I cannot just tell her how I feel all the time. She needs that, wants that, expects that, and for some reason I cannot do it. I freeze like a deer in headlights. I want to, I really do but nothing will come out when I try. So I am so sorry that I cannot live up to the simplest expectation she has of me.
I am remorseful that she believes she is stuck with me. That while she chose me and has continued to choose me throughout all of this, I feel like she doesn’t feel like it is an actual choice. She constantly tell me that she is choosing me, but I feel sorry that I put her in a position that she has to reassure me.
I am remorseful that I could not be happy with myself enough to be strong enough to be the man my wife wanted and deserved. I am not like her father, who she idolizes, not her brothers, who she thinks are great people. I am who I am which is very different from them. I know she wanted a 9 to 5 husband and the suburban life, but that is not what we have and I feel that is part of her unhappiness.
I am remorseful that someday’s am not 100% happy and joyful for her. That she sees a broken man that she never saw in 22 years. This last year she has seen someone who is not her husband and every time she looks at me, I feel that she is reminded of that fact. Every time I do something that I used to in a happy go lucky kind of way, it is just a reminder to her of what she lost.
I am remorseful that not only am I not the person I have been for the last 22 years, but I have also killed that young farm girl that I married right out of high school. I ripped all innocence she had right out of her and it will never be back. Her eyes have been open to the world and the scariness of this place.
I could keep going and going but what is the point. Am I remorseful and regretful for what I have done. Do I remind everyone in my posts that I am? Nope, because that is part of the healing process I am not ready to tackle yet. But that does not me I am not sorry for the things I have done. It does not mean that there isn’t a day or minute that goes by that I don’t wish I could take all the hurt I have caused and make it vanish. Does she know I am remorseful? I believe so. Every night as we are going to sleep I always tell her that I love her and that I am truly sorry for all that I have done.
Now this is all affair related. There are a host of relationship issues that are mixed within all of this. Issues that were there long before I began the affair or even did anything other than for my wife. Lately these are some of the things I have been posting about. These are things that have to be handled differently but if they are not dealt with then we are no better off than where we were before the affair. In fact we would just be worse off.
So now what? I don’t know. I am having a shitty day if you cannot tell. My last day is on Sunday and I am saying good bye to a lot of people that I will miss. They are planning a party and a gift and I do not want either, but this is for them so I will go. This is for them to get some closure to know that they knew I knew that they cared and appreciated all I did for them. After all that, who knows…
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. – Dr. Suess
Of Course you love your wife, and we the ones who have been fallowing you since the beginning know this. You don’t have to shout out how remorseful and how you regret the affair, we know this. However this post makes you more human, humble, and it reminds everyone that you are not a villan, just a man who made a mistake.
As for freezing and not telling your wife your feelings, how much she means to you. Why not write her a letter? Or leave her notes around the house, in her car, telling her things you love about her. Write her a poem, anything. Sometimes words are better said on paper.
Remind her, and yourself of the man, boy who is just absent at the moment, but he is still in there. Give him time. Give her, your wife time.
And perhaps write yourself a letter. You the one at this moment write a letter to the man who is missing. Tell him you are sorry, tell him why you need him. Give him all your raw emotions.
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I like the idea of writing your wife a letter.
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Your story is a sad. When I read about the counseling you have done and you said you have held back. This is still lying not being honest by not giving the information is still a lie. You are continuing in delaying her recovery and your own by not being truthful. I do understand very well about how difficult it is to forgive yourself for the things you have done. I too struggle with this everyday. But we both need to realize when the time is right that holding onto the remorse and regrets will only serve to poison us. You have to learn to self forgive so you can be the man that your wife deserves.
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I am being as honest as I can with my counselor and our counselor. The ones I was referring to were the first two who were awful. Not that I really gave then a chance.
I am not intentionally holding anything back from our current one. I just sometimes don’t understand my own thoughts or feelings. So I don’t know how to share those other than with generalities.
But right now I am pretty lost.
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First, a study was done on unhappily married people. In five years the group was interviewed again and, guess what, they were fine.
Second, when life seems overwhelming then treat it like a school test. Tomorrow break the day into 16 components. How was breakfast, did you hug your kids, did you kiss your wife? Ok. Now score it. Was it 100? How about 90? Do the next hour. And the next and the next. All the way until the end of the day. Add your scores up and divide by the components. What did you get? Some days are going to be shitty and some glorious. That’s life. I went to a seminar where the dr. said when life it too much to handle by looking too far ahead then use this technique. Pretty good suggestion.
Don’t buy into your wife’s depression. You didn’t cause it. Could it be postpartum that never got treated?. There is a difference between depression and sadness. You can own the last one.
Also, men define themselves by the work they do. You are leaving a place where you knew what to do. You can change your life by changing jobs.
Last, even if you have no diagnosis you surely write as if you are depressed.
Also, I am no therapist but I don’t buy this 95% stuff. This is your one time on earth. I think you need 100% from her and she from you. Halfway is just halfassed.
I think you have found some friends on here. If Nephila is encouraging then you are headed in the right direction. She hates cheaters(daughter and wife of two) so for her to write the way she did is a first. Btw, I admire her. She pulls no punches.
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Maybe tomorrow write about what you are grateful for.
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You may never see this – it being on such an old post – but… if I were your wife this post would A) worry me because you sound as if it would not take much for you to consider suicide as an option. Despite what you’ve said there can come a time when the only thing that keeps you alive through the night is remembering “I can escape all this whenever I want. I’ll just hold on a little longer”.
B) If I were your wife I’d be so angry. You say you do not regret your relationship with OW and that she “opened your eyes” to things, your regret that you didn’t leave your wife beforehand, I assume so the relationship would not have been diminished by guilt.
Far worse is saying you wish you had never married your wife. I think I understand what you mean but from my female POV it sounds as if you regret the marriage completely including the children with her, the good times etc. If my husband wrote that it would break my heart (and then I’d set my pit bull on him).
Thanks for your perspective. My wife has read all my posts and I think she shared some of your same feelings. I did clarify a lot of it at the time for her.
A) Suicide was constantly on my mind. I don’t think I could ever do it but it was a reoccurring . It still makes it come back now and again.
B) I think it would have been better written to say I don’t regret having my eyes opened and understanding how broken things were. Rather than saying I didn’t regret the relationship, but then again I was only 6 month out of the affair when I wrote this so I may have still been really struggling.
As for never wishing I married my wife, that was only to spare her all the thing I have put her through. I still love her and want her and I feel like she is stuck and just can’t leave because she can’t support herself financially.
Hopefully this makes it a little bit more clear for you.
The good thing about me writing is I dump what is in my head into the screen, the bad news is it is not always the most complete thoughts.
I knew that is what you probably meant regarding comments about your wife and it is obvious you both still have a lot of love for each other. As you can see I don’t sleep much either. It is hard in a relationship with a man who doesn’t like to talk and especially not about feelings like my husband (or you).
I guess I find it hard to understand how you can have any feeling for the OW when she did so many things blatantly meant to hurt your family. As you said every affair is different, but she had a more calculating streak than many it seems.
I hope you and your find your way to a peace and happiness.
I can understand how it can be hard to understand how I might have still had feelings for the OW. I think at the time I still did not believe that she was as manipulative as she was as it would destroy more of the fantasy I believed. As it is an older post, I think I still wanted to believe that the OW wanted me for me, not because I was easy to manipulate.
As it has been some time since the affair, I can honestly say that I still have feelings but they are not rooted in her, but in the fantasy. Any feelings I have for her are extremely negative, which only then feed into my self-hatred.
As for not talking about my feelings, which I agree I don’t like to talk about, but it is mostly from my inability to read my own emotions. I can read everyone else like a book, but I cannot seem to understand what is going on inside myself and then express it. Whenever I do it seems to blow up in my face or is taken completely the wrong way. Or my favorite, it is thrown back at me at a later date. It is easier to just swallow it all.
Since neither my husband nor I was ever religious, I can’t even hazard a guess regarding ‘ahem’ physical relationship, but while I know that affairs are most times not or almost not entirely about sex, but appreciation, feeling wanted, approval, and what keeps them going is usually not love but that fantasy (remember this is a woman who’s never washed your dirty underwear, taken care of you when you have the flu, asked you 2000 times to clean the hair out of the sink after you shave – you get my point) and the excitement of doing something illicit, knowing they could get caught even if that is very minor.
You can get a definite ‘thrill’ and adrenaline rush with your partner by having sex in unusual places, where the possibility of being seen is always there, sometimes inevitable. Might might be quickies, might not undress completely. Fairly remote beaches, particularly at night; on a boat off shore but not too far or in the water – possibility of a shark coming by adds whole other dimension. Roof of public building at night; bathroom at bar; on hike in woods – bring a blanket, small tent or rough it.
(Loud nite cloud, long loose skirt, sitting on your lap. We all might be too old for that and you run risk… For me getting into the moment made fear of allowing myself to be vulnerable with him a moot point. The rush sort of removes vulnerability but builds trust between you. You assume that if discovered you can trust him to be your shield and to ‘handle’ any problems that arise. You’re in it together, partners in crime. As long as he doesn’t handcuff you to a tree or anything or cut and run if someone shines a flashlight. And if someone does see you that’s usually all it is. They’re more embarrassed than you, you and spouse can laugh your way all the way home.
This doesn’t require a lot of money, tons of time. Inventiveness, willingness to step out of comfort zone (which gets smaller as we get older so we really have to work to keep them from strangling us in everything not just sex), a block of time to focus on each other – completely – can’t do this if your mind is elsewhere, and maybe a couple quick shots of something. (My lady friends prefer things like Sex On The Beach. I used to use flaming 151 rum).
Back in the bedroom more vulnerability must be shown so things will be more vanilla, less open. Positions that required less sharing of emotions and showing vulnerability (facing away) are often easier while still not comfortable showing that much intimacy.
I found trust was rebuilt faster – knowing when the hammerhead showed up he got me into the boat first. Little things. Partners. Sharing in something you cane look back on when you’re 80 and laugh you’re asses off about. Again.
Most men I’ve known find enough excitement and newness that the don’t feel the need to go looking for that fix again while rebuilding the deeper intimacy and vulnerability. And the fun and games brings a flirting friendship feel back to daily life.
Final thought – I know it has been the catalyst in mine and many marriages – doing too much for everyone but yourselves. And I mean the stuff we THINK is important – volunteering for committees at kids’ school, in the community, at work for projects or after work like going to all the softball games because you’re the best player and don’t want to let them down, or going out for Friday afternoon dept drinks so you seem like one of the gang. Learn to be selfish. Tell em no unless your wife wants to come and have a couple beers or watch the game. Bail on it when she’s ready to go. When they beg her to work the school carnival all day Sat, she could agree to 2 hrs and mean it. Cupcakes for bake sale. If she’s super busy, just say no. Let them think you’re snobs, rude, whatever. Make sure you’re there for your kids – every time you can – games, plays- but you don’t have to sacrifice your marriage for the approval of people who mean nothing to you.
Men have it tougher when the job demands it. But if it really is important family has to first. My father had a heart attack. My husband excused himself from important meeting on legislation and flew home within hours, even tho there was nothing he could do. When we were at family week with my son at rehab, we were in therapy session where each patient had written very emotional letters to their parents. One man. Mid 30s sat with his mother and kept watching the door. He was a heroin addict. His mother had found him ‘dead’ in his truck, needle in his arm and this was his 5th rehab. He was the last one left. He said his father had given up on him. And then his father rushed in the door. He’d flown in from business in Australia after deciding his son needed him more than the company he owned needed business.
As I said before – it all comes down to who is there to hold your hand when times get bad and when it all goes to hell, who do you trust to still be there to catch your fall.
I agree with everything you wrote. The issue stems from from having two people on the same page wanting to make things more exciting, or working to keep the spark alive (or any spark for that matter). I would gladly do all the things you suggested but it is a little hard to do alone. This then leads to the lack of feelings you mention, appreciation, and feeling wanted. If one partner doesn’t see the value in these activities because they get those feelings in the relationship a different way because of how they are wired then you get one feeling let down constantly.
I agree you have to put yourself and those you love first. We are both getting better at it. I don’t have any contact with my family so my wife and kids are all I have. I work hard to give them everything including my time and love.
I really loved this I’m sure looking back now some things are still true but other things are completely different. Be true to yourself to your wife and to your marriage and I’m sure you will continue to heal.
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