Ask SAHM is a place where you can ask our staff & community a question safely & anonymously. Please read our disclaimer.

Guilt and nightmares because I cheated on my husband and never told him. Should I tell him. Would it help ?

Many years ago.. Less then 15 I cheated on my husband with a man I worked with. I was lonely and being neglected by him at the time because he was addicted to online games. It started with me wanting attention but escalated when my work friend was flirty in my time of need and I didn't stop it. It is my biggest regret and I hate myself for doing it. My husband is a good man and he didn't even realise he was being neglectful, he was totally addicted. I'm scared even now he might find out and I stress alot about it. We worked thru his neglect once he realised i was acting distant and not being attentive to him, well i think that's all he realised. Since then he's been a great loving husband and a wonderful father. I feel like I owe it to myself and to him to tell the truth but I'm scared how he will react.. Is anyone else living with similar guilt ? Will telling him help my stress and guilt ?


Got an Answer?

Answers (46)

By telling him- I think it's being selfish. You alleviating your pain by giving it to him. My husband cheated once that I knew about. Since he got caught he's been the perfect husband / father everything. It completely saved us (was 10 years ago) I have suspicions the was maybe one of two other times before he got caught, him telling me now via of his guilt would actually just make me angry at him. Via he's hurting me all over again. Just so HE can feel better. HE won't hurt so much over a hurt HE caused.

Please don't tell him.
Try council long- try massage therapy try alternative therapies try hypnosis but deal with it yourself and process your guilt. He doesn't deserve to be further hurt. Good luck xx

I would not tell, you'll be crushing this man - not the man he was 15 years ago. Everything will change. Find some way to forgive yourself, be at peace and let it go.

So here is the answer first hand as I am now going through this. My wife confessed this very same thing to me Not too long ago. The story is exact to a tee. The answer is that you must tell your SO what happened! Most importantly... Everything! No matter how much it pains you or you think it may pain your partner. Some have said on here that it was a long time ago and file it away. Here is how I feel now... I now look at her differently. I see someone that I can't fully trust yet I love her with all of my heart. I can't even imagine not living my life without her but I can really tell you that I would rather know what was wrong and what happened than for her to have to live with trying to deal with this for the rest of her life. It sucks no doubt. I'm angry, upset, hurt but if the love is strong, time can (not will) heal the anger and hurt. Keep in mind that you can always forgive but you can not forget. It is going to take a long time to get over this, but I am willing to fight for my life, wife whatever it takes. If my wife is seeing this somehow whether this is her post or not... I love you and will always love you. I may have questions from time to time but the answers don't change my feelings for you. I ask them so I know how to be a better husband, person.

 I'm so very sorry you're in that situation and I will pray for you both! Unfortunately I find myself in the same situation, only I'm the wife that had the affair. Two actually, but neither one of them were sexual. We kissed and I allowed them to put their hands on me. Both tried to have sex with me but both times I stopped it and I thank God for that every day! I'm not downplaying the affair at all because they were still affairs, but I am thankful I didn't have sex with them. With that said, how did your wife confess her affair to you? I need to confess mine to my husband, but I can't seem to do it. While I'm at work, I am constantly telling myself today is the day, but when we're at home, I can't bring myself to tell him because I'm afraid he won't forgive me and I'm afraid of hurting our kids. I'm trying not to be selfish in my thinking, but I hate that it's going to hurt them so much that I keep trying to suppress the truth. He knows something is bothering me but I can't tell him.
helpful (3) 
 Haha is your wife on on here and this was her??
helpful (4) 
 No I'm not his wife. I was asking because what I wrote is my story and I need to figure out a way to tell my husband. It's easy to judge and laugh at people who make bad decisions like this and I know it is because I used to wonder how people could cheat on their spouses too. But now I find myself in that same situation and never thought I would be here. And if you're not careful, you could find yourself in a similar situation. Please just pray for our families.
helpful (8) 
 I hope you guys make it
helpful (1) 

This situation happened to me but it was my husband telling me of an affair from 10 years ago. I honestly wish he hadn't told me. All it has done has cause me and our children pain. I now doubt every single thing that has happened over the last 10 years and wonder if its all been a lie.
Don't tell him.

If it were my husband, I would NOT want to know about a one off 15 years ago... it would kill me. An affair I would, if he was still doing it I would, If he didn't learn his lesson and change I would but this... no. It's okay for you to forgive yourself.

 Time shouldn't mean anything... you are all making the decision for him which is so unfair! What if.... she'd gotten pregnant and the child wasn't his... does he deserve to know that one?? Or because it's been 15 years well just sweep it under the rug. A marriage based around this one lie... you may think you are protecting him but it's not up to you to decide how he feels or how he reacts... the truth will set you free. If my husband had kept this secret for 15 years hell yes I'd want to know.
helpful (6) 
 I wouldn't want to know either
helpful (15) 
 Absolutely, don't tell!
helpful (9) 
 What will your husband gain from knowing? That you've lied to him seemingly happily for these 15 years? You'll send him into a spin wondering what else you've lied about for all this time. It's not fair to tell now, live and let be.
helpful (7) 
 Every relationship is built on trust, honesty, respect. How could you not tell him ................
helpful (7) 
 If she can lie about something soooo important than im sure she has lied abour many things. Leppards do not change their spots. Once a liar always a lair.
helpful (3) 

I'm going against the grain here, but if it was me who was cheated on, I would want to know. I don't care how long ago it was. The lack of commitment and trust in the whole relationship from that point has changed. If you told him straight after you cheated, what would've happened? Why can't that happen now? You've had time to think and process it in your way, he deserves to know and process it in his way. It shouldn't just be your choice.

My husband cheated on me. I found out though he didn't come clean on his own.
I wish I didn't know. It has caused so much pain, but I feel more of it is mine to bear now than his. Deal with the shitty thing you have done. Live with your guilt, don't transfer it on to your husband to make yourself feel better.

 Exactly the same story for me... my hubby cheated and acted so sorry and like the best husband ever... now we’re baxk to where we were with our sh1tty tired with young kids life... and now it’s my hurt and pain to deal with and can’t trust a thing he says or does... and he isn’t living with guilt or sorrow anymore.
Nasty shit

helpful (3) 
 So no; don’t tell him. Live with your guilt and force it to turn you into the best wife you can goddamn be
helpful (6) 

Weird that old posts are being commented on all of a sudden, Wouldn't the OP have told/not told by now? OP I hope everything has turned out okay

You should look up Dan Savage and his take on telling a spouse about an affair. Basicly it's you who did the wrong thing, in your eyes, and you have to learn to live with the guilt instead of releaving your pain onto your husband. Sometimes an affair can save a marriage, is it worth hurting him on the possibility you might feel better about yourself? That logic is selfish and if it was a long time ago and you regret it and wouldn't do it again is it worth the pain? I'm not judging i have had an affair and i would never tell my husband, it's not something i plan on repeating and i live with the pain, not him because he did nothing wrong.

 Sounds like you just dont want to deal with the consequences because it will hurt more than the guilt. Your poor husband now has to live with someone who is not just untrustworthy but would cover it uo to save herself. Hope your proud. He deserves better.
helpful (20) 

Hell no do not tell him! You think the way your feeling now is bad wait until you tell it will be worse and you'll no doubt be a single mum! It was a mistake and you've learned your lesson so give yourself a break!

 She won't "no doubt" be a single mum!! What a stupid thing to say. MAYBE he will forgive her and they can move forward from it and grow together? Nothing good can come from keeping this secret... it is so unfair on him.
helpful (1) 
helpful (2) 

I think don't tell him, learn to live with your guilt. It was almost 15 years agos and all telling him will do is make the last 15 years feel like a lie and you will only be hurting him more after you fixed everything. Why feel guilty now?
My advice leave that skeleton in the closet

If you feel like you want to be honest, be honest. If you do tell him, it will hurt both of you, there is no avoiding that. One of two things could happen. He'll break up with you or he will work through it with you. That's the risk you will have to take.
But here are a few things you might like to add if you do tell him: at the time this happened, you were both in a terrible place, he had an addiction and was not participating in the relationship; 15 years ago you were different people; you've since grown and changed as we all do in life; also, this was a one off; you did it because you were feeling neglected in your own relationship. This is definitely not an excuse, but the reason you did it. You need to tell him that it never happened again and won't. Then you will need to apologise and say you understand that by telling him it could mean the end of your relationship. However, if he wants to you'd like to work through it together. Those are just my thoughts on the subject. Good luck x

If my partner cheated, I would want to know, regardless of how long ago it was.
It would be MY choice to make if I want to stay in the relationship and work on it not yours. You shouldn't get to say oh I feel guilty and don't want him to leave me, you made that an option when you cheated, so suck it up and deal with the consequences.

 Do tell your partner every bad thought you have about him. Be specific. Also be specific about all sexual thoughts you have ever had about other people. By not telling your partner about them, you are assuming he would still want to be with you and effectively making the choice for him/her. Let your partner decide for him or herself how important he thinks those thoughts are and how he wants to react. He/she doent even know the real you until full disclosure has taken place. Let your partner make a fully imformed decision!
helpful (0) 

I would want to know. Know so I can leave. So I could find someone who wouldn't lie. For the porn addiction lady. I'm sorry it has become this for you. Put your foot down before its too late. Tell him u will take n axe to his car if he doesn't stop. Thats what I said nd I fu****g mean it. Tell him its you and the car or his porn. Axe to laptop works too.

 Omg im porn addict lady. I wish I took your advice. 3 years on and I’m stuck in an affair..
helpful (0) 

In the end the choice is yours whether you choose to tell him or not. Yes he's going to be angry, and frankly I don't blame him. If it were me I'd tell him. I'd rather he knew the truth and got angry at me then to keep a secret like that. It's not about you bringing up anger or hurt for him or you feeling guilty, it's about being honest and truthful and respecting each other. I'd be bloody losses off of my husband ever kept a secret like that for me and I'd feel like fool for not knowing. My husband and I have always said even if we know the truth would hurt the other we'd rather be honest to start with then to keep a secret and it come out later in life cause the consequences would be a lot worse.. Do you think he may have had a sneaky suspicion that you cheated anyway?
Everyone is different in how they will react. You know him better then anyone and you decide on what you think is right.