Sexuality & Relationships Expert Forum
I cheated on my wife
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding relationship issues such as: Abstinence, Arousal Problems, Birth Control, Cohabitation, Commitment, Communication, Couples Counseling, Desire /Lack of Desire, Sexual Technique.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

I cheated on my wife

I'm so distraught. A month ago I was away for work and cheated on my wife. Black-out drunk, I woke up and was with a stranger. We did not have sex but that's only because I couldn't. I barely remember fumbling with a condom. I immediately entered an alcohol moderation program and it is going well. I'm a drinker but black-outs are rare. If moderation doesn't work I will begin an abstinence program immediately.  I would do anything to keep my wife. My relationship with her is exceptional. But, if I tell her she would leave me and my life would be over. Hers is a very cut and dry way of looking at life.  It's one of the reasons I love her so much. I have never cheated on her before though I've been in a few situations where the possiblity has arisen. It just wasn't an option, even when alchol was involved. I have been under an inordinate amount of stress. My job changed, we had a baby and we moved across country. Not an excuse, but relevant.

I am a good person and, until now, have never done anything that I regret, especially to my dear wife. I'm worried that my worry over this has forever damaged me spiritually and/or at least, will give me an ulcer. I'm going to get into therapy to deal with my guilt and any underlying problems I may have. Perhaps this can eventually be a good thing? There is now no doubt in my mind how important my wife is to me and I now realize how easy it is to screw things up.  Believe me:  i will NEVER do this again. That much I have learned.  I guess I don't have a question.  Thank you for giving me this forum to purge a little.
Related Discussions
242520_tn?1211304279

  First of all, forgive yourself. YOu made a bad mistake and it could cost you something very precious. But you know it was a mistake and you know what to do about it. Never do it again--and get alcohol counseling. I hope by now you have stopped drinking- but if you have not , go get counseling from a professional in alcohol abuse and get on a program. Most people who have black outs are in a situation where complete abstinence is warranted-- but get a professional assessment--and follow it.

   Beating yourself is not a useful approach any more. You feel guilt and contempt at your own actions- fair enough- but you don't want to depress yourself so much that you drink in response. Instead, get positive. See whatever issues made you self medicate with alcohol and , in this case, sex- and figure out how to resolve them. The drinking and sex are just a symptom- you have to get at the root of your problems. This is not just a situation where you say "never again"- that will be an empty and insufficent response unless you find out where your unhappiness is coming from and find out a way to fix the things that make you feel anxious and/or desperate.

   My own feeling is don't tell your wife. I know it will be a burden to you to keep this to yourself- but given what you have said- the cost would be too great. If you have a great relationship- preserve that and your punishment is to keep your betrayal to yourself. Sure, it would feel like a relief to tell her but all that you would do is make her unhappy and perhaps break up a perfectly good relationship. What's the constructive outcome there?
  
    Instead, fix your problems, atone in your own way, perhaps through your therapy and maybe even by giving more thought and time to your marriage and family. Be a better husband and father and clean up your act. Just because you have strayed once doesn't mean it has to ever happen again.  But you are in charge of your life and if you want your home and family to continue, you will have to get the therapy you need to protect the people you cherish. See this as a huge wake up call, and change your life.
30 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
"If moderation doesn't work I will begin an abstinence program immediately. I would do anything to keep my wife"

read this again. if moderation doesnt work dont you think that you may fall into this situation again? is being with your wife as important as drinking? you probably should check out an AA meeting and see what it has to offer for you if cutting it out for good doesnt seem logical. it sounds like you have a heavy load on you that needs to be resolved. therapy is a great place to start. good luck
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Therapy is a great place to start.  I encourage it 100%.  I'm somehow wondering if you may need to confess one day in order to make your spirit whole again.  Maybe not, but the suspician did arise when reading your comment.  Good luck, and maybe you shouldn't test the drinking waters unless your wife is with you.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
"is being with your wife as important as drinking?"
God no. I would quit breathing if it were hurting our relationship. I've never tried to moderate before and I'm finding it very easy. My life has changed (the baby) and my drinking habits must change as well. I am not against going to an AA meeting and may even try it out. The problem is I am something of a public figure so it makes me nervous. I may start with an online meeting if they exist. I agree 100% with your comment, however.  How do you know if moderation isn't working?  That's a question for my moderation forum perhaps.

And yes, telling my wife may be inevitable.  If I determine it is the only thing that will repair my soul then it is the only option. I dread that day. I KNOW that if I am honest with myself and work on this in therapy the right course will show itself.  

Thank you for your insightful and even handed comments.  I feel...better? Hard to tell...
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
you know bill AA believes in telling everything - that will not hurt someone. so they believe that maybe this isnt something you have to tell. im not saying its good or bad, just what i know from a close fam. member that goes. there are dr's lawyers and public officials at these meetings. the cool thing is you go, and if it isnt for you, stop. just a thought.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Well then, I believe what AA believes. I'll look into it.  I have to consider how much this will hurt my wife as compared to how much it will help me or our relationship. I can't tell her if it would hurt more than help or if it were merely to relieve my conscience.   Does that make sense?  My atonement may be to find a way to live with this crushing guilt, knowing that the problem is being/will be solved and will never repeat itself, without allowing myself the "relief" of telling her.
Another problem:  I mentioned I was a public figure.  There is a slight chance, I guess, that "the woman" or her friends would spill the beans. I don't know if I can live with that but again, it would be selfish to tell her for that reason alone.  Lots to think about.  How do I find a therapist?  How do I tell my wife I'm going tinto therapy?
Thanks again.  You've been very kind and understanding.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I think that you should admit yourself into a program, or find a counselor.  Counselors are protected by doctor/patient privilege, unless you've committed a crime.  Get clean, and the rest will work itself out.  It won't be easy, but if you prove to your wife that you can climb out of the alcoholism, then you may find that she will be able to handle the rest of the truth.

Take it one step at a time.

You're not by any chance a Pastor, are you?  I have no idea who you are, but I just had to ask.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I don't think I am an alcoholic. Sure, that's the first sign right?  I believe you can have problems with drinking without being an alcoholic.  However, my journey may prove me wrong. One step at a time.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
And, no i am not a pastor.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
im sorry i didnt mean to incinuate you were an acl. your writing suggested a problem and i offered that. no you may just need to get your life in order, the alcohol just seemed to be the catalyst to your cheating.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Oh no!  Sailor's wife, I was commenting on glad2beamom comments about alcoholism, not yours.  I do need to get my life in order.  Iguess I'll find out what that means in therapy. Thanks.
Blank
138725_tn?1278063590
I think I am very much like your wife.  I have told my husband that if he ever cheats on me there is no conversation. I leave.

Now, my first question to you is, did you have sex? If the answer is no then don't tell her. And make sure you told no one else either.  If you have and through some grapevine she finds out then the **** will hit the fan.  If you have told someone, then you may need to tell her.  Unfortunately there are no safe secrets.  At my husbands bachelors he got really drunk and hit on this women. The only reason nothing happened is because she said no. The only reason I married him is because she said no.

I will never be able to trust my husband the way I should. If he wants to go out drinking I decide if the company he is going to keep I can trust him with.  If not, then the answer is no.

I trusted him like no other before this happened, which is why I say, if there is no way she will find out then don't tell her.  Forget about it, learn from it and move on.  My one question to my husband was "where was I in your head when all you were thinking about was sleeping with another women.  Did alcohol make me not exist?  It will destroy some little part of what you have even if she stays with you.

If you did sleep with this women then your wife needs to know.  I would want to know. But you need to decide, because if you did, and you told me, I would leave you.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you. I did not sleep with her and you provide a perspective that is invaluable.  But why is it any different?  The intention was there, it just didn't happen.  We had oral sex, i think. I haven't told a soul and only plan on telling a therapist when I find one that deals with this and alcohol related issues.  I mentioned above, however, that I am a public figure and if my status gains prominence either her or her friends could spread a "rumor".  Easily disputed? Maybe.  Do I want to lie if that happens? Perhaps.  I kind of doubt it will surface though.  This happens every day in my business and usually only serial cheaters get caught.  I hate plotting though.  And I'm not a liar.  I believe that there is justice built into the universe and that if I am truly repentant and really change, grow and learn, then I will not be punished
And then I can begin the process of forgetting.
Thanks again.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Sorry if I insulted you with the "alcoholism" comment.  In my opinion, its pretty cut and dried.  If it happens frequently, and you lost control of your "self-control" and don't even remember exactly what happened, then to me that's an alcoholic.  Not a one time event, mind you, but if it seems to be a recurring problem.  I am by no means judging you, I just wanted to clarify that it really is all semantics.
You admit that you have a problem, and you are looking for solutions.  To me, that is what matters!
I *sort of* agree with the above poster about if you didn't have sex, don't tell.  I think that if you get out of the alcohol issue, and your mind clears...and you have a little distance from this whole experience, you will be more certain as to whether or not you should tell her.  I do see a difference in "wanting to" and "not doing it".  Honestly, there are times for all of us (if we're being truthful) that a thought is there...but we just don't act on it.  
I wish you all the best, and I hope that you find a counselor soon.  They will be able to point you in the right direction with your wife.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
As much as I want to sound compassionate to your feelings, I think you should tell your wife about what happened, because after all, she is your wife and she deservew to know. One thing I can never tolerate is one spouse cheating on the other. There is never an excuse for it. However, you don't specify exactly what happened. If there was no sex, was there oral sex, or kissing? How did you cheat on her (not that winding up in bed with a complete stranger isn't cheating). Sorry if I sound to judgmental, but I feel compassionate about this topic. I hope the best for you and your wife.
Blank
143952_tn?1237868141
this is a pretty personal decision to make, as to whether or not confide in your wife.  i'm a big believer in honesty; however, i'm not a big fan of burdening another just to relieve one's guilt.  it sounds like nothing happened, so maybe this is something you can deal with on your own, without hurting your wife.  good luck.
Blank
138725_tn?1278063590
How would you feel if your wife had some strager perform oral sex on her? Would you leave her? Maybe not, but how would you feel about her from then on?  It's a difficult one.  Unfortunately I am not so forgiving in these situations, as your wife is not.  My feeling is - you knew the risk and still let it happen. I can't mean that much to you if the risk was worth it.  If I stayed with you, which i probably would do in the end (considering that you have a great relationship up to now) the relationship would not be that great, and you would have to live with the consequences of your actions which is that i don't trust you and will question everything you do, and every call that comes through on your phone, and that MUST be okay with you, you have no choice, it
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I find you to be extremely intelligent, compassionate, and I love reading your posts.
I agree with everything you said, about the relationship...everything.
However, I have to disagree with the alcohol being no "excuse".  
My dad was an alcoholic his entire life.  Granted, it was choices that he made that got him to the point of being a substance abuser.  And, I look at alcohol abuse the same as I look at any drug abuse.  USE of something is very different than abuse of something.
So, most of my life, my dad was a man that I did not recognize.  He made choices out of his addiction, made decisions out of his addiction, and I spent most of my childhood and early adulthood very very angry at him, because of the choices he made.
But, 17 months ago, after an attempted suicide, my dad, the CEO of a company, very successful, upper-middle class dad...tried to kill himself.  I put his butt in a detox facility, and they kept him against his wishes b/c of the suicide attempt.  He went from there to rehab...lost his job...He has been clean for 17 months, attends daily AA meetings, sees a counselor once a week, and regrets every decision that he made while being a user.  However, he has regained his family, because finally, I can allow my children to see their granddad, because he is safe now!  So, although to me, it is not an excuse, because he made the choice himself, any substance does cloud, even blind your judgment.  I sincerely don't think this poster would have even been in the position w/ the other woman if he hadn't been drinking.

So, I guess in a way, I'm not disagreeing...I just wanted to clarify what life is like for someone addicted to a substance.  Their choices aren't the choices they would normally make.  

Does that make any sense at all?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
You say you dont think you are alcoholic but you DID black out. Black outs are a sign of alcoholism.If you find you can not stop drinking without help, get some help.

In my view you should think really hard about telling her this. Whatever the reason, you did not actually go through with it even though as you say, the intention was there. Yes, it was, the intention and a whole lot of alcohol too but you DIDNT do it!.
I think it might be better for her and your whole little family to really learn from this that you should stop drinking! then show her through your actions how much you care and how true you are. You dont want to lay this on her just to unburden yourself. Your burden can become your strength.Your guilt can become fuel for you to behave better in the future.
See if you cant get some counselling before you tell her if you decide to tell her about this.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Bill- this just isn't that hard to answer.  Telling her has absolutely no purpose other than to make you feel better about what you did. In my opinion, that would be a very selfish thing to do.

Should your wife have to live with the inadequate feelings she'll have about herself if you tell her? No way.

Should you get some outside help for the alcohol? Absolutely. Should you involve her in that process. Definitely. You'll need all the help you can get on that front.

Will your guilt eat you alive? You know what, probably. You deserve to live with that though. Not your wife.

I too am a wife who would 100% leave her husband if I found out about something like this. Me- i'd prefer not to know. Honestly.

The only reason you should tell her is if you think you put yourself in this situation because you're not happy with your life and want to change it. i.e. you want her to leave you so you don't have to leave her.

Otherwise, if you're committed to your marriage, love your wife and family as much as you profess to, and are happy with the status quo, zip your lip and live with it.

And on the public figure part- Bill Clinton pretty much got away with having an intern blow him in the White House. It might be embarrassing if it came out, but would not the end of your career, whatever that may be.

Just my two cents. :)
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
So what does he tell his wife if she finds out?  Then she will have to deal with the fact that he was unfaithful AND the fact that he kept it from her which is considered a lie.  She will have two issues to deal with instead of one.  I am not taking sides on this because I have been in this type of situation.  I am just trying to play the devils advocate.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
yes, what drives me insane is that people suggest NOT to tell the wife. uhhhh...isnt that part of the "process"???? if yo ARE SORRY AND if you are looking for forgiveness??? that's part of it all? it is NOT selfish to tell and is quite the contrary telling her. you have to be FAIR. SHE has to decide. is this something i can forgive him for? is this something i can/cannot live with? it is ONLY fair she has a choice to make. DO NOT make  that choice for her. i would want to know (even though it would kill me emotionally and i would want to go/leave) but at least i could make my own conscious decision as opposed to looking like a TOTAL idiot in front of you day after day over our morning coffee. i could puke. tell her..................
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I too think you should be honest with your wife, about everything - from the black out moment to you seeking therapy. She will have trust issues for sure, but if you are honest with her (and don't give her the "she didn't matter" or "I didn't know what I was doing", be prepared for a slap!) it all should work out. Oral sex is still sex IMO, doesn't matter who did what, it still happened. You should not have to live with skeletons in your closet for the rest of your life, because they do come out eventually. I wish you luck and love, and glad to hear you are bettering yourself.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
The reality is that you had oral sex with a person other than your wife during your marriage, and you attempted to have intercourse with the person but failed due to your alcohol consumption that evening. Your wife deserves the right to choose whether she wants to be with you or not. The reality is that a lot of STDs are passed via oral sex as opposed to merely intercourse (additionally, the fact that you "tried" to have intercourse indicates that there was touching of the genitals, which also allows STDs to pass from one party to the other. Your wife has the right to know about your relations and to get tested to protect herself and your child. If you genuinely care for her, you will humble yourself, tell her, apologize, and beg for her forgiveness. The longer you wait, the worse she will take it. It is your duty as a husband to be upfront and honest, not to delay telling her what you did because you don't want to hurt her, because you don't want to admit it, or because of any other reason. Cheating rarely happens once (yes, I know I will likely get attacked for this statement). I have seen it around me way too often ... most of my friends who have struggled with this ALWAYS struggle with it (even if alcohol was the initial reason they gave in). Therefore, I firmly believe your wife should have the choice to choose to stay with you or choose to leave you. It is your duty to truthfully explain what happened. I wish you the best, and I truly hope that you will choose to be honest like your wife deserves. Men contract diseases like HPV and get no symptoms for these (unless it is the strand with warts), yet women can get cervical cancer from the same (this happened to me). If you genuinely care about your wife, you will allow her to get tested and take the necessary precautions for the time being. Have you already slept with your wife since the incident?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A quote from our own Dr. HHH (over on the STD/HIV forum):

"In general, the risk is very low of acquiring an STD of the mouth or throat through oral sex. Herpes, HPV, and syphilis are possibilities, but oral infection with any of these is very rare; once in a long while a busy STD clinic may see such a case. Gonorrhea may sometimes occur, but gonorrhea of the mouth and throat is rare, even in persons who have performed oral sex on a woman known to have gonorrhea. Chlamydia is not an issue; it rarely infects the mouth or throat, and if there is a risk of HIV, it is extremely low."

Granted, Dr. H is always cautious to say never, and he always allows for the possibilities, but I think you'll find that risk of STD transmission via oral sex is very low.  Rare, and very rare are the words that he used, and he is one of the foremost scholars on STD's.

Just wanted to *correct* the insinuation that your wife needs to run to the clinic for a test before you have sex.

Now, the psychological aspects of this situation are separate from the physical.

I just wanted to clarify that one little thing.  Thanks!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I stand by my statement ... whether the risk is low or not, it is there. This happened to a friend of mine who contracted a disease from her husband's "outing" and I stand firm that your wife has the right to know and to be informed so she can decide whether she wants to stay in this marriage and what, if any, testing she wants to have done.

Most women stay with a man when this happens only once, but it is for her and only her to decide ... once informed. We now have the ability to sue doctors if they don't explain ABSOLUTELY everything about any potential disease that we may have, but that same duty of care isn't owed to the spouse that we vowed to love and cherish forever before friends, family, and God? If it was my husband, I would want to know so that I could make an INFORMED decision regarding what was best for my child and I.

Again, the fact that there is even a minimal risk is sufficient for me to believe that your wife should be notified of what happened and get tested. You tried to have sex, which makes it sound as though your genitals touched, thus increasing the risk of disease transmission. Please allow your wife to make an informed decision; don't deprive her of this as well. If my friend's husband would have been honest, she would have had him get tested prior to having intercourse instead of contracting a disease from her husband, whom she thought had been faithful when she was intimate with him after his affair (even if no actual intercourse took place).
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
you need to be honest with your wife, tell her the truth, and get both of your butts into counsling, especially yourself.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Having lustful thoughts and actions toward another person while engaged in a relationship, even oral sex - that's why there's that word SEX in the title, is cheating.  I would leave my husband in a heartbeat.  You need to be up front and its up to her to decide whether or not to stay married to you.  If you had one less drink that night, and were able to get it up - you would have had intercourse. having sex that night was the only thing on your mind.  You really need to seek couples therapy if you want to continue being married to your wife.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

What you are going through sounds so much like what happened to my hubby. Sigh.. Work stressed, new baby stress, drinking to ease stress, overseas work trip and winds up in bed with another woman. It this getting to be a common theme these days or what??
sigh.. The thing is my hubby had extramarital sex, AND he tok pictures and video of the act, he thought he deleted them after he came back, but instead accidently saved them in our pc. Imagine my shock and surprise when I found 100 over pics and videos and emails buried in a forgotten part of my hard disk when I was searching for a file. that was last year, And i'm still with him coz I love him and want us to make this work for us and our child. It was and still is very hard though.. I thought I'ed lose my mind for the 1st few months.. Do you have children? I pulled my self from suicide for the sake of our son. I'm glad I did now. There's still hope for us i think.

I do hope you get to come clean with your wife eventually. But its your decision to make. If u decide to, I suggest that you do it with a counsellor present to help mediate. Truth is, hubby would never have told me if i didn't find out. He said he would have never told me by himself. My pastor/counsellor has advised him that is wrong. Actually the fact I found out on my own has made the whole recovery process worse. Because he wantd to keep it hidden from me showed that he didnt trust me enough to be HONEST about it. and that really made me MAD. And up till now, I have problems trusting whatever he says or does. I have to struggle to trust God more than him. I have no choice. I hope your wife appreciates your honesty and repentance to give you another chance. Its better to let her know yourself than if she finds out by herself or from others. Then you must have the peace to let her decide for herself what she wants to do. Try to get support from good friends or a counsellor before your come clean though. You'll need it...

All the best! I really empathize with you..
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
oh yes, like lawgirl suggested, for both your sakes, please get a STD/VD/HIV etc test done soonest. Better to be safe than sorry later. Hubby told me he got tested himself after he did it and before we resumed sex. In fact now I know why he was abstinent for 3 months after it happened. and silly me believed him when he said he was just TIRED from work. see... lies upon lies, makes it all the harder to recover when the other party finds out the devasting news on her own. Don't worry there's still hope for us ( read my story above), we're still together and still fighting and loving like mad..  ;)
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank