Coping with the shame and guilt of adultery.

by Danielle
(FL)

I cheated on my husband some years back and I am still ashamed and feel so guilty about my actions. I keep thinking, "How could I do that?" and "What was I thinking?" My husband and I have had so many problems because of what I did.

Thankfully, we are now back to where we began when we first started dating. We are in a healthier relationship now, and our life together is so great.

However, underneath the surface of my happiness is something I can not run from: my shame and guilt. It's not only the nagging thoughts about my past actions.

One of the things that continue to bug me is watching a movie that has references to or has adultery in it, by myself or with my husband. I feel so uncomfortable, shameful, and very guilty. I can't possibly know every scene in every movie before I watch it, so there's really now way of knowing if a movie will have a scene or two in it with adultery. It's always in my face or on my mind. I dislike myself for what I did.

It has been a good while since my actions. Shouldn't I have already forgiven myself? We really can't afford a counselor or psychologist. Either way, I have faith that I can one day successfully heal myself. The problem is I don't know how and what steps to take. What are some ways I can cope with what I did to him, my family, and even myself?

Comments for Coping with the shame and guilt of adultery.

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despair
by: Anonymous

W hen i made that fatal mistake .. one that I cannot forgive and plagues me .. my love died suddenly... I loved him deeply ... it was fear and weakness that allowed me to do this .. I cant fix it .. and want to die, and I blame myself for his death for not being there where I should have been ... did not want to but it happened with a friend who pleaded for some contact ... and I was foolish enough to be manipulated .. 4 yrs now and wake every morning in dread ... killing myself slowly ... should have been with him .. I don't think he would have lived had I been ... fatal heart attack ... but I cant forgive myself and wish I was dead.

people change
by: Anonymous

People can change. If someone stole something when they were 20 should they still feel guilty and ashamed 20 years later? Or should they say that they are now a different person, with different values, and go forward as that new positive person?

I speak as someone who disagrees with affairs and whose husband has suffered from a previous wife's infidelity: you are a different person now - move forward and enjoy the life with your husband.

The fact that you're beating yourself up so much shows you're basically a good decent person. Accept you did something wrong, you've apologised, have done your best to put things right - now it's time to move forward.

Analyse why you had an affair then forgive yourself
by: Anonymous

As an outsider who disapproves strongly of cheating, I would still say to you to forgive yourself. Maybe this might mean to look at why you cheated.

It is possible that you cheated because something was missing in your relationship at that time - eg was your husband emotionally supportive of you, did he go out socially with you, did he make you feel desirable etc etc. That is not to say that he was totally to blame but - if he played a part in your need for an affair - then changing that aspect of your relationship could make you both realise that it wouldn't happen again.

If you cheated because of some unresolved problem within yourself, again analyse what it was and take steps to correct it. Again, you would then be taking positive steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Also, isn't everyone allowed to make mistakes, learn from them and grow/change? Has anyone led an absolutely perfect, blame free life?

good
by: Anonymous

After being on the receiving end of adultery, the real physical pain I felt and the act of betrayal was almost unbearable. Watching my young children having their world destroyed etc etc.

So don't tell me these 'mistakes' just happen.
My husband worked away and I managing the home thinking I was being supportive of his dream.... and that's what I got in return!

So to all who feel pain, guilt because of their actions, good because it's NOTHING compared to the hurt you inflict on families.

Coping with past
by: Kay

Thank you for contacting Positive Personal Growth. What's past is past. You have to put this problem behind you and not drag it with you into the future.

You admit you made a mistake and have regrets. It is time to forgive yourself. Nothing is gained (other than feelings of shame and guilt) by constantly raking these thoughts up.

When you watch those movies, dwell on how lucky you are that your life is wonderful and how much you have to look forward to.

Your own thoughts are the problem, stop dwelling on past events. You have to forgive yourself, you deserve to be happy, you have worked your way through this mistake, and it is definitely time to accept yourself as a 'whole, changed, happy person' with everything to be thankful for.

Let go of the past, look to the future. Count your blessings, you have many in your life.

Love
Kay
x

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