I Don’t Regret My Affair And How It Changed Me. What’s Wrong With Me?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who have cheated on their spouse and who realize that they should be overcome with remorse and sorrow. Intellectually, they know that cheating is wrong and that they have done an awful thing. But somehow, they just can’t regret their actions. And they wonder why. So they suspect that something is wrong with them because of this.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I never would have thought that I would cheat on my husband. I am very reserved and I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong. I am extremely dependable and loyal. I did not cheat with a stranger. I cheated with my high school boyfriend. He was my first love. And for many years, he was my everything.  So I do not regret loving him again.  In truth, I never stopped. I know that sounds awful. And I am not sure why I don’t regret it. All I can tell you is that being with the other man woke me up and made me feel alive again for the first time in years. I was a different person when I was with the other man both times. I was a better person. I am adventurous and fun loving when I am in a relationship with him. The other day, my son told me that I was so much more fun lately. He is right. I am bubbling over with happiness. I know that it can not last. The other man is in the military and he has just been assigned thousands of miles away. I won’t uproot my kids. And I know that my husband is a good man with whom I would be better off. So the other man and I know that we will have to end things. I will miss him so much. But I like who I am much better when I am with him. Even though I can’t be with him anymore, I am reminded of who I want to be. My husband doesn’t know about any of this. And I know that I am going to have to tell him. And I know that every one expects me to fall all over myself with regret, sorrow, and remorse. I hope that I am able to fake all of this, because I know it would look bad if I let my true feelings show. But I am not sorry. I can’t be sorry because the relationship between he and I is so precious to me. I am not the type of person who is normally cold and callous. I am sorry that it took this relationship to light and wake me up, but I am not sorry that I had the relationship if that makes sense. Still, I worry that my lack of remorse and sorrow means that there is something wrong with me. Does it?”

Putting It In Perspective: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. But if I were to tell you about my first real love, I would tell you that it ended very badly. It hurt me more than any relationship ever has. It took me a very long time to get over it. And I hurt some good men along the way because I was very damaged by it. At the same time, if you asked me if regretted it, I would tell you that I did not. And if you had told me on the day that I met him how it would end and how painful it would have been, I would have gone forward anyway.  The love was worth the pain.  Because I have very fond memories of that love and it did transform me. However, if my old boyfriend showed up tomorrow and asked me to start all over, I wouldn’t. Because I am married. Because I am not the same person I was many years ago. Because being an adult means that you let go of the past.

Feelings Change When The Ones You Love Are Hurt: I suspect that your feelings may change a bit once your husband finds out. Why? Because right now, there are no consequences for your actions. But when you see the pain on your husband’s face, I think you will feel some sorrow for that. I think you might realize that the price for your awakening was very high.

That doesn’t mean the awakening didn’t happen. And that also doesn’t mean that you can’t be unapologetic and grateful for the awakening and yet very sorry for how it came to be. In other words, you can be glad for the benefits, but very sorry about the cost for the same.

And I don’t think that this is something that has to be or should be faked. It seems that you still hold your husband in very high regard and are invested in your marriage. Both of those things would almost ensure regret that you betrayed and hurt your husband, who you have called a good man.

I suspect that right now, you are riding on the emotions of the affair. But, once it has ended and the other man is thousands of miles away, common sense is going to prevail. Since the relationship can’t continue on, you’re likely going to come down from that high. And when you do, it is going to be easier to face the reality that you betrayed your spouse and likely seriously damaged your marriage. I am not sure how there can’t be regret in that. Even if you are not invested in your marriage, you still hurt someone who is very important to you and the father of your kids.

I am not saying this to make you feel bad or to pour salt in the wounds. I’m just suggesting that I think there may be more remorse than you realize. And, I think that more may be on the horizon. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with you. It’s common to try to justify the journey if the destination was bliss. But this will typically end once the destination is over and reality hits.

Once the truth is out there and it’s time to get back to real life, the healing must begin.  I won’t lie to you.  This may be a hard journey.  But in the end, taking responsibility and fixing the damage is almost always worth it.  Even if you ultimately decide that you don’t want to save your marriage, healing means that you will be healthy and whole for future relationships.  You can read more about my struggles with this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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