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Feeling guilt and shame for a mistake I made at 19

I am 27 Years old and married. I have been with my partner for 8 years now.
I carry guilt with me everyday because of a drunk shameful and disgusting mistake I made at 19. I never told my partner about a one night stand I had. Fast forward a year or two and we traveled the world while falling madly in love. We moved to another country and we are so happily married. Our relationship is amazing, we are best friends and do everything together. But I feel so unworthy. I feel like the worst person for something I did all these years ago. I just can't stop dwelling. I feel like it's so unfair for the both of us. I shouldn't be obsessing over something I did as a young adult. I know i learned from this and would never imagine doing something like this EVER. I just want to continue being the best wife I can be without feeling this massive guilt. Sometimes I feel like it be easier to just tell him. But that would ruin all that we built together. He is so happy and so in love just as I am.

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Answers (17)

There is a difference between 19 and 27. It sounds like you have grown up and changed and are now committed 100% to this man, as he is you. Have you cheated since? If not, then why tell him? Not only will it unburden you, it it may also change your relationship, And not for the better. Forgive yourself. We all make stupid mistakes when we are young. Sounds like you have learned from it, so time to leave the past in the past.

 I agree totally with this.
helpful (0) 
 It was a mistake made by a teenager. Tell a therapist, not your husband. Telling your husband might relief your guilt, but it will forever burden him. It will ruin your bond, connection, trust & love for each other. Things will never be the same again. It will create uncertainty, doubt & second guessing intentions, just to name a few. There will be resentment under the surface forever. You've learned from your mistake, learn to forgive yourself. Continue to be the best wife, friend & lover.

(coming from a wife whose husband had an affair 5 years ago, it still affects me & crosses my mind daily)

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 This is to the lady who commented about her husbands affair 5 years ago still affecting her (sorry to hijack the post). Just wondering, was it a 1 night thing or long term, feelings involved affair? Im 3 years on from my husbands affair which was long term and ut is also a daily thing for me and there are daily triggers. Just wondering how you deal with the thoughts and triggers?
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 It was a 5 mth emotional affair, they spoke everyday (mobile) on their journey to work. The texted & sexted with Viber. They meet 4 times for sex. It took him about 2 years to stop stalking her (searching) on FB (he didn't know I was checking), the last time he searched her, that I know about was Jan this year. So even though he was 'trying' with the marriage, I knew he was still hooked for a couple years. I don't really trust or believe him, I don't his intentions etc. He will need to be 'clean' if stalking her & any other chick that takes his fancy for a couple years before my feelings improve.
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 ..... my triggers, the biggest, my name it's the same as hers. She went by the nickname version, I don't, but absolutely hate it when people call me that (but can't really tell them why) & i see it on local number plates, also are seeing "Active Now" in FB / Messenger, anything on the TV from her region / industry (3 hour distance). I do I cope? The first couple of years were an emotional roller coaster & private tears, I just moved thru each day. I still cry sometimes & have 'down' days. These days I push it down & tell myself positive affairmations. I am working on myself, getting physically, mentally & emotionally stronger. I only rely & count on myself. Affairs really fu*k people up, especially when you really loved, cared for, look for the best in your partner .... & they betray you. It's the worst pain in the world. I could handle the death of my parents (also during this time) better than the emotional pain of an affair. I can only move forward the best I can.
helpful (2) 
 Thank you for your respose on my question in this response. My hisband had a 3 year emotional affair with a woman from work. I 'knew' but he always made me out to be awful for thinking that of him. I actually think the way i was treated during that time rather than the actual affair has affected/impacted me more. I seriously thought i was going crazy. When he finally admitted it i felt relief and vindication. I look back now and dont know how the hell i got through those years, i was a mess and so highly stressed, having to leave work early coz id feel the tears come or a panic/anxiety attack come on, it fu***d me up so much. Once i knew and he commited to me not her i did better, still a mess at times but i felt much more in control. What was really difficult is hom still going to work where she was (dfferent departments but still). Hes been 100% commited to me since, goes out of his way to make me ferl loved, safe, secure. Pays attention when i say something is making me insecre
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 Contd .... the triggers are so hard. As you said, number plates, hearing her name said by others on tv etc. We watched the b9g bang theory the other week and it was great until 'her' name kept getting said'. Or when people talk of affairs and so many tv shows and movies involve affairs. Music/singers they listened to. Tjete are some awesome bands i cant listen to any more. Clothes i know he wore/bought with her when i went away. It can be completly out of my head then BAM! Something throws it straight to the front of my thoughts. Big hugs to you, it sadly seems this is all too common xx
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 .... yeah, all the songs, movies & conversations that mention 'names' or the subject - affairs, cheating, trust, betrayal all of that, plus on the other side, talk of soul mates, love, support. It's hard to buy an Anniversary or Valentine's Day card .... most of them contradict what should go on in a relationship
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A friend of mine confessed to a night out with a stranger when she was in Asia. She was drunk and married at the time. Her husband was a doctor and he took the three kids away and they separated and 15 years later it is still a huge mess. The 3 kids are all doctors now and she is treated like a piece of wet shit on their shoes. 1 night, one confession and 15 years later it is a life of misery, heartbreak, pain, humiliation and grandkids coming and that will be ruined as well.
Toughen up and get over it,,,,,,but never, never confess to something that probably lasted 30 minutes 8 years ago

No hon don't tell him. The relief u will feel at telling him will be very short lived compared to the pain it will bring u both. It's ok to forgive yourself and let it go. Don't let it define you or hold onto it any more. Xxx

 I completely agree. This is your pain and it would be unfair to pass this onto him now.
I cheated on my husband 3 months into our relationship and confessed. That was 15 years ago and my husband still talks about how it was the worst thing I have done to him. I would have completely forgotten about it if it wasn’t for him reminding me! Point is he may never get over it but you will.

helpful (3) 

Why on earth would you tell him this??? It was early days and it sounds like you built your relationship afterwards
Leave it. Maybe seek therapy as it may be a different issue, a therapist might have some strategies to deal with this

 I need to learn self forgiveness. I'm just having such a hard time. I feel like I've let us both down so the pain weighs so heavy.
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 Therapy!!!
helpful (1) 

Only a self centered selfish bitch would intentionally hurt someone she says she loves just so she can make her self feel better. Don't tell him. He gains nothing but pain and will lose all trust in you. You will lose the relationship you have now. It will never be the same. Suck it up and move on with your life.

 I don't believe it is self centred to confess to your husband how you have wronged him. I believe it is more self centred to deceive someone. I believe it shows a great deal of character to want to come clean with someone. The tone of OP post seems very humble and contrite, not selfish at all. For the record, I actually do not feel she should tell him, it sounds like it did not happen while they were married but I can't be sure. She is also not making excuses for her behaviour, she is owning up. Therapy for OP and a safe place to get it off her chest and forgive herself would be the way to go. She has grown and matured and seems deeply in love with her husband.
helpful (1) 
 She would be telling him to make herself feel better. How selfish is that? He is not going to feel better.
helpful (1) 
 The reason she feels the way she does is because she has not been truthful and because she has kept something from him. This is far from selfish. A selfish person would just get on with their life as if nothing happened. My point was not whether she should tell him. In her particular case, she probably shouldn't because it happened so long ago and before they were married, plus she is not repeating the behaviour. My point was calling her selfish for wanting to confess something that she did a him is less selfish than deceiving him.
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Tell him. No point in you being the only one feeling bad. He did nothing wrong but don't let that stop you from punishing him so you can feel better. I hope he leaves you.

 This 🤣
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You will literally pass the guilt from yourself to him as a knife stab in the heart. You’ll remove your pain and give it to him.
Learn to find a way to deal with it.

The question is regarding shame and guilt. I made a huge mistake and wish I could take it back. I feel like I will forever have a dark cloud over me for something I did so young. I would never want to justify it but I do feel ridiculous having so much shame for something I did when I was immature young and selfish. I wish I would of known how deeply I would end up loving this man. Now I put him first and would never imagine doing something so selfish and careless. I'm a woman now and I did learn from this. Thanks for the advice seeking therapy. I do tend to obsess over little mistakes too. I think I just need help with my mind.

If your partner did this would you want to know now after all these years

Go see a psychologist they can help you work through those feelings.

 A hypnotist could also be helpful in this case
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Were you both exclusive then? Like explicitly exclusive? I found out a few years ago that when my now husband and I first started dating, he was seeing another girl as well. Like casually dating. At first I was taken aback. Not upset, just surprised. I had wondered about this girl and why she seemed to be a bit flirty with him in our early days. Haha but I get it now. She was also in the same position as me except she knew they weren't exclusive, and I was just enjoying the ride at that point (not dating anyone else, but still flirting with others). I think about it like this: he was young and carefree (he was only 19 at the time), and enjoying having some casual fun. Then he fell in love with me and I him. Once we'd had the conversation ("you're about to meet some of my extended family, what do I refer to you as - boyfriend, friend, neighbourhood ruffian, lizard pal, etc?") we were definitely only for each other. But before that, that's his business and what I did was mine. I don't recommend telling your husband. You need to make peace with this, it's done and dusted now, and you used it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Geez does this mean I going to hell. I've had dozens of one night stands. My last one was 10 yeas ago. I had it a week before I met my now husband and yes he knows everything

 Different because you were not in a relationship with your husband when you did it.
helpful (2) 

Do not tell him. You have built a life together. What does it achieve by telling him. Do you really think it will relieve your guilt? All it will do is upset him and you. Have you learnt your lesson? Have you done it again? Just leave it be and see a therapist. You are applying your love abd devotion that you feel for him now to a time when you werent as invested in the relationship. It is all in your head

I have never had an affair so I’m the last to give advice but I believe a woman’s intimate life married or single is her business only.

To the OP i dont think you should tell him andcagree with a lot of the other responders - especislly that your relief will be short lived and could cause pain for the rest of your livrs. I think in this situation you need to just move past it, maybe get some counselling. Thos comes from having been cheated on but in our 30s and married for 10 years.