5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Cheated
According to The Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, nearly 50% of married women and 60% of married men will cheat on their spouse (physically or emotionally) at some point in their marriage. That number has more than doubled over the past decade so statistically, you or your spouse will have an affair over the course of your marriage.
I made a choice to have an affair a few years ago (read about it HERE) but I have learned a lot since then. And while I don’t know that I would have listened —
Here are 5 things I wish someone had told me before I cheated.
1. The Affair is not just about you.
When you’re in an affair, you can fool yourself into believing that the affair is only about you and your partner.
In fact, the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is far more substantial than you realize. For your wife, you are the one person that she trusted to never leave her. She took your hand on your wedding day and pledged the rest of her life to you. It meant everything to her and I suspect you meant it when you said you would lover her until you died.
Well, you aren’t dead and you aren’t loving her right now.
2. You will become unrecognizable to your children.
I was completely clueless to how my affair would impact my children. I remember the first time I saw my kids after I had been caught. They were 10 and 12 at the time and Erin granted me two hours with them one afternoon. In my mind, I would take them to a park, muster up a heartfelt apology and they would hug me, reassure me of their love and we would have a memorable afternoon. Part of that was true.
We went to a park and we had a memorable time but there was no assurance of their love for me.
When I arrived at our house to pick them up, they didn’t want to get in the car with me. Finally, I convinced them to get in and we went to the park. Not only did they not want to talk to me, they didn’t want me to touch them. They were devastated at my betrayal. I didn’t just hurt their mom, I hurt them.
I am still trying to rebuild a sense of trust with each of my kids today…nearly four years later.
3. The other woman doesn’t know you. And you don’t know her.
Regardless of what you think — The “relationship” you have with the other woman is a facade. You are both presenting the very best version of yourselves to one another.
You are intoxicated with the euphoria of a new relationship. But you don’t know one another at all.
4. You are about to experience the worst pain of your life.
Choosing to stay in this affair is going to cause you incredible pain.
The humiliation of getting caught and the embarrassment of doing something so incredibly selfish is going to be bad enough. But when the gravity of how much you have hurt EVERYONE that you love sets in, especially your wife and children, the pain will become almost unbearable.
At times, I felt like it would be easier if I just died so I often prayed for God to take my life. Thankfully, He had other plans.
Here is a poem I wrote during one of those dark moments:
I can feel the heat of the blood rushing from my heart to the tips of my fingers.
The silence of the room is thick.
I am disgusted by the extension of my chin.
The disgrace of my voice cracks in the vanity of pride.
The fullness of my grace can be measured by a thimble .
Shame increases but words escape.
My memory holds tight to the moments of ingratitude.
My eyes water but will not tear.
My body aches to the core of my soul.
I cry under water.
The depth of confusion drowns my joy.
I stare at darkness in the brightest sun.
What is next?
Fear is future but sadness is past.
Thoughts of glad dissipate.
I see but I can’t describe.
I feel but can’t taste.
I walk but can’t touch.
I hear but can’t listen.
Cheating on your spouse is the emotional equivalent to allowing your family to get ran over by a speeding train.
So, take it from someone who allowed that train to hit his family.
Stop cheating. Come clean to someone and end the affair immediately! Start by telling a friend if you have to but make sure it is a friend that will speak truth to you.
If you are a member of a church, then maybe you can tell your pastor.
But regardless of who you tell, make sure it is someone who loves your family as a whole more than they love you as an individual. And work out a plan to tell your spouse as soon as possible.
Now, if you have a friend or family member that you suspect is either in, or moving towards an affair, then speak up! Grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eye and tell them to stop! Beg them to wake up, take a step outside of the “romance” and realize the mistake they are making.
I’ve had a couple of friends say that they thought that something wasn’t quite right and wish they had spoken up and said something to me in the beginning.
I realize it is a tough position to be in as an onlooker but —
If you saw one of your friends standing on the tracks as a train approaches, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to get their attention?
If you are in an affair then let me assure you —
It is NEVER too late to do the right thing. End the affair now, do not wait for the right time.
Now is the right time.
Your wife, you children and you are far to valuable to continue cheating.
Finally, I want you to know that if you are in an affair or considering an affair, the issues that you are facing in your marriage will not get better in a new relationship. In fact, the problems that you are having now will only get worse in the next relationship. Sure, they may look different but they will get worse.
In our story, the affair became our rock-bottom. And God used that rock-bottom to wake us up to issues that we would not have dealt with otherwise. So, for that, we are forever thankful.
God can can and will redeem your situation too. You just have to be willing to commit to the process of healing and do the work necessary to see your marriage flourish!
Be a man (or woman) of integrity and honor. Make a decision, right now, to fight for your marriage!
If you are in an affair and you do not feel that you have anyone that you can turn then we would love to help:
- Men — you are welcome to email Jason at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Women — you are welcome to email Erin at: email@example.com