I cheated on my wife


#1

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to post a message because I am hoping to get some help on ideas to save my marriage. First, allow me to give you some background:

I cheated on my wife about 5-6 weeks ago. It happened only once, there was no sex, just some “making out,” if you will. After this happened, I told the “other woman” that I made a huge mistake and that I was sorry for even remotely leading her on. I went home and prayed about it at first and then I made what could have been an even more fatal mistake: before seeing my Priest, I confessed EVERYTHING to my wife. I sobbed, I cried, I pleaded. I realized how much I disrespected my marriage and I realized that my actions were not only destructive to my family, but an abomination to the Lord. I saw my Priest, I’m seeing a Psychologist and I often talk about the situation at my Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. My wife, however, has chosen not to forgive me.

I understand her hurt. I really do. I am in no way excusing my actions. We’ve only been married two years and we have a 1 year old son. I know what I did was shameful and I have spent every moment since repenting, confessing, pleading for forgiveness.

I don’t really know why this occurred, but it doesn’t change the fact that I did what I did and there are no excuses for it. I know that I am alcoholic and I had “fallen off the wagon” earlier that evening, before I chose the path that I chose. That is no excuse either, I’m just trying to give you an all-around understanding of the situation.

Now, I’d like to ask how to proceed from this point on. My wife has taken our son to her parents house and doesn’t think it would be “good for me to see him very much” right now. My wife is a Southern Baptist and her father is a Southern Baptist pastor. I went to their church and met with another S.B. Pastor for a therapy session at the request of my wife. When I informed the Pastor that I went to a Catholic Church, he jumped all over me about how Catholics are not “Saved.” He also talked about how my wife is a “believer” and I am a “nonbeliever” (my wife isn’t Catholic). He painted a dark picture and then basically tried to convert me. I resisted, telling my wife that I am willing to do “almost anything” to fix this, but this was beyond the pale. So, as you can see, this situation is complicated on many fronts.

I could make a million excuses for my actions, but they’re empty. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I wronged my family. But now, I just want a chance to have them back. She wants a “trail separation” where I rarely see my son. My boy is more important to me than I could ever explain in words. This is killing me, minute by minute.

I’ve tried to understand why I did what I did. I have owned everything to my family and to the Church. I pray constantly. Nothing seems to be reaching my wife. Her and I had a rocky marriage, perhaps, to begin with. We’ve only had sex four or five times since my son was born (He’s 13 months old now). We don’t go out and spend time together by ourselves and we’re sometimes just living in the idea of marriage, without doing the work.

Sadly, it took these horrible actions on my part to make me realize how much I love my family and how I never want to be without them. I keep praying, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat and I can’t stop crying. I just don’t know what else to do. I don’t want a divorce, a custody battle, any of it. I want my family. My wife seems to be using our son as a shield or as a bartering tool and it is killing me.

As I said, I know I was wrong. I will eternally ask forgiveness for this. However, I assure you, there was no sex at all, no feelings, no repeat contact, just a stupid, careless, thoughtless five minute exchange. I can’t believe that my wife thinks it is unforgivable. This is breaking me. I’d do anything to earn her trust, sans abandoning my faith and becoming a Southern Baptist.

Any help you can provide or any prayers you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Yours in Christ,
Ryan


#2

Not sure what to tell you, but I’ll be praying for you.


#3

Prayers for you. It sounds like you’re in a lot of pain, but also doing everything you can to make it right. Do you and your wife have any “alone time” to talk? Can you take her out on a date or spend time with her in another way? Are you going to counseling together? My husband made a stupid mistake - very similar to yours. I forgave him because I love him very much and wanted to move forward; he was truly sorry. But it does take a while to regain trust. Prove yourself if she’ll give you the chance. Good luck.


#4

Please see if you can convince your wife to attend a Retrouvaille weekend. retrouvaille.org/

Since your marriage was already quite weak to begin with this might be why your wife is so unwilling to work towards forgiving. It seems you have many things that need work in your marriage besides your indescretion.

Putting your son in the middle of this mess and using him as a tool is incredibly unfair to you and especially to your son.

My husband is also a (recovered) alcoholic and he also cheated on me and it was more than a make out session. Retrouvaille saved our marriage. It took time, work and the grace of God to truly move past all the pain and really forgive. But it did happen. My husband is now my bestfriend and someone I cannot imagine ever being without.

I told my husband when I found out the best thing he could do is to be the best husband and father from this point forward since we can not go back and erase the past. And he truly has done that.

You can only do so much, your wife needs to do part of the work. Even though it was not my fault what my husband chose to do there were many other factors that I was responsible for as far as the unhappiness and breakdown of the marriage. There was plenty of blame to go around.

You made a huge mistake, it seems you have done everything you can at this point. It’s hard to heal a marriage while living apart. I will pray that your wife will be willing to try Retrouvaille. Even if she is beyond furious at you and in incredible pain, you both share a child. And for that child’s sake you both need to do what ever is humanly possible to fix this. You both brought that baby into this world and it is innocent of the mess that you have made. A child needs his parents together. She needs to look past her pain, humiliation and anger and work toward doing what is best for her son.

You’re both in my prayers.


#5

I will pray for you at Mass tonight. Although you made a terrible mistake, I find it commendable that you would put your Catholic faith above all else–even your marriage. This is what is called “white martyrdom”. If you can stay with your faith even if it means your wife leaves you, I believe you would be strong enough to face death as well.


#6

I would say (and I’ve never been in this situation) to do *anything *she asks you to do, except converting, of course.
If your Catholic faith is solid, perhaps you could go to her services if it would help her, but I’m NOT saying that this is necessarily good advice.
I was sick over my husband just falling long enough to look at porn on line. It was two times early in our marriage, but it can still haunt me, especially when we’re having a bad few days/weeks.
I’m sure being without your son is terrible, but give her time. Perhaps just asking her when you can see him and under what conditions that it would be okay with her?
I"m really, really sorry for you. We all do make mistakes, but some are truly much harder to forgive. I hope that she’ll find it in her heart to forgive you.


#7

I’ll be praying for you too. God Bless


#8

Praying for healing in your heart and marriage.

Agree with the other posters. Time and patience are key with your wife. Do anything she asks (except convert) and continue to assure her daily of your love. Send notes, flowers, chocolate, whatever it takes to court her again.

To rebuild love is easy, to rebuild TRUST is a whole lot different and difficult. Continually remind her that you will not betray that solemn vow of trust again because she and your child mean too much to you to ever violate that sacred bond. God Bless you and your efforts and we hope it all works out for you and your family.


#9

I’m sorry that this happened…to you, and to your family. You are in my prayers.

I am not much of an Oprah fan anymore, but she said something during one of her programs years ago, that stuck with me for years. It was…"You cannot change people; you can only change your reaction to them.’’

So–I suppose you could plead, beg, etc…if your wife chooses to shut you out, I’m not sure what else you can do. I think you should/can pray about it…hopeful of her returning to you.

Was your wife always unforgiving, about other situations? Or is this the first time she has exhibited this behavior? I ask because you say that you are a recovering alcoholic, so I am just wondering if that has something to do with her tolerance level. She is only human…just like you…just like me.

Just asking.


#10

PS–I applaud your candor…it takes a man to admit his mistakes.


#11

Thank you, everyone, for your responses and prayers. I wanted to respond to some of the questions asked…

Whatevergirl: My wife hasn’t always been forgiving, per se, but she hasn’t usually shut me out either. My alcoholism hasn’t caused a problem in our marriage before because she drank when I drank, early in our marriage. When she became pregnant, I made the decision to seek help and sober up. After nearly 23 months sober, I fell off the wagon. It was one night of drinking, 37 days ago, and I have been sober ever since. I don’t really have many hopes of changing my wife, I just want there to be a line of communication. I want to see my son. I think she has already made up her mind to take a completely different road. I am praying otherwise.

ltbpoe43: Yes, agreed. Trust will be the hardest thing to regain. I’m just hoping she loves me enough to give me the chance to earn her trust again. Thank you for the suggestions. I’ve tried notes and flowers, maybe chocolate would be a good idea. I appreciate the thought you put into helping.

Halo: Thank you.

exiled: Thank you for sharing that. I agree that some things are easier to forgive than others. All I can do is try to be a man and continue to accept responsibility for my actions, I caused this, and I know it. I just hope that I can be forgiven and that we can be a family again.

CatholicSam: Thank you. Yes, at this point in my life, my faith is solid as a rock. I cannot abandon it, not for anything.

rayne89: That must be a fabulous getaway for troubled marriages. My Priest, of all people, recommended it to me. I will try to get my wife to consider attending a weekend retreat. Thank you for the kind words and for being so understanding about the place I am in with my son and for your prayers. I truly appreciate them.

CLMargaret: The only counseling she’ll attend is with her Southern Baptist Pastor, who has already made it clear that I am not “saved” and I am a “nonbeliever.” She agrees with him, which makes this situation very difficult. Thank you for sharing your story and showing me that forgiveness is possible. I appreciate the kind words of encouragement.

Trelow: Thank you for your prayers.

Your response has been humbling and overwhelming. Thank you all so much for everything.

Yours in Christ,
Ryan


#12

Thank you for answering. Well, a lot of her behavior is out of anger and hurt. When we hurt, we hurt others. Hopefully, that will die down soon enough. But, if it doesn’t…you’re your son’s father…and there are laws to see your child…whether she wants to forgive you or not. Not meaning to jump the gun…but just stating that.

I will pray for you–! I wonder why she has chosen this path, but again…you can’t second guess why she is doing what she is…you can only keep praying, and move forward. I’m sorry–for everyone involved.:frowning:


#13

What is done is done and with God’s grace, a stronger marriage will develop. I am puzzled, however. #9 of the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.” How can amends cause injury? When the authors of the Twelve Steps wrote Step Nine, they were concerned that in their efforts to be “rigorously honest,” one might disclose incidents or indiscretions better left unmentioned.

You went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and are back at regular AA meetings, I hope. You may have felt some relief from that gnawing guilt but why injure your wife and force her to share your burden? She would have benefited more if you had made “general” amends and acted on your words by becoming a more loving, caring and considerate husband.

Her negative emotions are a normal response to this type of amends. Let us hope and pray the you might find greater healing and openness when you and she work through the anger and sorrow that has arisen. God bless+++


#14

Does your wife attend alynon meetings. They, too, have the Twelve Step Program. Perhaps she will attend couples meetings.


#15

Felicita,

No, my wife doesn’t believe in the program. She tries to be supportive of my attending meetings, but she occasionally drinks with her co-workers and her friends. She drinks because she can do it. She isn’t an alcoholic. What makes it tolerable for me is that she just doesn’t do it around me (for which, I am thankful). I don’t think she fully comprehends the problem I have with alcohol, but I have done what I can to express myself and talk about my past problems with the bottle to her.

I agree that I may have, in the longrun, been better off not telling my wife. As I said in my original post in this thread: that mistake may have been fatal as far as our marriage is concerned. I hope it isn’t because I love her and I want to be a family forever.

I also should have talked to a Priest before admitting everything to her. However, what is done is done. All I can tell you is that guilt and hurt and shame were gnawing at me, and I felt, after much prayer and reflection, that being a man meant telling her the truth. I understand the logic of not telling her, sparing her feelings and just showing my love in actions, but, for whatever reason, I felt like she deserved to know. I knew I screwed up and I felt like I had to own it to my wife.

Yours in Christ,
Ryan


#16

Are you calling your son on the phone daily to talk to him? Demand to talk to him if they give you the run-around. You need to fight for your son for your son’s sake. He needs you as well as he needs your wife, but she can’t see that, especially with everyone around her telling her that you’re not “saved”. I have met with a Southern Baptist pastor for counseling once and flat out told him I was Catholic. He didn’t say a single negative thing to me about that and never mentioned that I wasn’t “saved” so that opinion is individually based per pastor, it’s not even consistent within the Southern Baptist religion. Try to keep communication going, but if she refuses to communicate and refuses to let you see or talk to your son, it’s time to call a lawyer. You need to fight for your son and prove that you are fighting for your marriage (make marriage counseling requests via a paper trail, certified mail, etc.). Good luck. May God be with you, your wife, and especially your son.


#17

Ryan,
i’m in AA. been sober 23 years, i thank God. i thank God every day.

while i will also pray for you, here are my suggestions:

call your sponsor every single day. if you didn’t start at step one after drinking, then do it. start again at step one with a sponsor-- someone who has actually worked the 12 steps in order, like the Book says. somebody who would have had you pray for prudence before you made admissions to your wife. someone who is really sober, healthy and at peace. he may not be the funnest guy at the meeting. ask God to show you who he is and then use him. every day. ** that’s how you work on you. **

do a nearly non-stop Eucharistic novena. when you’re done, do it again. offer each Eucharist for the sole intention of God opening your wife’s heart to forgiveness and to your marriage. that’s how you work on her.

WHEN she comes around to that place of forgiveness (i say when because i believe in Jesus in the Eucharist. i believe in His love and power) , go to retrouville. **that’s how you work on the “us.” **

you have a right to see your son. he has a right to see you. beg the Blessed Mother through nearly non-stop rosaries to perform that work for you. She has a son Whom she loves. She understands.


#18

Ryan, you´re in my prayers. Don´t give up!


#19

And you’re in my prayers.

I’m somewhat concerned you didn’t mention your sponsor. I hope you have a strong one. If you don’t, find one. You need to find out why the AA program wasn’t working. You need a sponsor to do that. What caused the slip? Were there warning signs? How frequently were you going to meetings? Were you working the steps? How frequently were you talking to God? How did you get into the situation where you drank?

I’m also a recovering drunk. Alcohol can really screw up a family. Get that fixed! When your clean and sober, and your Catholic faith is in line with God’s plan, the other stuff will start to fall in place.


#20

I understand your concerns, believe me. Part of the problem is that my family just relocated to Palmdale (which is in the High Desert, about 80 miles Northeast of Los Angeles) about four months ago. It was hard just to find AA meetings out here and it has been harder to find a sponsor that relates to me. The guy that is my “sponsor” now, Jason, is only about three years older than me, divorced, and doesn’t have the same faith at all (he’s a Taoist). Not only that, but he cracks jokes about the church and about Catholicism in general, which drives a wedge between us. He’s doing it to be funny, I suppose, but I simply see it as a sign of immaturity.

I’ve placed many calls to my old sponser (Joe) and we’ve talked, but I realize that he is a three hour drive away and that I have to make the program work here. Joe can’t be sitting around waiting for my calls every day, so I have tried to ease up on calling him. Ultimately, I realize, that this played a part in leading to my decision to drink, even if it was just a handful of drinks on one awful night.

I had nearly two years sober and now I am starting over, from scratch, from step one. I’ve been going to a meeting about four times a week, as opposed to every day back when I was in Orange County. The problem I am having is that, during these meetings, I feel like there is a lot of going through the motions. It hurts because I am not moved and I don’t feel connected, unlike the family atmosphere of my old meeting place. These meetings often only have 8 people in them. At my old meetings, there were usually 50 or more at every meeting.

I’ve looked into online AA groups, but it really isn’t the same. I’m the kind of person that needs to look in to someones eyes and relate.

My faith has been the vehicle for change in my life. It is my rock. I was talking to God nearly every day. I can’t really explain why I drank or why I did what I did. I know a lot of it is psychological. I can’t stand Palmdale. On some level, I guess I was blaming my wife for that. I had a lot of resentment because my wife hadn’t had sex with me in months. I had resentment about her not even attempting to understand my sobriety. And I had a lot of resentment over her newfound Southern Baptist ideals. Her Pastor has told her that our marriage won’t work because she is a “believer” and I am a “nonbeliever.” I am apparently demonic in his eyes because of I am proud of my church and my faith. This has lead to a long, angry struggle and ultimately, I allowed it to play a part in guiding my decisions that night.

I have to deal with the consequences of my actions. I ache about it. I wish it didn’t happen. But beyond all of my apologies, confessions, repentance, amends, etc., I have to be able to see my son. It has been many days. A little boy should not be put in the middle of this and shouldn’t be taken away from his Daddy. I am trying to proceed in a calm, rational manner, but I feel like I am going to flip out if I don’t get to see my son soon.

In the meantime, I continue to pray, seek counsel and ask forgiveness. I keep hoping her heart will open up to the possibility of forgiveness or reconciliation, but she’s given no remote indication that that can or will happen.

Meanwhile, I pray…

Thank you for all the advice and concern and prayers. This forum has been wonderful. It seems like there are so many devout, beautiful, strong people here. It has proven to be a great place to get good advice and connect with other people who understand.

Yours in Christ,
Ryan


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