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January 20, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Coming Clean

Question:

I have been married for almost 7 years. This is my second marriage and my current wife's first. My first marriage ended as a result of unrelated issues (I feel we were too young or immature when we married). Anyhow, I met my current wife while serving in the US armed forces; we both worked together.

We had been married for almost a year when she began to "have feelings" for another man. As far as I know they never had sex, just heavy petting. While that happened, we found out 2 more things: she became pregnant with my son and I received orders for a short tour (12 months) overseas and would have to leave. We worked out our issues as fast as possible given that I had a 4 month time period before departure. She decided she would rather be with me and I wanted her in my life more than I cared about what had happened. Even though the infidelity had hurt me very deeply we stayed together.

About 6 months into my tour I had a one night stand with a married woman I worked with while overseas. Now it is 5 years later and I have never said a word of this to my wife. She is an absolutely wonderful woman and I love her so very much. She is my life and my best friend. I am just not sure what to do. Should I tell her? It has only happened the one time. I have since spent many months away from my wife and never cheated or entertained the idea. I like to think that I was hurt by what she had done to me, but then that just feels like a copout. Please give me your advice.

Eric, 32-year-old man

Answer:

Dear Eric:

Although I believe that honest communication is one of the best tools for a happy marriage, there are times when things are better left unsaid. In this case, if you come clean your wife may not be able to trust you again. Once trust has been broken, it takes a long time to rebuild. If it only happened once and you have no intention of being unfaithful again, then it may be best left buried in the past. There are times however, when our past can come back to haunt us, so make sure that it stays buried in the past. You need to be reasonably sure that your wife has no other way of finding out. If you have shared this with anyone else, especially those folks that are known to both of you, make sure that those people will maintain your confidentiality. They should do so, but not everyone knows how to keep their mouth closed. Lastly, this website should not be a threat to confidentiality since people are only identified by first name or a pseudo name.

In the future, I pray that both of you will continue to love and honor only each other. When God brings two people together, no man should separate that love and fidelity.

With God's Peace,

Tina Reed, MA, LPC

This question was answered by Tina Reed, MA, LPC. Tina is a licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, and is also certified by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.

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