Facets of Guilt

I have a lot to feel guilty about. Let’s see here, I feel guilty because I:

  • cheated on wife
  • betrayed my kids
  • involved my kids and Scarlet’s kids in the affair by taking them places with her
  • was not fully invested in my marriage during affair
  • didn’t support wife through some difficult times because I was in the affair
  • wasted a LOT of money on counseling, retail therapy, fast food, etc
  • wasted a lot of our time and energy going through the recovery of something that shouldn’t have happened
  • used and hurt Scarlet
  • betrayed Scarlet’s husband and kids
  • didn’t have a good reason for any of the above things

Wait, what?

Yeah, I feel guilty because I didn’t have a good reason for having the affair. Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist, there’s never a good reason for having an affair. If my wife had been a total, abusive bitch, that still wouldn’t justify breaking my marriage vows.

But it would be more understandable. You see, affairs don’t happen in a vacuum. Most people don’t just get up one morning and say, “Today’s the day. I’m gonna go out and cheat on my spouse.” Usually there’s something that leads up – but does not cause – the affair. Whether it’s a spouse who is abusive, neglectful, or just unloving, or a person who is depressed, addicted, mentally ill, or otherwise “broken” in such a way as to make an affair more likely. These factors lead to a series of bad decisions that make the affair possible.

None of those factors excuse or cause an affair, but they make it understandable. In court they would be considered mitigating circumstances. To put it another way, if a husband was beating his wife, telling her she was ugly, having affairs, and just generally never showing her love, it would be wrong but pretty understandable if she fell in love with a man who treated her right.

Of course my wife is not generally a hitter and she’s never had a disparaging thing to say about my appearance that I can recall. Besides my porn addiction, I’ve never been addicted to drugs, alcohol, or anything else. I’ve struggled with depression off and on for the last 20 years, but honestly who hasn’t?

I guess what I’m saying is, I feel guilty for having an affair when there really weren’t any mitigating circumstances. I can’t say to my wife, “Honey, I’m so sorry. I was addicted to drugs and I resented your past affairs and I fell.” It wouldn’t be true, nor would any other combination of factors.

I look around and I see people who had affairs as a result of spousal abuse or infidelity. While I recognize it was wrong, I can see at least part of the why. When I look at myself, I don’t see the why.

It makes me wonder, did I really do it just because I’m a selfish bastard? Am I or was I more like the selfish serial cheater than I’d like to think? That’s not what one wants to think of oneself, even if I’ve moved beyond that selfishness. And yet what else is there? So I have that to feel guilty about, too.

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About Anonyman

Recovering adulterer and husband of an awesome wife who has given me a second chance. Sinner and Christian, saved by grace alone. I cuss a lot
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7 Responses to Facets of Guilt

  1. Can I ask a question (or three) and know it is in gentleness? When does Isle get to stop heaping condemnation on himself? When is his penance paid? You have a loving wife who is holding you out a cup of kindness, and a loving God that does the same…when do you get to accept it for yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonyman says:

      I appreciate the comments and I know what you mean. I was conscious as I was writing it that it might come off that way. I do feel forgiven and not condemned, but I still struggle with guilt sometimes. I wasn’t even feeling particularly guilty when I wrote that, but I was reminded of that facet of my guilt after reading some other blogs and I wanted to get it out.

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  2. Wow.. I’m not Isle but I do know I feel the same in I now have a loving husband who talks now, appreciates all that is good about me, a loving God who is faithful and has protected my beautiful babies, I think I’m fairly a decent loving person/Mom, but the self-condemnation still here.. I hate myself for loving M, for being stupid to love M’s AP as well, I feel guilty I allowed my love to blind me which didn’t help me fight harder for what I knew was right. Maybe if I fought harder we would have ended our marriage sooner and he could have done whatever he wanted with another woman and we would have had less children to scar.

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  3. Sissy says:

    Ohhhh this one is a sore spot for me… A really sore spot. Husband had no why either. We were newly married and at the time had no mitigating issues. He did do it just because he was a selfish ass. Big sore spot 🙂

    Like

    • Anonyman says:

      I’m sorry it is a sore spot for you. Selfishness does lie at the heart of all affairs, there’s no question about that in my mind, but it’s also my belief that there is always something else going on. Everybody is selfish sometimes – it’s human nature – but not everyone cheats. Some of it is a question of opportunity, but I think there are reasons why some people cheat when opportunity arises when other people don’t.

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