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I had an affair with a neighbour. Should I tell my husband?

Tagged as: Cheating, Family, Marriage problems, Sex, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 February 2012) 16 Answers - (Newest, 4 February 2012)
A female Canada age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Very Sad

Hello, this is long so bear with me, I have been married for 12 years with my husband for 13 years, we have two small kids, I have been happy for most of my marriage and my husband is basicaly a good man, however in our marriage he gambled in secret and has had long periods of unemployment where I have been the main money earner, run the home etc, we have stuck together through thick and thin and I do love him, because of our debt we have moved back to his home country, so for me we have emigrated 4000 miles from home, he now has a good job for the first time in years and I am now a stay at home mum, but I have had an affair with a neighbour in the new neighbourhood we have moved to.

I have never looked at another man the whole time I have been with my husband, I feel terrible guilt and hate my self for doing this, the affair is now over, should I tell my husband as I walk around with a tight feeling in my chest, the guy had a long partner of 10 years and they recently married even though they both told me that they were unhappy with each other, the guy pursued me for about 6 months trying to hold my hand and giving me every smooth line there is, I fell for it we had sex he then ignored me for six weeks which was for the best, he then played mind games with me by coming to see me holding my hand etc kissing me then going cool, we had sex again, I started to fall in love with him, we now ignore each other and have for 8 weeks, he now married his partnet who is a nice person and does not deserve being cheated on.

I now have to see him in the mornings when he drives to work pass the school bus stop, he looks smug and has gone back to his life without a care in the world and I am left a broken person inside because of a foolish mistake. shall I tell my husband? why did this guy go all out to get me just fo the sake of sex a couple of times? is he laughing at me? thanks please dont call me a homewrecker, it seems the other woman is always the wrong one and the man walks away scot free.

View related questions: affair, debt, kissing, money, neighbour, period

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 February 2012):

I agree, read the question before you decide to become nasty.

Be honest, it will be one of the hardest things you ever do. I don't know why so many people promote lying.

My partner betrayed me and told me straight away. We are still together. It's not easy, expect it to be rough. But we are still together.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Lovegirl, my husband was unemployed from 2007 until 2010, I worked fulltime and have worked for 22 years from the time I left school and went back to work when my children were only 6 months old in 22 years this is the first time I had time off work 1 year. he also had a nervous breakdown which I supported him through, I am not allowed to work due to the strict immigration laws, my husband does not slog his guts out and works a standard 40 hours a week, he knew with the immigration I could not work for 2 years and he said it was his turn to support the family, I DO EVERYTHING ELSE. which includes helping some old people out in the town for free.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Lovegirl, you have not read my question correctly, my husband was unemployed from 2007 until 2010, I !!!! worked fulltime and have worked for 22 years from the time I left school and went back to work when my children were only 6 months old in 22 years this is the first time I had time off work 1 year!!!!!!! he also had a nervous breakdown which I supported him through, I am not allowed to work due to the strict immigration laws, my husband does not slog his guts out and works a standard 40 hours a week, he new with the immigration I could not work for 2 years and he said it was his turn to support the family, I DO EVERYTHING ELSE!!!!! wich includes helping some old people out in the town for free, you are harse and very judmental and should not be answering questions on this website I am sure you are not perfect, and you dont know when you may make a mistake in your perfect life!!

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A male reader, bruce lee Nigeria +, writes (4 February 2012):

bruce lee agony auntNo. I don't think you should tell him. We have an old saying in our country (a cricket expression)...Let it go through to the keeper.

Just let it go. You made a few mistakes. So what? Other people do the wrong thing all the time and have no remorse. At least you feel bad about it.

If you tell him, there will be dire consequences. Just keep quiet about it. Hush hush. And if there is a time when you feel so much remorse that you can't keep it inside, drink a few beers. That will calm you down.


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A female reader, anonymous, writes (3 February 2012):

Great answers received thus far:

What stands out for me is that you "complained" about your hbs previous unemployment etc BUT what have u contributed financially to your lives. Right now u are so damn blessed that he allows u to be a housewife. No cares in the world. Too much of free time to do as u please. All the while your hb is slogging for you and the kids? Now if this isnt a slap in the face. Phew! Is this how u repay him? Your hb goes out every day, trying to provide for u. WHY can u not see this, appreciate this and respect him? And be faithful to him? U destroyed your marriage for a nothing. Your good neighbour knew that u were looking for a good time to ease your boredom and he took what u offered. This was not a mistake. It was a deliberate act. A conscious decision by u. Was it worth it? Everytime he sees u he knows what u can be. I think u tried it all with him bec it was so exciting. And he knows it. He is smug. He is arrogant and he is mocking and ridiculing your hb. Have u considered this? That piece of nothing has this dirty secret with u and he is going to subtely make your hbs life miserable. It will be a case of: u wimp, i had your wife. U cant satisfy her. I got her to do things u couldnt. Can u see an ugly picture forming. U are neighbours dammit. Why disrespect your hb so?

I strongly suggest that u start contributing to your marriage. It is obvious u want to keep your secret and u are only doing it so that your hb doesnt kick u to the curb: in other words u are looking out for your self. Yep , get a job. Start becoming something. Help your hb out. Start actively helping him to provide for all your upkeep. Right now u are a lady of leisure looking for excitement to ease off your boredom. Enough! U had your fun: its time for u to become part of the workforce world.

U may think i am hard on u but u need a wake up call. U destroyed a good marriage. A good home. U cheating has nothing to do with your past life (where your hb gambled and was unemployed). That background info was unnecessary.

U need to take a good look at your life and decide whether u like what u have become. U have taken your hb and marriage for granted. U have started to disrespect your hb and u have no concept of how hard he works for his family. Maybe if u walked in his shoes u will change your life and your attitude.

Actions and consequences.


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A female reader, Miamine United Kingdom +, writes (3 February 2012):

Miamine agony auntIndeed Dorothy has give a great answer about what you should do if you decide not to tell.

And I somehow I think your going to follow her suggestion.. but be aware, with secrets, they can come out at any time, especially since there are 4 of you involved. (the neighbour, his wife, you and your husband) You might know what your going to do, but you can never be sure about him. It could always come out if him and his wife have an argument.

Anyway, telling really depends on the people and the relationship. I would want to know, because I don't like secrets and lies. If you tell me about an affair it at least gives me a chance to see what was broken in our relationship and what it is that makes you unhappy. Maybe the fault might be partly mine, or maybe I'll find out you have affairs all the time. No matter what, I want to know. Adultery and affairs do not always end in separation and divorce, sometimes they give you both the chance to be honest and with hard work the relationship can become even stronger.

But not all people feel like this. Some people don't want to know, they'd rather have a happy married life and don't want to rock the boat. Tell them about an affair and you force them into a divorce (due to pride) which is something they don't want.

It's always your call.. you know you and your husband best. But be aware that affairs (especially with neighbours) always leave the possibility of your husband finding out one day and then being even more angry that you kept it a secret from him.

Sorry, really don't want to add to your pain. I'm just telling you to be careful and warning you that your never safe. Is there any possibility of convincing your husband that you want to move house?

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A male reader, Honest Answer United States +, writes (3 February 2012):

Honest Answer agony auntWhat good will it do your husband if you tell him you cheated? Do you want to get it off your chest for your well being or his? If it is for you, I say don't tell him. Your punishment is the burdon you now hold.

Good Luck!


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A male reader, anonymous, writes (3 February 2012):

Sorry, I can't agree with anyone who says you shouldn't tell your husband. You made vows to him, you married him. The bedrock of all marriages is trust and fidelity. Regardless of what your husband did to make you want to have an affair, you are the one that chose to have it.

If you say nothing and it comes out later, your husband will, 100%, leave you. Because it's not just the fact that you cheated but that you kept quiet and lied about it and this means your marriage became based on a lie and it is not the marriage your husband believed it to be.

If you admit it, your husband MAY leave you. He may want a period of separation and then come back. Or he may not. But MAY is the operative word here.

Tell your husband. Offer to go to counselling together.

If he chooses not to be with you again and file for divorce, at least you know where you stand. But you are the one who cheated and he must have the chance to decide whether to fight for you and the marriage or not.

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A male reader, JustHelpinAgain Canada +, writes (3 February 2012):

Never tell your husband as it will probably destroy him. just forget what happened and totally ignore the other guy. you were lonely and he took advantage of you. You should feel some guilt but remind yourself that feeling is due to the love you and your husband share. What happened with the other guy was just sex, really not as big a deal as people often make out. It sounds like you were looking for friendship but I dont think he was! But you do need to find some human company whilst alone? Seek out some club or group or something if there is no chance of finding a job. Or join in with the dear cupid aunts and uncles, that gives you some contact while alone and you make good from what you did by helping others see the light before its too late! Good luck.

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (3 February 2012):

Hi. You will love your husband with passion again, once you get over the guilt from the affair.

Don't stop making love to your husband, so it doesn't make him worry.

Concentrate only on what's good about your mariage and your husband's good qualities. The things that made you fall in love with him in the first place.

That man is still there inside of him (your husband), even after all this time since you first met. So don't give up.

If you are feeling bored with your life, well then keeping active like you seem to be doing already, and perhaps starting some hobbies and interests will make your life more interesting and fun and make you more interested in life and in your husband.

Think about the things you like and love about your husband and put in some extra effort to make your life with him as interesting and fun as it can be.

Perhaps fun is what is missing from your marriage. You could go out on the weekends and do something you have never done before, just have fun. Life can get awfully serious if we let it.

Any feelings you might still have towards your neighbour, are probably only the fun you might have had and the "Newness" of something different in your life.

So keeping that in mind, the real focus is on "Newness". No, not meaning a new man. New activities and interests.

Variety is the spice of life.

So more "Newness" - hobbies, interests and fun activities - is key to a happy life for yourself individually, and the life you share with your husband.

So perhaps when you have some spare time, you could make a list of all the things you would like to do in this life.

They call it a bucket list. Things to do before you die.

Everything you like doing. Things you have never done and would like to do.

Make a list - even put things on your list you loved doing when you were a child. Chances are you still would enjoy doing those things now.

The main point here really, is the more variety you have in your life, the more happiness and fulfilment you feel every single day of your life.

Idealistically, you would love to feel excited about your day and it gives you a reason to get out of bed each morning.

Another idea, what about some creative pursuits?

Drawing, painting, arts and crafts. These take your mind to a whole new world, where you live only in present time. And I can tell you from personal experience, it's a place of complete peace and tranquility. There's nothing that equals it.

It's the place where great ideas about life come from.

It's the place where solutions to problems or life's puzzles can be found, and very easily indeed.

Consider it - it's so worth your while.

When you find peace and happiness and fulfilment, it positively influences every area of your life - without exception.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (3 February 2012):

Tell him.

There is nothing to be gained FOR YOU, but there is much to be gained FOR HIM and for THE MARRIAGE. He needs to know that you are questioning the marriage and he needs to have the choice whether to stay or not. To hide it from him is just another betrayal and when he finds out about it (if he does - and about half the time it is discovered) things will be 100x worse because you will have been lying for YEARS possibly. That's not a remorseful person. That's a person afraid of the consequences of her own actions.

Clearly, the best thing FOR YOU is not to tell. If he never finds out your marriage will remain intact and unchanged, but is that what you want? I don't think so. Does he want an unhappy wife? I don't think so.

The RIGHT thing to do is to spill your guts - including the part about having no passion for him. Then it's up to him to decide if he will forgive you or not. He might not, but it's fair to let him decide. If he does then you have a lot of work to do on this relationship.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (3 February 2012):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

The answers are a great help, Dorothy Dix your answer was a great help, I ignore him so that he does not attempt to try and speak to me, if we talk I cry after,so this is the only way I can focus on my marriage, I only wave to him now, he is a complex person, his wife told me this herself, I am know riding my bike and walking which helps and have joined a fitness club to me ladies my age for friendship, hopefully in a years time I wont even think about it, It just hurts to be used, but life goes on, thank you, will I love my husband with passion again?

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia +, writes (2 February 2012):

Hi there. No, he's not laughing at you.

If he seems like he is smug, it's probably that your guilt is making you more sensitive to things than normal. So ignore it.

Don't be nasty towards him, because that would raise suspicion in your husband, which you DO NOT want.

Just pretend like it never happened, and just be respectful and smile or wave to your neighbour, just like you do to your other neighbours.

Just put it right out of your mind.

It seems clear that his wife doesn't know about it, otherwise you would be having problems between you and her.

And then your husband WOULD inevitably find out, or work it out for himself - either way.

So you need to be thankful for that. It's one less thing to worry about.

If it is still fairly new this past affair, well then it's going to become much less of an issue for you as time goes by. I promise you.

Because you have said it's over now.

No, don't tell your husband. It serves no purpose at all.

The only way to get over the guilt of cheating, is to promise to yourself that you won't ever do that again.

At the time when it began, you were probably at a rather vulnerable time of your life - your husband sneaking away and gambling, and being unemployed for long periods.

Lots of negative things happening at the same time.

If he hadn't been gambling and was employed during all that time, you might not have done it at all. The chances would have been much less, at any rate.

There were so many influencing factors - back then.

You will never forget what happened, but it will fade into oblivion over time, I promise you.

It will become much less significant to you.

To tell your husband just to get it off your chest, would just be like disturbing a hornet's nest. All hell would break loose!

He trusts you completely now. So why tell him something that will destroy that trust - in an instant?

You have to ask yourself, is it really worth the trouble?

And especially as it is now over with this guy anyway. So it's water under the bridge. It's history.

Let sleeping dogs lie. It's really your wisest choice.

We all make mistakes, and that's the only way we learn.

And what you might have learned, is that you would never do that again.

And if that is the case, well then you have gained a valuable life lesson, haven't you? And that is absolutely priceless.

And as long as overall, you have a good relationship with your husband and you communicate well with each other generally, that's something worthy of hanging onto surely.

You don't want to lose that, do you? Of course you don't.

Your husband has a good job now, which pays well, so it all seems to have settled down, doesn't it?

Why did this other man pursue you for 6 months, you ask?

It could be that he was in a situation where he was unsure of what he wanted and in a rough patch with his partner (now his wife), and so it was a temptation for him. It's probably not that he had plans to steal you from your husband.

He might have been making up his mind about his life at that time.

I really wouldn't read too much into why it happened. You could call it a phase you both went through. A time of confusion for both of you, perhaps.

Then clarity. In the midst of confusion, is clarity.

And when you reach the point of clarity, well then everything flows really smoothly.

To help you get over the tightness in your chest - which is stress - a great way is to exercise.

You could start going for walks - say 30 minutes - about 3 to 5 days a week. You will feel not only energised after it, but also slightly tired and relaxed as well.

It will help you to sleep well at night as well.

Whenever you feel slightly tense in your chest or butterflies in your stomach, take a few slow deep breaths.

Breathe in to the count of 4 - Hold it for 2.

Then breathe out to the count of 4 - Hold it for 2.

Then repeat if about 3 or 4 times.

Concentrate only on your breathing and close your eyes too if you like, which could help. It only takes a minute or two. So you can do it anytime and anywhere, no matter what else you are doing at the time - cooking the dinner, vacuuming, hanging out the clothes.

It is basically, relaxation breathing on the move. And I can promise you, it really does work.

You can also do it if you are a bit tense when you get into bed at night, and it will relax you enough to drift off the sleep fairly easily.

So combining the three:-

(1) Promising yourself you WILL NOT do that again - cheat. And learning by it.

(2) Going out walking 3 to 5 days a week.

(3) The slow deep breathing - any time you feel a bit stressed about anything.

And of course, put the event right out of your mind altogether.

And in time, it will be a faded memory that you can hardly remember.

The main point - which was whether to tell your husband - is DO NOT tell him. There's nothing to be gained from that and everything to be lost.

Keep in mind what is most important to you. Your husband and family and your own happiness, health and wellbing.

Best wishes.

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A male reader, dougbcoll United States +, writes (2 February 2012):

dougbcoll agony aunt well you feel guilt because you know it was wrong. can you picture yourself going years with that feeling deep within you. if you do wait years from now till you can't stand it no more , how do you thank your husband would feel then ? would it hurt both of you more to wait on down the road, would you feel a relief to get this off of you, and ask for forgiveness ? yes you made a mistake and yes he just used you for sex. he got what he wanted. no easy way out. if your marriage is important to you which i think it is , i believe honesty is the best road to go on.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (2 February 2012):

This guy didn't just want sex with you, but when it came down to it he had to make a choice and it wasn't the choice you were hoping for. That doesn't mean it was an easy choice or that he didn't feel something for you.

If you tell your husband you will feel a lot less guilty, but you may ruin your marriage and your lover's marriage, too. On the other hand, you risk that your lover may tell his wife and jeopardize your marriage anyway (if she, say, then tells your husband).

You made a very grave mistake. I know kids are involved, but I would tell your husband. Expect that he may end the marriage because you fell in love with and slept with another man behind his back. That's inexcusable! However, I think you have to come clean. Your husband may already know about your infidelity and couples can work through these issues sometimes. If you don't tell him he may find out anyway and you will feel awful.

Time to clear the air. I also think you and your husband clearly have other issues to work through, so maybe a separation isn't a bad idea for the two of you anyway if that's how it ends up. Your infidelity is a symptom of larger problems.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (2 February 2012):

I am sorry to hear that you gave in to a situation like this. On the other hand, everybody makes mistakes in judgement and sometimes does something that is appropriate and cheats on his or her spouse. However, it sounds like you have great remorse and regret for what you did. I would encourage you actually to probably NOT tell your husband. Please don't do this anymore and be faithful to him. If you continue to do this, then you are being irresponsible to everybody concerned. Forget this guy! Remember again that everybody makes mistakes. Get on with your life and I wish you the best and much happiness!

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