My wife has made friends with the woman I cheated on her with. Should I confess before she finds out elsewhere?

Dear Evie, I know I’m going to get a lot of judgment for this and that’s why I’m writing to you anonymously rather than asking friends for advice. Short story is I’ve been married for 11 years (we got married quite young) and about 3 years into our marriage, I had a brief affair with a colleague. I regretted it and ended things and never told my wife about it. The colleague moved away not long after I broke up with her and I thought that that was the end of it. Earlier this year, my wife mentioned a new woman had joined her team at work (we work in the same field but in different companies). I didn’t think anything of it until my wife started hanging out with this “new woman” and I saw a picture of them on Instagram. It was her, the woman I’d had an affair with. She knew about my wife at the time so I can’t believe she’s now befriended her. I haven’t spoken to this woman since I ended things, and so far it seems she hasn’t revealed our affair to my wife as my wife is behaving normally with me. I’m freaking out – is she doing this to mess with me? Does she genuinely like my wife and want to be friends with her? It’s a matter of time until we all meet (my wife loves planning group get-togethers) and I don’t know how I’ll be able to pretend that I don’t know this woman. I know deep down I should tell my wife but I’m so scared she’ll leave me. What should I do? – Anonymous. 

Dear Anonymous, 

No judgment here – it sounds like you already know what the right thing to do is, but it should have been done a lot sooner. There’s simply no easy way around this situation – you’re going to have to have a very honest (and very difficult) conversation with your wife BEFORE this other woman reveals what really happened. 

The only advice I can give you is to brace yourself as your wife will understandably feel betrayed, not just by your infidelity, but by the secrecy you’ve upheld for so many years. On top of that, she’ll feel deceived by her new friend, and much like you’re doing now, she’ll question this woman’s true intentions. 

I know you have a lot of questions about this woman’s reappearance, but speculating on her motives isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to focus on how you’re going to approach this subject with your wife, and how you’ll deal with the inevitable fallout afterwards. 

The best thing you can do now is take full responsibility for your actions – don’t look for excuses or reasons for why it happened. Be prepared to work hard to regain her trust (if she agrees to stay in the marriage) and accept that this is a process that will take time to resolve and move on from. I would highly suggest speaking to a therapist about this, alone or with your wife if she is willing. 

Because ultimately, both of your worlds are about to change in a drastic way. Having someone to guide and support you through that will not only increase your chances of making it through as a couple but it will also help you individually learn to deal with the complex emotions that come with infidelity. 

Let this be a lesson that the past has a way of catching up with us and that honesty is always the best option when it comes to marriage and relationships. Learn from this experience, reflect on how you can be a better husband/person going forward, and with time, I hope you (and your wife) can forgive your past actions. 

All the best, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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