extremely guilty again!

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have learned I have ocd but also bi-polar disorder. My question is about 4 years ago I had cheated on my husband and I told him I had cheated on him, I said we didn’t have intercourse or oral sex, to me oral sex is going down on someone. He said to me the other day he referred to oral sex as going down on someone and if someone was also kissing your breasts and body and orgasms. I disagree but now I feel like I lied to him even though I believe oral sex is something different from what he thinks. So now after all this time I am feeling guilty again and I know I am not going to ever, ever cheat on him again but he said he’d leave me (along time ago) if I had oral sex or sex with this man. I know this sounds crazy to you but I can’t keep being fine then going into this. I didn’t tell him everything from before cause I didn’t want to hurt him or myself anymore after almost 4 years, he said he forgave me before, but now does this change things? I feel extreme guilt all over again!

A: Many people think that OCD is only about ritual behaviors like hand washing, or needing to have things in order, or checking things multiple times. Different people have different symptoms. One not so talked about symptom is the inability to let go of negative thoughts. The thoughts just go around and around and around and make the person feel terrible. Sometimes it lasts for only a little while. Sometimes it can go on for days. Often a person finds some personal mental routine to get out of the loop – like a relaxation breath or counting to 100 or listening to certain songs. It sounds to me like you are caught in one of those negative mental loops.
Yes, you cheated. But that was 4 years ago! You confessed and were forgiven. You know in your heart that you won’t ever stray again. Your marriage has been strong since. Why are you and your husband still talking about it? Your focus now needs to be on making a positive present and future, not digging around in a past you regret but can’t change. If the topic comes up with your husband again, turn the conversation to your commitment and how much your love him.
Find a way to shake the negative loop. There are a number of books that can help people work on OCD symptoms on their own. Go to your local bookstore or library and browse the psychology section. If you can’t find a way to do it yourself, ask your doctor to help you with some medication for OCD. If you already have medication and it doesn’t seem to be working, go back to your doctor! Finding successful treatment requires working with your doctor until the two of you find what uniquely works for you.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 May 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). extremely guilty again!. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/05/16/extremely-guilty-again/