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I Destroyed a Family

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I went through a separation just over a year ago. While painful it wasn’t really traumatic. I got over it very quickly and felt like I moved on.

I started sleeping with my best friend, she however was engaged. I developed strong feelings for her and we saw each other in secret for almost a year before the truth came out. The man she was engaged to was also my friend however we weren’t terribly close.

The entire time we were together I felt no guilt, no remorse, nothing. I thoroughly enjoyed being with her and actually hoped that there was a way we could be together full time. Eventually the truth came out.

She has blocked me from every aspect of her life and I’m not in contact with either party. She’s single now and still wants nothing to do with me. I went from feeling no guilt whatsoever to all of a sudden having the weight of breaking up this family (they have 3 children), losing my best friend, causing pain to so many people, and feeling like an absolutely terrible person within an instant.

Now I don’t eat, I can’t think straight, I am constantly looking over my shoulder; wondering if he’s going to come and confront me and how it’s going to play out. Now that everything is in the open, I feel extremely remorseful and guilt ridden. I feel uncomfortable talking about it and constantly sick. Even typing this out is giving me extreme anxiety.

Why did I feel nothing? When I was in the midst of all the deception why did I not feel bad? Why didn’t I have any second thoughts or worry about the repercussions? Am I a horrible person for not even thinking about what these actions could bring? Why would I be perfectly okay with something to all of a sudden feeling like I’d be better off dead.

I Destroyed a Family

Answered by on -

A.

You are no more guilty than is the woman you were having the affair with. Some might argue that it was the woman who is the more guilty because she is the one who betrayed the trust of her fiancé. Either way, what occurred was consensual and was to occur in secret. Only two people in the world were supposed to know, both parties agreed on secrecy and that no others were to ever know. You believed in that secrecy and agreed to the affair. Your partner was also enthusiastic and appears to have had no reservations. If there were just two people alive on this earth, you and her, why would you need to consider the feelings of others? That was the scenario that was presented to you and it held true for approximately a year.

Secrets are hard to maintain and when there is more than one person involved, nearly impossible to maintain. Secrets are at best, temporary.

People often times figure out life as they go along, after all much of life and its rights and wrongs, are learned through experience. The consequences, ramifications, and meanings of having a secret affair have now become apparent to you. The secrecy has ended and your affair is brightly illuminated in the light of day. Now it can be closely examined for appropriateness, consequences and moral implications.

Perhaps the best lesson learned is, don’t do anything in secret that you would be ashamed of doing publicly. Also remember, that many, many people have done exactly what you’ve done. You made a mistake. You learned from it and it appears that you would never repeat that behavior. At the time of the affair, it seemed that no one was being hurt. You liked it. She liked it. Her fiancé didn’t know about it and thus was not experiencing pain from a cheating girlfriend whose cheating behavior he was unaware of. She was willing. You were willing and it was to be a forever secret, however secrets are rarely forever.

You’ve learned and suffered through your mistake and are very unlikely to make that mistake again. Life is a learning experience, for the better of us.

Take the lesson learned, forgive yourself and live on. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Destroyed a Family

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). I Destroyed a Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/05/23/i-destroyed-a-family/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 20 May 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 20 May 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.