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I've done something horrible…

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  • #69234
    Cindy
    Participant

    I am feeling extremely remorseful about something that I’ve done, and I am looking for some advice and/or support. A little over a year ago, an engaged man (I’ll call him Tim) whom I worked with starting reaching out to me, saying that he was lonely and had no one to talk to. This struck me as odd, considering that he was engaged, but he seemed very depressed and I was afraid of hurting his feelings. So he and I started texting each other outside of work (unbeknownst to his fiancée). The texting was originally friendly, nothing sexual at all, and he and I seemed to be becoming friends. Within a few weeks, I started having romantic feelings for him. He eventually told me that he and his fiancée were having a lot of problems and that he suspected she had cheated on him. He told me that I was making him feel happy again. The hope that their relationship wouldn’t work out and the excitement of the feelings that I was having for him caused me to keep communicating with him, even though I knew it was wrong. I became addicted to the attention that he was giving me (sending me texts simply to say that he couldn’t stop thinking about me). I met Tim’s fiancée at a work party and noticed the distance between them. I used this as an excuse to allow things to get physical with him. We would sneak off to private places at work and fool around, though we never had sex. We would exchange sexual texts, sometimes when his fiancée was at work, sometimes when she was lying in bed next to him. I eventually called things off because of guilt and the fear of getting my heart broken. I could feel myself falling deeper for this guy, yet I had the suspicion that he was only using me and was still planning to marry his fiancée. So for a good six months, we had very little contact with each other, except when necessary at work. He would flirt with me every so often, mostly because I think he didn’t want me to stop wanting him. He got married in August. I accepted this, though I still had feelings for him, and did my best to move on. I started seeing someone outside of work and seemed to be making a little bit of progress. When Tim found out that I was moving on, he started flirting with me again, telling me how lonely he was and how unsatisfied he was with his wife and their sex life. I still had feelings for Tim, and I gave in. We started sexting again. At this point, the guy that I had been seeing outside of work and I were no longer together, but I exaggerated our relationship to make Tim jealous. The more unavailable I seemed to Tim, the more he wanted me. One night during some hot and heavy sexting, he fell asleep without deleting incriminating messages from his phone, and his wife found them. She called me, screamed at me, called me all kinds of names. She threatened to go to my and Tim’s boss and tell him everything, ensuring that we would both get fired. Everything hit me at that point. All the horrible things I’d done, the lies I’d told, the way I was sneaking around, the damage I’d caused. I tried to apologize, but she didn’t want to hear it, and I can’t say that I blame her. I eventually went to my boss myself and told him everything. I figured it was better coming from me than from her. Tim and I both got fired, and now I am left with so much shame and regret that I feel lost and hopeless. I have always considered myself to be a good person who is kind and respectful, but now I feel like I’ve lost myself. My friends and family keep telling me that this was just a horrible mistake, and that I shouldn’t let it define me, but I can’t seem to let it go. It’s been over for two months now, but I keep replaying everything over and over again in my head. What if I had told him to stop texting me before I fell for him? What if I had made better choices about not fooling around with someone at work, someone who was engaged and eventually married? The worst part of all of this is not that I lost my job, not that I had my heart crushed by someone who eventually admitted that I meant nothing to him. It’s that I hurt his wife. It was never my intention to ruin their relationship. I know that sounds crazy considering what I did, but I honestly had no malicious intent. I just got wrapped up in my feelings for Tim, and now I don’t know what t do with this guilt. It’s turning me inside out. I would appreciate any help or advice that anyone is willing to give.

    #69237
    Anne
    Participant

    You’ve lost a lot – your job, “Tim” and your self image. It will take a while to grieve these losses. The stages you are going through now are the “bargaining” stage of grief – practically definied by the words “what if?” – and anger, which you are turning in on yourself as shame (“It’s all my fault!” kind of feeling, which may later morph to “It’s all HIS fault”) The grief will pass, just give it time. Be sure to eat well and get plenty of exercise – the endophines released are crucial to your recovery. I’m very glad that you have supportive friends and family in this difficult time <hugs>

    #69238
    Cindy
    Participant

    Thank you, Anne. I appreciate your feedback.

    #69245
    Cindy
    Participant

    I guess I always had the hope that he was going to fall in love with me and leave his wife. Another thing I feel guilty about…wanting their relationship to end so I could have him.

    #69258
    Yue
    Participant

    It seems fair to say that Tim takes the lion’s share of responsibility in this scenario. Afterall, he was the one who was married and the one who chased you. Like Anne said, you are going through a lot of emotions right now and it is not easy to process them, especially when they are all in your mind. As a suggestion, consider writing an apology letter to Tim’s wife outlining everything you feel and how sorry you are. This will give you a chance to articulate the things that’s been going through your mind and provide an outlet for your emotions. But instead of sending it, just burn it (without causing a fire of course). In Bali, some of the locals do this as a symbolic gesture of recognising an issue but once they processed this and learned the lesson from it, they will make an offering to god and let it go.

    Things happen for a reason and everyone make mistakes in life. To grow, we need to take on the lesson (as you have) but it is equally important to not dwell on it once it no longer serve us.

    #69269
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi clw3,

    Everyone of us, whether they admit it or not, have all done stupid things when they’re young. I bet even the wife. And especially Tim (as he never learnt his lessons, did he?) Not to excuse what you did, but when you are five or ten years older than you are now, you will look back and honestly say, “That’s not who I am.”

    A way to alleviate guilt is to say, “That’s not who I am” when it comes to coveting another woman’s husband. Even if the wife resurrects herself hell bent on revenge, you can say, “That’s not who I am”. It was a bad mistake, and does not define you. And let’s be honest, Tim himself wasn’t worth all this trouble, was he?

    If I could turn back time for you, I wish you wouldn’t have outted yourself to the boss. Yes, not only did you call her bluff, but you gave him karma on a silver platter (the only good thing that came out of this). But it’s too bad you got fired too. Well, I say he got what he deserved!

    Stop beating yourself up! Stay away from Tim. He, his wife, and this situation are dead to you.

    Blessings,

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by Inky.
    #69278
    Barbara
    Participant

    I have had this done to me – in the distant past. But i can tell you it has affected my trust of men in a disgusting way. What you did was selfish and sneaky and self serving. I have no empathy for you at all. You didnt care until you got caught. You didnt mind doing that to his wife – while she lay beside him.
    Frankly – what you did was purely out of ego and the wife is the one who got hurt most.
    And he no doubt slept with his wife all the while.
    He also told many lies to you – because i can tell you – he still wanted the best of both worlds.
    Just move on – but dont look for people to justify it for you. There is zero excuse. Where was your sense of feeling for others ? Where was your thoughts for his wife ?
    Once your ego was getting stroked – and whatever else – you carried on.
    I wish you no harm, but I wish you to see the hurt has huge concequences. Huge.That woman may never trust again. Please be aware that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    #69303
    Cindy
    Participant

    Thank you for your responses, Yue and Inky. Yue, I have actually had the apology letter suggested to me before, and I think it’s a good idea. Maybe it will help. Inky, you’re right, that is not who I am, and I don’t want my mistake to define me. I try to keep telling myself that, but it’s hard. Barbara, I’m sorry that you were hurt in your past. I’m not trying to justify or excuse what I did. You’re right…I was being selfish. I was not thinking about anyone else but myself, and even though the wife had herself cheated on Tim, that did not give either me or Tim an excuse to do the same. I will forever regret the part I played in this toxic situation, and all I can do now is try my best to move forward.

    #69350
    Anne
    Participant

    Everyone is selfish when they’re in the initial “headrush” stages of love, Cindy. <hugs> Please understand that yes, you played a part in what happened to Tim and his wife, but it was only a PART. They played their part too. And given the state of their marriage, if it hadn’t been you Tim cheated with, it probably would’ve been someone else.

    Tim and his wife are responsible for their own lives and their own happiness from here on in. You are responsible for yours.

    #69375
    Cindy
    Participant

    Thank you, Anne. I appreciate your advice. It’s been very helpful to me. I really did fall for Tim, and it completely blinded me to my sense of right and wrong. I know that’s not an excuse…I still should have known better. I’m trying to see this whole situation as a life lesson. I will learn from it and never repeat this behavior. I do want to feel happy again, but you’re right in what you said in your first post. It will take time to grieve these losses. I will try every day to work toward forgiving myself and becoming a better person. The kindness and understanding of a stranger has helped to give me a push in the right direction, so I thank you. 🙂

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