MC: “Apology for infidelity.”

Dear TL,

I’ve written this letter several times, and I’m still struggling to get it right.  I apologize.  I apologize for hurting you, for destroying your world, stabbing you in the back, pulling the rug out from under you, making a fool of you, and failing to appreciate you.  I don’t say “I’m sorry.” I am sorry.  But, I don’t say that.  I want you to know I’m not sorry I got caught.  Instead, I apologize for what I did to you, and for what I failed to do for you.  I apologize for breaking my marriage vows to you.  I apologize for being a terrible friend, especially when you have always been the best friend and lover a man could want.  I beg your forgiveness.  I don’t expect it.  The things I did are really unforgivable.  Nonetheless, I beg your forgiveness.

I apologize for my selfishness, self-centeredness, and wallowing in self-pity, at your expense.  I apologize for our original wedding night, when I selfishly decided to be alone and pout rather than help you care for your beloved dog.  I made the story all about me. It should have been a wonderful entry in the story about us.  Did you feel lonely, unsupported, unloved, and abandoned that night?  I feel the tears welling up as I write this.  I apologize for hurting you.

I apologize for my demanding impatience.  I apologize for the time I yelled at you and embarrassed you in front of a friend, over a lost checkbook.  I must have made you feel humiliated and afraid.

I apologize for bringing a demon into our bedroom.  The demon was my sick obsessions, my insecurities, my insistence on comparing myself to you, to others, and to some sick, unrealistic ideal of masculinity I imagined.  I went out without you, looking for ways to cheat.  I demanded sex from you, in a senseless, selfish, unloving way.  I cheated on you with porn, cybersex, meeting people online and then hooking up with them for real, having affairs, and seeing prostitutes.  I made you feel nothing you did was good enough for me, in the bedroom, and in many other ways.  I took the joy out of sex for you. I made it a scary chore, making you fear my insecurities and demands.  I took a fun and beautiful thing that you deserved, and I ruined it for you.  I apologize.

I apologize for making you fear sex with me, fear sharing fantasies, and feel ashamed or unwanted.  You are the most beautiful woman in the world to me, and always have been.  I denied you that free and joyful affirmation for so many years. I robbed you of the fun, free, and beautiful sexual and romantic life we could have shared.  I made others feel they had that with me.  It should have been a holy thing, meant only for the two of us to share.  I desecrated it.  I apologize.

I apologize for calling you hurtful names and addressing you from my drunken, angry, self-pitying pit of evil.  I know that night, the one we both remember so well, made you feel hopeless.  You were alone, ashamed of our marriage falling apart, and heartbroken. You deserved such better treatment, such greater respect from me.  I apologize.

I apologize for making you afraid to be yourself.  With my insecurities, I showed jealousy instead of pride when you showed your natural mechanical abilities, strength, creativity, and skill at games.  I behaved like a selfish child, not a supportive friend and lover.  I made you feel afraid and unappreciated.  I made you fear being you.  I apologize.

I apologize for not appreciating you, thanking you, and praising you.  Time and time again, you sacrificed for us.  You thought we were in the struggle together, trying to improve our lot, as a team.  I took for granted all the instinctive, heartfelt, thoughtful, and loving support you gave me, from working at a place you hated to put me through graduate school to moving to disease-ridden, underdeveloped places in hopes that it would help my career.  You set aside your own career and independent hopes and dreams in favor of hopes and dreams for us.  Meanwhile, I let you down, thinking only about me; not counting my blessings, including the wonderful, caring sacrifices you made; and taking unfathomable, thoughtless risks that undermined the very goals for which you sacrificed.  In my blind self-centeredness, I missed a thousand opportunities to lovingly praise you, publicly or privately, even in small ways, or even to thank you for all your work, courage, and selflessness.  I apologize.

I apologize for failing to protect you, to proudly, confidently, and instinctively stand up for you in the face of my mother’s criticism and manipulation.  I cowardly avoided conflict, protecting myself instead of quickly, firmly, even calmly putting my mother in her place. Did you feel abandoned, in addition to feeling unfairly judged and attacked?  I apologize.

I apologize for my lies, to hide my corrupt thoughts and behaviors.  Moreover, I apologize for not being honest, trusting, and emotionally intimate; for not confiding in you.  How much of my downward spiral could I have prevented had I simply told you, right away, of my struggles with porn and masturbation?  Even later, when I feared to confide in you about my struggles with tobacco, I denied you the intimate honesty you needed to feel safe and that I needed in order to be a safe partner.  I apologize for that emotional cowardice.

I apologize for my intellectual arrogance, combined with intellectual and emotional laziness, that made me a poor listener and made me unproductive in my quest for mental health.  I should have worked longer and harder in counseling 18 or 19 years ago when I first tried it.  I should have worked sooner on it in recent years.  I should continue to think twice, and then again, when I hear you, to be sure I have effectively listened to you.  I apologize for not “doing the work” long, long ago.

I apologize for being a coward and a child in our bed, a coward for not taking the emotional risk of initiating physical intimacy between us, and a child for pouting, with the hopes of manipulating you into feeling sorry for me, foolishly believing that would persuade you to think more about “my needs.”  I viewed our relationship as a means for meeting my needs.  That got in the way of me actually loving you, regardless of needs.  I apologize for not properly and truly loving you.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have always wanted you, admired you, and been infatuated with you.  But, it wasn’t until after D-day that I learned to love anyone.  I love you, and only you.  I apologize for not doing so from day one.  I apologize for making everything focus on my needs.
I apologize for humiliating you.  Friends, colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances possibly knew or suspected I was betraying you.  Affair partners kept the dirty truth, right under your eyes.  You even feel shocked and humiliated by yourself, for not calling me out on possible signs of infidelity.  As much as my low self-esteem laid the foundation for my corrupt behavior, I have destroyed your self-esteem through humiliation.  I robbed you of your dignity in that manner.  How can we restore it?  Can we make affair partners, witnesses, or others view you without the lens of humiliation and stolen dignity?  Can they un-know what they know?  Can they not believe what they instinctively believe?  I don’t know.  I apologize for humiliating you, robbing you of your dignity, and de-humanizing you.  Just for being a human being, you deserved far better. Being my sworn mate, friend, and lover, I should have protected your honor, dignity, and humanity like priceless treasures.  That’s what they are.  I owe it to you to restore them.  I pray that I can.

I also destroyed your sense of safety, your self-confidence, and even your trust in your own instincts.  Always hyper-vigilant and never relaxed, you now question everything, not just my words and actions, but even your own.  You wonder why you tolerate our continued relationship, when even you would describe my crimes against you as a deal-breaker.  This makes you look poorly on yourself.  I apologize for the self-doubt I created in you, the peace of mind I destroyed, and stealing the calm joy and optimism with which you once approached life.

I apologize for the stolen memories, the damaged memories, and the tainted history of our story.    I took priceless heirlooms — your memories — and I spat on them, broke them, misplaced them, soiled them, and damaged them irreparably.  Where you once remembered shared experiences, adventures, trips, special occasions, quiet moments, and intimate discussions, you now wonder whether any of it was real.  You fear I was mentally with affair partners while physically with you.  You feel like you were with a stranger, an imposter, when you thought you had been with your friend.  You feel like you have no real past.  Your fear makes you feel there is no future.  That feels lonely, detached, and hopeless.  I apologize for robbing you of what should have been so many beautiful memories.

I apologize for bringing strangers into our home, and into our bed.  I stole your sanctuary and violated your home.  I desecrated a safe and holy place.  Safety is a most basic need.  I apologize for tearing it away from you.

I apologize for squandering time, energy, and money that was ours, not mine, to save, use, or manage.  Instead of spending time studying or working to better our condition — while you slaved away at hard jobs and then the thankless job of motherhood — I selfishly wasted the time on porn, prostitutes, and trysts.  Instead of protecting our money with integrity, I wasted thousands on prostitutes and affair partners.   I should have saved my energy for doing things with you and with our family.  I should have spent my time arriving home earlier to see you.  Instead, I exhausted myself and flushed that time down the toilet, out with prostitutes or affair partners or up in the middle of the night with porn.

Even now, it makes you feel cheated, like you wasted your time waiting for me. It makes you feel worthless, that I did not value and appreciate my time with you.  I apologize for giving so much time, money, and energy to others, and to myself, when it was rightfully yours.

I apologize for making you feel I hoarded my sense of fun and spontaneity, giving it to others instead of giving it to you.  You told yourself I was just a creature of routines, that I meant well but did not have spontaneity in me.  Your heart sank when you learned that I did do things that appeared fun and spontaneous with others, before I ever did them with you.  Trips, flowers, hotels, spas, and dinners appeared to effortlessly spring forth from my mind with affair partners, and never with you.  As much as I try to explain that I did all those things with affair partners to manipulate them into giving me sex and validation, to you the effect was the same:  they got a fun lover and you got nothing, you who deserved everything.  Even now, years after D-day and my new path of loving you, still I fail to do things with you that I had not already done with others.  Still I struggle to be spontaneous with you.  Even if you could accept that those spontaneous moments are real though rare in our new relationship, it hurts that you got too little, too late.  It feels like that injustice can never be righted. I know.  I apologize for not reserving my plans and trips and activities for you and only you. I apologize for helping others steal what belonged to you.  I love you so dearly.  I apologize for creating a situation where you can never fully believe that.

I apologize for the risks I imposed on you.  I exposed you and our children to the most dreadful diseases.  I risked getting caught by others, thereby humiliating your even deeper than I did.  In fact, I risked death, not only for you and me, but even for our children.  I apologize for putting you through those risks, especially without your knowledge and consent.  I had no right.    A good man doesn’t even put himself through those risks.  Only God can do that.  But, to subject an innocent spouse and kids, even as they loved me so innocently, was an unmatched act of selfishness, self-centeredness, and indifference, again and again.  I know you are shocked.  You can’t get over the fear — the horror — that I could do that, that you did not know about it, and that you fear it could happen again.  I apologize for risking your mind, body, and soul.  They are yours, not mine.  I honor them now, as I should have from day one.

I apologize for giving you herpes. Like so many of my risks, this one did result in consequences, for you, not just for me.  It makes you angry, that even without me you would be left with this unhappy physical reminder of my hurtful behavior.  It leaves you with a never ending reminder of my disregard for you.  It leaves you with your own shame, though my doing, a shame that will last even beyond our time together.  It is an unforgivable injury to you.  I apologize for hurting you, disregarding you, and failing to protect you.

I apologize for gradually drifting away from you, mentally and emotionally.  I became so oblivious to your feelings, your life, even your presence, that I stood by, numb and unaffected, as the maid, the one who was an affair partner, grew lazy, disobedient, and insolent, putting herself before you and our children.  I drifted along, clueless as I disappointed you on your birthday and countless other special occasions.  How easy it would have been for me to adjust my priorities, my focus, my love and attention, and be a bit later for work, come home a bit earlier, take time to meet you for lunch, or find any one of a thousand little ways to put you first, to be flexible, and to get the value equation right.  And, how important it was.  Toward the end, before D-day, I became so bad that we were just cohabitating, not living together as loving friends, intimately involved in each other’s lives. You felt lonely, and gradually that grew into resentment, hopelessness, and despair.  I apologize for emotionally abandoning you.

I apologize for leaving you out of my intimate circle, building walls between us.  The walls hid affair partners and lies.  The secret life behind those walls should have been for you, not for others to see.  You felt left out, lonely, and shut out. I apologize for living apart from you, emotionally, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with you and acting as a team.

I apologize for each lie, each cowardly failure to confide in you, each craven failure to defend and protect you, each betrayal, each stolen memory and squandered moment, each instance of working against us instead of for us, each precious right or privilege a wife deserves that I gave to others, each tear, each tremble of fear and despair, and each time your heart breaks.

TL, I am the most fortunate man in the world, to have such a wife as you.  I strive to be a worthy husband.  I apologize for doing that so little and so late.  You are the aspect of life I most appreciate.  Without you, nothing else would matter to me.

I apologize.  I beg your forgiveness.  If you can’t forgive me, I thank you for each moment, in the past, present, and hopefully the future.  I will never forget to appreciate you.  I love you.  Thank you for waiting for me to learn how to love.

TL, I love you.

MC

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16 thoughts on “MC: “Apology for infidelity.”

  1. Don’t give up the fight. If this letter is an honest representation of how you truly feel, don’t give up! Tell her every day that you are sorry for hurting her. And mean it! Reconciliation is possible. But you have to mean it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just want to let our readers know that I did read this last night and it was very meaningful to me. One morning, between first d-day and ultimate d-day, he had written a quick apology letter to me. I thought it was heart-felt, but it was based on hiding things still and so it always hurt deeply to think of that letter.

    Before reading this letter, I didn’t remember the checkbook incident at all. I did wonder last night how much I had blocked. I didn’t even realize I may have been doing so. To know that he remembered without us ever having talked about it, was somehow helpful. Is that weird?

    I do see, feel and hear his opening himself up to me, being more vulnerable to me a bit more each day. So, yes, the words of this letter are beautiful. And, while beautiful words are beautiful, it is not the words themselves that hit home here for me. I know he’s been working on this letter over the last month. The time, energy, effort and thought it took him to work on it; to think through it all and truly recognize not just what he took, but also what I gave; and to confront negatives that I had not even remembered, these are the things that speak to me most of all.

    So, thank you MC. I do recognize the vulnerability involved in writing this and sharing it with me and our readers. I do see how far you’ve come in being vulnerable, not letting fear stop you. I do. And, I am glad that you are by my side as I learn to feel safe enough to be vulnerable again, to love again, to live again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Is this something you just write and shared with us And TL?

    I only ask, because I wonder how long it took for you realize all the ‘things’ you cheated he out of.
    I got a diplomatic apology. ” I’m so sorry… I love you and want to stay married. but of coarse, things were not so good before, so I cheated for a long fucking time (he don’t think he saysaffair because he still doesn’t think that’s what he did)

    Like

    1. Rac,

      Thanks for asking. Our D-day, when TL first discovered my infidelity, was July 21, 2012. I first wrote TL an apology quite early, in August 2012. Then we experienced what we call our ultimate D-day, September 13, 2012, when TL learned that I had committed years of affairs and cheating, not just one affair. That first letter came to represent sadness and still hiding myself from her.

      We took the Affair Recovery class together later that year. The class had me face and express 40 of the costs of my infidelity to her, I then had to read it to her and our class. It was a good start toward truly understanding what I had done to TL.

      Over the course of the next two and a half years I tried to rewrite my original apology letter. It felt incomplete, but neither of us could really identify why.

      This letter I wrote on the blog was my latest attempt. I spent several weeks last month writing it before I showed TL. Unlike the previous apology letters, we now realize this one addressed three core components: recognition and remorse for each thing I did that hurt her, understanding of how she feels about each of those events, and recognition of all the sacrifices she undertook for our marriage both before and after d-day. I had never before tied these all together in one place, in an apology. You might say this apology letter evolved over the course of the last three years.

      If I may, your husband’s line about “things were not so good before” is worrisome. Does he mean that he uses that line to justify his affair in his own mind? Does that mean he gives himself permission to do it again if things again become “not so good?” Maybe that’s not what he meant. If it is what he meant, he would be wise to seek some class, counselor, reading, religious counsel, or the like in order to learn and accept that there is no justification for his affair.

      Your husband may be victim-blaming. TL acknowledged today that I did not victim-blame after d-day. She asked why I did not. I had to think about it a while. First, I did not blame TL because it was crystal clear to me that she would end our marriage if I tried to blame her. Second, several counselors, books, and classes reinforced the idea that victim-blaming would destroy my chances of reconciling with TL. Third, after three-years of counseling, in one form or another, it is clear to me that victim-blaming was actually a cause of my infidelity. Instead of taking responsibility for my unhappiness about life, I had blamed TL, God, and others and used that to justify my infidelity.

      Other problems in a marriage may be a separate issue. But, responding with infidelity shows a need for a better understanding of love. Love is, to paraphrase Rick Reynolds, not about your mate meeting your needs. It is about accepting your mate, imperfections and all, and choosing to love them regardless.

      If he doesn’t call it an “affair,” what term does he use? It doesn’t matter. Infidelity is infidelity. I’m just curious.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So I guess I’ll try to keep this short…

    My husband ..last time we discussed the affair he stated that he wishes I would call it a “mistake” he doesn’t like when I call it an affair and insists that the whole thing was “nothing” the texts and sex and years …. All nothing.

    He’s admitted that if I never say another word about the affair, he wouldn’t either.

    He has not told a single soul about his “mistake”

    It’s been almost 11 months.

    He blames fucking her inderectly… On me. “Because we had a sexless marriage” (that’s a whole issue unto itself) although he did apologize and take full responsibility for the mistake 😏 I hope you can read my tone…

    So you’re wondering we he and I are now? Time-warped back to pre-discovery to anyone looking in… We went thru the whole hysterical bonding for a while and have eased back into an essentially sexless marriage. Really nothing’s changed.

    Except I know and now I’m totally broken inside, But you can’t see that. And I’m really good at building walls and faking.

    My husband knows divorce is a real and potential outcome. I’ve been insistent that it’s not a threat, and don’t use it as one. But it is a safety valve. I don’t have to fake it forever. And I won’t.

    He also knows that reconciling is a potential outcome. I think he believes that’s what we’re doing. The truth is.. We really aren’t doing anything…

    He knows I’m not in love with him. I’ve told him twice. He’s never asked or acknowledged me saying “I’m not in love with you” … Just typing that crushes my heart and makes me tearful.

    I’ve been silent on my blog this summer… Lurking around and reading other blogs but not even responding much. Sort of creeping.

    Aren’t you and TL lucky I responded!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Thanks for the reply. There’s a lot I could say. I’ll try not to preach.

      How do you feel about him not calling it an “affair?” I think he’s doing what we call rug-sweeping. It seems like he’s trying really hard to bury his head in the sand, pretend like it didn’t happen, and hope you’ll eventually forget about it, I don’t think that will work. I had that same instinct at first. It’s a natural instinct. But, with counseling, classes, and desperation to help TL, I soon saw that hoping she would forget it was hopeless and that avoiding calling it by its true name and discussing it deeply would do more harm than good.

      TL and I have had three years of lengthy, repetitive, angry, tearful, excruciating talks. I hated it. I think she did too. And, it’s not over. But, it’s helping. Little by little, the talks are getting fewer, gentler, shorter, and more loving. Even the tears are more loving. Through these talks, I think, we’ve actually been repairing some of the damage (my damage) to our relationship that led me to lie and cheat in the first place. I spent decades trying to hide my problems from TL. That tore us apart. Talking about my infidelity honestly is actually helping bring us together.

      Are either of you in counseling? Classes? In any case, he won’t be a true friend and lover for you unless and until he can talk about the affair with you on his own initiative, without your prodding or reminding.

      In your view, why was the marriage sexless?

      I wanted very much to call our marriage sexless and to blame it on TL. The short version of the truth is that I had made our marriage seem sexless in several ways. First, I made TL afraid to have sex with me. I used to be unable to control my insecurities, constantly comparing myself to her previous lovers, or comparing myself to TL. I would get depressed, freaked out, distant, or pouty, worrying about whether the sex TL and I had just had was good enough for her, worrying about how she would rate my abilities or my performance, or questioning her about past experiences in an obsessive, irrational way.

      Second, I was so concerned with having sex and then telling myself I had had sex that I rushed through friendship and foreplay and probably made TL feel I was just checking a box or going through a routine, with no more connection than when brushing my teeth or commuting to work.

      Third, when TL occasionally said she was not in the mood, I blew that out of proportion in my mind, got angry about it, and determined to not seek sex from her again until she initiated it first, obsessively vowing to myself not to sacrifice my pride by initiating sex at the risk of being rejected.

      Fourth, I got so deep into porn, masturbation, and adultery that they became an alternative to a healthy, courageous, grown-up, loving, honest, open, and vulnerable sex life with TL.

      Fifth, even when TL and I did have good sex, I told myself it was not enough. I didn’t count my blessings. I looked at the glass as half empty. Learning to count my blessings has been an important part of me becoming safer for TL, happier, and more involved in my relationship with TL.

      I wonder whether any of these trends, or others, played a role in your “sexless ” marriage. If so, addressing them is crucial to preventing more infidelity and to learning to love each other.

      Believe me, I understand and I know what it means to be broken inside. I saw what it did to TL.

      It’s good that your husband knows divorce is on the table. But, if you are not talking honestly, frequently, and painfully about his affair and its effects, you are not reconciling. You’re just rug sweeping, marking time, and burying your heads in the sand.

      Do you want to be in love with him? It’s OK if you don’t. Does he say he’s in love with you?

      In fact, with help from Rick Reynolds (I’m really not a paid advertiser), TL and I learned that love is not something you fall into or fall out of. Real love is always a choice. A person does not exist to meet their mate’s needs. Before D-day, I thought a lot about whether TL was meeting my needs for sex and validation. After D-day, I learned that viewing TL that way was not love.

      No mate is perfect. Before D-day, I was angry and depressed that TL was not perfect. Real love is accepting the other person, imperfections and all, and choosing to love them anyway.

      Couples meet each other’s needs because they want to do so. Before D-day, I thought about what I was getting. I gave no thought to what I was giving.

      Real love does not end the story, with “happily ever after.” It begins the story, with joy, sadness, pain, sacrifice, adoration, admiration, nurturing, caring, and friendship. Sometimes real love hurts. It may not be for everybody. It may not be worth it for everybody. I’m glad I chose it, finally. By this definition, I did not learn to love TL, or anyone, until after D-day. I was about to say I only loved myself. In fact, one problem that led me to lie and cheat was that I didn’t even love myself.

      You said that you are not in love with him. Do you want to love him? Does he want to love you?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yesterday, I found you and your wife’s blog and found your letter of apology to your wife. I pressed the like button but today I want to expand upon the impact it has had on my thinking and feeling. I want you to know that I found it incredibly moving. Thank you. It deeply touched my heart and the place where I am with my husband following his infidelity.

    Naturally, some of the more specific apologies are unique to you and your wonderful wife but some of the more general ones are fairly universal. It’s like you ‘get it’, REALLY ‘get it’. I read parts of it to my husband and it brought tears to both of us. He is no wordsmith and begs me to judge him by his actions rather than any words (which I do in the main, and is why we are well on the road of recovery after three years) but he did say that your words resonate fully with him and if he possessed them he would want to say something very similar.

    Your letter to your wife, strangely, has made me see my husband in a softer light – your words have mirrored how he has made me feel about his remorse for what he did and I think I needed to feel this. I had not realised, until reading your letter how very powerful, genuine remorse is. It’s a soothing balm that washes over the wounds and scars of adultery like nothing else can.

    It is my intention to weave some of your letter into a blog post of my own. I will clearly identify that they are your words and cite your blog. I trust that this is OK with you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much. It means a lot to us!

      MC is at work, I’m off to a counseling session soon, but just wanted to say, “please feel free to use any thoughts from R4L that you think might be useful in some way to someone.”

      More from MC later.

      TL xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you TL. I’ve tweaked the letter somewhat to suit my context but I’m confident that it has not affected the deeper message of remorse. It is so unique to you both but its universal sensitivity really resonates with me. I have completed a blog post which juxtaposes the never ending and painful whys of adultery that we BSs struggle with, with the healing benefits of genuine remorse that is incredibly articulated in your post. https://marriagerecoveryblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/adultery-there-are-no-satisfactory-answers-to-why-but-genuine-remorse-can-heal-the-scars/
        I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog. Once again, a million thank yous for sharing your reconciliation stories. I wish you both love and best wishes for your future together.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. We may be unique in our details, but universal in our pain. I so appreciate being able to share with others in triumphs, struggles and strategies. Wishing you both love and happiness too.

    Liked by 1 person

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