I am a single woman who knowingly had an affair with a married man. At first I thought our love made us the exception to the rule.
Eventually I learned there is no right way to do the wrong thing. I broke it off and I plan to move to another city within a year.
Although I am not personally acquainted with the wife, I know who she is and she knows who I am. She knew about the affair, and I knew she was not okay with it (it’s not an open marriage scenario).
As I grow more deeply aware of how wrong my actions were, I am considering writing a letter of apology to the wife—something short and to the point saying I am truly sorry for interfering in her marriage, and I apologize for the harm I caused. It would not convey any information she doesn’t already know, just an apology for the affair she knows we had.
Is this a good idea? I have never heard of anyone doing this before. On one hand, she might appreciate an honest acknowledgement of my/our wrongdoing. On the other hand, the apology might reopen old wounds.
Dyan, if you write her a note, you will be fashioning your own scarlet letter.
The wife will have physical proof, your confession, in her hand. That proof could end up on social media where any employer can find it. Or three years from now, when she finally divorces her husband, it could suddenly appear and make you a trending topic on Twitter.
Even if his wife destroys it as soon as she receives it, the note will be a sword hanging over your head forever. Then again, she might just send it to your fiancé’s family on the eve of your wedding.
A good part of his wife’s anger has been laid on you. That is how she manages the tricky task of staying with him. Wouldn’t she see your apology as self-serving? Wouldn’t she think, this woman is trying to clear her conscience? Wouldn’t she think, this does not undo what she has done to me?
His wife may also think, this note was meant to hurt me. She could take it as another assault on herself. The final cut.
The real issue is your deeper motivation. Is there something between you and this man that makes you want to write? The relationship didn’t go where you wanted it to go, or you were no longer getting what you wanted. Is it a final attempt to hurt him?
Or are you grappling with why you did something you knew was wrong?
That’s a lesson you have to learn for yourself. You won’t learn that lesson by telling the wife or by kicking him around. If you knew it was wrong and did it anyway, what was your why? That’s what you didn’t tell us.
That’s also what the innocent party wants to know. Why did you give yourself permission to couple with my husband? Why did my husband give himself the right to couple with you?
The innocent party seldom gets the answer, but if they do, they may be incapable of understanding it. If you are not a cheater, how do you understand cheating?
Your proposed note is like a dormant bomb after a war. It may or may not explode. It may or may not maim someone.
Don’t send it. Instead, do more soul-searching. Face up to why you cheated with him in the first place.
~ Wayne & Tamara
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Wayne & Tamara answer as many letters as they possibly can.