Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Q: Earlier This Year I Had an Illicit Fling. Should I Tell My Husband? We've Been Married for Two Years. Sex in the City

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Q: Earlier This Year I Had an Illicit Fling. Should I Tell My Husband? We've Been Married for Two Years. Sex in the City

Article excerpt

Esther Walker SAYS...

WHAT baffles me is not why you had an affair but why you bothered getting married in the first place.

In modern society, marriage is entirely optional. You no longer need to be married in order to have sex, in order to live together without being judged, for the social status of your children or to be entitled to the now-defunct married couples' allowance.

Getting married now only means one thing: that you want to make a voluntary commitment to someone. You really want to say -- to declare -- in front of lots of people: "We are together and I won't cheat on this person." If you don't fancy making that kind of commitment to someone, and you clearly don't, then why do it? No one would think the less of you for it -- not seriously -- and you'd save an awful lot of cash.

So marriage is now a mark of commitment only and yet you are able, before even your paper wedding anniversary, to give yourself physically to someone else (someone who didn't even mean much). Then what's the point of staying married? What was the point of ever being married? I do sympathise: often, having sinned is as awful as being sinned against and I'm sure you're suffering. But it doesn't sound to me like this marriage is going anywhere, even if you have convinced yourself that your fling was just a silly mistake.

The thing is, if you love someone, you don't cheat on them. It's not because you love them so much that you never fancy anyone else, that's just babyish. You don't do it because the horror you feel at the idea of humiliating and betraying this special person stops idle thoughts of illicit fumblings from becoming a live act of infidelity.

It doesn't sound like there are any children involved so I can't see any reason why you shouldn't confess everything to your husband. If you want to stay with him and are prepared to take your wedding vows seriously in the future, and if he is willing to forgive you, then you can start afresh and avoid being driven mad with guilt.

But if the confession leads to a split, you can think carefully about whether you are the marrying kind. …

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