J. and I celebrated four years together this past weekend. It feels good to be starting another year together; we've come so far in the last four years, and it's nice to look forward to all the things we want to do and accomplish, both individually and as a couple. If all goes according to plan, in 2013 J. will finish his associates degree and we'll take our first trip together. I hope - and am determined - that 2013 will be a good year for us.
Milestones always make me reflect on my past, though. I try not to have regrets, believing that they're basically useless - the point is to make better choices in the future. But we all have a few things that eat at us: things we wish we'd done or said, or said or done differently. One can't get through life without a few of those. My biggest regret still gnaws at me sometimes, and that's what I've been contemplating the past few days.
I wasn't faithful to R. when we were married.
Phew, that is *hard* to say out loud! I've only told a select few people about this until now; even R. doesn't know (as far as I know). I'm deeply ashamed of my poor choices, and I fully believe that my marriage fell apart because of the secret I was keeping. It was karma. Granted, I think the marriage had a short sell-by date anyway, but my outside relationship didn't help. Now, though, I think I *need* to talk about it. I need to own this mistake. I need to publicly acknowledge that I committed one of the biggest betrayals a person can commit, and take whatever flak comes from that.
Looking back, the most important question we can ask ourselves is, "Why?" If we don't want to repeat our mistakes, we have to understand why we made them in the first place. The easy answer is to say that something was lacking in my marriage, that I felt unfulfilled in some way...and that's probably true, to an extent. But the bottom line is that I allowed myself to be tempted. I put myself in a position that a married person should never allow themselves to be, and my willpower was no match for that slippery slope.
I'll probably always feel guilt for my actions. I know I can't change what I did, and that there's no point in beating myself up over it. But guilt can be a good thing. At least I know it will keep me from making the same mistake ever again.