There’s no point in sugar-coating things or dancing around the issue: I’ve been having an affair with a close friend of mine for nearly four years, a secret shame I probably would have gone to my grave with (telling myself that it was to protect all those who might be impacted, of course).
Folks wanted me to wait awhile before talking about this and I heeded their advice. I needed to tend to my family, however belatedly. I needed to approach a few other people who were at ground zero of all of this, the ones impacted most by my deceit and betrayal of trust. And I needed some time to think about things. It’s not like there’s a “good” time to come out about this. I’m still processing, actually, which is why I’m writing (read: you can feel free to comment, but I may not respond directly).
There’s no excusing it: it is what it is. I’m the hypocrite people think of when they think/talk about Christians, preachers, priests. Saying “at least we never went ‘all the way’” doesn’t ameliorate anything. Only going part way down a road doesn’t make it any better.
I know there will be the pulling away of some relationships. I know well-intentioned folks will be a chorus of “I knew it would happen” or “I knew it was going on.” I know that the … less-than-well-meaning folks will be quick to pick over my bones. Even now, I can feel my pride wanting to be defiant. Not wanting to give those who I’ve rubbed the wrong way over the years (and there are MANY) a moment of gloating. But there’s no room for defensiveness or angry retorts. The only posture allowed is the posture of contrition and accepting what’s coming. And living with it. Owning it.
It’s difficult realizing you’re not the person you thought you were. Or that you’re not the person others thought you were. Or, worse, you are the person some people feared you were. But the fact of the matter is that I have failed. I failed to be the husband I promised to be. I failed to be the father and example I hoped to be. I failed to be the friend I wanted to be. I failed to be the leader I was supposed to be. The worst part is, it’s not like I haven’t been here before. I’ve not made a secret of nearly wrecking my marriage six months into it. Doing the math, that’s half of our nine year marriage spent in one degree of infidelity or another. Which also means that much of what I have built over the years have been constructed on lies so maybe I am long overdue for having it all torn down.
I just wish so many didn’t have to pay the price for my sin.
I think of all the folks I’ve hurt and disappointed. I want to vomit. I’m out of tears. I’m out of lost sleep. I’m out of lost appetite. All the things which would have been a lot better served and thought of before hand. I’ve been quietly praying for some other tragedy to occur to distract from all of this, maybe place me in a sympathetic light, or even my untimely demise to spare me from facing folks. Because at heart, I’m a coward.
I’m weak, I’m corruptible, I’m fallible. I’m human. I’ve made a mess of things. But I have to believe there is hope for redemption.
Part of me doesn’t want to do the whole weeping, “I have failed” type blog or speech. Contrition is easy. Mostly what folks are contrite about is getting caught. After that, everything seems like self-serving spin control. Writing a blog is relatively easy because I’m doing it from the safety of my couch. Alone. Facing those I’ve hurt … there are long days ahead.
No amount of apologizing will make things right. Asking for forgiveness isn’t I’m sorry. It’s recognizing your offense before your Maker and people you’ve sinned against. Just like repentance involves a owning the impact of your actions and changing directions. Right now, I am numb to the point of deadness. I have often been less than sympathetic to self-created messes, even my own. But I’ve been informed that a self-inflicted wound is still a wound.
The bottom line is that I feel like I have no right to ask forgiveness from anyone. But I’m going to ask it anyway.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Secret Lives, Secret Shame