Lately, I've been haunted by my past. Over a year ago I cheated on my husband in a one night stand. I never told him, and I have no intentions of him ever finding out. I have never and will never put myself in that situation again, but I still can't move past the overwhelming guilt of what I did. It would absolutely destroy my husband to find out the truth, so telling him isn't an option. I can barely get through the day right now. How can I deal with these feelings and rid myself of these demons?
— Haunted Helena
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Dear Haunted Helena,
While I personally believe that the person who's been cheated on has a right to know that they've been betrayed, it sounds like you've made your decision to keep mum and have no plans to rethink that.
In terms of getting over the guilt, there's no solution that I know of, except forgiveness (of yourself), which is going to take time. In the meantime, you need to learn how to cope enough so that you can get through your day. Have you thought about confiding in a therapist or trusted friend so you can at least get some of the guilt off your chest? Unfortunately, what's done is done, and you can't change that, so stop obsessing. Every time one of these negative thoughts about guilt or shame start, pull away from the past. Turn your attention to the present moment and what kind of life you want for your family's future, and start taking the steps necessary to make that future happen. When it comes to cheating, there's never an easy answer, so the best thing you can do is try to be a better person for your husband and yourself.