DEAR JANE: I’ve been hiding a terrible secret from my husband for 26 YEARS – the guilt is going to drive me crazy

Dear Jane,

I married my husband 26 years ago this week, but all those years I kept a terrible secret from him.

Six months before we got married, I developed what you might call cold feet.

We’d been together since I was sixteen, I’d never really been in a relationship with another man, and it suddenly dawned on me that I would never have that opportunity again in the future when we were officially husband and wife. I would also like to point out that I wouldn’t want that opportunity either.

I love my husband, I have loved him throughout our entire marriage. But when I was young, I didn’t really understand how the world works, that when you find love, you should hold on to it and not run in the other direction.

But running is exactly what I did: straight into the arms of another man.

I had been saving myself for marriage, which had always been my plan and something my husband and I talked about a lot. But something came over me in this other relationship, I got caught up in the excitement and secrecy and ended up having sex for the first time with a man who wasn’t my husband.

Dear Jane, I have been hiding a devastating secret from my husband for almost thirty years. The guilt is eating me up, but I’m afraid that telling me will destroy our marriage.

I finally came to my senses and broke things off – about four months before my wedding. And I was lucky – or so I thought – that my husband never noticed what was going on. On my wedding night, when we had sex, I pretended to scream in pain to continue the charade.

Almost thirty years have passed since then; my husband and I have welcomed two wonderful children, and we have lived an incredible life together. One that we can hopefully continue for many years to come.

But the thing is, over the past few years, the guilt over what I did started to eat me inside. My husband often talks about our “special” first night together, and how much it means to him to know that I was so in love with him, that he was the only person I ever wanted to be with.

Every time he brings it up, I nod and smile, and usually try to shut him up with a kiss. But inside, my insides are like a pit full of tar. I feel horrible and dirty and desperate to scrub myself clean.

International bestselling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her column Dear Jane agony aunt

International bestselling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her column Dear Jane agony aunt

The guilt inside me seems to grow every day – and I feel like I’ll burst if I don’t confess. Then I realize what it could mean to tell my husband, and I just start sobbing.

How could I have been so foolish as to think that I could risk my marriage and the life I have built to relieve myself of this guilt?

Round and round in circles I go: tell him and risk him ending our marriage? Or live with the never ending guilt?

What would you do?


Hidden guilt

Dear Hidden Guilt,

Congratulations on our 26th anniversary – what a remarkable achievement in today’s times.

You and your husband clearly have a great marriage, despite carrying a terrible secret.

Hidden guilt, your secret isn’t that terrible. While it’s not something that everyone can recommend, given that you met your husband at the age of 16, I imagine that it would have made perfect sense for you as a very young, innocent woman to have sex with someone else. experienced.

I’m sorry that the weight of this secret is still with you; it’s high time you put the secret to bed now.

Although I do not condone secrets in marriages, you were still very young, your decision did not lead to children, and it all happened a very long time ago. The right path forward in any difficult situation is always the path that causes the least pain to everyone involved.

Right now you are experiencing pain, but spreading the secret will only cause more pain and devastation, and I can’t see what good it will do other than relieve you of your burden.

Let go of that burden and focus on your marriage to what sounds like a wonderful man.