Posted by: Jack Hope | Wednesday April 18, 2012

The Verdict

Dear Terry,

There is only one inescapable conclusion, only one possible thing to do now.

Your honour, I plead guilty. 

When my Doctor asked me about whether I was feeling any sense of guilt in my last appointment, I lied to him.  It’s become a reflex action.  In truth too, I didn’t really connect it with my depression, since my depression pre-dates my sense of guilt by years, a full decade.  In a way, although I did lie, I also didn’t really think that it was relevant.

That I am guilty can no longer be avoided or evaded.  The time has come for me to allocute to my transgressions. 

It feels good to say it now, in a perverse kind of way.  To let it out.  To tell the truth.  I have never told anyone before now.  Not any friend or family member.  I was scared about how I would be judged, about how others would look at me.  I didn’t want to be ‘that guy.’  I suppose throughout this entire experience, I should have learnt that stubborn pride won’t save me from being ‘that guy.’

I confess that during the last six months of my relationship I was, on several occasions, unfaithful to my former partner.

I don’t think it had really occurred to me just how much this has been gnawing at me.  Like everything else, it’s been festering inside of me.  This whole ‘experience’ (How do I sum up a period of my life stretching from my teens to early thirties?) seems to be forcing me to face all of my demons, all of the things that have lingered unresolved in my life.  It’s time for me to excise these emotional cancers that are holding me back.

I was dishonest to Peter on many occasions, lying about where I had been and whom I had been with.  I did not tell Peter about my wrongdoings either during the relationship or at any time after the relationship had ended.  I was unfaithful to Peter with more than one other individual.  

I can offer lots of excuses, that our relationship was already breaking down and crashing.  That I was too stubborn to let it go, which I should have done.  That I was too afraid to go on by myself.  That I was just acting out my frustrations.  None of it matters.

I broke my word.  I was dishonest to the person I have loved more than any other in my life.  I offer no defense for my actions, there are no excuses for my actions and there are no mitigating factors.

I don’t think Pete ever had any idea what he was getting into when he started seeing me.  I know now that I certainly had no idea what I was getting into.  The truth is, he evened me out in a lot of ways.  He made the bad days bearable and the good days even happier.  But we were never going to work out.  He never knew what to make of me, sometimes so despondent and lost, but at other times off on some new tangent.

I alone am responsible. 

For all I know Pete may have done the same thing to me.  Things were certainly bad enough that it might have happened.  I don’t think I would have actually blamed him.  His leaving was always about the emotional betrayal more than anything else.  It would be easy to forgive him, although maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.

I do not ask for forgiveness for my deceit.  My actions were unforgivable and I deserve the things that have befallen me as a result. 

It’s so easy to forgive others.  Why is it so very hard to forgive myself?

I only share the truth now, so as to finally relieve myself of the burden of bearing this secret.  Nothing can undo what I have done.  Nothing can take the shame I have felt from me.   

The truth of the matter is that even after all of this time there is still a Pete shaped hole in my life.  It’s not that I want the relationship back.  It’s beyond obvious that it was not a sustainable relationship, even if it was undeniably good for me for a long time.  But I still miss him.  He was one of my best friends and I miss that.  My life is poorer for not having Pete in it in some capacity.

I only hope that in small way this confession relieves my guilt enough that it no longer hinders my recovery from clinical depression.

I’m getting used to it though, to not getting what I want out of life.  Maybe that’s why I’m not getting better: at the end of the day, it’s just easier to get used to things rather than fight to make them better.

Although I do not deserve to be relieved of my guilt. 

The irony is despite how horrible I still feel about all of this, despite how much shame and self-loathing I feel about all of it, I am pretty damn sure that Pete would not want me to live my life this.  We may not have parted on the best of terms, but I have no doubt that he would not want me to live like this, even if he knew the truth.

I cannot forget what I have done, nor can I forgive myself for this. 

I don’t know how I am going to deal with this.  Add it to the pile, I suppose.  Sometimes, this all starts to feel so narcissistic, worrying about my own emotional stuff.  I feel like I want to be doing more for others now.  That feeling seems to be getting stronger all the time.

I am guilty. 

With all my love,

Jack

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Responses

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about this babe, I won’t say “forgive yourself” as that comes with time and self-acceptance. Many, many years ago, I was cheated on over and over, and at the time was blissfully unaware. After 20 years, I met up with that ex, confronted what he had said and done to me, got it all out in the open, and now we remain on good terms. We may not be able to ‘get over’ these things, but acceptance is a beautiful thing x x x

  2. This is clearly painful stuff to be blogging about. I feel quite honoured that you’re brave enough to share it.

    I agree with Carrie. I feel you’re being much too hard on yourself. Going to bed with someone other than your main partner (which is what I assume you mean by “unfaithful”), and not being open about it is usually just a symptom of other things that are missing from the relationship for you.

    I’m not saying that it’s not likely to be painful to your partner if you’ve agreed not to do this and have also hidden the fact by lying. But it happens all the time Jack. Indeed some partners accept that they may occasionally go to bed with other people.. and find ways of accommodating this and minimising any negative feelings.

    I’m wondering whether these extreme feelings of guilt are just part of the deep depression (it’s a key symptom after all). Or (and with apologies for playing amateur psychiatrist here) I wonder if they might derive from previous events where you felt extreme guilt and inadequacy? Again, might counselling or another talking therapy possibly uncover the reasons for what I really feel is a *disproportionate* sense of remorse here?

    What do you think?

    Take care, Phil


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