I Had an Affair and I Can’t Move Past It

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Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am tormented due to an affair I had 20 years ago. I did not love him and only became involved with him because my self-esteem was so low. I was the reason he and his wife split and I have never been able to forgive myself. I know God has forgiven me but I can't seem to get past it. How can I successfully let this go?

Sincerely,

Forever Tormented

Dear Tormented,

If only we could go back in time and re-do one thing or re-consider one decision... perhaps even change one mistake we made. I wonder what would I re-do, or what mistake would I change? I now realize doing so would prevent me from knowing my own human-ness and coming to grips with my own human frailties. I have many -- we all do.

Here's the deal: we can't keep beating ourselves up about decisions, choices and even mistakes we've made. Think about it this way: our rearview mirrors are small for a reason. If we try to drive forward while looking in the rearview mirror we will surely have a collision, and very quickly.

You had an affair, and from the tone of your letter, it goes against your value system, something you're not proud of. You even feel like the affair caused the divorce of the other person, but maybe the affair was just another symptom of an even bigger problem in this marriage. After all, some marriages survive infidelity, right?

In other words, there could be many other reasons his marriage ended in divorce, so don't continue to beat yourself up about the part you played. You did not do this single-handedly. On the other hand, I'm glad you are taking responsibility for your actions, which is a big part of healing. I'm on your side, and it’s time for you to stop looking in your rearview mirror... move forward.

Continue to spend time with family and friends who love you. Feel free to use me as a sounding board at any time. Stay in touch!

Sincerely,

Ms. Vicki

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