Dear Heart to Heart, I am a 53-year-old man and had an affair with one of my colleagues for a year. I have been married for 20 years and have two children. I ended the extramarital affair six months back but the guilt has been driving me crazy. I want to tell my wife and apologise to her. How should I do it? Anonymous
Margaret Mukiibi. Before you go any further, stop to consider what your wife will go through upon hearing you cheated on her. The fact that you chose someone else over her could make her feel unloved. She will wonder why she was not good enough for you to love her and could even blame herself. She could be terrified. “What will the future bring next? Will we be divorced?
You need to approach this carefully and sensitively.
Mathew Musoke. A lot of people believe that sometimes it is better to keep it a secret because it is useless unburdening your guilt on your partner. But when you have an extramarital affair, you break the most important aspect of your marriage, trust. And when you keep it a secret, you destroy trust completely. But most importantly, you need to work on what prompted you to have an extramarital affair in the first place. Some do it because they have a ‘mid-life’ crisis, others because they grow emotionally detached from their spouse. You need to find the trigger and work on your marriage. If needed, you should get help from professional counsellors.
Anitah Nabuduwa. Meet her in a conducive place and break the sad news. You will regret in the short run but with time that guilt will fade into relief. I assure you that guilt will dwell in your house forever until you tell her the truth. It is like a boil that needs to be pressed to release the painful puss. She will be hurt and might even hate you but stand by her side and show her that it is her that you want.
Phoebe Miriam. Cheating erodes love and trust. The day you open your mouth will be the end of love and trust in your marriage. Women do not easily leave their marriages but she will cease to regard you in the same way. It is best to repent and change your ways but telling her might just lead to a divorce.
Jane woods. First, I think what you want to do is admirable. It is a good sign that you want to confess and apologise for your mistake. But I want you to ponder over this; do you want to confess because the burden of your act is giving you sleepless nights? Or, because you truly regret what you have done? Only you can answer this question and I hope it is because you are truly repentant.
David Nsokwa. There is nothing as good as a simple ‘sorry’. The best way to let her know is when the children are away and you know that there would not be a third person to interrupt you. Tell her everything and answer all her questions honestly. Also, do not forget to mention why you ended the affair and I believe you did so because you realised the importance of your family and how much you love your wife and your children. She might be angry and may not even talk to you for days. Different people react differently to such situations. But give her some time. Let her absorb the news.
Joanita Nangendo. Why the guilt now? If you did not tell her then, do not bother her now. To me, it seems like you just want to transfer your burden so that your wife carries the guilt of having to choose whether to leave you or stay.
Patricia Aseerait. If you have changed, pray to God to keep you away from cheating again. If your wife knows nothing about you cheating, keep your mouth shut, love your wife and family. All will be well. Some things are better kept to oneself since telling the truth might lead to dire consequences such as divorce.
Nicodemus Duhimbaze. So many things are at stake. Confession releases the prisoner. Ask God for wisdom. When repercussions come, stand your ground and in the process you will be refined.
James Baguma. I think you should take your secret to the grave. Do not ruin your wife’s happiness since what she does not know cannot affect her.
Moses Okurut. I believe that if something will lead to the break up of your home, then you are better off lying. The only thing I would advise you to do is to never cheat again. What if you end up getting diseases and infecting your wife?
Christine Nattabi. Do not tell her because she will heap all the blame on to herself and no matter what you say or do, she will believe that she is not enough, that she was second to another woman, that she failed you. She will wait everyday for it to happen again, she will be afraid everyday that you will want someone else. Just let her be and do not cheat again.
Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, counselling psychologist
Telling your wife the truth is vital
Dear Anonymous, telling your wife about what happened is very vital and will help you overcome the guilt. However, the level of communication is key. If you have chosen to tell your wife, you need to find a gentle and humane way to break the news. You need to choose the right words to use and anticipate the right mood.
If she is the type that overreacts, you need to take a lot of time preparing and once you think the time is ripe, let her know. Your behaviour should, however, show that you have changed and will never cheat again. If you do not change, this will open up old wounds and your wife will start recalling what happened in the past.
Give her the assurance that you have called off the extramarital affair and that you need her support to help you overcome it. This will help you regain her trust and will also help you take away the guilt but also remember to be true to yourself and to her that you do not make the same mistake again.