64: The Ugly: Secrets and Lies

Shame involves an internalized feeling of being exposed and humiliated. Shame is different from guilt. Shame is a feeling of badness about the self. Guilt is about behavior — a feeling of “conscience” from having done something wrong or against one’s values.

Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.

This is my 7th attempt to write about the cycle of shame and guilt in two months. I keep trying to write on this topic but it keeps getting stuck behind Anxiety’s firewall.


As such, my list becomes wordy and wandering, philosophical or defensive. However, I want to write about it because what is hidden can be used against me by my own shame and by others as blackmail.

My infidelity had three parts:

  1. The act
  2. The secrets I kept
  3. The lies I told

I’m also going to create two sections entitled “General Shitheadery” and “Miscellaneous Issues.”

To keep it simple I’m going to make a list of the lies I told and the secret I kept. It will not be an exhaustive list. They will be one sentence and with minimal editing. The list will include pre- and post-discovery behaviors. Some of the things I list below are shame, guilt, and general shitheadery.

Some will be in code that only C or K will understand.

The Act

  • My first act of sleeping with K was opportunistic and not premeditated
  • The other five to six times I slept with K over the following two years driven by fatalistic, self-destructive, and shameful belief I was not worthy of C or K’s Partnership and eventually I would be caught
  • My sexual acts with K were over for nearly 13 months when K called C the day after Thanksgiving, 2017
  • Click here to read a more extensive explanation of Why as I currently understand my actions

The Secrets I Kept

FB_IMG_1523223257033.jpgThe Secrets I Kept From C

  • I was still living with K when we were dating
  • Dating C while I was still negotiating the end of my marriage with K
  • The details of my divorce settlement
  • Buying a New Yorker subscription for K as a Christmas gift
  • Breaking my vow of No Secrets and No Lies
  • I was back in contact with K after I moved to Wisconsin
  • I was still emotionally intimate with K
  • I was sexually involved with K for two years and emotionally involved for a year
  • Enjoying sex with K
  • Hiding my sexual and emotional needs and wants from C
  • I met with K in Pittsburgh three times
  • How important it was to me to maintain a healthy and appropriate friendship with K

The Secrets I Kept from K

  • The fact I was ending the marriage and why
  • The full extent of my Partnership with C and when it began
  • Where I was traveling and what I was doing
  • How much I wanted children
  • How much I love C and the future she and I were planning
  • Hiding my sexual and emotional needs and wants from K
  • How important my Partnership with C is
  • That I had been working with the doctor to end the marriage for nearly 8 months before I met C

The Lies I Told

The Lies I Told C

  • I was checking on an AirBNB in Pittsburgh for her and I, but it was for K and I
  • I left my GPS on and C saw I was in J-Town and when she asked where I was I lied
  • I’m going to walk the dog and used the time to call K
  • Lies of omission.
  • Lots and lots of lies of omission.

The Lies I Told K

  • Not simply telling K I was wrong and the marriage was over
  • Hiding my sexual and emotional needs and wants from K
  • Pretending to be in the hospital twice, being in a car accident and using work instead of simply telling K the truth that I wasn’t going to keep seeing her
  • Lying to K to postpone closure and ending the relationship
  • Lying to K about my trip with C to the Broad Ripple Art Show
  • That I opened a pop-up art gallery with C in Minneapolis at Christmas
  • That I was open to restarting a relationship with her

General Shitheadery

The list below combines elements of shame-driven behaviors, guilt, and roles within the Drama Triangle. It isn’t all of one or the others but it is still shitheadery. Months later I still cannot believe what a fucking, selfish ass I can be.

  • Writing 4 (?) emails to K, pretending to be C, in an attempt to keep K from focusing on C
  • Finding an outfit I loved on C and encouraging K to buy one too
  • Potentially exposing both C and K to STDs by not practicing safe sex
  • Staying in Albuquerque at an art show with C when my oldest step-son was hospitalized in a near-fatal car accident in Michigan
  • il_570xN.1331200080_ky4jC lovingly painted a portrait of Rex for me but because of my unfinished business with K, I ended up lying to K to keep the painting and giving it to K, only to take it back when I moved to Wisconsin
  • Sharing emotionally and sexually intimate details of my relationship with C to K and with K to C
  • Sleeping with K
  • Sexualizing my friendship with K
  • Leaving my marriage with K in a way that was humiliating to K instead of facing her
  • Not being able to face my youngest step-son, that I adore after I left K
  • Trying to use sex and kindness to manipulate the outcome of the divorce settlement
  • Making up excuses to K the last thirteen months so as to avoid seeing her as opposed to just ending it
  • Verbally taking out my self-loathing and anger with myself on C’s boys when they lied or disrespected C
  • Intentionally hurting K to drive her off instead of simply telling her directly
  • Vengefully responding to K’s reveal to C in a cruel and nasty email
  • How I manipulated the entire situation with F leaving C confused, alone, jealous, and hurt
  • Continuing a relationship with K after the initial sexual act because I was afraid to tell K the truth because I thought she would use it against me with C
  • Manipulating situations to try and make K okay with my relationship with C by presenting C as more open and accepting than she actually is
  • Allowing my shame and guilt to isolate me from my relationship with C and the boys fearing my vulnerability and trying to protect them from my betrayal
  • I lied to myself a lot to justify my behaviors with K and avoid the hard conversations with C

Miscellaneous Issues

  • Hiding behind my writings to reach out to C
  • screenshot_20180410-143400.pngNot confronting C about the guesswork in our Partnership
  • Not standing up more forcibly in defense of my Partnership with C to K
  • Not trusting C enough to ask for help and thinking it was up to me solve the problems alone
  • Allowing email and texting to become the primary communication tool post-discovery
  • Not being able to talk openly about what I did wrong for fear of being judged
  • Allowing myself to be blackmailed by my shame and guilt
  • Fracturing myself again between relationships out of old damage and fears
  • Acting as an emotional coward
  • Ignoring my values and priorities trying to make everything okay for everyone
  • Consistently being made the fall guy when it came disciplining the boys
  • Surrendering my power to lies and secrets
  • Betraying my boundaries and values
  • Believing C is a better person than me
  • Believing K is a better person than me
  • Hiding my vulnerabilities and heart fearing I would be judged
  • I avoided my shame and betrayal as it was happening and instead hid it all
  • I have an extremely high tolerance for emotional pain
  • I lied to C because I was afraid of being alone
  • Letting trolls and interlopers define who I am
  • Initially, I reacted defensively instead of listening creating more conflict
  • Being afraid of being alone and abandoned by C

It’s A Start

I look at these lists and know they are incomplete. If I were to talk to C or K they could probably add significantly to the lists. There is more and it would be helpful if C would talk with me because there are other things I’ve forgotten.

However, this is a start.

Of course, if C were talking to me not everything would be true but simply her perceptions.

For example, C accused around Day 60 of sending K dick pics. I know as a fact I didn’t do that because that is not something I would generally do. After C accused me, I checked with K. I checked because if I had sent dick pics and didn’t remember that is a whole new set of problems. I cannot prove a negative so that story, like so many other ghost stories, will always be true to C.

My next list will be all the things I did well in the relationship and the important lessons. I need to not only own the ugly but also embrace the good to carry to the next relationship.

After all, it wasn’t all shit.