What a loaded question! I am sure for some of you, you automatically told your friends and families. Others we were less forthcoming. It is a huge burden to bare alone! But I have come to believe that we must be extremely wise in our decisions on whom we tell. The biggest advice I can give you in the beginning stages of an affair is to be cautious. Though you have far more hurt than anyone could ever deserve, you could save yourself further pain by using the best possible, well thought out plan you can muster in your state of shock and choose whom you tell VERY, VERY carefully!!
I was lucky enough to find a support group during the second and third affair. It was so nice to go and sit with people who understood what I was going thru. During the second affair, I had NOT told my family and had only told very few friends what was going on. I had shielded myself not because I thought my family would not be supportive. But because I was humiliated and embarrassed. During the third D-day, I finally told my family. But at that time would have never believed that any choice I made regarding my marriage would cause total separation between my family and myself. I did not believe that was possible.
One particular night we had quite a few new participants at our group meetings. So those of us who had been going to the group for the longest shared our stories. When I finished my story. Eyes were quite wide. Why? Because I was staying with my husband! The room erupted with everyone saying, “No, Not possible, my family would disown me!”, “My friends would KILL me!” and, “My family and my friends told me to choose, my spouse or them!”. I was shocked! I mean truly shocked.
So I left the group that night not really believing that my friends and family would stop having a relationship with me, even if separately from Bryan. But in the weeks to come, I would find out that nothing could be further from the truth. It appeared that now, no matter that I was the victim, I was the one wearing a scarlet letter of my very own. I made a choice to stay with my husband. I even thought time would heal and that they would want a relationship with me sooner or later. At this point, my family(siblings and their families) made their decisions and I am not included in their lives.
I am one of the lucky ones, though. My parents have come to a place of peace with my decision. They had only ever wanted the very best for me! I am so blessed to have the Mom and Dad I have! They have loved me unconditionally my whole life! In regard to my remaining family members, I can not change them. I can not change, nor would I, my decision to save my marriage and my family. I can, however, choose to love my family where they are at in life’s journey. Unconditionally. And I can pray for them. That is the choice I get to make! No one gets to make that one for me!