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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question

TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5797
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Kate I have a relationship issue I would like to talk to you

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Kate I have a relationship issue I would like to talk to you about.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have been in a relationship with someone for a long time, but last December & January we were having trouble, and briefly separated. During this time I made a huge mistake and slept with someone else, once on Jan 18. We used protection (3 forms). Shortly after I have gotten back with my significant other and he wanted to try for a baby. I have always wanted to be a mother, therefore I agreed and went off birth control in Feb. I found out I was pregnant in March. I have talked with numerous doctors to confirm my EDD and paternity, and my partner is for sure the father of my baby.


However, I am having trouble accepting this information because I believe I should be punished in some fashion for my actions. The guy I slept with once, we knew each other prior, and he would make jokes about how out kids would be "cute". joke about names, and would also talk about how if I got pregnant I would have to get an abortion. I guess I liked the attention I was receiving at the time since I was not receiving it from my significant other, so I went along with it. I am not sure how to deal with this guilt and how to go on. I know there is no way I got pregnant from this encounter since I was on birth control, the dating is off, and I had a period after, but the guilt is eating me alive and I constantly question "what if". Do you have any advice?


I hope you do not judge me. I made a mistake. A huge one. It was a one time thing and something that I would never do again. I was in a low point in life, but need to figure out a way to go on and enjoy life again.

It sounds like you are experiencing a lot of guilt over what happened with the guy you were with while you were separated from your significant other.

While guilt helps us in general to know what is right or wrong, the amount of guilt you are experiencing is above and beyond what you feel you did wrong. For one, you were separated from your significant other. So you were not in a relationship at the time. That is one thing that is important to accept. Secondly, you are sorry for what happened. You told your significant other and both of you dealt with what happened. Third, you have taken steps to repair your relationship by being open and honest and dealing with any possible consequences. Because you have taken these steps, forgiving yourself should be the next one you take. But for some reason you are unable to let go of what you did.

You might want to ask yourself what makes you hold on to your guilt. Shame is one reason, the need to be punished is another. By exploring why you need to feel guilty, you can learn to let your guilt go. Here are some steps to take to help yourself:

Practice forgiving yourself- the next time you think about what happened, stop yourself and say "I forgive myself" Keep doing this until you automatically think it.

Write down how you feel- get all of your feelings out by expressing everything. Then symbolize letting go by burning the paper or burying it. Even tearing it up.

Talk to someone about what you feel- therapy can help you discover why you need to feel guilty and ways you can stop punishing yourself.

Learn more about guilt- here are some resources to help you:

Escaping Toxic Guilt: Five Proven Steps to Free Yourself from Guilt for Good! by Susan Carrell

Healing the Shame that Binds You (Recovery Classics) by John Bradshaw

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response. You are absolutely correct and I know all of these things, but moving off is easier said than done!


Do you think my losing sleep/constant fear over the fact that the baby belongs to the other encounter and that the jokes will come back to "bite me" (although it has been disproven by doctors, used birth control, and dates are completely off) is from guilt?

Yes, what you are experiencing is guilt. The guilt you feel seems to be beyond the facts of your situation. If the doctor has told you that the baby is yours and your significant other's and all the other facts point in that direction, then the only thing fueling your feelings is the guilt. You have no other facts to back up what you are feeling.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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