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I am a married man, I have been married for 20 years and have 3 children

I'm searching for help as I am consumed with guilt

Although I love and am happy with my wife I have had very graphic fantasies about other women over the years and just discarded it

After reading an artical about mental infedelity my world has fallen apart as my mind keeps throwing up every women I've thought about

I feel I should tell my wife but there have been a lot of fantasies but I don't want to hurt her

If I'm in the wrong place please let me know, my life is becoming unbearable with the guilt and I am constantly trying to find answers on the Internet but with no relief

Thank you for your time



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My wife has started working in my work place and there are 2 women here I have had thoughts/fantasies about and that is adding to the guilt, I have never experienced shame and guilt like this, maby I should come clean, I'm just not sure if she would stay with me

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I do think this sounds like OCD.

I think the only reason you would be telling her is to relieve your own guilt. Why would it help your wife to know this? It would not. She would still be your wife, still have your 3 children, but be hurt :(

Put your wife first and conquer this piece of OCD by resisting the compulsion to tell her. 

I have no specialist knowledge, so I hope someone from the OCD team jumps in and that this helps rather than hinders - I'm wary that I shouldn't be providing you with reassurance!

I hope the best for you.


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Thank you for your reply, I'm sure it would hurt her yet I can't help but think it's something she should know about me, the biggest problem is that we have talked about this before and she told me she never ever has thoughtz/fantasies so I feel I'm not a good man as i have hadbeen many. 

The guilt is slowly killing me, I can't find any relief 

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I have had a similar situation!

It definitely sounds like you're experiencing OCD.

First, stop searching the internet for answers.  You won't find any!  And even if you did, it will just fuel the OCD cycle!  (In other words, after a few hours, you'll wonder if the answer you found is "good enough" for your situation.)

I think Hedgehog's answer is good regarding your wife.

In my experience, many people have fantasies about people other than their spouse.  (I do, all the time.)  I hope that doesn't make me a bad person, but everyone views these things differently.

The best thing you can do right now is to continue living and find other things to keep you occupied.  With OCD there is often no answer except accepting the situation as is and living with the discomfort.

Best wishes

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It is perfectly acceptable (and normal) to have fantasies about whoever you wish.  It's okay to fancy or admire someone from afar.  It's only if behaviour (deeds) adversley affect someone else that there becomes a problem.  As you've said, you've had these fantasies for many years and it's not been a problem to you.  That is the normal mode.

What you currently describe certainly fits OCD, in that these thoughts have become intrusive and cause you dstress.  I don't know whether you've had any other stress or anxiety in your life recently or whether it's simply this artice that's got you into the obsessive thinking loop.  

Your main urge to confess to your Wife is that you want to bring your anxiety down.  Confessing is one of what we call compulsions.  In OCD sufferers use compulsions to try and reduce anxiety.  Sadly it doesn't work and only serves to worsen OCD symptoms.  Before you know it you find yourself doing multiple compulsions.  The other major compulsions you will almost certainly be doing is "rumination".....obsessive thinking.  Going over and over it in your head, trying to work it out, trying to understand it.  You may also try to push the thoughts away or make mental statements like "Stop it" or "I'd never do that, I love my Wife".  They are all behaviours we do to try and make the distress stop.

So what can you do?  You could make an appointment to see your GP and explain how you're feeling.  You could refer yourself to one of the IAPT providers in your area, your GP surgery or a Google search will identify who to contact.  You could use self-help methods.  There are some very good books available, here are two we recommend OCD, Anxiety and Related Depression and Break Free From OCD.  It is also very useful to try and identify all the compulsions you do when this distressing thought hits you.  Have a careful think about everything you do that could be a compulsion.....Googling to find answers, constantly going over it, making mental statements to yourself, avoiding people or situations, checking your body for reactions etc etc.  Then having become aware of them, trying to change your reaction and reduce the compulsions :)

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Thank you both for your time,I did not know confessions as a compulsion, I have always been someome who believes in being honest, I don't like to keep secrets so I'm amazed I haven't seen these fantasies as secrets before they started consuming and obviously I can't tell my wife all of them as I would be there a long time, I am full of shame and guilt, almost as if the past twenty years I have been living a lie and she has to know the man I really am. 

One of the biggest problems is that I have worked at my place fore 5 years and although fleeting, I don't know if intentionly or not I have had sexual thoughts about a couple of women there,I had forgotten all about them, they meant nothing but a few months ago I got my wife a job working there,so I remembered and now I have guilt as my wife works in there department, so it seems to add an extra level of nasty Ness to the whole situation,I've spoken to my doctor but everyday working is getting harder,how can I work at the same place with people I've had thoughts about whilst my wife works there. 

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15 minutes ago, Nolightleft said:

Any advice on how I can deal with the work situation would be very much appreciated, thank you, this all is very new and scary for me,the shame is very consistent. 

Hi again

You need to re-read the advice and explanations given above again.  There is nothing specifically that needs dealing with in respect of your Wife coming to your workplace.  The thing that needs dealing with is OCD and in particular, the compulsions. You have to try and get an understanding of OCD so that you can then start the process of changing your reactions to the thoughts.  What did your Doctor say?  Did he make any suggestions or offer any support?

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I think Caramoole is right.  There's nothing you need to do.  No confessions, no avoiding anyone, no checking on the internet to see if your thoughts are ok.  Counterintuitively, the less you do in response to these worries, the better you'll feel over the long term.  Engaging with the worries doesn't help, even though it feels like it will.

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Thank you both

The doctor is starting me on colopramine low dose and I've referred myself to South West therapy but the wait is very long. 

I'm afraid to say I avoided going to work today, I wish I hadn't remembered that I had the thoughts about both of those women, we were doing fine at work, now I just get intrusive thoughts about the thought/fantasy thoughts.they work across the room, I really want to tell my wife but that would make work very awkward, just don't know how to deal with the work situation, I don't want to leave my work but maby I will have to,worst part is they are not a scratch on my wife so I don't know why It happened in the first place. 

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I'm trying very had not to tell my wife, it's incredibly hard when we work in the same place and I've had thoughts about 2 women there,surely this is unacceptable, I don't see how I can work there when iveve rememberd the thoughts as I will be reminded every day what I thought

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5 hours ago, Nolightleft said:

surely this is unacceptable

This is OCD, convincing you there is a real problem when the only problem is your thoughts.

My advice is go to work every day.The more you avoid work the worse your OCD will become.

All this worry about what is right/wrong, unacceptable, what you might have done is just meaningless thoughts. Stop treating them like they must mean something.

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Snowbear is right, it's best that you keep going to work.

You can do it - just take one day at a time!

The thoughts are going to be present, but try to give them less attention if you can.  Recognize that they come and go but try not to engage with them.  Over time their importance will fade.

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Do you think it will ever fade

I'm at work with my partner and these 2 women I've had thoughts/fantasies about, it feels like I'll always be triggered by them and disloyal to my wife, would really like to let her know but then one of us would need to leave work

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3 hours ago, Nolightleft said:

Do you think it will ever fade

It will if you work on recognising that this is OCD, intrusive thoughts and doubt and you then work on resisting the compulsions that you currently use in an efort to make it stop.  You have to accept the cause and then change the reaction, then things will change

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Somehow managed to get through the day, the guilt is crushing, everytime they are working together I feel awful, I look at my wife and see how beautiful, I don't know how or why I could have entertained thoughts of her 2 colleagues, the urge to tell my wife is almost umbearable, how will this go away when I will work with them everyday, it's a reminder all the time of what I've done, never felt like this in 20 years, it's awful

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Just can't shake it off, trying to follow all the advice but the guilt is unbearable, feel like the only way is to be open and honest and leave my work place or she can,20 years of thoughts/fantasies have hit me like a wrecking ball, feel like I've lived a lie and she needs to know this about me,I hours a day I have to work with my wife and these 2 I've thought about, it's really hard to act normal 

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4 hours ago, Nolightleft said:

feel like the only way is to be open and honest

Fine. Be open and honest.

But before you start confessing something in the belief that is the honest thing to do, consider what's really happening here.

The honest truth is you have misinterpreted some intrusive thoughts. You're experiencing guilty feelings based solely on the confusion in your mind. Be honest about your OCD. 'Confess' that going over and over these imaginary ideas in your mind has become an obsession and you're considering giving in to an avoidance compulsion, leaving work to escape some meaningless thoughts. :(

4 hours ago, Nolightleft said:

she needs to know this about me

So, tell her! Tell her you have OCD. Maybe in explaining it to your wife it will help you get your head around the real problem too.

Because the real problem isn't anything to do with the people at work, your fidelity, or your guilty feelings. :no:

The real problem is you've had an intrusive (meaningless) thought and treated it as if it meant something. The meaning you chose to give it has made you feel anxious and guilty.

Recognise it as just a thought/ fantasy which means nothing and has no bearing on your marriage and all this unnecessary guilt and misery will be behind you.

Or go on treating it as significant and watch your marriage, your family, your job, your life fall apart as OCD robs you of everthing you hold dear. :(

Isn't it worth trying to get your head around how OCD works and how to overcome it rather than go down that self-destructive route?


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Thank you for your time snowbear

I've had depression before but this is all strange to me, what is the intrusive thought, the fantasys was deliberately conjured up by myself, I just didn't give them any meaning, is the intrusions the meaning I'm giving them

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Nothing to add to the great advice here - but just wanted to say that I very much doubt there is a single person on the planet who hasn't fantasised about someone who isn't their partner. This is completely normal. Your wife will likely do / have done similar. What you think about is not important - it doesn't affect anyone - what matters is what you do. Actions are what matter. 

The reason you felt this was unimportant for so many years is because it is unimportant. You have been triggered and now anxiety is telling you otherwise - that's all. 

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