Affair with best friend

I am a heterosexual woman who has been married over 30 years with grown children and grandchildren. Four years ago I met a woman who became my best friend. Over the course of the years we have become very close and slowly, over time, we became physically attracted to one another and an affair eventually ensued. We have been intimate for the past two years. As our closeness began, my husband could sense it was more than a friendship and we eventually moved about a year ago. I have continued my affair with my friend. Talking and texting daily and visiting her a few times. She means the world to me. The connection, vulnerability, and support we share has been precious to me. However, I have been lying to my husband, my family, and my friends. I made my husband to look controlling and overbearing and a little crazy to my friends. He has had terrible anxiety at the shift in our relationship. We have had issues for years, but I have disconnected from him emotionally and physically as my relationship with my friend grew and this has been very hard on him.

Both myself and my girlfriend have grown up and raised our children in an orthodox Christian religion (our children are grown and live out of our homes). Therefore, the option of leaving our husbands and living a lesbian lifestyle would mean the loss of our community, lifetime friendships, and most devastating, the loss of our children and my grandchildren, as well as being ostracized by our religious community. We have talked about it and have decided the price is too great to be together and live our life and our love out loud.

I came to visit my friend for a week because her husband was away on a trip. He placed a camera in their room and now knows about our affair. I had to return home and left her to deal with her life falling apart. My life is far away, so whether or not my family and friends find out will depend on whether her husband is vocal about our affair or not. I am trying to decide what I should do. 1. Tell my husband and try to work it out with him and never see my girlfriend again, 2. Leave my husband and life (this will include my career) to be with her, 3. Not say anything and see how things work out. All of these options seem horrible. I am tired of living a lie. I have always been truthful, reliable, and a leader among friends, family, and church so living this way has not been good for either of us.

I realize that I have no integrity and that I have been lying. I am still in a place that the remorse is more about being found out. I love her with all my heart. I have wanted to leave for some time but don’t have the financial means on my own and, like I said before, I don’t want to lose my kids. I am in a cycle of self loathing because of my dishonesty, fear for my future that I will lose my life as I know it and/or I will lose my friend that I love so much, and concern for my friend and what will happen to her. I have so many models I don’t know where to start. Even writing this was difficult because I know how badly this all sounds and I have so much shame.