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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Forgiveness
Ambergray
♀ Member
Member # 40778
Default  Posted: 9:42 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Please help me understand this, as I am struggling with it. Does a WS deserve this? Do we have to grant it? Can we have a good life if I never forgive him? This is an unforgivable act. It was calculated, not accidental. I can love you again, yes. But forgive what you did? No way!

Is it just too new and fresh? It's been 4 months.

If also like to add that even before dday if I would watch a tv program about cheating or someone who murdered someone or a drunk driver who killed someone and they would show family members forgiving these people. I always thought, "not me." I am a loving and compassionate person, but can't seem to process this particular thing.


Me-38
WH-38
Dday June 2013

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Posts: 86 | Registered: Sep 2013
MoreWould
♂ Member
Member # 37982
Default  Posted: 9:50 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

AG

I too have struggled with this, and the A that started it all was over 30 years ago.

Here's what I have learned. Your WS may not deserve it, but whether they do or not, forgiveness is not for them. It is for you.

The other thing is don't rush it. First you have to get to acceptance, and that might take years. Then you can forgive, but it's not like a light switch that you can turn on and off at will.

Maybe you will never forgive him, but 4 months is too early to be sure about that. Be gentle and patient with yourself. This is a long, hard road. For me, it was worth it, even though I am forever changed, and not all for the better.

Perhaps, in the end, for you it will not. That's OK too, because in the end, it will be OK. If it's not, it's not the end.


Me BH/WH, 63
Her WW/BW, 62
Her DDay Dec 1976 OMW at the door
My DDay, ~ 2years later, confessed ONS the next day
R via "Sweeping under the rug"
Still married, 40 yrs, mostly OK
2 kids, 24 & 20

Posts: 357 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Colorado
FightingBack
♀ Member
Member # 34770
Default  Posted: 9:57 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Amber,

I also have struggled with forgiveness.

It means different things to different people. When I told my WH that I forgave him, (six months after dday), I felt that I needed to forgive. He wasn't asking for my forgiveness, it was just something I needed to do.
Having said that, I now see that it was much too soon. I wasn't ready but was pressuring myself.

You will know when you are ready, if you ever are.

It would be interesting to hear others' definition of forgiveness.

I can tell you what forgiveness is NOT (for me)

In my case, I would not have been able to begin to work on rebuilding our relationship without forgiving his wrong doing, but it certainly didn't mean that I wasn't going to continue to talk about it and ask him hundreds of questions (I still am BTW) and try to figure this whole mess out.

It didn't mean that I was suddenly going to trust him either.

And it didn't mean that I would forget about it because I never will.

It certainly didn't mean that I was able to "get over it" because I need to process things for a long time before I can reach a point where I accept.

By accepting, I don't mean that I will ever accept that what he did was in any way excusable, but that I accept that it happened.

Forgiveness may mean something else to you, but whatever that is, unless you truly feel it, it isn't worth anything.


Me 53
WH 58
Married 25 years
4 children S30,D24, S23,S21
D-Day Nov. 29, 2011
15 year affair with married employee.
Together trying to make sense of it all!

Posts: 741 | Registered: Feb 2012
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 9:58 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

((Ambergray))

we are all pushing ourselves to get there.. and it could take a while. As MoreWould said, be patient with yourself.
I'm 1.5 years out - no forgiveness in sight. I'm not bitter or angry... but don't feel he deserves my forgiveness. I disagree that is has to do with the forgiver. It's like people are saying ok, you forgave not get over it and doesn't allow for sadness, and occasional anger where you handle it maturely. If I'm not bitter or angry, what is the point? To me, it's like there will always be something I hold back from him because of what happened. I guess vulnerability.
For me, it has everything to do with deciding if co-existing in a good enough relationship is enough for me.
I think it depends on how you define forgiveness too.
Hugs to you!

[This message edited by rachelc at 10:09 AM, October 1st (Tuesday)]


his Ddays: 2/10, 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me: 48
him: 52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

Me: I didn't sign up for this.
Him: you're already in this. All you can do is resign...


Posts: 4675 | Registered: Dec 2010
ontheslope
♂ Member
Member # 40574
Default  Posted: 10:00 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree with what MW said - this process can take a long time. 4 months out is really not all that long, even though it may feel like a lifetime.

I'm 4+ years out, and I still struggle with this. I want to forgive, but there are certain things in this world that are truly unforgivable, and for some people an A may be one of them. I may never forgive my WW, but that doesn't mean that we won't make it. We're still together, and we're trying, and for right now that is enough. I still trigger sometimes. I still have bad days sometimes, but time has helped me, just as it will help you.

Bottom line - do you have to grant forgiveness? No. You don't have to do anything. There is no rule-book for dealing with an A. There are no guidelines, nothing written in stone that says you have to do this or have to do that. You will know what feels right, and if right now it doesn't feel right to forgive, then don't forgive. Give it time. But don't try and force yourself to feel something that just isn't there - that opens a whole other can-of-worms that can be nearly as hard to deal with. It is OK to feel what you feel.


Me: BH, 36
Her: WW, 37
Two girls 8 & 10
Married 12 years
Dday: July, 2009

She wants answers... I'm still trying to figure out what the questions are.


Posts: 269 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Maine, USA
Alex CR
♀ Member
Member # 27968
Default  Posted: 10:10 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I read Janet Spring's How Can I Forgive You a few months after Dday hoping it would help me understand forgiveness. I probably should go back and reread it now with the brain I have today because almost four years out, I haven't forgiven my H.

I am assuming forgiveness, for some of us, can take years. Or maybe it never happens at all because some things are just unforgivable?

I wrote on another post I just told my H he's a former wayward....that I appreciate all he's done to help me heal and work on our marriage. Our life together is good now. I am happy most of the time and actually feel joy again. So I do think life can be good again without forgiving my H.

But maybe there is something else I am missing that will reveal itself to me over the next few years and I'll have that aha moment and say yes...I can forgive him and then life will be even better...who knows?

I agree with you the betrayal was a calculated action. My H cheated for five years. Selfishly, without concern for how his actions would affect me or our kids, he made a decision to live another life, taking his love and energies away from us without ever telling us he was leaving or giving me the option to decide for myself whether I wanted to live with a shadow. He just pushed us to the side and made us all feel as if we were a burden.

Maybe others will come along with a map that can guide us to that point where we can forgive or accept a path that does not include forgiveness. I'm looking forward to others' responses.


BS Me 61
WS Him 62
Married 33
Together 40
DD 11/16/09
The future looks good....

Posts: 1656 | Registered: Mar 2010
bionicgal
♀ Member
Member # 39803
Default  Posted: 10:28 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am at about the same spot as you, and I do recommend "How Can I Forgive You" which gives a nuanced and healthy look at forgiveness and what it takes from both people to earn/give it.

Lots more time, though.


me - BS (40s)
DDay - June 2013, A was 2+ months, EA then PA
In MC & Reconciling
An affair is more like a mental break than a relationship.

I edit, therefore I am.


Posts: 1858 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: USA
HurtButHopeful?
♀ Member
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 10:29 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I struggle with this too, 4 years out. I've told him I forgive him, and thought I had, then I throw the A right back in his face the next time I have a really bad trigger.

Maybe I am reaching forgiveness, because it has recently occurred to me that my H is really a good man, with some deep FOO issues that even he didn't know he had. Growing up he didn't learn how to deal with negative emotions, and it took a lot of energy and acting out to keep those emotions at bay.

Looking back on his own behavior, his A shocks him beyond belief, and he is very relieved he is finally able to stay away from porn.

So I have realized that he is just a person with problems: and that his certain set of problems are the kind that can really hurt me and break up our family.

He isn't an evil person who cares about no one else but himself all the time...he just was that person for a short while. If he does his homework he will never become that person again.

Maybe this realization is forgiveness for me. It wasn't a forced realization, just one that grew over time.

One can't really force true forgiveness. One can say the words, but that doesn't make it true. It is true that it is healing for the person who is able to do it. It feels like a burden lifted, or a release of sorts.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
Dallas2
♀ Member
Member # 28362
Default  Posted: 10:57 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Forgiveness is hard to do. I can forgive some things that my FWH has done. I can forgive him for ruining a cashemere sweater. I can forgive for forgetting my birthday. I can even forgive him for breaking my favorite piece of china. All of these were accidental happeinings and no one is perfect so these are easy to forgive.

His A was a choice. He didn't "accidently" go home with his AP. He didn't slip and fall into bed with her. It was a choice he made. I do not know if I will ever forgive him for his A, he choose to ignore his vows. I can accept it but forgive it, not yet and probably never.

I wonder if the way the WS behaves helps with the BS being able to forgive.


Me

Posts: 828 | Registered: Apr 2010
Painfuljourney
♀ Member
Member # 40208
Default  Posted: 11:38 AM, October 1st (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am also struggling with this. I know I need to forgive eventually in order to be fully happy. I need to let it go. But especially toward OW I have this bitter hatred. Toward WH I love him and I know he's doing everything right but I keep triggering and feel so hurt and sad when I think of the betrayal. I am especially having a hard day today. I feel like my heart is getting squeezed and I can't breathe and have been weepy all morning.

So I'm not there yet. I know I will NEVER forget. I hope to be able to fully forgive eventually though. If I look at it from the perspective of how messed up our marriage was it makes it easier.


BS (me) - 44
WH - 46
DD - July 1, 2013
2 daughters, 14 and 10

Posts: 102 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Southwest
HurtButHopeful?
♀ Member
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 9:29 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yes, Painfuljourney,
Forgiveness is not forgetting. Like you I still haven't reached forgiveness for OW and her family. I'm wondering if it is like knowing there are coyotes that come hunting every night. They have fleas, hunt in packs and take down any animal small enough for them to overcome. I don't hate the coyotes, but I make sure to bring in our cats and dog, and would make sure to lock up the chickens at night if we had any.

I'm aware of some aspects of OW's "conditon" of brokenness. She's a predator, dangerous, and yet I don't spend my days thinking of her or hating her anymore. Maybe that is the closest to forgiveness I can get to. Maybe next year I'll have "released" her even more.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
PrincessPeach06
♀ Member
Member # 39588
Default  Posted: 11:38 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

For me it came to a point where I knew I must forgive WS for me. I was letting my anger and bitterness seep out onto my kids, friends, parents, etc. and it was destroying relationships where that person had not hurt me.

In forgiving I was able to let go of that anger and bitterness and have never felt so happy and free. I am a Christian and approached it largely from a biblical perspective but all the same it feels amazing and good. Also in focusing on myself and learning how to get away from codependency (off topic i know)I have found it easier to be healthy and happy. And it is doing wonders for WS, he is coming to ME wanting to talk and working more on our family and relationships with the children.


Me (BS): 35
Him (fWS): 36
Married 16 years 6 kids ages 15-6
DDay #1 (EA) July '08
DDay #2 (EA/ONS- different OW) May 15, 2013

Finally this is R 8/14/13

"Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey".


Posts: 299 | Registered: Jun 2013
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 11:45 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I must forgive WS for me. I was letting my anger and bitterness seep out onto my kids, friends, parents, etc. and it was destroying relationships where that person had not hurt me.

I'm sure forgiveness works like this for some. It doesn't for me. There is no anger and bitterness that others get. kinda reserve that for myself.

The only thing I can't be is vulnerable. And I'm currently weighing the odds on if this is "good enough" for me.


his Ddays: 2/10, 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me: 48
him: 52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

Me: I didn't sign up for this.
Him: you're already in this. All you can do is resign...


Posts: 4675 | Registered: Dec 2010
PrincessPeach06
♀ Member
Member # 39588
Default  Posted: 11:47 AM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ok so I recorded Dr. Phil the other day and oddly enough I look up and there are some things about forgiveness on the screen. It says:

-forgiveness is a choice. You have to choose it

-don't give your power away. The only person you can control is you.

-don't cling to negative feelings

-you may have to make a conscious effort every day to forgive. To say "I'm letting this go. I'm not going to invest hatred, bitterness, anger, resentment in this person anymore."

-you can't change the things that happened in your life, but you can decide how you interpret and respond to them.


Me (BS): 35
Him (fWS): 36
Married 16 years 6 kids ages 15-6
DDay #1 (EA) July '08
DDay #2 (EA/ONS- different OW) May 15, 2013

Finally this is R 8/14/13

"Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey".


Posts: 299 | Registered: Jun 2013
SorrowBhindSmile
♀ Member
Member # 38139
Default  Posted: 12:17 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

very powerful post and responses.

Forgiveness is a difficult concept to wrap your head around after such a profound betrayal. I am 9 months out from DDay. I have not forgiven my WH. I am not there yet. I know my WH desperately seeks it...but he also understands that i must come to that place in my own time and in my own way. While i agree that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, it is also a gift to the offender.....IMO, if you give it too freely or cheaply, you compromise a part of yourself. Processing what has happened to you, accepting it and understanding aids in the road to forgiveness.

I too, read How Can I Forgive You about 3 months or so after DDay. While it isn't a book that deals specifically with affair forgiveness, the general concepts of the book are wonderful and it was a great help to me. I do plan to read it again in time...but again, I'm not there yet.

I think for me, thinking about or trying to forgive the entire affair is too much right now. Its too big, too huge, too encompassing. I think forgiveness has to come in stages. Work on forgiving the "small indiscretions" first. I have been working in MC/IC to isolate and find the things that were wrong with the marriage pre-A. If i can work on forgiving WH for those actions, work on wrapping my head around one thing at a time, processing that, forgiving that...perhaps someday, i will find it in me to forgive the ultimate act of betrayal.

hugs to you!


Me: BW
Him: WH
OW: My former "dear friend"/neighbor
Married 20+
Kids: 3
D-Day 12/2012
Committed to R 7/8/2013
"Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle"

Posts: 357 | Registered: Jan 2013
UndecidedinMA
♀ Member
Member # 33732
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have I forgiven? There are times I can say I have not, they seep in from time to time. They are becoming further & further apart. I am human and well not divine.

I would say I have but I will never forget & at times I will verify(again spacing is getting further apart). I think that like trust, forgiveness is given & earned at the same time.


ME - BSO
Him - FWSO
OW - DBC Xwife
DDAY 09/14/11 ONS w/DBCxWOW with 4 mos EA
Solidly in R

Posts: 991 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: MA
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 12:23 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

-you may have to make a conscious effort every day to forgive. To say "I'm letting this go. I'm not going to invest hatred, bitterness, anger, resentment in this person anymore."

I think it would be impossible to live with someone and work on recovery while you feel this way. Does that mean forgiveness though, I don't think so. I don't hate my husband. I prefer not to interact with him in a way that is bitter or resentful. However, I've not forgiven him.
maybe just showing up everyday trying to work on recovery is living forgiveness? I don't know.


his Ddays: 2/10, 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me: 48
him: 52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

Me: I didn't sign up for this.
Him: you're already in this. All you can do is resign...


Posts: 4675 | Registered: Dec 2010
JustDesserts
♂ Member
Member # 39665
Default  Posted: 2:40 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

WS here. My experience might not be the most popular based on responses thus far, so YMMV, and IMHO. But, here goes:

My spouse forgiving me...CHOOSING to forgive me...and therefore show me she believed in us was crucial. That was the single most important gift, and motivational tool, I've received since DDay - and one of the most important in my life.

Here I was - the person who hurt her in a way only one person in the whole world was capable of hurting her, by doing something (cheating on her) only one person in the world (her spouse) could do, and she looked deep inside and said "If I love this man, and if I want to reconcile, then I must at some point forgive him, and trust him".

When I saw she could do that, it gave me an incredible insight into the power of love, and intimacy, and also a realization that both of those things I've only ever had with her...my true love.

Her strength, grace, love, and belief in me...my authentic me...is something I wake up every day wanting to honor and hone and go to sleep having made strides toward.

My betrayed spouse forgave me. She loves me with a depth and purity that shows me just how lucky I am to have her in my life. She's an inspiration, a rock, an angel. And she helps me be a better me.

I lost sight of and fucked that up once. Badly. Unforgivably but I'm forgiven. Never again...

JD

[This message edited by JustDesserts at 3:19 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday)]


2 year EA/PA. DDay 3/12. Broke NC 6/13 w/one stupid 5 line e-mail (which brought me to SI). Me: WH, 50. Her: BW, 49. Married 19 years. Two kids. Dog. Reconciling...together.

Posts: 403 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: Suburbia, New England, USA
sisoon
♂ Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 5:31 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Does a WS deserve this?

I guess a WS deserves the respect due any human being. But the WS broke your relationship. I think the WS deserves nothing from you that you don't want to give.

R without forgiveness? IMO that depends on what you mean by 'forgiveness'. Let me assume most of us think of forgiving as 'turning the other cheek'. If that's your idea, I think you can certainly R without doing that - IMO turning the other cheek to being betrayed is unwise in the extreme.

Is your H asking forgiveness? Is someone telling you to forgive when you're not ready?


fBH (me) - 70, fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9909 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
doesitgetbetter
♀ Member
Member # 18429
Default  Posted: 6:21 PM, October 2nd (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Forgiveness was for me, not him, and not because of his "deserving" status of it or not. It took several years, 2.5 to be exact. I remember the day still like it was yesterday. It set ME free. I was also one of those people that would say "not me" when I saw it on TV, or the drunk driver scenario. But I have since been enlightened, and I am grateful I have found forgiveness for myself.


DDay - Dec '07
Me - BS
Him - FWS
Us - Committed
May 18, 2010 - I forgave him fully!
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Posts: 3859 | Registered: Feb 2008
Topic Posts: 20

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