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canttakeanymore posted 10/22/2007 13:34 PM

[This message edited by canttakeanymore at 9:01 AM, October 23rd (Tuesday)]

7yrsbetrayed posted 10/22/2007 13:36 PM


This topic comes up a lot on the boards. Here is my take on it.

Trying to force myself to forgive him and/or the whores he cheated with was a burden that was causing me additional pain. Constantly hearing "You have to FORGIVE to heal." "You'll NEVER be whole unless you FORGIVE." put a huge burden on me. I was being asked to do something that I cannot and will never do. That was unhealthy for me and holding me back from healing and being a partner in my marriage.

It all comes down to this. My definition of what it means to forgive is the same as the dictionary.

forˇgive verb, -gave, -givˇen, -givˇing.
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.

The key there being the word ABSOLVE.

abˇsolve verb (used with object), -solved, -solvˇing.
1. to free from guilt or blame or their consequences

For me "forgive = absolve" and because that is a deeply held belief I could NOT reconcile that to my situation with my FWH. It will NEVER be ok and I will never absolve him of his responsility in cheating on me.

So, I am focusing on what I CAN do. I can accept that it happened. I can accept that my FWH is an addict. I can accept that I did not cause this. I can accept that he came to me already "broken." And because I can accept those things I can move forward. I can support his recovery. I can seek counseling for my own issues that I brought to this marriage from my past. And because I can do those things, my FWH can truly work his recovery program and rebuild the TRUST in our marriage. And because he is laying that foundation, I can learn to trust him again. I never stopped loving him. I was (and still am at times) as mad as hell at him but only because I do love him. If I didn't love him, I wouldn't care what he did.

Oh and for the record, he has NEVER asked for my forgiveness and does not expect me to forgive him. All he has ever asked for is my love, acceptance of his faults and my support for his recovery.

My creedo: "I cannot forgive the unforgivable, but I can accept the unacceptable."

i_lost_my_mind posted 10/23/2007 11:44 AM

Hi, I was raised catholic, but as soon as I started thinking by myself I stoped going to church, praying, etc. To me the existence of god is irrelevant, I don't belive in it but if it does exists I don't care.

My W is catholic, before our wedding she asked me to talk to the priest, she wanted me to tell him I wasn't a believer but that I wanted his permision to get married in his church. At the end I didn't do it, but I followed the ritual with respect, when I said my vows of fidelity I was being honest.

It was my W who wasn't being honest, she never confessed to the priest that she had been cheating on me since months before the wedding and that she had not intention to stop doing it after the wedding. She was the one that was there in front of her god lying with a smile on her face, while the OM and his W were there as guests. She was the one that used to took his engagement ring off and ask for her mother's blessing when she was going to go out to meet with the OM.

When I told my mother about the A, she was shocked, she couldn't belive she was capable of doing that. But then she told me it was a test of god, that he wanted me to come back to him. Oh yeah, I told her, so, god made my W who is a "believer" make those horrible things just to punish me for not believing in him, what a wonderful god.

25wimsey posted 10/23/2007 12:04 PM

lostmymind--it's really nuts, isn't it? If you follow people's statements to the logical conclusion, it's totally absurd and not at all comforting in the end--just crazy.

As far as forgiveness, someone else once wrote on this forum that "forgiveness is overrated"--it's semantics and "belief" in the magical sense that deciding to forgive will make it all better. I'm with 7, can't forgive the unforgivable but am working on accepting the unacceptable.

i_lost_my_mind posted 10/23/2007 16:42 PM

The first days after D-day I read a lot about forgiveness and how it was supossed to help me heal, 2 weeks later I told my W "I forgive you", then she went to church and confessed, when she came back she was very happy saying that god had forgiven her and we could continue our lives. I thought WTF, got very angry and realized I haven't really forgiven her, I think I'll never do it.

MiJa posted 11/9/2007 19:28 PM

I just wanted to add what I usually have to say about forgiveness when the topic comes up on SI... most of it comes from a book by Dr. Janis Abrams-Spring called "How Can I Forgive You?". She is also the author of "After The Affair" and that's one reason why I think her book on forgiveness would be of particular interest to people on SI. So anyway, here it is...

You are never under any obligation to forgive anyone. Forgiveness is a gift, not a requirement.

Forgiveness is not an on/off switch. It's not all or nothing. You can forgive somebody partially or forgive some things that they've done but not others. If you feel willing and able to offer 75% forgiveness or forgive 75% of what a person has done to you, just to pull a number out of thin air, there's nothing wrong with that. Expect that number to change over time. There's nothing wrong with that either.

True forgiveness is earned, a process engaged in by both the offender and the offendee. If it is only coming from the person who has been wronged, it can be acceptance or it can be a cheap substitute for forgiveness but it isn't real forgiveness.

Both true forgiveness and the one-way version of it, acceptance, can be helpful for easing the pain of someone who has been badly wronged by someone else.

[This message edited by MiJa at 8:25 AM, November 12th (Monday)]

SoLow posted 11/10/2007 20:56 PM

In addition to 7yrs' definition, there is also:
forgive, v. to cease to feel resentment against

My WH has not asked for forgiveness either, nor do I think I can forgive in the sense of absolve.

But I hope for the day, whether we R or D, when I can forgive in the sense of no more resentment.

25wimsey posted 12/10/2007 10:48 AM

My WH has not asked for forgiveness either, nor do I think I can forgive in the sense of absolve.

But I hope for the day, whether we R or D, when I can forgive in the sense of

no more resentment.

Thought it was time to bump this tread up some!

I too hope not to feel so resentful someday--don't think it will be in this lifetime thought!! Too much dealing with OW cuz of OC to be able to put it far enough behind me to not feel resentment a lot. But I work on it.

Funny, I love this time of year despite the fact that it's a religious holiday. Love the music especially and the hope that a sense of brotherhood and caring about others that permeates all the holiday messages will maybe be partly true in our dealings with one another.

Though I've become much more cynical about that since dealing with the infidelity--it's a nice thought to hope about.

We have a snowman on the top of our tree--what do you guys have, if you're into the Christmas thing?

25wimsey posted 12/21/2007 18:14 PM

Bumping this again--this is an odd time of year for non-religious people in a way--but I still love the holidays. We've tried to tell the kids, when they were little, the story of Christmas, but always emphasized the good will toward men part of it all, and family togetherness, and giving to others. We still do with our adult children--though Christmas still has its ups and downs for me cuz of the LTA. But I still love it.

7yrsbetrayed posted 12/28/2007 01:43 AM

We celebrate winter and the closing out of the year. We celebrate it on Dec 25th because it's the most convenient time. My FWH doesn't like to call it Christmas but I don't care. We do up Santa in a big way (my DD is 3.5) and decorate our house in a winter theme. Mostly snowflakes on the outside. Snowflakes, snowmen and fun stuff inside. We do put up a tree (we have a snowflake topper) and exchange gifts.

I will admit that some of my favorite holiday music is the religious stuff. Silent Night ranking among the top 5 at least. You don't have to believe it to find the music and even the lyrics beautiful. My mom just rolls her eyes at me.

hurtbs posted 2/8/2008 19:19 PM

It's been a while since anyone posted on this thread, I know that I haven't been reading on this as much. I just need to talk/vent about something on here and don't want to put it on the General Boards, as I don't want to offend anyone there.
My ILs are coming to town *again* next month. This just leads to so much turmoil on my part as they treated me *horribly* during Jekyll's A and early on in our R, but when the truth came out (and they were *entirely* wrong about his behavior and actions, but only because he explicitly told them), were quick to absolve him of guilt and responsibility.
I grew up in a fairly orthodox family. I left my faith in my early twenties. I'm pretty firmly rooted in my agnosticism (not quite atheistic because, hey, there *could* be something). I have studied religious scripture (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc) for both spiritual and academic reasons.
One of my big issues with them is their whole religion over self-exploration/IC/MC. You know, if you just read your bible and pray, it's all good. If someone says that they've changed, they have. I remember getting in a huge fight with my mother (who used to hold to this mantra and had to learn the hardway) over my adopted lil' bro. We adopted him as a teenager. He finally told her that he had been horribly molested as a child (we already knew that he had been subjected to physical and emotional abuse). I told her that she absolutely 100% had to put him into counseling - he couldn't work through this on his own. She was adamant that with 'the church', he would. He didn't and has struggled a great deal in his life due to his childhood abuse (not to say that his life would have been roses had he gotten some counseling).
When Jekyll and I decided to R, his parents were horribly invasive and obtrusive. We've stopped it as much as we could, but they just don't take direction much (they often say when we tell them to stop behaving a certain way that we're being manipulative). So, we thought it would help them if we shared some of our infidelity literature with them. We gave them "After the Affair". They read it, his dad writes back with this whole diatribe about how the author must not be a Christian because she makes a point how trust has to be earned, and apparently there's some christian doctrine that trust is a gift (BTW - I scoured my university library, not a word in Christian Dogma about trust - he just pulled that out of his ass I'm sure). They're whole solution was that we just needed to 'find a church' - it was all I could do to not say "I teach Mythology, I don't use it to direct my life."

I just hate this crap that people (in this case my ILs) push that Christianity is this quick fix all. That it is a ready (and preferable) substitute for counseling and self-reflection, time, and work. That somehow because *I* don't accept this then there is something flawed in me. Fucking hell - the scientific, *documented*, research proves that this is in fact not at all the case. Pedophiles, sex offenders, drug addicts, alcoholics, and cheaters relapse at incredible rates when they rely on the "Read the Bible and pray" method. Fucking hell.
Anyway, anyone else struggle with this? Had this experience? I realize that I can't change their mind, but I just want to know how I can get through this fucking dinner with them and not hate them or horribly offend them (my tongue tends to get away from me when I'm mad).

annben posted 2/8/2008 19:29 PM

Don't even get me started. My mother was born/raised Jewish, and became a born-again when I was very young. Do I have to say anymore?

25wimsey posted 2/9/2008 00:53 AM

hurtsbs, how awful about your little brother. Nothing makes me angrier than stories like that--a kid being further hurt because of dogma.

No personal experience with such intrusive religious people--but maybe all the practice we have as WS or BS, biting our tongues sometimes, will help you get through the dinner without incident?? It's not possible to convince or change people around religious matters-the best I've come across is people who are willing to shut up about their ideas, live and let live, not judge--few and far between I guess among the orthodox of any persuasion.

I saw in the paper that it's the 199th birthday of Darwin, and the San Francisco Atheists are having a party! What a good idea. We should all raise a toast to him.

7yrsbetrayed posted 2/22/2008 14:06 PM

Ok, say you join a co-dependency support group. And let's say, you know that there will be some references to religion and praying, you are in the minority after all. Let's assume you're cool with that you generally take what applies and leave the rest because you are respectful of others. Then, say you read this just a few pages into the "workbook" you're expected to use:
The first thing in the morning, take time out to pray. Prayer at this point,
does not mean that you have to believe in God. It simply means to pray.
When the
old timers in Alcoholics Anonymous went to their meetings, they didn't say,
"Well if you believe in God, pray." They said, "get on your knees and pray." If
you don't believe in God,
imagine a conversation with a grandparent or other
relative you love and respect. Say, "God, I don't believe in You, but I'm
supposed to pray. I want to be a partner in recovery today. Would you help me
stay sober today?"
From that point on, you can discuss any of your issues that
you want to talk to God about. God is able to handle the hurt, anger, fear,
anxiety and any other feelings you have kept from God.

How would you feel? What would you say to the group facilitator? (whom you were honest with about your atheism when you inquired about the class and you specifically asked how religious it would be and were assured that it was not overly so)

[This message edited by 7yrsbetrayed at 2:08 PM, February 22nd (Friday)]

Skye posted 2/22/2008 14:14 PM

I wouldn't say anything. You knew there would be religious references. I'm not sure I could participate in such a group, but if I did, I would change the word prayer to meditation in my own mind, and do just that--meditate.

MiJa posted 2/27/2008 10:32 AM

Had an interesting conversation with a coworker over lunch the other day...

It all got started when she was looking at an article in USA Today with a graph showing the miniscule percentage of people in this country who identify themselves as atheists.

"So if this is right," she says to me, "why do I keep meeting guys over and over again who are atheists?"

Which gave me the perfect opportunity to let her know that she'd just met another one... me. She was about as surprised and amused by that revelation as you'd expect her to be.

So after a little bit of talking and compare/contrasting about what we do and don't believe (she didn't know that Unitarians can be atheists, for example, and I am both), she said that the other atheist guys she's talked to have always depressed the hell out of her when they talk about their views about what happens after death and how they expect it to be a whole lot of nothing... no God, no heaven, no reincarnation, just nothing.

So I told her my view on the subject... what happens after death, besides the obvious physical decomposition? I don't know. And all of these religious believers who loudly and boldly declare that they know what happens after death and describe the afterlife in great detail? I don't think they know either.

That's the version of atheism that I subscribe to in a nutshell... I'm not convinced by the evidence that others have presented to me and the rest of the world for believing in a God or gods or a lot of other otherworldly entities and things. That doesn't mean that I have all the answers, it just means that I haven't been persuaded by theirs. I don't know the answer... AND NEITHER DO THEY! That about sums it up.

So after I told her about this, she smiled and told me that I'm the first atheist guy she's met who hasn't depressed the hell out of her by talking about his belief or lack of belief. And that made me smile too.

25wimsey posted 2/27/2008 18:52 PM

MiJa, I'm with you--noone KNOWS about after death, plenty of people BELIEVE things about after death--

Drives me nuts when people say, for example, they "think" that such-and-such celebrity is a nice person, or they "think" that so and so will be an excellent president or something--unless you examine what facts and actions are available, you can't really know--it's all a belief. Just like believing in a god or gods.

Seems to me we have enough to deal with, be awed by, be interested in to get involved with--just by being on this earth, surrounded by other people we know, seeing things that need to be done or folks who need to be helped or stuff to be discovered or studied without getting all hepped up by what might happen after death. A good life here is all we really have to work on, and it shouldn't take a belief in some supreme being to make us be the best people we can, or appreciate what we have, or work on improving things.

Like we are all doing in our personal lives, right??

FeistyWoman posted 4/17/2008 15:58 PM

Hi all--

Could use a little help on the whole 12-step approach. I have just discovered my WH is SA with cheating over the last 12 years (see my posts on Just Found Out for more details).

He and I both probably fall into the agnostic camp. He is Jewish and I was raised Catholic. I am probably a little bit more open to spiritual discovery than he is.

So the problem comes with any of the support groups out there for SA -and spouses/partners of. They all seem to be 12-step programs which has turned both of us off.

WH seems truly interested in getting help. He went to his 1st SA meeting the other night. He is pretty freaked out by the God/higher power stuff.

I think we both could really benefit from a group setting but even I don't think I can handle the idea of a higher power sorting this all out for us.

Any 12 step programs for agnostics/atheists out there???

We need help!

7yrsbetrayed posted 4/17/2008 16:56 PM

Feisty, I sent you PM.

We have not found any secular help for SA locally. There might be some things online but they are not what your SA needs. He will need to be flexible enough to be able to just change it around in his head when they talk about God...most places are pretty good about saying "or higher power" and he can define what his "higher power" is. Anyway, just wanted you to know you've got a PM from me and we'll try to help if we can.

Catsbrains posted 5/1/2008 00:41 AM

Just found this thread!! I have always been an atheist. I remember going to Sunday school with my grandma and realizing it was all a bunch of nonsense.

Just wanted to say hi to my fellow heathens!

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