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How to forgive?

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hobbeskat posted 5/22/2013 06:57 AM

My H is truly remorseful. He is helping me heal, making active changes, opening up , feels intensely awful that he has wronged me, that I deserve better and he fell short of that. He has been trying to be better and what I deserve.

We are both struggling with the fact our marriage as we knew it (and to be honest, it wasn't a great one) is over, that the purity is gone, the vows are broken. He thinks I will leave him. If not now, then in a year, five years, and he is sad and grieving (as am I) that the, "for the rest of our lives" vows we took only months ago seem so shaky. He is constantly sad and haunted, as am I. I see the pain he feels when he looks at my dead eyes and he expresses so much remorse for putting me there. We vacillate between talking about our future kids and then being floored by grief knowing that things are different now.

I don't want to leave him but I have been ambivalent. I feel like I need to throw myself into R. although I have been learning a lot, I am exceptionally guarded with my love for him and I often feel very flat and dead. I feel like I need to start the forgiveness process but how? I have a huge bomb waiting to go off in August: our first anniversary which I am absolutely dreading. More than anything, I'm exhausted.

I feel at a crossroads right now, that if something in me doesnt change, we're over. I don't want our marriage to be over. But I don't know what to do.

[This message edited by hobbeskat at 7:02 AM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]

reallysad2012 posted 5/22/2013 11:07 AM

I don't know if I have any great advice for you, but wanted you to know you have been heard.

I think it makes sense you are feeling this way right now. You aren't far from Dday, right? I think it is true you can't R successfully without being all in, but maybe it isn't quite time for you to be there? I often see advice about not making any decisions for about 6 months. That being said, I understand what you mean about not wanting the marriage to end. I am somewhat in the same boat. I know I want R, but I still have some ambivalent feelings.

I think you may be putting too much pressure on yourselves this early on with the thoughts of whether or not you will leave over this "someday". Plus, I can't imagine talking about planning a future with kids while the foundation of your marriage has been shaken so hard. Again, I think it is too much pressure on you.

This takes time. You need to feel what you feel and not push yourself to move onto things you aren't ready for just because you think it is time to be there. We are all impatient to get past this pain, but I don't think there is a fast-forward button.


VD2012 posted 5/22/2013 12:18 PM

It's good that your husband is remorseful and from the way you describe it it sounds genuine. It goes a long way to helping us heal, though a majority of that healing must come from within. Hopefully he can keep at it for the long haul, and it is a long haul. If he's sincere, and you two do go down the path of reconciliation, it is a lifelong haul. But you may just be too early on to make that decision for yourself, and you shouldn't pressure yourself one way or the other.

At 5 months out, weeks after my wife found out she was pregnant and after some very lovely days together at a time when you'd think I'd go "wow, yeah, this will work - we can do this"... I looked at her and very bluntly said "I don't know if I want this" and explained how I didn't think I could do this. On that day I had zero belief in us lasting. She looked me in the eyes and said no matter what I choose, be it at that moment or years down the line, she wasn't giving up on me. She wasn't going to stop improving herself. Thus far she's kept to it, but it didn't change how I felt at the time. I'm now firmly entrenched into giving all to my relationship with my wife. Which yes, is important to longterm reconciling.

You're only 3 months out, go easy on yourself. I'm still guarded with my love for her (something I didn't quite realize until recently and now need to work on) and I'm 13 months out and our son was just born. I still know we have much more to work on and accomplish individually and together in the future. This is a lifelong process. No matter what guideline, timeline, zipline or dateline you follow this is a lifelong process.

You don't need to start the forgiveness "process." You'll feel it when you reach it. I forgave my wife in the most basic sense of being a fallible person I love who I didn't want harm to come to within days of D-Day. Forgiving her for hurting me came at around 5 months, and that was more me than her. She actually played little part in my desire to forgive. I told her I forgave her at 6 months, and she didn't think I should. Again though, it was for me, not her. All that said even, I still find myself forgiving things here and there that have happened, it's not a switch to flip, it's more of a gradual thing. Don't worry so much about having to forgive or getting there, you will when you do and you'll know it. Or you won't and you'll make your peace with that when it comes time.

For now you are still so early and still so vulnerable, devastated and likely still in shock. You may want to be married. You may not in the future. Right now stop worrying so much about that and focus on healing from the damage your husband has inflicted on you. That's the most important thing. In fact, stop worrying about how he feels. If he feels like shit and is remorseful, fine. He should. So long as he stays the course and keeps his focus on fixing his problems and helping you heal it's fine. A truly remorseful wayward spouse knows what they have to do and they do it, and you'll know it when you see it.

But no matter what you need to focus on your own healing. Find stability within yourself. It's hard, I know, we all know. At 3 months out I was just finishing with a few months long ragefest, which was scary for me considering I've spent years curtailing and changing my relationship with anger (though it was a great trial by fire to see just how much I personally changed). Feeling flat and dead is often the mind's way to give us a break from the trauma we've experienced (some around here call it the plane of lethal flatness). It's part of the process.

One more thing I can say is stop thinking of the future. Focus on the here and now. No more talk of kids, no more worrying about your anniversary. It takes your eye off of what is most important: you, right now. Focus on you, less on future possibilities or your spouse.

[This message edited by VD2012 at 12:27 PM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]

VD2012 posted 5/22/2013 12:18 PM

ETA: Whoops, double post.

[This message edited by VD2012 at 12:20 PM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]

ItsaClimb posted 5/22/2013 12:18 PM

To be honest, I think you are still too close to your D-Day to be making a decision. I am just over 9 months out and only now (in the last couple of days) have I had the feeling that I MIGHT be able to forgive....I'm hesitant to even type those words because I am scared that this may in fact be an "up" on the roller-coaster and perhaps next week I will be hit by a ton of anger yet again! Because, in all honesty, that is what the last 9 months have looked like for me. My emotions have literally been all over the place! Which is why I think you need to give yourself some time..... Time seems to be the operative word in this process.

If your H is genuinely remorseful and you feel in your heart that you want to try to R then the possibility exists that, with time and work on his part (to resolve the issues that lead him to the A) and work on your part (to heal and figure out your boundaries)you may well build a marriage that looks better than yours did before. But give yourself time to figure it all out - a year at least IMO.

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 12:20 PM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]

doesitgetbetter posted 5/22/2013 12:33 PM

It took me a full 2.5 years to forgive my H. That only came after he had shown a LOOONG history of working hard on R, changing his ways, helping me through the hard times, a full year of me wanting to divorce, countless hours of counseling both IC and MC, weekend marriage retreats, hundreds of hours of reading books on infidelity and forgiveness, etc. etc. IMO, forgiveness is something that the BS works on AFTER they have had some time to work on themselves and going through the healing process from the trauma they have experienced. Heck, it wasn't until 5 months after DDay that I found out a major dose of TT that just about killed me, and it wasn't until 8 months after DDay that I found out I'd been given a lifelong incurable STD.

It appears as though, just from reading this one post, that you may be putting some of the blame on your new marriage. How bad could a brand new marriage really be? You two were still fully in the honeymoon phase. I would caution you not to let any of the blame for his infidelity fall anywhere other than where it belongs.... squarely with him! It doesn't matter how bad a relationship is, the WS is never right to choose to cheat rather than work on the issues.

so_lost posted 5/24/2013 12:48 PM

I wouldn't worry about forgiveness so soon after D-day. I'm 8 years out (and 2 kids later) and finally feel like I'm closer to forgiving him.

The key for me has been compassion. Putting myself in his shoes. My compassion for him and his actions is what will help me forgive him completely.

For now, follow your gut. Do you want to be with him and give him a second chance or not? If you don't have an answer, wait it out a little longer. Be patient. Healing is a long, long journey.

hobbeskat posted 5/24/2013 19:30 PM

Thank you so much for all your words and wisdom. I will say in terms of marriage- we had no honeymoon period AT ALL. Our wedding night was horrendous due to my family kicking off a huge drama, the honeymoon was crap, too, as this drama dragged on and dragged us into it. We got back, his dad (who couldn't come to our wedding) had a stroke, we had to move, there was job problems, financial problems, I lapsed into my bipolar depression, he followed suit into his but didn't realise. Etc. And more, too much to list. So much crap happened, we had absolutely no time to catch our breath and we felt like our marriage was cursed. We were totally pulled under by it all and completely disconnected from each other. I think if it had just been one or two of those things, we'd have gotten through it together, but it was so, so much. And we barely saw each other because he was on nights and I was killing myself as a student nurse while strugging with depression. It could not have been a worse start.

[This message edited by hobbeskat at 7:32 PM, May 24th (Friday)]

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