I really need to tap into some wisdom now. How do you even begin to forgive your WS? My H had an 8 month long PA with a co-worker. They "dated" while at work, and did the sexual stuff before or after hours in the office (gross) or in the car (grosser). They had a weekly "date" to do lunch together (at work). They never met outside of work. (She was engaged to another man.) After a "lovely" day of romping with the work girlfriend, my husband would come home to me and our kids.
He is now remorseful, loving, all of it. He has shown remorse and gives constant support and love. And yet here I am, on various meds for anxiety and depression, still having nightmares (how someone I never met could be in my dreams, I'll never know). I have little to no self-esteem and cry myself to sleep at least twice a week (down from every night).
How in the world do I forgive the person who did this to me? And how can I stay in a M with someone that I don't forgive?
Woke up late today and I still feel the sting of the pain
But I brushed my teeth anyway
I got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face
I got a little bit stronger...
D-day: June 14, 2010
I forgave my H at 2.5 years out. I processed through all I needed to know, I asked all the questions I needed half a million times until I believed them and really accepted them to be truth. I did IC, MC, weekend retreats, I read books not only about infidelity but about healing myself. I read so many definitions of what forgiveness really was, religious and non religious. I read books about it, cried about it, thought about it, and all sorts of things. I realized I had to forgive him for myself, not for him. Holding onto my anger and hatred towards him for his actions was not healthy for ME, and that made me not healthy for my kids. I had to forgive him for myself, and for my children. Even if we divorced, I couldn't let myself be that bitter and angry and hurt because I knew I would say evil vile things about him and inevitably one of our kids would hear it. I didn't want to be that mother, I had a mother like that and it was awful!
What have you done, and do you do, for your own healing?
I don't know what else to do. Is this how you know that it is dealbreaker?
I'm sorry you are still hurting. I am still in pain at 15 months and still feel extreme anger and sadness about the A.
I honestly am going to have to leave the forgiveness part up to G-O-D because I do not have it in me to forgive my WH for everything he has done to me.
A few suggestions:
1) How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To, by Janis A. Spring? Forgiving is for yourself.
2) Go back to IC, and/or try a different counselor.
3) Get a second opinion on the meds you are taking. It is my opinion that although meds can be a good short term solution to ease the intense pain in the beginning, eventually, you must wane from the meds in order to properly process the pain. New pain in our lives requires emotional growth to properly process the pain, and you emotionally growing is not something your husband can do for you, and the meds may be hindering your attempts.
Compassion. Trying to remember he feels dirty, ashamed, and disgusted by his actions. "At least you can hold your head up high," he once said to me.
Putting myself in his and even her shoes. I'm shocked the OW kept pursuing my H despite being treated like a whore. He never kissed her. He had sex with her in the back of her Jeep in the parking lot of a bar. He never climaxed. Really? She must've been pretty broken if THAT was okay. Not the stuff of true love or romance.
Realizing my love story with my H is far superior (to whatever they had) and has been all along. Ours never started out of deceit, lies, and selfishness.
I recently started IC as well.
I also try to tell myself 1) divorce doesn't look any better then my current situation, 2) I could get cheated on again by another man, and 3) fairytales and soul mates are the stuff of movies. Accepting that this happened to us is still hard.
It takes so much mental discipline to remind myself of all that I wrote above...but I'm trying.
[This message edited by so_lost at 2:41 PM, May 31st (Friday)]
I also read the books, also a few on Codependency and breaking that cycle. I did change I am a different person than I was prior to DDay. But I am stronger, and much more articulate when sharing my feelings.
I would also say that you seem down and stuck IC would be beneficial for you.
If you bottled up your stuff and didn't deal with it early on, you may be stuck, and need to really examine your feelings, and allow yourself to heal. I know when I would get hung up on what he did, I would remind myself of the person he was during the A, and he was not pleasant, and quite ugly in many ways. He is not that guy anymore. He makes me happy now. Focusing on the present helped me a lot.
Forgiveness is a choice we make, in the same way we can choose to be happy in life and content.
Forgiveness is one thing you can control.
[This message edited by scissorhands at 9:27 PM, May 31st (Friday)]
If forgiveness means "forgetting" and moving on - it'll never happen. My H defines forgiveness this way. That's why he struggles to accept my forgiveness.
I define it differently. In my mind, it's letting go of resentment, no longer wanting revenge or justice, accepting a new beginning and a new normal. Yet I will never forget it...I will still feel the ache when I think of it... I haven't decided if it means I no longer feel the anger...I'm inclined to say Yes...but maybe that's because I have forgiven and haven't felt anger in awhile (lol - well, 2 weeks with no anger and I formally forgave my H last Sunday...so long for me anyway...)
How do you even begin to forgive your WS?
I dunno, for me I got to accepting what happened, and then deciding I was OK with who FWW was and was working to be going forward.
I really believe that her A's were not about me, they were about her and her issues. I also belive there was nothing special about any of her OM other than they were available and equally broken internally. This too helped when I got to this point.
While FWW was working on her stuff, I kind of detached, and worked on me and my life. This may be a path for you. Stop looking to forgive your WS, or even love him. Instead work to create a life (independant of him) that you like for yourself.
It may be that his A was a dealbreaker for you. While you decide, take my advice to work on you and take some focus off of your WS and M. See if you can refill your self-esteem. See if you can have a life where you are looking forward to something the next day, a class, an outing with friends, volunteer work, rather than crying to sleep.
I am only a few days past 3 years so i really can relate.
Stop looking to forgive your WS, or even love him.
See if you can have a life where you are looking forward to something
This is great advice from ats.
In my case it wasn't until I stopped hoping to have the dream M, started accepting what happened and gave myself permission NOT to forgive him or love him again, that I started to feel better.
I'm still struggling with a few things but these I believe are the key.
Often reading on SI I get the impression that some have moved on from the infidelity into an entirely NEW M and love everything about it.
For others it is a question of whether we want to settle for what we now have. Many say that we should not be prepared to settle but I am not so sure. Sometimes I wonder if refusing to accept anything except a perfect new M is cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
Let's face it. There are many less than idyllic Ms out there that haven't been hit by infidelity but in which both choose to stay because it is their "path of least regret". They accept their partner "Warts and all" for whatever reason.
My FWH is like yours. Attentive, affectionate, faithful (I think), doing most of it right (except talking about it which is what I need). He is a far better H now than he ever was before. Sure there are some things that still piss me off but he is much better than most. So I can kick him to the curb and be alone or go looking for a replacement. I could find one I think. But at this time that is not what I want.
The other thing to remember is that you are not stuck. You can get up and leave whenever you want to. 5 years, 10 years down the track. Whenever you want to. You have a free pass. I found this thought liberating.
There are great Rs out there, some poor ones and everything in between. Like ours.
I actually think that for some R may simply mean acceptance.
Perhaps this is what you need. JMHO.
My FWH had a 5 yr LTA. It was a shock and a trauma for me to find out about it.
The level of betrayal was stunning.
I kicked him out after d-day and we were separated for 6 months.
I decided to try to reconcile when I saw true remorse from him and a real commitment to make positive changes in himself.
I forgave him on some level at that point in our R.
But, in some ways, I still had not accepted that the infidelity had happened.
It's hard to describe but for years after d-day I would still wake up at times in the middle of the night or have a thought during the day and say- "I can't believe he did that."
I would then have PTSD symptoms,a panicky feeling,difficulty breathing -the works.
For me, finding out about the infidelity was a traumatic experience.
Going to IC helped a lot.
I also needed meds for anxiety and depression for awhile.
Just recognizing that I was traumatized and dealing with it as a trauma was helpful for me.
One book that deals with this is: Transcending Post Infidelity Stress Disorder by Dr. Ortman.