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Is Forgiveness a Requirement to R?

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sri624 posted 9/13/2013 17:13 PM

hello many of us, i am strugglng with that word forgiveness. many of the wise SIers told me that you can r and still not forgive....some have told me that it is a process...that it takes really long time.

for me, at this point, i dont forgive him for cheating,and all the lies. i think it will take time. but i do feel like, i need to be headed in that direction in order to really r with him.

i was watching one of those talks shows the other day. and the host who is really wise, and well respected talked about how she has many friends who have been victims of infedelity. she said that a lot of people simply cannot forgive and get over it...and that is okay. she also said that the most importnat thing to do though is to make a decision. either you are going to "make the decision" to forgive or not. she said a lot of BS live their lives in limbo..and that the negative energy from that effect all areas of a persons life...holding on to that pain. she said that if you make the decision to stay...and make it work...then really, really try to do that. be all in. and forgive...dont live for years in limbo. it just isnt worth it.

if you cant forgive, then really, really move on with your life. and dont look back....have no regrets.

i thought that was interesting.

i hope to someday be able to be all in. just not there yet.

i wondered where my friends here were with forgiveness. do you still look at your cheating spouse with loving eyes?

aesir posted 9/13/2013 17:21 PM

This also depends a great deal on how you define forgiveness. For some, forgive and forget is a redundant mantra, and that attitude is doomed to failure, and little more than an admonish to get on with the rugsweeping. For others forgive means simply to abandon the quest for a better past.

Rebreather posted 9/13/2013 17:30 PM

There is maybe no subject that we discuss more often here.

I'm in the camp that doesn't think it is necessary to forgive to reconcile. And I certainly do not believe our choices are either a) forgive or b) be bitter. There is a world of room in between.

I told my spouse at the beginning of this journey that if he needed me to forgive him, that he should move on because the words "I forgive you" were never coming out of my mouth. Truly, I feel I would be betraying myself to do so.

But I'm 6 years out and happily reconciled with a man I love and respect greatly. I'm not at all bitter.

For my IC, forgiveness is the desire to stop punishing. If anyone wants to use that as the guideline, then I am totally there. But other forms of forgiveness don't work for me. And I'm never saying it.

pewpewpew posted 9/13/2013 17:43 PM

No. I will never forgive WH, and I've made that clear.

I will forgive mistakes, and I always choose to forgive for anything.

This is something I could never "forgive".
I've come to terms with it and I believe I've reached acceptance.

Skan posted 9/13/2013 18:06 PM

While I have forgiven my FWH, I certainly did not think that that was a necessary thing for R. And it wasn't even on the table while we were trying to R.

It was a decision that I personally made that was right for me.

And even if we had not managed to R and we divorced, my forgiving him or not forgiving him would have had nothing to do with that decision. I have forgiven people for hurting me that I have never spoken to again because that was a healthy decision for me. My forgiveness had nothing to do with the fact that I knew that those people were unhealthy for me and that I could not be around them. Forgiveness was a gift that I gave to myself, not them.

Hope that makes sense.

musiclovingmom posted 9/13/2013 18:10 PM

I do believe that forgiveness is a choice. And for me, absolutely necessary. Forgiveness for me does not mean I've forgotten what he did. It does not mean that I understand it. It does not mean that I'm done asking questions. It doesn't mean I'm past the infidelity. It does mean that I choose to not be angry at him every day. Unlike Rebreather, there is no I between for me. If I choose not to forgive, I harbor bitterness, anger and resentment. There is no way my R could be successful with all those things standing in the way. I have, just recently, chosen to forgive my H. It was not a huge, ceremonious event. And, it didn't miraculously make everything better. But it did lift the heaviness of anger and resentment from my shoulders and keeps them from clouding my hope for the future.

womaninflux posted 9/13/2013 18:15 PM

just because you forgive it doesn't mean you forget or condone or approve or minimize behavior.

if you don't forgive, your R doesn't stand a chance and you probably won't heal. Why would you want to poison yourself? I think it takes a long time to get to forgiveness, but I don't understand how you would not be able to R without it. BTW, I am definitely not there yet but feel closer to it than 6 months ago.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/13/2013 18:18 PM

I have never told my H those words. Some days I fully believe I have forgiven, then other days...

I try to remember these words:
You will never finish the book if you continue to read the same chapter.

ETA: At some point I had to accept that I chose to R instead of D. I had some responsibility to participate in the journey.

Its truly a journey and everyone's timing is different. Don't rush yourself.

[This message edited by Lucky2HaveMe at 6:19 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

summerain posted 9/13/2013 18:20 PM

Nope. Acceptance of your situation. Understanding why you want to R for the right reasons. Digging up the skeletons and moving forward is.

Forgiveness is overrated. True acceptance of your situation and who you are as a person is underrated.

Unless you are devoutly religious and/or forgiveness is apart of your compass in life. However cannot comment on that as I am not either of those two things.

But asking the question gives you the answer, you personally don't need to forgive. If you did you would truly know.

One day you may wake up and realise you have forgiven him. I honestly would think that would feel magical. But certainly not necessary.

heartache101 posted 9/13/2013 18:36 PM

No I dont forgive I dont forget.
It was a terrible thing he did. He needs to carry his burden his shame to carry not mine.
What is your definition of R?
Mine is to live a quiet loving life with my spouse.

webmistress posted 9/13/2013 18:42 PM

I agree with Rebreather that forgiveness isn't a requirement for R. I haven't forgiven XH even though we're coming upon a year of R. He knows I haven't forgiven him. I don't even know what forgiveness would look/feel like.

Acceptance is a much more comfortable word for me. I think I've reached a good level of acceptance and have nearly moved on from it all. I don't crave anymore answers and feel like a semblance of balance has returned to our relationship. Given a little more time, I don't see any reason why we won't be better and stronger than we were before. But I seriously doubt I will ever forgive him. For me, the behavior was too deviant to be forgiven. At least that's how I feel right now.

Simple posted 9/13/2013 18:50 PM

If I choose not to forgive, I harbor bitterness, anger and resentment. There is no way my R could be successful with all those things standing in the way.

I want to add, the same for those that are NOT in R. If a BS wants to move forward even if D, you don't want to end up like these bitter people who keep harping on the past. Healing means moving on and for some people, it's forgiveness:

For others forgive means simply to abandon the quest for a better past.

For me forgiveness is a gift I give myself. I've learned this from my mother who forgave her cheating H even when he didn't ask. That didn't mean she stayed with him, or allowed his toxic attitude to enter our lives. It allowed her to move on and not once did I think she was bitter with NO bad word to say about our father. She became a star to me, not an old hag who keep harping about the past.

My FWH asked for forgiveness and whether or not I forgave him doesn't quite matter because he did HIS part. Also for me, I would want him to forgive himself so he can move on, as I would forgive myself. Forgiveness doesn't mean rug sweeping or forgetting. Lessons from this should never be forgotten. We all want forgiveness no matter how small our mistakes are.

As much as people think infidelity is more than a mistake, it is a mistake. A mistake that can destroy lives but can be turned around to create new ones - that's what it felt like to me with our successful 5 year R.

I hope it makes sense.

[This message edited by Simple at 6:52 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

RidingHealingRd posted 9/13/2013 20:32 PM

My WH, when stating "I know you will never forgive me", was not lied to I clearly told him that he was absolutely correct I would never forgive him.

There is a lot I have struggled with as a result of his disgusting affair but forgiveness is not on that list.

We are 3 yrs post Dday. I have a remorseful, 100% accountable, model WH. He made a decision to cheat and in doing so hurt me/my children like no other. Some things are just too HUGE to forgive, infidelity being one.
Don't stress over it Sri. I believe you can successfully R without that.

[This message edited by RidingHealingRd at 8:33 PM, September 13th (Friday)]

sri624 posted 9/13/2013 21:43 PM

i honestly DO NOT know how i would have survived this far without this site. thank you again for ALWAYS keeping me grouded, eyes wide open...and using my head.

well....i dont forgive him...not yet. and it is good to know that it is not necessarily a requirement right now.

my h is the model h is hard to believe that he has been a lying, cheating, substance abusing horrible husband for so long.

but i do see many changes in him. i never listen to his words...just his actions...and i feel as if him continuing to do will help the m. me, on the other hand....forgiving him...well...that is seems a bit elusive at times.

i dont want to be bitter...or a bitter old lady..years down the way...that seems like such a waste. i have seen these women...met them...sat with them at the dinner table at family fathering...and it is really sad.

my granny has been married 40 years to my grandfather...who has cheated, lied, and treated her badly (still does) for years. and yet, she is bitter...and always playing the same tape...about "what he did to her." things that happend years ago.

my thought is always..."why not leave him?" you could have had a better life...met someone new...and moved on from HIM.

i look at bitter...and holding on to the anger and hate...and memories of "all he did" and i just dont want to be like her.

honestly though, i can see myself going down that path...holding on to the memories of what my h did to our family. i am hopeful that i will at least get to a position of not wanting to punish him as well. and accepting what happend. and understand that forgiveness is something that i will need to do for me.

i still lay awake at night sometimes with my mind movies...thinking about how he use to lie to me, and have sex with other women. the false r...and his head so far up his ass after dday2, that he treated me as if i was the enemy...typical wayward.

and since i still have these thoughts....even during a nice dinner, or family time...or heck even in church...i know that forgiveness is a ways off...even though i am attempting r.

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