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"You need to forgive him..."

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BEM817 posted 10/23/2013 15:51 PM

So, I do contract work a few days a week, and one of my coworkers and I were talking. I was venting as to how crazy life was and eluded to the fact that WH and I haven't had the best communication for awhile (go figure!).
She started telling me how she leaves her husband little notes on the white board telling him different things she loves about him and said I should try this. I responded with "that's not going to happen" and she said it couldn't be that bad, unless he cheated. what?

I shared with her that he had and she got tears in her eyes and said the same thing happened to her mom. Her dad cheated on her with his secretary and ultimately lost his job for it. My WH also lost his job because of it.

It's what she said next that threw me a little. Although it was well intended, she said "you just need to forgive him".

We are trying to R and he is doing his damnedest to make things right. Absolute remorse. My life is immeasurably better in so many ways. He is present and loving like he never has been before. He's a great dad. He's finally a great provider and works his ass off to take care of us. He is truly a different man than he was two years ago. Him losing his job was the best thing because he's now doing what he loves. He is transformed in so many ways. But I can't let it go. Can't trust him with my heart yet.

So in a roundabout way, what I'm saying is, is it really that simple? Will forgiveness allow me to get unstuck in R? Year 2 has been a total bitch so far. He hasn't wavered though in his commitment to me.

So is forgiveness the piece that I'm missing?

PinkJeepLady posted 10/23/2013 16:06 PM

Sometimes people just blurt that out, like they don't know what to say, or they are trying to fix it for you.
Personally, I think forgiveness is a very individual thing and means different things to each of us. I am not really hung up on whether I will or have or what. What was interesting to me is that when I went to a new IC about a year out, he observed that I had "forgiven" my WH. I guess they way I was talking made him assume that although I hadn't said those words. Just interesting.
For some reason I just don't worry about if I have or will. My WH doesn't ask me if I have or will, I think he did once right after DDay. I believe that some things might not be completely "forgiven" in this life, maybe they will get resolved in the next life.
We are trying to R too and are finding year 2 very difficult. I don't think it's as simple as "I forgive you", but that's just my opinion. I understand the trust piece, I think it's going to take time for us, don't you?
If it wasn't something you were struggling with before her comment I am not sure it's something to worry about? I do think that it's possible to come to a point in R where you could confidently say "I forgive you" to your WH.
I notice that you don't say "former" WH, just WH. That's what I do too and I have been thinking it is because I am not sure I can trust him still. So maybe when we can say "former" that will be forgiveness?
Just a thought!
Take care

BEM817 posted 10/23/2013 16:16 PM


Thank you. I haven't put the F in WH and I'm sure that the trust factor plays a huge part in that. Maybe F means former and forgiveness!

It just really got me thinking, you know. I get so bogged down in my emotions and I'm tired. So tired of feeling this way. It's not that I don't want to feel better, I just sometimes feel that I'm incapable of living in the present and appreciating all of the goods things in life (healthy, smart loving kids, great family, a nice home just to name a few). It was a simple statement she made but it really got me thinking...

Good thoughts coming your way as you navigate R!

TheAmazingWondertwin posted 10/23/2013 16:20 PM

For me- I told him I forgave him pretty early on- we are still in the early stages. What I meant when I said that was that I believed he was remorseful- I believed he was ashamed and disgusted by what he did. I believed that he still loved me. And I believed that the man I loved was still in there. I forgave him because I needed to for myself.
I still have anger- although less intense. I do not fully trust him. Although I try- but I know that i don't really. I guess for me, forgive is very different than forget. And my forgiveness was based on his actions after D day. I forgave him- but we still have work to do. I still need him to understand what he has done to me, to us, to the kids. I still need him to make changes and talk with me.
Forgive is such a strange concept. I can't say "I forgive you- it's okay" but I can say "I forgive you because I don't hate you for it right now."
I don't know if I'm fooling myself or not- maybe I said it to make myself feel better. I don't know.
But when I said it, I meant it. I didn't say it to make him feel better- I said it to make myself feel better.
He did it. It sucks. The process is hell. But I cannot change what happened. And now we deal with the fall out.
Maybe it wasn't so much forgive, as accept that it happened.
I guess this didn't help much. EVeryime I try to offer advice, I feel myself rethinking things as I type.
What a mess. So sorry.
I wish you the best and am so sorry you are struggling right now.

JustDesserts posted 10/23/2013 16:27 PM

My BS's forgiveness was the single most important gift I've received on our journey in reconciliation. She gave me her trust. And I feel inspired to guard and cherish the opportunity and second chance.

I've asked her if it was hard to forgive and trust. And she's told me doing so lifted an elephant from her chest.

I have something precious to guard and grow. Her gift to me was a gift to herself...and us.

Amazing girl...the girl I cheated on. And the girl I'll love above all others until the day I die. She believes in me. I f*cked that up once. Never again. Never...

PinkJeepLady posted 10/23/2013 16:39 PM

Forgive is such a strange concept. I can't say "I forgive you- it's okay" but I can say "I forgive you because I don't hate you for it right now

Yeah I like this! I think it describes what I feel too, thank you!

BEM817 posted 10/23/2013 16:39 PM

Wondertwin, I do the same thing...try to give advice and then forget what I was trying to say. Just read your profile, we have a lot in common. I guess we all do here on SI. And you're absolutely right. They did it. It happened. We have to deal with fallout. I'm just grateful that we can come here and all deal with it together.

JustDesserts, what you wrote was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I'd like to think my WH feels the same way!

TheAmazingWondertwin posted 10/23/2013 16:50 PM

BEM- I'm laughing because I just read your OTHER post. LOL. Great minds think alike and all that.

JustDesserts- thank you so much. It takes a lot to come and post and share your journey. I appreciate your words. They give me- and others I am sure- hope.

BeyondBreaking posted 10/23/2013 17:00 PM

It COULD BE that the only thing missing is you forgiving him. But I am not there, so I doubt that's all that is going on.

People throw the word forgiveness around, as though it is as easy as taking a piss. It's not that easy. The person- the ONE person in the whole world- who vowed to love you unconditionally, never to hurt you, to be trustworthy, faithful and a good husband completely failed miserably and hurt you. He could be an angel now, and you know what? That doesn't take back what he did. He could win the lottory and buy you a new house, car, wardrobe, diamonds...still wouldn't change what he did. It's something that he- AND YOU- have to live with forever. It's not so easy to "just" forgive.

To me, that coworker response is like you saying that your husband has heart failure, and her saying, "well, you'll just have to perform open heart surgery." No biggie, right? You'll "just have to" do it!

I'm sure she didn't mean it that way...but that is a fair comparison to me.

Alex CR posted 10/23/2013 17:44 PM

I realized recently my H is a former wayward and posted about that. But I haven't come to the point where I've forgiven's almost four years and I don't know if I ever will reach that point.

Much that I've read says forgiveness is for us just as much as the offender. Not sure about that but I know we are reconciling and are much more of aware and considerate of each others' needs and wants.... life is good.

My H asked me if I'd ever forgive him during the middle of year one and I told him then I didn't know if I ever could.....I still feel that way. It's not like he crashed my car or broke my favorite vase......he lied to me, over and over, for five years and led me to believe there was something wrong with me and that's why he acted the way he did. I still see the effects in our family today from those five years and to be honest, I don't know if that is forgivable.....time will tell though.....three years ago I never thought I'd be excited when he came home from a business trip or that he could make me laugh again. If there's anything I've learned from this trauma, it's to never say never and to let life work it's magic....

People throw the word forgiveness around, as though it is as easy as taking a piss.

Love this analogy ......made me laugh out loud!

Rebreather posted 10/23/2013 17:47 PM

Much that I've read says forgiveness is for us just as much as the offender

I figure if this is true, than not forgiving is also something I can do for myself.

morethantrying posted 10/23/2013 18:23 PM

Yes, you forgive him not for him but for let the past really be over in your mind and let it go...not saying this is easy. All your thooughts should now be focused on anything that brings you towards love...even if it is baby steps. Yes, leave him a note...thanks for putting the dishes away it made me feel great -- encourage him too, he feels horrible and want nothing more than to be your love and knight in shining armour...yes as "unfair" as it seems, contrary to our "feelings" (and feeling are not ALWAYS RIGHT), we are "unfortunately" the ones who have to be stronger...and obviously we ARE and they are NOT - they are they weaker ones and actually need OUR go ahead forgive and doing all with love...and see YOU will benefit!

SisterMilkshake posted 10/23/2013 19:09 PM

I feel BS's and WS's get unnecessarily all worked up about forgiveness. BS's seem to be in a rush to give it and the WS's are in a rush to get it.

There is no trying to forgive, there just is. However, I don't feel I mean it the same way as your co-worker did.

When one tries to forgive is when the problem comes in. I feel forgiveness is a process. It happens in increments. It happens while you are processing what happened. It happens while you are healing. It happens with time.

With this process of forgiveness, one day you will wake up and realize that you have forgiven.

So is forgiveness the piece that I'm missing?
I don't necessarily think so. Maybe, maybe not. I do know that it just takes a lot of time to heal from this shit, and maybe even longer to fully forgive.

ETA: This is how my online dictionary defines forgiveness. At 3 1/2 years out, I am still not quite there. I can feel it is within my grasp. My anger and resentment only shows up rarely now, but it is still there. Forgiveness is a work in progress for me.

1. stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 7:14 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]

morethantrying posted 10/23/2013 20:19 PM

If there is a Master List of what is forgivable and what is unforgivable then give the world the list...when it comes to forgiveness there is no list...we are all worthy of forgiveness and have done something that requires forgiveness (was what we did on that Master List that allowed forgiveness?). Yes, what the WS did was big, and it is so sad...but we are the lucky ones that get to grow because of their mistake or flaw...I do hope that my spouse can forgive me as well...I am human, and so is we need to forgive each other for being human or just accept that we ALL make mistakes and ALL are worthy of forgiveness...can we have compassion for them the same way we have it for ourselves when WE do something requiring forgiveness?

SmallButStrong posted 10/23/2013 23:09 PM

This is the topic of our MC sessions right now. We are through the first year, and now on the "path to forgiveness", but just making that statement has screwed things up between us. Now I feel like there is this pressure for me to make a "decision to forgive", and everyone is waiting around, staring at me until I do it.

I guess I've never thought of forgiveness as a single event, but now my WH does. Unfortunately, I think he thinks there is going to be a magical moment where I forgive him, and then we go ride unicorns and slide down rainbows together for the rest of our life.

I wouldn't dare say the words, "I forgive you" because I would feel pressured to never show my anger again. Or never bring it up again. If I told him this and then weeks later have a bad day, I'm afraid his reaction would be, "I thought you forgave me?! Why are we still talking about this?!" But that's just my WH.

I think forgiveness is a process. Haven't we all forgiven our WS's at least a little bit to commit to R? How else could we have moved forward without it?

I hate this whole forgiveness topic. It's confusing and I think we all get caught up in it rather then letting the healing occur naturally.

Bobbi_sue posted 10/24/2013 01:35 AM

I think I agree with your friend, especially if you are in year two. Life is too short to be miserable for years on end. I do believe we have some control over that, in our own lives. If what he did is unforgivable in your eyes, then D him. (And that is a viable and respectable choice).

If you think, based on his remorse and other things, he is worth staying married to, then yes, I believe you will both be much happier if you forgive him.

No, it is not simple, but it was something that I realized I needed to do very early on after my decision to stay with him (if no new and damaging information/lies or further cheating happened, of course).

I remember actually working on it, telling myself in times of anger, that I would need to think of the good things he was doing, and work harder on forgiving and dwelling less on what he did, and more on what he was doing to be a better person.

I always say that that the WS should do almost ALL the work for R but then again I also know if anyone in the world (whether WS or BS or neither) wants a good marriage with warmth and intimacy, that person also has to work at the relationship and be a giving, loving person, and sometimes forgiving, person.

But I can't let it go. Can't trust him with my heart yet.
For me, I came to a cold, hard realization after being cheated on by both of my H's. I was SO SURE my current H would not do that, and then he did. What that did to me, and I mean permanently is changed my view about trust. I will NEVER trust any human being 100% again. Not fun to accept but this it is how I feel.

It has been seven years out for us and we are closer than ever and I probably trust him 99.9% but the point is there is a part of me that always will know anything is possible and sometimes things are not what they seem. I know this but don't dwell on it. I dwell on the here and now. We are close and we love each other, have fun together, support each other when things (not related to M) go wrong.

For me the only way to deal with that sliver of possibility he could betray me again is to have a plan for myself in case he did. And that plan is get a D in record speed.

soconfusednow posted 10/24/2013 05:09 AM

Will forgiveness allow me to get unstuck in R?

Years ago I was in an abusive relationship. Thankfully it didn't last long (less than a year)before he went to jail & my head cleared. I never allowed him back in my life but the scars were deep.

It took years, but I finally forgave him. For my protection I didn't break NC to tell him. But a huge weight was lifted off me and I had more joy in my life.

Forgiveness was easier then than it is now with my WH. It's still too fresh, I hope I can get there soon.

heforgotme posted 10/24/2013 06:42 AM

Forgiveness might be the missing piece, but whether it is or not doesn't really matter bc it's not something you can force.

summerain posted 10/24/2013 06:59 AM

You can't force forgiveness. IMO it's a very individual thing. I don't believe that 'forgiveness is for yourself', that's a bunch of crap. Acceptance is for yourself.

I also don't think I could 'forgive' after a few months. As I could not possibly of really appreciated what had occurred. I was really close to 'forgiving him' a few weeks after DDAY. But then I realised, that I was still in shock.

I do think however I am getting closer. That makes me happy. I sort of get this 'feeling' that it would be around the two year antiversary.

That makes me happy that I can do that for him

Because either way this stays with me for the rest of my life.

tushnurse posted 10/24/2013 08:38 AM

BEM - You need to consider where she is coming from on this, and not be too concerned about it.

People who haven't walked in your shoes, don't know what to do, or what to say. She probably was thinking back to when her dad had cheated, and how mean and bitter her mother was because of it, and noted that Mom really changed when she finally forgave him, or knew that had her mom been able to get to the point of forgiveness she would have been happier.

Forgiveness gets a lot of air play in recovery, and for many of us it really shouldn't be the focus of things. The strange thing as you go through the process of healing, and do the work of R, is you do eventually heal, and suddenly there it is. Forgiveness, it has made it's entrance into the relationship, and you didn't even notice it's arrival. But for me it was a quiet peace, and acceptance that happened. OK he did this to us, to me, to him. We have been down a difficult road, and he made some horrible choices, but I accept that as the past, because he is no longer that guy. He had done the hard work, and changed, and the change was palapable.

So don't pressure yourself, it will come when you are ready, and not a moment sooner.

((((and strength))))

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