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watersofavalon posted 10/25/2013 09:39 AM

We are doing OK. H’s 6month affair ended in June 2012 when I heard some rumours and then found some texts. It took him 24 hours of obfuscation and wittering to finally man up and tell me the extent of the relationship. They had kissed and touched each other but not had full intercourse. He told me that he loved her – ouch! But he loved me more and couldn’t lose me. He was remorseful and went NC straightaway (he did have to work at the same school but they were not directly working together any more).

I struggled with many things about the way it ended – I didn’t see the text he sent to end it and he refused to write a NC letter because it would start up contact again. I felt all the usual things, I was to blame, I was worthless, ugly etc, he must have loved her more as she was half his age! He consistently denied all of that. In many way he was the model WS – main problem was that he doesn’t like to talk about his feelings so sometimes it felt like getting blood from a stone when I really needed to talk to him and for him to reassure me.

We are doing OK now. Out of the blue a few months back he told me that he doesn’t think he loved her after all – if it was infatuation, flattery etc. Final end of the fog? Don’t know.

I truly feel that I have forgiven this man, the one who has been sorry and remorseful and worked so hard to win me back. But the man who was so callous to me during the A, who couldn’t give a stuff about me when I was struggling with the worst bout of depression I had ever have, the one who was so distant from me that I didn’t feel safe telling him about my desire to chuck myself over a bridge one Jan afternoon, the one who sympathised and comforted his OW about her problems while I was in my own quiet hell, the one who didn’t support me while I pulled myself up out of my depression, the one who texted endlessly to her, the one who texted ‘I love everything about you’ to her, the one who told me he was unsure he wanted to be with me anymore during that first 24 hours when I was so confused and hurting and needed him so badly. Him, I don’t think I can forgive. . Sometimes the rage I feel towards him bubbles up in my throat like vomit.

Is that sort of partial forgiveness OK? Because I have a feeling until I can forget, I can’t completely forgive.

[This message edited by watersofavalon at 9:58 AM, October 25th (Friday)]

eachdayisvictory posted 10/25/2013 09:50 AM

Oh dear god, how strange to virtually see my own thougts in your post.

What I wouldn't give for my H to tell me he didn't love her and for me to really believe it. We don't talk about it really, I decided that was something he had to work out in IC because if I heard one more positive word about that selfish cow, I couldn't promise that I wouldn't straight up pulverise my H.

I am interested to see what others say about your partial forgiveness, as this is how I feel. Like I must accept that this is a new relationship with, well, two new people - I am unquestionably a new woman now, and I like who I am (possibly for the first time ever). So, sometimes I can't even think about the man he was during the A, and I don't think I can forgive that man, he didn't even want it.

Also, when you said he wavered in that first 24 hours, my stomache sank at the memory of our first 24. He told me he was leaving and I said no. At that time I had no idea about the details, but he did and felt like there was no way I would ever be able to forgive him (a selfish motivation - he was worried about himself being able to have a happy life in our M after he destroyed it), but he was also unsure if he ever loved me as much as he loved her and told me as much. At that time it didn't matter what he said, I decided to go to war for our family and give everything I had to any tiny chance of saving our family. A stance that has changed dramatically since then, but those first days after - I don't know if I can forgive him for that. He is a different man now. If he treated me that way tomorrow, I would kick his ass to the street and never look back.

How can we make sense of this?

watersofavalon posted 10/25/2013 09:55 AM

"He is a different man now. If he treated me that way tomorrow, I would kick his ass to the street and never look back. "

Precisely! I am much much stronger. I wouldn't stand for it now. I never imagined I would need that sort of strength - I never envisaged him being unfaithful.

I worry that that man I can't forgive will always be there in my head and that his image will sometimes seem more real than the living man in front of me.

jstbreathe posted 10/25/2013 09:56 AM

Forgive and forget? Just can't seem to do it, don't think I ever will. Not in this lifetime anyway.
If you can, that's great. Just don't beat yourself up about it if you can't. I bet they didn't give you so much head space during their A.
You are human, there are limits to what we can do.

devasted30 posted 10/25/2013 10:33 AM

I will never forgive my WS.
NEVER. Not the lying, cheating, scumbag that did the things to me that he wouldn't do to a cockroach. No way - not ever. And my WS understands that and has no problem with he says.
But, I am trying to live with the "new" man he is trying so very hard to be and is succeeding so far.
I HATE the man he was. I didn't have a clue about what he was doing - he's lied for almost 8 mos of "R" and even though I understand his motives for lying, I don't understand why he continued to do it even though I begged, pleaded and begged some more for him to tell me the whole truth - NO MATTER WHAT. I explained that the lies were hurting way more than the affairs ever could. So, to answer your question - finally - NO. I do not see why you have to forgive the monster who WAS (I hope) your WS.

LoveActually posted 10/25/2013 11:50 AM

Because I have a feeling until I can forget, I can’t completely forgive.

Honestly, you will never forget. I'm 4.5 years down the road and not a day goes by that I don't think about some aspect of the affair. It doesn't hurt at all like it did in the beginning. I sooo remember feeling the way you wrote--I told my husband that during his affair it was like I was drowning and he was standing on the dock watching me and wouldn't help me - he just stood there and he knew I was drowning--that hit him like a ton of bricks--he was so ashamed. I will never forgive my husband's affair and what he did during that time BUT I have accepted it and have made a choice to live with it and keep moving forward. That's forgiveness for me--acceptance. But, it's taken me over four years to reconcile that in my head. Healing is a very long process. You need to give yourself time and lots of it--no need to even focus on forgiveness--focus on moving forward and it doesn't have to look a certain way--everyone's journey is so different and everyone's definition of forgiveness is so different. Hugs.

FeelingMN posted 10/25/2013 12:37 PM

I don't think forget and forgive go together as well as the saying goes.

I know for certainty that I will never forget. It is a part of who I am now and while it's not a memory a minute anymore I have daily triggers. She got a tattoo on the weekend of her ONS which is a reminder every time I see it. I wish she'd take the initiative to have it removed and not just covered up. Forgetting is not ever going to happen.

Partial forgiveness seems like such a normal aspect of my life now, I don't have any problem relating to that idea. I think I am capable of forgiving everything but that is not something that is earned cheaply. I think it's ironic that I can say that I've forgiven FWW for the physical nature of the A. I can't tell you why that was the first and easiest of it all to forgive or what she even did to earn it. The lies are a totally different story. I haven't forgiven her for them and it would take much more work than she's doing to ever get to that point.

Card posted 10/25/2013 15:25 PM

This is what my wife wrote about this 5 years ago on another forum; She doesn't post much anymore, but said it was OK to quote her....

Forgiveness is an act or attitude, IMHO, that I CHOOSE. I chose to forgive my husband, I think, immediately. Or, at least, after the initial shock wore off. Why did I forgive? Because I knew I could never restore my marriage without forgiveness. I could never have what I was working so hard to fight for, if I did not forgive. Without my forgiveness, our marriage was matter what my FWS was willing to do for me.

So, what is forgiveness and how do I know I have done it? I believe forgiveness means removing the PUNISHMENT for the offense (not to be confused with consequences). What is the punishment for infidelity? Well, my religion must come in here. The punishment for sin is death? Should my FWS receive death? Should he receive the same betrayal and abandonment I suffered? Should he be so beaten down that he no longer feels worthy of love and forgiveness?

All those things would be punishment. How do I know I have forgiven my FWS? Because I do not want him to receive the appropriate punishment for his betrayal and abandonment. Because I do not feel pleasure or justification when he is agonizing over the damage he caused to me and our children. In fact, I hurt FOR him when he is overwhelmed with his grief, guilt and shame. That is how I know I have forgiven him.

But the truth is I forgave him before he wanted it. I did not ever desire him to receive the appropriate punishment for his betrayal.

I DID want him to suffer the natural consequences, however. But not to hurt him; but because I knew that those consequences would help to restore him to God and to his family, where he belonged and needed to be.

I find it incredibly difficult to write this without it centering around my spiritual faith, although I AM trying.

You see, I KNOW that I could NOT forgive this offense without God's supernatural happening inside of me. This is all way too big for me.

I NEED God to;

help me forgive
heal my wounds
restore my marriage
unite us again in body and spirit

So we all know that forgiveness can be challenging. We may have to CHOOSE to forgive every single day. We may have days where we do not FEEL like forgiving. I think early on, some BS's have to make a daily choice to have an attitude of forgiveness, but must be patient with themselves when the triggers bring on the immense hurt or anger. Over time, forgiveness will get easier and eventually be a long as we are seeking to be forgiving.

But we complicate forgiveness, thinking it is more than it is. In my book, it is removing the appropriate punishment...or the desire for the appropriate punishment to be divvied out.

It is NOT:

removal of natural consequences
forgetting the offense
pretending everything is restored
refusing to process the emotions that resulted from the infidelity (hurt, anger, sorrow, grief)
trusting without reason

I know that our counselor, Dr. H., talks about just compensation. I think this is a great concept, which I understand better now that I have witnessed it from my FWS. He has offered a great deal of just compensation, ranging from steps to protect our marriage, a polygraph, to a post nup agreement that gives me the cash value of his business.

But my forgiveness is NOT dependent on his just compensation. There is nothing he can do to DESERVE my forgiveness. It is there only because I CHOOSE it to be.

BUT his just compensation DOES help restore my trust in him. It does make me feel safe in our marriage again. It does rebuild the relationship that was devastated. It does demonstrate to me his commitment to be my husband forever. It does allow me to extend mercy.

My personal belief is that forgiveness is GIVEN, not earned. It is a choice the BS makes for no reason other than it is right. Without it, marriages cannot be restored. With it, all things are possible. No matter what our FWS do, without our forgiveness, our marriages are doomed.

I know I have forgiven because I do not want my FWS to receive his "just reward" for this betrayal and abandonment. To me, that's the only thing forgiveness is about.

But forgiveness opens to door to a lot of other wonderful things...restored relationships, peace and joy.

As a FWS, I really struggled with this topic early on. Today, I know that recovery could not have moved forward at the pace it did with out her intentional efforts to forgive me.
Extending mercy to me and allowing our marriage to continue only occurred after I did some major work and demonstrated some remorse through actions.

This thread has been good for me today.... It reminded me of how deeply I wounded my beloved wife.....

I actually cried.... Some tears of sorrow, remembering, mixed with some tears of joy for the refreshing that exists today....

Thank you!

TheAmazingWondertwin posted 10/25/2013 15:55 PM

Thank you Card- for sharing that. It does explain a lot of how I feel/felt at the time.

ladies_first posted 10/25/2013 16:28 PM

Do any of these things strike a chord:

The Five Languages of Apology
Expressing Regret - "I'm sorry." "I feel badly about what I did."
Accepting Responsibility - "I was wrong." "It was my fault."
Making Restitution - "What can I do to make it right?"
Genuinely Repenting - "I'll try not to do that again."
Requesting Forgiveness - "Will you please forgive me?"

Expressing Regret: Expressing Regret” is the Apology Language that zeroes in on emotional hurt. It is an admission of guilt and shame for causing pain to another person. For those who listen for “Expressing Regret” apologies, a simple “I’m sorry” is all they look for. There is no need for explanation or “pay back” provided the apology has truly come from the heart. “Expressing Regret” is a powerful Apology Language because it gets right to the point. It doesn’t make excuses or attempt to deflect blame. Above all, “Expressing Regret” takes ownership of the wrong. For that reason, “Expressing Regret” is understood as a sincere commitment to repair and rebuild the relationship. The “Expressing Regret” Apology Language speaks most clearly when the person offering the apology reflects sincerity not only verbally, but also through body language. Unflinching eye contact and a gentle, but firm touch are two ways that body language can underscore sincerity.

Accept Responsibility: It is very difficult for some people to admit that they’re wrong. It makes them doubt their self-worth, and no one likes to be portrayed as a failure. However, as adults, we must all admit that we are sinners and that we will make mistakes. We are going to make poor decisions that hurt our mates, and we are going to have to admit that we were wrong. We have to accept responsibility for our own failures. For many individuals, all they want is to hear the words, “I am wrong.” If the apology neglects accepting responsibility for their actions, many partners will not feel as though the apology was meaningful and sincere. Many partners need to learn how to overcome their ego, the desire to not be viewed as a failure, and simply admit that their actions were wrong. For a mate who speaks this apology language, if an apology does not admit fault, it is not worth hearing. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be weak, and admitting that you make mistakes. Though this may be hard to do for some people, it makes a world of a difference to your partner who speaks this language.

Make Restitution: In our society, many people believe that wrong acts demand justice. The one who commits the crime should pay for their wrongdoing. A mate who speaks this love language feels the same way towards apologies. They believe that in order to be sincere, the person who is apologizing should justify their actions. The mate who’s been hurt simply wants to hear that their mate still loves them. There are many effective ways to demonstrate sincerity in an apology. Each mate must learn the other’s love language in order to complete the act of restitution. Though some mates may feel a though all is forgotten with a bouquet of flowers, that may not necessarily work for all mates. Every mate should uncover what their partner’s main love language is (Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts) and use that specific language in order to make restitutions in the most effective way. For a mate whose primary apology language is making restitutions, no matter how often you say “I’m sorry”, or “I was wrong”, your mate will never find the apology sincere. You must show strong efforts for making amends. A genuine apology will be accompanied by the assurance that you still love your mate 
and have a desire to right the wrong-doings committed.
Genuinely Repent: For some individuals, repentance is the convincing factor in an apology. Some mates will doubt the sincerity of an apology if it is not accompanied by their partner’s desire to modify their behavior to avoid the situation in the future. It’s important to remember that all true repentance begins in the heart. A mate must feel poorly for hurting their loved one, and rely on God’s help in order to truly change. Admitting you are wrong creates vulnerability. It allows your mate to get a glimpse of your heart. The glimpse of true self is assurance that the apology was sincere. One important aspect of genuinely repenting is verbalizing your desire to change. Your mate cannot read your mind. Though you may be trying to change inside, if you do not verbalize your desire to change to your mate, most likely they will still be hurt. Many people have problems with repenting when they do not feel as though their actions were morally wrong. However, in a healthy relationship, we often make changes that have nothing to do with morality and everything to do with building a harmonious marriage. It is also important to make a dedicated plan for change. Often apologies involving repentance fail because the person never set up steps of action to help ensure success. A person must first set goals for their change. After you create realistic goals, then you can start implementing a plan to change. Taking baby steps towards repentance instead of insisting on changing all at once will increase your chances of successfully changing your ways. It is important to remember that change is hard. Constructive change does not mean we will immediately be successful. There will be highs and lows on the road to change. You must remember that with God’s help, anyone can change their ways if they are truly and genuinely ready to repent.

Request Forgiveness: In some relationships, a mate wants to hear their partner physically ask for forgiveness. They want assurance that their mate recognizes the need for forgiveness. By asking forgiveness for their actions, a partner is really asking their mate to still love them. Requesting forgiveness assures your mate that you want to see the relationship fully restored. It also proves to your mate that you are sincerely sorry for what you’ve done. It shows that you realize you’ve done something wrong. Requesting forgiveness also shows that you are willing to put the future of the relationship in the hands of the offended mate. You are leaving the final decision up to your partner – to forgive or not forgive. Requesting forgiveness is not easy. It often leaves one vulnerable to the fear of rejection. Along with the fear of rejection is the fear of failing. Many people have a hard time seeking forgiveness because it means admitting that you have failed. The only way to overcome this fear is to recognize that it is very common amongst mankind. The commonality makes it okay to be a failure. It allows a stubborn mate to apologize to their partner and become a healthy individual. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between asking for forgiveness and DEMANDING forgiveness. When we demand forgiveness, we tend to forget the nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice the offended party is supposed to make. Demanding forgiveness takes away the sincerity of asking for it.
Remember not to treat forgiveness lightly. It is something to be cherished and appreciated. The act of forgiveness is hard on both ends – for the person who’s asking and for the person who’s accepting.

From Gary Chapman's "The 5 Languages of Apology."

But even more helpful for me was “How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To” by Janis A. Spring.

Simple posted 10/25/2013 16:34 PM

Good posts Card and Ladies_first.

A lot of BSs here, including myself forgave. Not for our wayward's sake but for our own. My XWH, after he asked for forgiveness, "I did my part and will continue to, whether you forgive me or not is for you". I forgave him for me. But I never forgot. It helped me move on and focus on R. 6 years now and going strong.

watersofavalon posted 10/26/2013 01:28 AM

Thank you for your replies, lots to think about.

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