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What does it mean to forgive?

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trying1 posted 11/23/2013 16:57 PM

I (not so shockingly) had a melt down a few weeks ago. Our MC asked me if I really wanted to forgive my FWH. My only response is I don't know. Then I have been thinking about forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive him. I don't think it is forgetting? Is it that I can not bring it up again? Is it that I can acknowledge that choices he made and love him anyway? Is learning to be at piece with the hell he has created in my life? I can't say I can decide whether or not to forgive, if I don't really know what it is? What is forgiveness, in this context, for some of you who feel you have forgiven? And how long did it take for you to get there?

Skan posted 11/23/2013 18:54 PM

It took about a year, with him doing very consistent work on himself and being the "ideal" R spouse. I realized that I forgave him the A, one day, and I let him know.

It doesn't mean that I forget that he did it. It doesn't mean that I don't bring it up I will if I need to. It doesn't mean that he doesn't apologize any more when I have a trigger. To me, it means that I choose to not let it drive my actions and reactions any more. That I accept that it's happened. That there is nothing I can do to change it. That I am not going to torment myself nor him about it. Doesn't mean that I don't check his electronic devices I do. Doesn't mean that he's won back all of my trust he hasn't. It just means that, knowing that it's happened and that there is nothing that either of us can do to change that, that I accept all of that and I choose to move on. In this case, I choose to move on with him.

Now, I have NOT forgiven him for lying about his hidden porn, nor have I forgiven him for using a private browser to hid his use. That may come yet. But those wounds are too damned raw for me to forgive right now. That's going to take more time and a lot of action on his part.

jjsr posted 11/23/2013 19:23 PM

I think its part acceptance that this has happened and it changes things. There are somethings I think are unforgiveable but I have accepted that they happened.

whattheh posted 11/23/2013 20:50 PM

I struggled with understanding forgiveness.

I found the books How Can I Forgive You and After the Affair to be a big help. True forgiveness has to be earned.

RaceTheDream posted 11/23/2013 23:23 PM

Forgiving does not mean that you are saying it was okay, or that you are going to forget and never talk about it again. It does not mean that things will go back to the way they were. I had to understand that before forgiving my WS. I think the WS also needs to understand it doesn't mean they stop trying either.

For me, forgiving meant accepting that I could not change what happened and that I understood he had changed. He's not the same person he was before. What was really important was that he is sorry and loves me now. I knew I was in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. It meant I was done making him feel guilty, I wasn't going to say something unless it was helping both of us, I'm considerate when I do need to talk about things. It was a way of letting him know I do want to be happy with him and eventually get back to a normal life even if it won't ever be the same.

Of course, a big part of why I was able to forgive was because I knew he needed it, he needed to get over his self guilt. It gave him the motivation he needed in order to continue to be there for me in the way that I needed.

Smokehouse posted 11/24/2013 01:47 AM

I think it is different for each of us. I think once the fog lifted and I saw a remorseful spouse and she was wanting R, I decided to forgive. I still won't ever forget, we will still discuss it, we will use it to create a better relationship, but, that has to be accepted on both our parts. I think their must be forgiveness for a successful R. If not, why stay miserable and together.

My WW understands she messed up what we had, it will never be the same, but it can be different and perhaps better.

I am in the large group of BS's whose marriage was in a bad way prior to the affair. I am working to better myself and my perception of the marriage, love, intimate connection we both want. It is going well so far.

Recently I was doing something my wife had asked me to do for her a week or so ago. Before, she would have had to ride me like a horse for months to get what she wanted. I did this task without her prompting one day recently. While doing it, she asked what made me do it on my own; and that she appreciated how good I was treating her and making the effort. I was ashamed at my past how I was, but, proud of the accomplishment.

It takes the huge effort of the WS to get the betrayed spouse to the point of forgiveness. But, both need to put in the work or it's just not sustainable.

I will never forget the betrayal but, I love her and want her to be by my side. I now can handle a lot of my thoughts and triggers without always talking, but if I need to, she is there.

UKlady posted 11/24/2013 04:52 AM

Thank you for this question trying - I'll be interested to see more responses. It's still early days for you and I'm sorry that you are here with us but glad you did find us.


sisoon posted 11/24/2013 07:29 AM

I don't think I'll ever understand forgiving someone, so I don't make it a goal. Rebuilding a relationship is a goal. Living here and now is a goal. Forgiving my W just isn't an issue for me.

I've written previously that I forgave her immediately. I knew from the moment she confessed that I could eat myself up if I fell into a mode of 'How could you do this to me?' I figured if I 'forgave her', then I wouldn't fall into self-pity. That worked pretty well, but at this point, and for some months, I've been thinking it wasn't forgiveness - I just decided to minimize my self-pity.

Doubts posted 11/24/2013 07:55 AM

I also struggle with forgiveness. It is hard to forgive something that was so deliberate and that happened over and over again. The affair was not an accident and he did not stop, he was the aggressor. So now he says he is sorry,but would it still be going on if I didn't find out and insist he end it?
I believe acceptance is a more realistic goal and in time the anguish of his infidelity will fade. I am afraid that the gift of his infidelity will stay with us forever, just fade into the background, but always present.

RipsInMyChest posted 11/24/2013 08:11 AM

I have forgiven my FWH. For me it means letting go of the need to punish him. It means accepting it happened. It means being able to let go of bitterness and resentment. Letting go of anger enough to look at the positive changes in my H. Seeing that he is NOT that same person and that I am safe moving forward.

Forgiveness does NOT mean never bringing it up. I will bring it up as often as I need to. Forgiveness does not mean I don't have pain still...but that the path forward will have less pain each day. It's a process, not a moment it time. I suspect my forgiveness will grow as my pain wanes.

Forgiveness is earned by the WS.

rachelc posted 11/24/2013 08:55 AM

his infidelity will stay with us forever, just fade into the background, but always present.

this and....the best things I've heard about forgiving after infidelity - I'll let God take care of forgiving him and not worry about it.

33years posted 11/24/2013 21:17 PM

Our MC gave me a definition of Forgiveness as "The willingness NOT to seek vengeance". I keep it posted to my computer screen to help me remember.

rachelc posted 11/24/2013 21:41 PM

Our MC gave me a definition of Forgiveness as "The willingness NOT to seek vengeance". I keep it posted to my computer screen to help me remember.

If this is all it is then I'm good. I have a right to be angry. I have no right to do angry things.

trying1 posted 11/25/2013 12:17 PM

Thank you ALL it is sanity saving for me to see read, and think about your responses. This topic has been weighing on me, because I still feel so wounded, and hurt - but want so badly to move forward.

You are all so wonderful and wise. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights.

musiclovingmom posted 11/25/2013 13:06 PM

Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior.
Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.

I posted this quote a while back because it just rang so true for me. I was just shy of one year when I made the decision to forgive my H. I was exhausted from holding onto the pain and bitterness. I hated who I was becoming because of that pain. We still talk about his A's when I need to. We still discuss my triggers. He is still working through all the different issues that he has stuffed away for many many years. We are still healing.

devasted30 posted 11/25/2013 14:31 PM

I will never forgive my WS for this. NEVER!!!!
But, hopefully, I will learn to accept it happened (strange though, I know it happened just still can't believe it did)and we will move forward in our marriage. But Forgive Him, nope not going to happen. I don't care what anyone says about it, I will never forgive him for doing this to us - to me. And strangely, he is on my side with this. He too does not see it as a forgivable act. Like someone said, I'll leave that part to God. But, he is remorseful and trying to make up for it in every way possible - and I love him. That's the bottom line for me - I love spite of all of this. And I believe he loves me - always has. He had/has problems. Didn't talk to me about them which he should have but we are talking now. That helps.

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