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Bruising Conversation and a New Man

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Skan posted 2/4/2014 13:19 PM

We try to do a writing exercise every night in which we have a question and how we feel about the question or the answer to the question. Some are somewhat lighthearted: what was the biggest feeling that you had today and how do you feel about it? Some are very serious. The way we do it is that one person picks the next question, the next night (or the next time weíre able to get to it) we do our feelings exercise, and before we get up from the table, the other person picks the next question for the next night.

Our question last night was ďIs there anything that you have not forgiven your spouse for and how do you feel about that.Ē Definitely on the serious side.

We didnít get to it for a couple of days, with a dinner party and us being down for a day doing other things. So we had a couple of days to think about it and think I did. A lot. And struggled with it.

When it came time to write and to exchange our letters to each other, I was happy to note that my FWH said that he had let go of all resentments and grudges towards me. That the issues in our marriage that I admittedly owned and performed, that were not supportive of our marriage he had reconciled and forgiven me for.

I could not say the same. You see, I have forgiven him the ONS. I have forgiven him for the nights that he sought satisfaction from the internet before. I forgave him for the strip clubs and his EA with a stripper. Doesnít mean that Iíve forgotten nor that I donít trigger about it upon occasion, but I have let those betrayals before DDay go. They are in the past, nothing can be done about them, and I accept his repentance of those actions.

I cannot let go his lies post DDay. I cannot. They still are like sandpaper on my soul. I want to, and I hope to be able to at some point. But now, I cannot. Perhaps its pagan superstition, if I say all is well, what disaster will befall me from challenging the gods? Perhaps itís just self-protection it was so very, very painful and crippling to go back to that agony when I found that he could still, look me in the eyes and lie that my whole being is trying to protect me from those immense emotions. Perhaps Iíve lost the ability to forgive him from this and I will never be able to, no matter how much I would like to lay that burden down. Perhaps my initial forgiveness was given too cheaply perhaps I was too arrogant in how ďwellĒ we were doing. I donít really know. I just know that I still carry those scars of lies, omissions, and panicked blaming with me. And so, I told him that and I told him that I felt like I was adrift in a sea of trust. All I had to do, was to put my hand in the water and drink, but I was dying of dehydration because I feared a shark grabbing me by the hand and dragging me down to drown. Better to float in the boat, watching the water vigilantly.

I really expected him to be upset at this. I was. I twisted and turned, trying to put my hand in the water, but I Could Not Do It. It would have been a lie. But while he was sad, he wasnít upset at me. We took a break for dinner, because I was starving and shaking, and it wasnít a good idea to talk then. After dinner, he took my hand and held it, and told me that he could see that this was very upsetting to me and that I felt very strongly about this. I said yes, that I had tried every way I could think of, to make it so I could say yes, but if I were to be truthful to both of us, I just could not forgive those lies now.

And I saw what appears to be the new man that I am married to. He assured me that it was OK. That I needed to take the time that I needed, before I could forgive with all of my heart, if I could forgive. He told me that he wanted forgiveness from me and that he hoped that I would be able to, at some point. I told him I wanted to forgive him too and move past this hurdle, but it was going to take time. He thanked me for wanting to be able to do this, but added, and I quote, ďbut whatever else you do, donít forget. Donít forget what I did.Ē

Iím really starting to like the man that was beside me last night. Yeah, I love him, but Iím REALLY starting to LIKE that man.

bionicgal posted 2/4/2014 16:05 PM

t/j -
Can I ask where you get the questions? I like the idea!

But this question is also a profound one -- I know my (fW)H still has some resentment about our marriage pre-A, and I really do as well. And of course, there is the whole affair-thing to get over -- and we are only 8 months out. But it is nice to hear how well you all are navigating the waters, so to speak.

Morhurt posted 2/4/2014 16:14 PM

Wow Skan, thank you for sharing that! I absolutely loved the shark in the water analogy, it brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad that Mr. Skan held your hand through the difficult conversation and feelings that arose.
You are an inspiration.

rachelc posted 2/4/2014 16:36 PM

Skan - this is great! I'm happy for you. He answered so honestly and was so supportive! Are these Retrouvaille questions?

see the thing is - I would have a laundry list of things not forgiven and wouldn't feel badly about it. I mean, it is what it is and we can have a good life without forgiveness. I think. I don't have to throw it in his face and be bitter and resentful. But after putting my mental health in jeopardy, he will never hear those words from me. I don't seem to need it from him either.

Do you think forgiveness is essential? Because I'm still working on this.

LA44 posted 2/4/2014 16:52 PM

Iím really starting to like the man that was beside me last night. Yeah, I love him, but Iím REALLY starting to LIKE that man.

And I like this post. A lot!

Thanks for sharing, Skan.

Skan posted 2/4/2014 18:15 PM

Yes, this is an exercise that we got from our retrouvaille weekend. It helps keep us in touch with each other. It's one of our must-do's to keep on track with each other.

bionicgirl, at 8 months, I will doing well to get through a day or so, without triggers. I wasn't thinking of forgiveness at all at that point. It was over the year mark before it even crossed my mind as a possibility, and it was because it was something that I needed to let go.

rachelc, there is another thread on this forum that lowlow started about forgiveness, trust, and respect. I found it fascinating, especially in view of this talk that FWH and I had. For me, if I cannot forgive, then I cannot live with the person. I don't say that this is true of everyone, but for me, it is essential. For me, forgive never, NEVER means forget. I will never forget. Never. There are a few things that are burned into my soul that I cannot and will not every forget. These are my big, raised scars. But if I cannot unchain myself from the negativity, if I cannot free myself from the resentment and pain, then hatred will inevitably follow, for me. And I cannot allow hatred to live in my house. If I did not see the possibility of, at some point, forgiving Mr. Skan, then I would have to leave him. If he could never see the possibility of forgiving me for my martial transgressions, then I would have to leave him. Not for him, but for me. As a total act of selfish love for myself. Because I am a worthy ship.

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