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Do you have to forgive?

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jendo posted 7/23/2014 08:52 AM

R is going well. My husband has been doing everything I could hope for. He is a changed person really. He is living with integrity, is loving, remorseful, patient, and present. We have looked at everything and identified that our issues were poor boundaries and being completely out of balance. We have made steps to improve both of these areas and are working hard every day.

But I still cannot grasp the thought of ever forgiving him. I can move on- but I cannot actually say, "I forgive you" because I don't! Is this something that I HAVE to do?

lordhasaplan? posted 7/23/2014 09:35 AM

I have never spoke that phrase and have no desire too. There are things that are unforgivable. Many on the list of injuries from my W's A. However, that doesn't mean there are not things I can forgive, things I can set aside and move forward from. It took me along time to move to the point of accepting that I can move forward without forgiving all of the actions she took. Forgiveness is for me. It is not allowing those things to dog me anymore. Several I still hold on too, maybe someday they will move from the acceptance stage to forgiveness, but I am healthy and happy with them sitting in the acceptance column as we move forward.

heme posted 7/23/2014 09:38 AM

No.. You don't have to do anything you do not want to and Id never suggest someone to say something they do not feel..

Personally I hope to eventually forgive my WH. Not for him but because it weighs heavily on my heart. For my own well being I hope to eventually forgive him.

seethelight posted 7/23/2014 09:44 AM

I don't think you have to forgive nor forget.

Forgiving is only something we should do if we want to and the wayward has earned it, IMO.

This betrayal is the new reality of your marriage.

Unfortunately, we would be fools to forget.

My husband's affair has created a situation in which I feel as if I need to forever be on alert for suspicious behaviors.

It's so sad.

Even my wayward admits he abused the freedom I gave him, and treated me like a fool.

He claims he regrets it, but I can't believe he did not have the intelligence, foresight and moral strength to forsee the damage an intimate betrayal would cause.

I always thought my husband was too intelligent an sensitive to engage in a marital affair.

The fact that I was so wrong about him is an amazing shock and makes me distrustful of my own judgement.

I used to look at my husband and see such a good an honest man.

Now I look at him and wonder who he is.

gettingbyjj posted 7/23/2014 09:52 AM

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It's a healing process for you, not him. If you don't forgive, you relive.

From my perspective, half of forgiveness is not wanting to get revenge or "even the score". If you feel like you have to do something to get even, I'd suggest working on that first. Convince yourself that you are the better person; even though he caused you pain, causing him pain won't do anything to heal you. If you never had those thoughts or have moved past that, you're halfway there or more already.

The second half is to stop reliving the pain. Shortly after my Dday, I put together a list of all the things my WW did that hurt me. If I looked at that list I would feel the pain again. I'd get flush and tense. I told my WW that I would need to tell her what she did that hurt me. And that I would need three things, an apology, a show of remorse, and a promise to not do it again. No explanations or excuses. It's what I needed to heal. Some specific things that really hurt I had to bring up a few times. Others were just one and done.

I can look at that list now and not relive the pain. I know that it happened, but I'm not upset or angry anymore. As part of our R, I need to feel secure that she won't do anything to hurt me like that again. None of that requires me telling her I forgive her. If she wants some assurance that I'm not angry or hurt about something, I can say that "it's forgiven" for a particular act, rather than "I forgive you." One thing that forgiveness implies is that the other person doesn't owe you anything anymore. My WW and your WH still owe us to change themselves and be the person we want in our marriage.

So no, you don't have to ever say "I forgive you" to your WH. You only have to find forgiveness in your heart for yourself.

38years posted 7/23/2014 10:15 AM

Thank your for your post, seethelight. You expressed exactly how I am processing my husband's betrayal.

devasted30 posted 7/23/2014 11:10 AM

No. You have to learn to accept what happened and move forward in your life. With or without him. But, forgive? No. I will never forgive, but I hope someday to accept what my WS did and continue to live a full life with him. What he did is not forgiveable. I know, I've been there. But acceptance that's the key. I understand the why, what I don't understand is the HOW. How could someone do it for 7 years. 7 years!!!!! Why didn't he just have the courage to leave? So, for me and a lot of other SIers, forgiveness is not on the table. My WS knows this and understands bc, he too, doesn't think his actions are forgiveable. But, we hope to be able to accept that it did, put it in the past because we know why it did happen and move forward.

seethelight posted 7/23/2014 12:09 PM

Thank your for your post, seethelight. You expressed exactly how I am processing my husband's betrayal.

You are welcome, 38years.

The posts from a lot of good people her, sharing their stories, have helped me cope.

I am glad I was able to pay it forward with my post.

[This message edited by seethelight at 12:09 PM, July 23rd (Wednesday)]

Its Better Now? posted 7/23/2014 13:15 PM

Jendo. For myself and myself only, I HAD to forgive both FWW and OM. Otherwise another heart attack, or me going to prison for the rest of my life, was absolutely going to happen. I became so consumed with anger,bitterness, and hatred that I turned all their shit inward upon myself. I have to agree entirely with all that gettingbyjj said. Forgiveness had 1% to do with them, and 99% to do with me. I was reliving the A every hour of everyday and growing more angry and hateful with each passing hour. I was killing myself over decisions two liars and cheaters had made.And, as I have said many times on this board, it changed NOTHING. She still fucked him, she still lied, and they both still betrayed me.

I fully realize that I am in no way as intelligent or as psychologically sound as many of the members that answered you. My mental makeup simply would not allow me to continue to function in free society without the blessing I gave myself. Many good and decent people here can remain good and decent without forgiving, and I applaud them. I for one could not. It took me over 2 years to reach the point where I could do this, and every now and again I have to watch my thought processes, and fight the pre- forgiveness demons, but I can say it was ABSOLUTELY worth it for me and me alone!

However; just because I cancelled her debt to me mentally does not mean its all sunshine and buttercups for her.I will never trust her again. I don't have to, trust has nothing to do with forgiveness. She has not heard ILY in over 2.5 years. , nor will she. Forgiveness has nothing to do with expressing affections you no longer feel. She knows her security in the M now is absolutely performance based.She knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that I entirely retain the right to walk away for the smallest backsliding into her WW ways. Forgiveness has nothing to do with lowering my self protective measures, or my conditions of R.Hope this helps.

KatieG posted 7/23/2014 13:20 PM

Trust has nothing to do with forgiveness

So true. I forgave quickly, regretted it and now am grateful for it. Its a personal thing to you only.

It doesn't mean they "got away with it" its a gift you give to yourself. Even if you forgive you don't have to say it out loud.

jendo posted 7/23/2014 18:50 PM

I guess right now I feel no reason to forgive. It has been 3.5 months since dday so pretty fresh still. He came out of the fog fast and has really done most things right other than some trickle truth that I think he didn't even realize he was doing. But I still feel no reason to forgive him. I don't feel like I need revenge. I do accept that he did this, but I don't accept that I need to forgive him. I want to be mad at him about it. I don't want to forget it. I don't want to dwell on it and live there, but I don't want to completely move on I guess either. I feel good about where we are. I feel like if I forgave him right now it would just be words- I wouldn't mean it. I don't know how my feelings will change in the future. I'm not even to a point yet I guess where I can even see how it could help me. Maybe I"ll have an aha moment about it someday like I have about so many other things lately.

mbbd posted 7/23/2014 22:30 PM

I also fall in to the acceptance but not forgiveness column... and it isn't likely to be in my future to forgive. I feel that choices are made and regret and remorse on the party that hurt you are reasons to move forward or not. I can not only not forgive my H for his affair but it is also hard to rewrite my moral code to forgive myself for being with someone that betrayed me.

I always promised myself not to settle. It had been said by our MC that staying with my H and not D is a form of forgiveness.

After much therapy,I have a good understanding of his why's. It brought me to acceptance. It brought me to understand what we need to do to move forward toward a happy future.

Don't beat yourself up about not forgiving. It isn't a negative trait. It feels more honest to me than the concept of forgiving the unforgivable.

cosmicjoke posted 7/24/2014 11:26 AM

No, absolutely not. And don't let any therapist, church dogma, or well-meaning friend tell you otherwise. For many, it works- but it's a personal choice. You most certainly do NOT have to. For others it is empowering to always hold that card close to your chest.

yearsofpain25 posted 7/24/2014 11:34 AM

A wise soul around here recommended this book to me and it's on this very topic. I have barely started reading it but I like what I've read so far because there is no F'n way I'm forgiving!

How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To by Janis A. Spring


heartache101 posted 7/24/2014 11:37 AM

I never have forgiven nor have I forgot.
To each their own I say.

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