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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: The cost of forgiveness and staying (a different take)
ICECOLD
♀ New Member
Member # 40258
Default  Posted: 8:44 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for reading and commenting, you guys. I appreciate all the thoughts and feedback :)


"If you think the grass is greener on the other side, it's because it's fertilized with bullshit."

"If you think the grass is greener, you're welcome to take a hike"

BS:47
WS:45
Kids

R: one foot in, and one foot out


Posts: 50 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: Atlanta GA
4everfaithful83
♀ Member
Member # 41761
Default  Posted: 8:44 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

and this

It costs them their dreams because this road isn’t one they’d ever planned on traveling.

Ugg...heart-wrenching...couldn't have said it better...


Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze...

ME: 31
WBF: 27
Together 7 years
1 doggie
DDay: June 24, 2013
IN R...


Posts: 565 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Pennsylvania
peoplepleaser
♀ Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 9:36 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wow, what a discussion. Are we confusing forgiveness with staying maybe?

I see this different, though I respect the other points of view. I could stay and forgive or walk and forgive. In the end I need to forgive regardless, because not forgiving (as I understand it) would require too much energy in continuing to hold onto or resent what happened to me. I think that not forgiving, in the sense that I define it, would interfere with my ability to love the way I want and deserve to love, whether in this relationship or in another.

Forgiveness to me doesn't mean that I roll over and stay. It doesn't mean that she is absolved from work toward maintaining the level of trust she's working to build, nor the work required to ensure it never happens again if I choose to stay. It means that I have come to a place of peace with the fact that it happened, however I find that peace.

Forgetting (such a horrible word in the scheme of forgiveness) is totally different. What happened provided information about how I choose to move forward, and that lesson isn't forgotten. We aren't wired to "forget." All of our experiences shape who we are, and they can't do that if we are intended to forget. Whether I stay in this relationship or move to another, that information guides my behavior toward having different experiences than if it had never happened. If I don't do my own work to get through this as a better person with good lessons learned and instead choose to harbor resentment and anger for what happened to me, the behaviors associated with it will emerge in other relationships just as it would in this one. For me, the anger and resentment are linked to my ability to forgive.

Of course, the glaring difference is that in THIS relationship I'm with THE person that betrayed me so horribly. In order to R I have to approach the relationship from a standpoint of rebuilding from the beginning in a lot of ways, which requires work and a demonstration of changes in behavior from my WS that I wouldn't immediately expect from a new relationship. But I KNOW the goodness my WS is capable of by both our history and the actions she has taken since we decided to R. I love so many things about her that I couldn't imagine finding the same mix of characteristics in another person that would fit me so well.

I agree that there is a cost to forgiveness. Though this cost seems to rely on the perceptions of the BS. We can see this as an affront to our choice. I see it that way, too. I would never have chosen her if I had known she was capable of this in the beginning. We can also choose to stick to the way we viewed infidelity before we experienced it first-hand. I don't choose that. My disdain for this behavior goes back to childhood (and my parents have been faithful and are still together). Looking back I had a very one-dimensional view of it. I am now living in the context of it. I am seeing the issues from life experience that lead to the delusional thoughts and ego-stroking behaviors that result in infidelity. Because of what I know and the understanding I have gained about my personal situation, I choose to view staying as a personal emotional strength I never thought I would have, rather than as succumbing to a situation in which I can't win.

Because I don't choose to view infidelity as I did before I experienced the destruction of it, I can't hold myself to the same ideals I had before. I don't see myself as sacrificing my integrity or my goals in life by staying. I see forgiveness as separate from staying anyway. I have to forgive to move on either way. I don't have to stay. But life is about experiencing change, taking the information from it and incorporating that information into the knowledge already gained. I had no actual knowledge of infidelity before this, so to incorporate it into my perception of what it might be like is counterproductive. I have to incorporate it into the knowledge I have, which includes my love of my partner, what I truly know about her, what I know about myself, what I know about others (yay, SI!), what I know about how she is proving her changes, and what I know about our relationship. The choice to stay incorporates all of that on top of my estimation about what is possible for me, her and the relationship moving forward. I move forward with forgiveness in the relationship with the promise of a better one. In our case, the devastation of the infidelity highlighted some serious barriers to expressing the real love we have and feel/felt for each other. A lot of the work is on her for resolving the issues that led to her brokenness, but it also involves work on how we communicate in our relationship together. With this new vulnerability and openness we are experiencing, why would I leave? How could I not eventually forgive? I will not ever concede that THIS had to happen for us to get there, but it has happened. It is happening. I had to lay all the known information on the table and make some very hard decisions. They aren't decisions I expected to ever make, especially in my relationship with her, yet here they are.

Now that I have first-hand knowledge, would I forgive if it happened again? Yes, I would. It would take a lot of time, but I would forgive. However, I wouldn't stay.


WS: 39--2 EAs
BS: 39--me, faithful
DS: 6
9 year relationship in R.
DDay #1: September 6, 2013 EA for 5 weeks August 2013.
DDay #2: January 2, 2014 EA for 6 weeks summer 2011.
"I am still learning." -Michelangelo

Posts: 709 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
industriousbee
♀ Member
Member # 41324
Default  Posted: 10:02 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My pride and dignity demand i walk. My heart and commitment to my family demand i stay. There is no winning.

I just realized tonight I would be more eager to R if I moved out of state. I think that could mean I might have excessive pride. When I look at it this way I wonder if I do maybe need to swallow my pride and keep my family together. This quote above seems to describe A LOT of us here in limbo land.


Married 8 years
ME BS 30
HIM WS 33
DD 1.5 years old
DDAY 11-13-12

Posts: 116 | Registered: Nov 2013
ShellyShell
♀ Member
Member # 42662
Default  Posted: 10:07 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Peoplepleaser, your post is beautiful to me. I've re read it twice. There is so much there I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for that, sincerely.

Posts: 95 | Registered: Mar 2014
Mac4
♂ Member
Member # 43122
Default  Posted: 10:07 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Icecold - great post, thanks for sharing

Afrayedknot - great point, this is a Catch 22, I don't want to hold the "debt" over my WW's head. I love her, I love our family and I am hopeful that we can reconcile. But I am deeply wounded by what she did, and I NEED her to do the work to figure out how we got here.


BS me 41
WW 42
Married 11 years
R for now I guess
DD 9 & DS 8
DDay 2 (PA) - March 3rd, 2014
DDay 1 (EA) - July 2nd, 2011

Posts: 103 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: Midwest
plewpiter
♂ Member
Member # 43034
Default  Posted: 10:41 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

An understanding of the high cost of forgiveness seems to go missing when an offense is committed. Far too often I see an entitlement mentality when it comes to receiving forgiveness from our mate or forgiveness from God.

My WW expressed the entitlement mentality to me explicitly. She actually told me, "You say you've forgiven me, but you don't act like you've forgiven me. I see the way you look sometimes." As if I can't feel sad anymore only a year after it all hit the fan! She even suggested I listen to a certain sermon on forgiveness so that I understand it better.

This coming from the woman who took 6 months after dday to even start searching for a new job (the OP was her boss, still in contact every day), and 9 months to even start the purge process of getting rid of pics, emails, etc. from and of him & her. I'm reaching the end of my rope. She expects me to pay the high price of forgiveness without her doing something even 1% of the cost in return. I asked her to read a Gary Smalley book (companion to the one for guys regarding how to love their wives). She got two chapters into it and quit, telling me that it didn't all fit her. I read the men's version about 3 times, trying to figure out how to make her feel loved... :( She moved on to some boring non-fiction about the city of Detroit, and felt comfortable enough to share freely with me about the "new" book she was reading. I am so sad right now, it's hard to believe I can function. Articles like this, while depressing for me right now, help me to see just how unbalanced my situation really is, and that I must act in some way or I will simply disintegrate.


Married 2.5 years (Dec 2011)
D-Day April 2013
EA (maybe more) with her boss, who she had had a PA with before meeting me
Trying to Reconcile

Posts: 79 | Registered: Apr 2014
lostinthesouth
♀ Member
Member # 41377
Default  Posted: 11:30 PM, April 21st (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

sorry t/j.. but @plewpiter
I am so sad right now, it's hard to believe I can function. Articles like this, while depressing for me right now, help me to see just how unbalanced my situation really is, and that I must act in some way or I will simply disintegrate.

just read your story. Your ww is still in the fog, head stuck up her behind, or something. She needs a serious dose of the 180. Sending you strength.

Posts: 109 | Registered: Nov 2013
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 5:36 AM, April 22nd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Now that I have first-hand knowledge, would I forgive if it happened again? Yes, I would. It would take a lot of time, but I would forgive. However, I wouldn't stay.

peoplepleaser-your post IS great. But some of us are here. I do have that knowledge -as a former WW but as a BS because I caught him and then he did it again. so some of us are still staying. And you can imagine the strikes to our psyche because of it,knowing we have to forgive and also stay without resentment. Pretty damn tall order and I'm not sure I can do it. Thank you for your post.

[This message edited by rachelc at 6:00 AM, April 22nd (Tuesday)]


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

“Follow your intuition. Be smart, be brave. Tell the truth and don’t take any shit.”


Posts: 5281 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
RipsInMyChest
♀ Member
Member # 41166
Default  Posted: 7:28 AM, April 22nd (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I sent the original posts article to my H a while ago. Such a great piece!

After reading the book "How Can I Forgive You", I understand that ACCEPTANCE is what we do to let go of our pain. Forgiveness is an EXCHANGE between the betrayed and the betrayer. Forgiveness is EARNED not just unilaterally given.

I have forgiven my H in that I do not want to punish him or have him "make it up" to me. It does NOT release him from the work of reconciliation, nor does it mean I can no longer reach out to him when I am in pain or even anger.

Great thread!


Me: BW 41
FWH 41
Together 21 yrs, M 18, 2 kids
DDay: 12/11/12 ONS with CW
Used condom, got chlamydia anyway.

His betrayal of me was not because I didn't shine brightly enough, but because he chose to put on blinders.


Posts: 261 | Registered: Oct 2013
eachdayisvictory
♀ Member
Member # 40462
Default  Posted: 1:16 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Now that I have first-hand knowledge, would I forgive if it happened again? Yes, I would. It would take a lot of time, but I would forgive. However, I wouldn't stay.

^^ This is exactly what I know. This firm understanding of what will happen if the offense is repeated is neccesary for me. Maybe some people don't need this, but I do know it for sure. It would be so sad, but I know now that I would be alright, and my children would be alright. That's taken a long time for me to believe, and what PP said above has been essential for my recovery.


me, BW: 34
FWH: 35
Dday: Feb 2013
LTA for 2+years
children: 2 boys age 3 and 6
Reconciling

Posts: 380 | Registered: Aug 2013 | From: nova Scotia, Canada
veronique12
♀ Member
Member # 42185
Default  Posted: 1:55 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you for the posts and the responses. It is good to hear everyone's perspective and to know that I'm not struggling alone.

Had a mini breakdown yesterday about this exact issue--the lose-lose situation and how despite all the excuses and reasons I come up with for why the A happened, it just boils down to pure selfishness on the part of my H. He was unhappy, but instead of saying he wanted out or really wanted to fix things, he went behind my back and had a lurve affair with someone who played me like a fiddle.

When I'm feeling stronger I can see that there is a positive and that's my OWN personal growth. And maybe my H's, but that's up to him. When I'm feeling lost, I feel exhausted from and resentful of the mental gymnastics involved with making this palatable enough for me to try to work it out.


BW: me (38)
WH: 43
OW: false "friend"
D-Day: 11/29/13 (4 month EA discovered); 12/19/13 (discovered was also PA); TT thru 2/14
Married: 2001; Together for nearly 20 years
2 beautiful young kids

Posts: 554 | Registered: Jan 2014
hopefullromantic
♀ Member
Member # 16652
Default  Posted: 4:33 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Like you, ICECOLD, I don't believe that forgiveness is necessary for R. To me, true forgiveness would be given with the expectation of nothing in return. OTOH, true remorse would require sincere restitution. Too many of us here at SI don't get full remorse or full forgiveness, but attempts at both can often hold a marriage together.

I have reached acceptance but not forgiveness because my H has not earned it. He tried, or thinks he tried anyway, and consequently I try not to resent, but I fail. So our R does not have a fairy tale ending but we manage to continue to love each other despite this.

To be quite honest, though my H fell way short in doing the work I felt was necessary to earn forgiveness, I'm not altogether sure he could have ever done enough.


It's not really a fairy tale 'till the witch is deposed and a few dragons are slain

Posts: 1787 | Registered: Oct 2007
crazyblindsided
♀ Member
Member # 35215
Default  Posted: 4:57 PM, April 23rd (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So our R does not have a fairy tale ending but we manage to continue to love each other despite this.

Exactly! This perfectly sums it up for me!


BS/FWS (me):40 Madhatter
WS/BS:42 Serial Cheater
Together 18 years, Married 13
DD(10) DS(7)
DDay(s) 5/08, 5/09, 3/30/12
Final Dday 7/11/14 Affair never ended

Posts: 2266 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: California
hpv50
♀ Member
Member # 39703
Default  Posted: 8:57 PM, April 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Great post! It really summarizes what I've been feeling lately, and struggled to verbalize in IC. I sent a copy to my WH, and we read over it together. I also sent a coup to my IC.

The only thing I would add is that I've also paid a high price through the example I've set for my children. I'm very worried they'll grow up and marry a cheater, thinking its normal to take it because Mom did. Setting a strong example for my girls is very important to me, and this one really hurts. It's a very high price to pay.


Me: BS - 50; Him: WH - 51, vulnerable NPD
married 19 years, 3 kids
DD1 4/22/13 (hpv diagnosis)
DD2 5/9/13 (gaslighting begins)
DD3 6/30/13 (admits EA)
DD4 7/7/13 admits "trying to date other women" for 3 years

Posts: 180 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: DC
rachelc
♀ Member
Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 9:09 PM, April 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm just wondering- is loving someone with naked vulnerability, isn't that a high price to pay in itself, even without "affair" thrown in there?


his Dday: 2/10 but TT until 7/11
my Ddays: 1/12, 4/12 broken NC 12/12

me (WW/BS): 48
him: (BS/WH)52
4 kiddos in mid 20's

“Follow your intuition. Be smart, be brave. Tell the truth and don’t take any shit.”


Posts: 5281 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
tired girl
♀ Member
Member # 28053
Default  Posted: 9:32 PM, April 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I'm just wondering- is loving someone with naked vulnerability, isn't that a high price to pay in itself, even without "affair" thrown in there?

I don't know that this can take place without a whole lot of trust in the relationship.


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 5077 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
Katz13
♀ Member
Member # 41886
Default  Posted: 9:55 PM, April 28th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Great thread everyone!

Posts: 84 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: USA
sisoon
♂ Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 3:02 PM, April 29th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Some random thoughts...

I don't want my W to be forever showing she loves me because I offered R. I want her to be forever showing she loves me because she loves me and wants to express it. I think that's what I'm getting - but AFK's post will make me ask her explicitly.

I don't think R is lose-lose. After D-Day, the A is part of reality, and one's response defines winning and losing. I no longer have a totally unsullied M, but I'm alive, in love with and loved by the person I want, and I have fewer illusions than I used to. I'm doing my part in life, and doing it the best way I can. I'm living. That's a pretty good response to the trauma of being betrayed.

I've met some SIers who have D'ed or are in the D process. They've lost love and M and property, but I can't help thinking of them as winners - under terrible stress, they found their strengths, honor, integrity, etc., and they're rebuilding their lives. That, too, is a pretty good response to being betrayed.

I've met some fWSes who are now living lives of integrity. That, too, is a pretty good response.

I'm not sure winning/losing even belong in this line of thought.

I think this is a great article to consider and discuss. As I read it, I felt thoughts and feelings coming up. It's not something that should be skimmed an put away - every rereading, I think, will bring new insights.

It's a candidate for the Healing Library, IMO.


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10383 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Zayda1
♀ Member
Member # 35387
Default  Posted: 5:30 AM, April 30th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you for this thread. It has giving me so much to think about.


Married 9 years, together for 11 years
2 children (7 years & 4 years)
Discovery of PA 04/15/12 (It only lasted a "couple of weeks" but it still shattered my world.)

Posts: 466 | Registered: Apr 2012
Topic Posts: 44
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