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Reconciliation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Interesting article on forgiveness and surviving infidelity
peoplepleaser
♀ Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 3:32 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5207684

Just thought I would share this because so many have been posting on forgiveness lately. I wondered what others' thoughts were about this.


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: 700 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
SisterMilkshake
♀ Member
Member # 30024
Default  Posted: 4:04 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yes, interesting.
They encourage couples who are recovering from infidelity to become educated on and focus on forgiveness in couples therapy or while working through their problems.
I don't agree with this advice at all.


BW (me) 50ish FWH 50ish
Married 34 years, 3 children
d-day 3/10 LTA (4 yrs./fucking & flirting)

"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson


Posts: 9798 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: The Great White North USA
blakesteele
♂ Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 4:08 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Cool article...thanks for finding and posting about it.

"Post Traumatic Growth....PTG" was a new to me term....but NOT a new to me concept.

PTG is defined by the researchers as "a result of intrapersonal struggle to find benefit and meaning in life after a traumatic experience."

I have lived this definition!


Couple of things about this article....

First....86% of those in the research were BS women. Plays into what I believe is a false stereotype that adultery is predominantly a male-originating sin. But that is a small irriation for me...I can role with that.

Second.....most of what I have read is that adultery is painful for all involved, all it touches. Children, WS, BS, family, friends, work partnerships, etc.. BUT, it reaches traumatic level primarily in the BS's.

So, IF this is true, I wonder just how much PTG a fWS can achieve? I wonder this because I do believe my wife has experienced serious pain from her affair, has experienced serious pain from my pre-A marital sins and hurts....but don't think she experienced any trauma-level pain.


This MIGHT explain why many fWS lack the same level of internal drive to dig deep and uncover as much as their BS's do....the motivation is vastly different.

All of this is based on potentially loose-sand.

I don't "see" my wife digging hard into herself. But that could very well be a false assumption. It is an assumption based on her lack of affair talk, her lack of communicating to me her "ah-ha" moments, her sharing the small steps of her journey.......but all of that COULD be happening behind-the-scenes.


I think I might be on to something though...look at the activity of BS's on SI compared to fWS's. I think it safe to say the average BS is far more aggressive in self-introspection and digging deep then the average fWS.

Could the difference in painful vs traumatic be the underlying culprit of this admittadly percieved occurrence?

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3971 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Dagny07
♀ Member
Member # 16928
Default  Posted: 4:09 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Without remorse their can be no forgiveness.


Me:BW Him: FWH E/A
M: 29 years, together 36 : both guilty of PAs 20+ years ago
CDay#1 Oct 06 (false); DDay#2 Oct 07 (truth from OW's BH)
R: Tenaciously optimistic

Posts: 834 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Midwest
blakesteele
♂ Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 4:09 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sistermilkshake....always like and respect your opinion. Would you be willing to explain the push back on forgiveness? Seems like it has been key for me.

Don't owe me anything....just curious.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3971 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Sal1995
♂ Member
Member # 39099
Default  Posted: 4:26 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

No-brainer to me. If one spouse commits a serious offense against the other, it's kind of hard to see how the marriage could be expected to survive and thrive long term without forgiveness.

Forgiveness is often seen as weakness. That's a huge misconception, in my opinion. It's empowering and freeing. It also reaffirms who the mentally strong one is in the marriage. Not in a "one-up" way...just a fact. Like, I can take your best shot, forgive you, and thrive. I hope you can deal with your issues, but I'll be ok either way.

Just my take.


Me (BS)-45, WW-43
DDay 2/17/13, 9-10 month PA/EA
M - 18 years, 4 children
Reconciling

Posts: 1451 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
SisterMilkshake
♀ Member
Member # 30024
Default  Posted: 4:31 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Actually, I am one for forgiveness. Some have fully reconciled but say they will never forgive. I respect them and their feelings but, for me, I don't feel I would ever be fully reconciled if I didn't forgive. Thats me and how I feel.

However, I feel that many get derailed in their healing when they focus on forgiveness. They beat themselves up, they analyze the shit out of forgiveness, they want to rush to forgiveness, they read book after book on forgiveness........ but they are just so hurt and devastated they just can't forgive........at that time. They feel crappy and guilty because they are usually able to forgive people and, oftentimes, their religious beliefs tell them they must forgive. Or, the other scenario I worry about with "quick" or "cheap" forgiveness is rugsweeping.

I feel that a WS needs to know that forgiveness is on the table if they are reconciling. But, they need to understand that forgiveness is a process. It can't be put on a timetable. It can't be something expected or demanded. For me, forgiveness comes when healing comes.

People twist themselves in knots here over not being able to forgive. I say chill out. Forgiveness doesn't need to be and shouldn't be the focus. Healing for the BS, healing for the FWS, healing of the marriage should be the focus. Once those are all in place, one day you just might wake up look over at the person sleeping next to you and realize, I have forgiven you. No trumpets blaring, no big TA-DA, no grand tapping on the shoulder with your wand of forgiveness and saying "I dub thee forgiven". For me, forgiveness happens when I have healed and it creeps up on me with little cat feet.

YMMV

eta: to finish thoughts that weren't complete

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 4:45 PM, April 25th (Friday)]


BW (me) 50ish FWH 50ish
Married 34 years, 3 children
d-day 3/10 LTA (4 yrs./fucking & flirting)

"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson


Posts: 9798 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: The Great White North USA
blakesteele
♂ Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 4:51 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Solid post Sal1995...thanks brother!

Forgiveness is beneficial to those giving it....wonder if that is stop gap for some WS's?

Maybe the realization that they destroyed so much for so little is almost more than they can forgive themselves for? Maybe it is made that much harder when a BS forives the WS? Harder because it displays a love unlike anything the WS has ever experienced before?

Not sure.....would be a wonderful conversation over iced tea and coffee though.


Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3971 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
♂ Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 4:55 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

However, I feel that many get derailed in their healing when they focus on forgiveness. They beat themselves up, they analyze the shit out of forgiveness, they want to rush to forgiveness, they read book after book on forgiveness........ but they are just so hurt and devastated they just can't forgive........at that time. They feel crappy and guilty because they are usually able to forgive people and, oftentimes, their religious beliefs tell them they must forgive. Or, the other scenario I worry about with "quick" or "cheap" forgiveness is rugsweeping.


Ah, yes....VERY familiar with this. I traveled this path, with the blessing of both my pastor and our first MC.....the results were more dreadful than you elude to! For the record, my pastor apologized for his well-meaning but poor advice. His advice was solid, but the timing and execution of his advice was dreadful....me working hard on forgiveness while my wife took her A underground and from EA to PA. I, by my own choice, delayed tending to my hurt and pain in a codependent cycle to "save my marriage". Dreadful.

Thanks for filling in your thoughts.


I didn't know about the various types of forgiveness.....the process that is involved in forgiveness at the onset of this. I knew it was a choice, but didn't know how to complete it. KWIM?

"How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To" by Janis Spring
was the single most helpful book to define various forgivness's and process's by which is chosen and lived out.

Peace.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 4:57 PM, April 25th (Friday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3971 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
SisterMilkshake
♀ Member
Member # 30024
Default  Posted: 4:58 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have heard from most that even if they don't like Spring's other books the
"How Can I Forgive You? The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To" by Janis Spring
book is liked by most everyone.


BW (me) 50ish FWH 50ish
Married 34 years, 3 children
d-day 3/10 LTA (4 yrs./fucking & flirting)

"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson


Posts: 9798 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: The Great White North USA
peoplepleaser
♀ Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 4:58 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Interesting replies. I agree with Sal1995 that it is a no brainier. I like what sistermilkshake said, if I understand it correctly that the focus should probably be on healing with forgiveness as a natural step that comes eventually.

Blakesteel said something that resonated, too. First of all, the sample is definitely skewed. I didn't read the actual research report, but with a high representation of women we might not be getting good conclusive data. Also, without remorse one isn't really in a position to forgive in the relationship. However, with regard to trauma, I think I do see a traumatic response in my WS at times. I can't imagine how traumatic it would be for me to realize the depth of what I was capable of, especially for those uncovering FOO issues to address it. With all this in mind, I'm wondering if they isolated enough factors to get at the real interactions that led to successful reconciliation.


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: 700 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
SisterMilkshake
♀ Member
Member # 30024
Default  Posted: 5:01 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

if I understand it correctly that the focus should probably be on healing with forgiveness as a natural step that comes eventually.
Yes, you understand exactly what I was trying to express.


BW (me) 50ish FWH 50ish
Married 34 years, 3 children
d-day 3/10 LTA (4 yrs./fucking & flirting)

"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson


Posts: 9798 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: The Great White North USA
sisoon
♂ Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 5:43 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hmmmm...I wonder.

PTG is defined by the researchers as "a result of intrapersonal struggle to find benefit and meaning in life after a traumatic experience.

What does that look like? How does an observer recognize 'PTG'?

And how do they define 'forgiveness'?

More important, does forgiveness lead to PTG, or does remorseful behavior by the WS lead to forgiveness, and the combo of remorse and forgiveness leads to PTG?

Initially, moments after my W's confession, I 'forgave' her, in that I decided to spend as little energy as possible in blaming her. I wanted to spend my energy healing myself, and I thought focusing on what she did to me would hurt my healing effort. I don't think that's what the researchers mean by 'forgive', though.

[This message edited by sisoon at 5:44 PM, April 25th (Friday)]


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: 10352 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Sal1995
♂ Member
Member # 39099
Default  Posted: 6:05 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks blake.

Harder because it displays a love unlike anything the WS has ever experienced before?

Interesting point. My wife saw nothing in her FOO but marital destruction - cheating, divorce, missed C.S. payments, absent parents...pain piled on top of pain. Love was always very conditional in her world.

She's now seeing what the unconditional variety looks like.

I've experienced PTG first hand. What I discovered about my wife 14 months ago caused pain beyond anything I could have imagined. Yet somehow I've managed to thrive since then. It's like I woke up from a long funk. It started a couple of months after D Day, once I realized that this is survivable. I became a better father, professional, parishioner, member of the community, and, once my pain started to become manageable, a better husband. I must be giving off a different vibe, because opportunities - social and professional - come my way easily these days. I have less use for meaningless distractions, like TV and social media.

And my WW has flourished as well. It's like D Day and the aftermath detoxed us somehow.

I'd give anything if it could have happened some other way, but sometimes flowers sprout up and bloom in a turd pile. Or to use a common corny analogy, making lemonade from life's lemons.

The real lesson I've learned from all of this is that life never stops surprising, in good and bad ways. And I don't know a damn thing about anything.


Me (BS)-45, WW-43
DDay 2/17/13, 9-10 month PA/EA
M - 18 years, 4 children
Reconciling

Posts: 1451 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
UndecidedinMA
♀ Member
Member # 33732
Default  Posted: 6:22 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Sal - well said & ITA. I think finding real forgiveness is a roadblock for alot of us, myself included.

My FWSO is working hard on FOO, he also has nothing but divorce, abuse, infidelity & abandoment issues in his family. My background was quite different and I think he has begun to see how it can be. I think this is why I can/have forgiven. This part is harder for him than me. Not the forgiveness part but that it really is possible to have family hate the behavior but still love you.

It is funny but it was almost like a weight shifted from me to him when I finally forgave.

I also agree that unless the W is truly remorseful and willing to put the work in all the forgiveness in the world will do nothing.


ME - BSO
Him - FWSO
OW - DBC Xwife
DDAY 09/14/11 ONS w/DBCxWOW with 4 mos EA
Solidly in R

Posts: 1005 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: MA
tired girl
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Member # 28053
Default  Posted: 6:24 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This MIGHT explain why many fWS lack the same level of internal drive to dig deep and uncover as much as their BS's do....the motivation is vastly different.

I would have to disagree with this. The FWS's I know have dug deep and done really hard work to fix themselves.


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: 5068 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
rachelc
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Member # 30314
Default  Posted: 6:42 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

When I took forgiveness off the table I had the most growth in empathy for him. Not sure why. And then I forgave the first affair.,,

The sad thing about being a WS is that sometimes you get the most personal growth in your life from uncovering what lies beneath after the affair, providing you do the work. It's so not fair to the BS. Their WS finally gets their shit together but it took a nuclear bomb to do it. Ugh.
I've had more growth as a WS than a BS, of course still working on that...


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

The conditions we face do not define us. They remind us of who we are and who we want to be.


Posts: 5262 | Registered: Dec 2010 | From: Midwest
Sal1995
♂ Member
Member # 39099
Default  Posted: 6:47 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

It's so not fair to the BS. Their WS finally gets their shit together but it took a nuclear bomb to do it.

True, it's not fair to the BS at all. But as a BS I can tell you that it's nice to have a wife who's getting her shit together. Even before her affair, she kept me at an emotional distance throughout our marriage. This is our only marriage and I guess I didn't know any better. I do now.

Having a damaged and defiled marriage that will always bear the infidelity scar really sucks, but a healing, healthier wife is a nice consolation prize.


Me (BS)-45, WW-43
DDay 2/17/13, 9-10 month PA/EA
M - 18 years, 4 children
Reconciling

Posts: 1451 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
TheBestMe
♀ Member
Member # 39476
Default  Posted: 7:32 PM, April 25th (Friday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Having a damaged and defiled marriage that will always bear the infidelity scar really sucks,

@Sal- this really touched me.

Similar to the scar on my leg that I received as a child, the scar of infidelity is a constant reminder of the fall of my M. The break was so intense that it requires continued pain medication.

I choose not to forgive the LTA. For me, forgiveness is Christ like. One should be willing to forgive both parties and to behave toward both parties as if the sin had not happened. No way! No how! Being able to accept that and to move on has been freeing for me.

Healing is a process and I am still focused primarily on me.


ME Doing Better
WH Trying As Best He Can
Married 23 years
Status: Working towards friendship
D Day #1 - 2007 My gut told me
D Day #2 - 2010 His D told me
D Day #3 - 1/11/2013 OW Confirmed
LTA 7 years

Both feet pointed forward; positive


Posts: 448 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: Inner Peace
blakesteele
♂ Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 5:10 AM, April 26th (Saturday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I must apologize for my inaccurate statement regarding fWS not experiencing trauma. I was simply wrong.

Peoplepleaser and tired girl....you caught this error. I visited with my wife last night on this. She too corrected my inaccurate thought.

I got confused by focusing on DD......trauma hit me then. Trauma level pain hit my wife after her fog lifted. So the TIMING is different, but plenty of trauma for everyone involved.

Again, sorry for my incorrect and inaccurate statement....thanks for pointing it out in a tactful way.

People pleaser.....thanks for the post. I was diagnosed with PTSD-like symptoms.....but the silver lining of PTG was never mentioned by the therapist directly. She talked about how we can grow through this.....but didn't really explain PTG as such.


It makes a difference to me......probably a result of my analytical nature.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3971 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Topic Posts: 29
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