Hey ya'll... This was written to my first and original post on the WS forum entitled, "The Experience of Discovery From the Perspective of the Deceiver" when someone mentioned that my BS, to sum it up, was basically not setting boundaries for me - and that if he "forgives me", I'd just go right on ahead and cheat again due to lack of boundaries... I had a lot to say on the matter, and wanted to post it here to get other's thoughts on my perspective. I realize this is just MY PERSPECTIVE; I hope I don't hurt anyone's feelings or cause any problems... Just wanted to share is all. Good night.
Forgiveness is an amazing thing.
It is never expected, bartered, or given without free will.
BS’s decision to forgive me, when he first found out (before things got “worse”) between OM and myself, was an entirely courageous show of devotion to me, even after I lied and emotionally invested in someone outside of our partnership. This was in no way weakness or thoughtlessness on HIS part, not even close.
I thank God that he is the kind of man that is forgiving. I am thankful for that every single moment. However, he has NOT forgiven me for what I have done – not now – and this does not imply that his decision to stay with me means he is being thoughtless, weak, or spineless, and it sure as hell does not imply that he has not set implicit boundaries for me going forward. In fact, I think it is an INCREDIBLE display of STRENGTH on his part, and I’ve battled greatly with even believing I deserve that much…
But do we, the WS’s, lose our right to humanity and become entirely unworthy of love and forgiveness because we’ve made horrible mistakes? Should I expect that he forgive me? Hell no – I expect NOTHING and so I appreciate every single moment he decides to spend beside me now… However, I think the belief that he had anything to do with my decision to continue on with OM merely because he forgave me once before is just plain Ludacris.
Whether there was forgiveness then (and now) has absolutely no bearing on whether or not I would have another affair. Because BEFORE even the inclination to stray welled up inside of me and he and I were otherwise doing well, it had nothing to do with it THEN – what would change if he decided to forgive me now? HIS forgiveness. HIS willingness to reconcile. HIS feelings, perspective, and thoughts on the matter are HIS own. These things are GIFTS to me now, not demands, requirements, and certainly not expectations from my side.
My affair was entirely self-centered, entirely self-pleasing, and entirely MY FAULT. And what I do, from here on out, is entirely my responsibility – it ALWAYS was, and it ALWAYS will be. The question is not about whether he was stupid to forgive me once, ultimately resulting in him being hurt again by my ongoing affair with the same OM, but instead lies in what is wrong with ME that I chose to continue pursuit of evil things.
Choosing to work on ME is what I am doing now, and in doing so, I find strength that my partner is deciding, minute by minute, to walk beside me through this process. The WORK to figure out why I did this is helping us both gain valuable perspective, and so is couple’s counseling, and my no-contact agreement sent to the OM. All small proofs I can offer that I am trying – and right now, that is all either of us chooses to do or not do.
Whatever he needs, I will give him, to the best of my ability. And from HIS mouth, what he needs now, is to see the continued effort on my part to be present with him, to be open about my thoughts/feelings/doubts/fears, and to SHOW HIM that I am choosing him, and that I love him, every single day.
These facets of a relationship are present for everyone, whether there was ever an affair or not. This is what it takes for two people to really have intimacy – the WORK involved – that is the measure of a person; that they’re willing to dig deep even when it hurts. That they’re willing to see into the blackest parts of a soul and still find self-love, and most of all, genuine, authentic desire to give to others, and to love with peace and purity in the heart. That they’re willing to CHANGE, and grow, in spite of the pain involved in the process of this.
These things I lost sight of. It had and never will have anything to do with anything he did or did not do. And that is the same for each moment as it passes. I have to fix ME, and understand in myself what I did wrong, and most importantly, WHY, to affair-proof our relationship. That’s the starting point, and the continuing trend as we work through reconciliation and, hopefully, the rest of our lives.
He never deserved any of this, especially BECAUSE he is the kind of man that is eternally forgiving. He never deserved any of this, and BECAUSE he is working through his own hell right now – and sometimes just the mere thought of me hurts so bad he breaks down and cries – I know, deep within my heart, that I will do whatever is within my power to ensure this never happens again.
People talk a great deal on here about recovering from being the person whom pursued, executed, and then ended an affair. They talk about reconciliation. But what is mentioned of true forgiveness? We feel, as the “cheaters”, that we are dirty, wrong, bad people who made bad decisions. These things are true – but the degree never varies from person to person, because we are all just broken people who made horrible, hurtful choices. The truth is, no matter whether we had an affair for a few months or several over several years, we all eventually get to a point where we want to stop killing ourselves, and stop devastating the people we love – at least, that is the hope, because otherwise true change can never occur.
But I think more of us Waywards need to understand that we ARE still loveable, worthwhile people, and when someone does offer forgiveness, we should stop beating ourselves up inside and at the very least appreciate the beauty in that offering – and if it happens in the middle of an affair or at the end of one, may we see that at least as some impetus for change perhaps? Mostly, we need to realize that forgiveness is never about the person receiving it anyhow, though yes it is wonderful to know we have it, but should we not rejoice that the one doing the forgiving has chosen to set THEMSELVES free? That is LOVE – and love is what we waywards have a hard time truly receiving and believing we deserve.
I am just standing on the precious edge of deep water right now. The waters of my soul. The darkest parts of me that I HAVE to face in order to really recover from this part of my persona. And you know what I am realizing? I am flawed. Truly screwed up. But I am not entirely lost… You know the person helping me see that the most? The person I betrayed. The person I spent the past four months putting into a box.
None of us are truly lost, and sometimes it takes an incredible amount of pain for us to realize that... and the biggest bullshit to our choices is that we devastate people whom trusted us… It is a crapshoot, really, but all life is kind of like that anyway – all we can do is choose better, be selfless and stop thinking the world should revolve around our petty, selfish desires and screwed up world-views.
I feel I am getting way off track… So much I want to say…
We all just have varying degrees of “lost” and some are harder to untangle than others. For some of us it is fairly shallow and discernment over the “why” is easier to unearth. For others, it may take years of painful bandage-ripping before we even get to the first layer of understanding our behaviors.
Forgiveness from God, and especially when I receive it in this worldly realm, is a reminder that I am still worthy of love, even in my sin. I am still and always will be imperfectly made, but I am not hopeless – I am just very broken.
Recovery starts with love. Self-love. I had to find out what love was, and unfortunately, this process was a big step towards that for me. And though it is incredibly painful, and I am remorseful and regret the choices I made that led us here, at the very least I am grateful that now I can start doing the real work – because there is no running from these parts of myself anymore. That is a gain, and I will take it.
As for the man whom is staying by my side through this, well, as I said, I thank God that he still wants to know me at all, let alone try and love me fully again someday. I will do whatever he wants, and if someday, that means I get to accept his forgiveness, I will be the most grateful former wayward spouse this world has ever known. If, someday, he believes in me again, there is not a flaw inside of me or darkness present in this world that will cause me to stray from that – because the work will never be done, and believing I am worthy of his love – of God’s love – of my children’s love, well, that will be my life’s greatest goal second to serving those around me so that they’re needs are met, and the love is reciprocated freely with happiness in our hearts.
If I continued to remind myself how unworthy I am of that, it may ensure one thing: It may ensure that my self-esteem suffers greatly. It may ensure that I would continue to seek validation and attention from others outside of my relationship. It may ensure that I NEVER understand what true love is, because to know love the heart must be open, and an unsure, insecure heart cannot be receptive to true, free-willed love.
These feelings are part of what self-validated my mind when I sought out another person outside of my relationship – so shit, if I wanted to change, starting somewhere, would I not look inward and examine why I feel so unworthy of love in the first place?
His forgiveness was a gift. And I f*cked that up royally. I have no intention, pre-meditated thoughts, plans, or stomach to break that boundary again – whether he forgives me now or not.
I am just grateful right now that I still get to see him beside me. But I am hoping, someday, to give him the kind of love and devotion that makes HIM feel glad he stayed.