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Reconciliation :
how can you telll if youve forgiven?

Topic is Sleeping.

Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 5:38 PM on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

I would think the same reason that most people fail at weight loss is the same as why most WS fail at R.

Losing weight requires a transition from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one. It’s a system that must be adopted for life. The operative words here are systemic snd lifestyle. This is no different from how a WP must operate if they truly desire R.

I think this is a good analogy as we see the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. I chuckle at how my gym becomes unbearably crowded starting now through March. After March, things return to normal.

Until a wayward embarks on significant systemic changes, they too will fall off after they tire of it all.

posts: 785   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
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TwoDozen ( member #74796) posted at 5:49 PM on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

@stevens how do you forgive the person they’ve become if they themselves havnt dealt with the acts of the person they was?

I can 100% say my WxGF is today a good person (today) but she got to this point through cognitive dissonance not by any other means.

The accumulated wisdom here would predict that she is therefore likely to repeat past behaviours would she not?

posts: 443   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2020
id 8771780

EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 11:44 PM on Monday, January 2nd, 2023

If you have to ask, you haven't gotten there yet and that's perfectly okay. IME, forgiveness happens gradually over time until you wake up one day and you just KNOW - you know it in your mind, body, and soul.

Have I forgiven mine? Nope, not yet. Do I dwell constantly? Not anymore.

Don't put pressure on yourself about it. You might get there one day. Or maybe you don't and that's okay too. Infidelity is unforgivable so if you never 'get there' it's okay. You don't have to forgive to move on and move into acceptance, whether together or separately.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

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JasonCh ( member #80102) posted at 1:02 AM on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

I believe your body will tell you when you have forgiven. You will feel it. If your WS is still in the picture they will feel it. Think of something in your life that you have forgiven -- it is the same. The stakes are much higher as is the debt owed -- but the concept is the same.

My mom never forgave my dad. SHe waas BS he was WS. The divorce was in process when she was pregnant with me. I have never met him. She was intelligent, loving, responsible, successfull, independent and took no crap from anyone. But the subject of my could come up and it would just 'own her'. That hurt and vulnerability just could never be put back right inside herself. AA large part of that was the times (1960's -- being divorced with a child, ....) everyone here knows the story. So wheteher she never addressed it because of 'time' or just because she couldn't i am not sure. Either way she was that way right up until her dementia took most of it from her. I think some forgiveness there would have been good for her. Just for her to set it down -- not forget it -- but to be able to stop letting what he did still have that much impact on her. I *believe* this is what is called vertical forgiveness and you are doing this for you. I think Janice Abrahams Spring's concept for this is acceptance. You can do it independent of the offender.

There then is relational / horizontal / working forgiveness. This is where you are going to stay in relationship with the offender and you need to come sort of workable back and forth. This takes the offender to do much of what everyone else here has talked about for R. Then the victim needs to forgive -- it is not a pardon. The slate is not wiped clean. You just will not try and extract the debt owed. It also does not include R.

I also think that this forgiveness will need to be re-visited as your understanding grows. There is no way that I will now what this affair will cost me in 10 years, 20 years, .... Just because I cannot name, see or feel those costs yet does not mean they are not there. An example using my dad from above. At 17 I thought I had done my forgiveness/acceptance of my dad. His lack of relationship with me, with my mom, .... When we got married I revisited that again as it was a cost to me and my wife, that relationship moving into a new stage of life, the lack of a father-in-law for my wife, .... When our kids were born and they had no Grandfather -- no 'Dad's dad' side of the family, my relationship as a father with him, my kids relationship with him... Finally when I cleaned my mom's house out last year -- with my wife actively having an affair and finding all of the letters/court documents outlining what a wayward he was. I saw none of those costs when I was 17 and i was 'done' with forgiving him :P

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id 8771824

Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 5:52 AM on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

how do you forgive the person they’ve become if they themselves havnt dealt with the acts of the person they was?

Oh you don’t. I couldn’t at all.

I’m saying if they have done that work and you believe it and are actually proud of them for doing so, then I maybe could forgive the person they are now, maybe. Probably not, but maybe.

But even if I forgave the person. I’d never forgive the acts and the person they were back then that perpetrated them.

Some might be able to. I couldn’t. And again, it would all be reflexive. Something my mind and heart would control without me directing them.

But if you want to R, you can do it without forgiving at all. Or you can do it with just forgiving who they’ve become without forgiving who they were.

Either is a valid way to R if that is what you desire.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 5:54 AM, Tuesday, January 3rd]

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

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humantrampoline ( member #61458) posted at 7:58 AM on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

Forgiveness is an action verb. Love is too. It's about how you behave and not what you feel.

I'm not sure I would have said that before experiencing infidelity.

I wish it all came naturally to me.

I also don't feel the need to "forgive" in my feelings. The feelings become irrelevant.

[This message edited by humantrampoline at 8:01 AM, Tuesday, January 3rd]

posts: 613   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8771841

jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 2:52 PM on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

In a non-infidelity example, I did something pretty shitty to my wife many years ago.

As she was 7 months pregnant with our second child(and a three year old toddler), and being high risk due to a hereditary heart condition, I went on a snowmobiling trip 3/4 of the way across the country. She didn't beg me to stay, clinging to my leg as I walked out the door, but she wasn't real happy about it either. I mean, looking back, I have to ask what the hell was running through my head?

Needless to say, when I came home, it was to an empty house(no cell phone). She was already hospitalized, and our three year old was with his aunt. It was several more days until she was released.

Now, I can try to make some lame excuses about how I was young, and I didn't really comprehend the severity of the whole situation. I was old enough to be married with children, and me putting my wants first, in this case, had terrible results. The bottom line is, I have never asked for forgiveness for this, what should be called, betrayal. How could I? Why should I? What I should be doing in that situation is to to learn from that experience, and make new boundaries that will never put her, or my children, in that situation again.

Let's fast forward 25+ years. I don't think that she has forgiven me for this, nor do I feel that she should have to. That is for her to decide. But I also don't believe that she has had to hold back intimacy, or put up....and keep up....emotional walls. I did her wrong, and feel like I have tried to make amends.....but I don't feel that she has to forgive me for us to have a better marriage. I apply the same to her cheating. If she has made continuous life-changing efforts to try to atone for what she did, I can recognize that, and base my intimacy on her efforts. Even if I don't forgive her(which is my issue alone at this point), I believe the reconciliation can continue without resentments/holdbacks/emotional walls that would remain unchanged with my opinion.

2 boys
Married over 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary PuckettD-Day(s): EnoughAccepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 3:59 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Helpful analogy JB. Thank you.

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3608   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8772183

BellaLee ( member #58324) posted at 7:45 PM on Thursday, January 5th, 2023

Hi @gainingclosure you ask a very good question. I have found from my own experience that forgiveness is indeed a choice and really a choice that I had to make everyday as I made the decision to reconcile with my H.
I don't think forgiveness is a one off event where you say I have forgiven someone who has hurt me and all of a sudden all your feelings line up with that decision to forgive.
The reality is forgiveness means different things to different people but for me it was an intentional decision I had to make everyday to let go of the hurt and resentment, so I could begin to heal emotionally.

Also choosing to forgive my H, did not mean that some days I didn't feel the hurt of the betrayal or didn't have triggers that made me think of what had happened. I think forgiveness and emotional healing go hand in hand and are very important for R to be successful but do take time and can't be rushed.

I do want to encourage you to be gentle with yourself as you try to reconcile your emotions with your choice to forgive and trust that time will come when you know for sure the answer to that question for yourself.
Wish you all the very best.

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id 8772213

Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 4:35 AM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

I've been a member for almost 8 years. I've read more threads about forgiveness than I could possibly remember and I still haven't drawn any satisfying conclusions about what it means and how it changes anything at all.

The only thing I know about forgiveness is that it's extremely personal and means different things to people for all sorts of reasons.

Don't worry too much about forgiveness. Surviving infidelity is hard enough without putting unnecessary pressure upon ourselves.

Married 2005
D-Day April, 2015
Divorced May, 2022

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button." -Brene Brown

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Topic is Sleeping.
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