And those who follow this site will note that I recently shared how far I've come since that day five years ago. That I, as much as anyone, was surprised to find myself healed and happy.
I've given some thought to the path I've walked this past five years. And while thinking about it, I happened upon a radio program about grudges featuring callers with grudges they've carried for decades. A few phoned in with grudges they've managed to let go. One man, whose father (!!!) carried on an affair with his wife (!!!) had managed to forgive both of them and move on with his life. He had relied on a 12-step program and a strong relationship with his "higher power" to heal. Another woman finally recognized, after a decade following a nasty break-up, that she was punishing herself by holding on to the grudge. She, too, let go and forgave.
It can be hard to even conceive of forgiveness in the early days of discovering such a betrayal. And forgiveness is such a fluid concept. It can mean different things to different people. To me, it reeked of absolution. And there was no way I was letting my husband off the hook. He was damn well going to regret what he did every minute of every day.
Until the day that didn't matter anymore. Until the time I was able to see that making him "pay" was only keeping both of us locked into an adversarial relationship based not on mutual respect and caring but on jailor and jailed. The power I felt was an illusion and kept my heart locked up.
What I'm suggesting to all of you – no matter where you are on the path to healing – is that you open yourselves to the possibility of healing. That you be willing to at least consider forgiveness – whatever forgiveness means to you. It doesn't (shouldn't!!) mean that you're saying what he did to you was okay. But how about being willing to forgive if it meant simply that you recognize his pain, even if he still can't recognize yours? It can seem impossible to acknowledge that cheating is a consequence, not just a cause, of pain. But no-one hurts another like that unless they're hurting too. Whether they seem cavalier about it or not, betrayal is borne of pain.
And forgiveness needn't (shouldn't!!) in any way indicate that you will continue to let anyone hurt you. Forgiveness of another doesn't mean abandoning yourself. Your first duty is to protect yourself, emotionally and physically.
But that duty to self must also include a willingness to open up to healing. And that can't happen when your heart is locked up tight.
It doesn't need to happen today. But consider opening up the teensiest bit. To be willing to consider the possibility of the miracle of healing (and believe me, it will feel like a miracle).
And while you're considering it, watch this video about miracles and what can happen when you're willing...