Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be Willing...

December 10 marked the five-year anti-versary of D-Day.

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...


  1. I so get what you are saying about trying to forgive and not live and dwell in the pain of an affair. It has been almost two years since I discovered my husband was cheating and I am at a much better place. But, it took about year of being hurt, angry and sad. I finally decided that I could move forward and enjoy my life and try to learn from the affair and work to make my marriage better, or I could continue to be unhappy and let the hurt get to me. My husband and I chose to stay together and for us, it has worked. At least so far. I don't look too far into the future and just try to live each day in a good and positive way. But, finally letting go of the hurt and moving on has made a huge difference for me. I also agree that when a person has an affair, there is pain of some sort within him/her or the affair probably wouldn't have happened. For me, holding on to being sad and negative got tiring after awhile. I want to enjoy my life, my marriage and my kids and it was hard to do that when I was sad and angry all the time.

  2. I have chosen against forgiveness. Some things are unforgiveable, and my husband's long term affair is one of those things ( almost four years of lies).

    But I love him. And our marriage is getting better. And I am not holding it over his head, or mine.

    For me? Choosing not to forgive was the freeing act that let me start to move forward. Because working towards a goal in my gut that I knew wasn't right for me- that was holding me back.

    But I know that everyone has to walk their own path. Thankfully- for me, this path works for us.

  3. Well here I am wondering about the forgiveness thing. Him=11 years of cheating. Two long term relationships... UGH. After DDay in Feb... and now our second separation (his decision) I don't think we are going to make it. The forgiveness thing. The roller coaster ride this year. Really, I am ready for a new one. A new life. Away from the toxic waste he has brought in to my life. He is a freak. I don't know him. He is floundering. I cannot wait any more. A 27 year marriage thrown away. It makes me so ill that words cannot say. I am so sorry for us all.

  4. Forgiveness is such a personal thing and means different things to different people. I hope the time comes when you can forgive him for being...him. It's kinda like that old turtle/scorpion fable where the scorpion asks the turtle to carry him across a river, then stings the turtle essentially killing them both. "Why?" asks the turtle. "Because I'm a scorpion. It's my nature," answers the scorpion. Sometimes we simply have to accept that these people know no other way to be.
    You're off the roller coaster. And though you've likely got plenty of pain to wade through, you'll make it to the other side with a 27-year marriage to your credit, that you put your heart and soul into. And that's something to be proud of.


  5. Betrayal just like forgiveness is a choice. I'm with anonymous and totally and completely agree that you can move on with your relationship without having to forgive. Every one has to find the path that works for them in order to heal. In my truth, I will never be able to forgive my husband for betraying me the way he did. I have decided to stay in our marriage for the sake of keeping our family together as well as for our children and I give him the gift of a second chance, conditionally. I don't walk around angry or actively hating him. And I don't pay one single thought to the so called "pain" HE was feeling to make him cheat. I don't really care. I've suffered a lot of pain in my life but I've never used it as an excuse to betray those that love me. Frankly, it doesnt really matter why he did it. The sad truth is that he choose to. I have choices too. And I know that the choice to not forgive is just fine.
    Really enjoy reading the articles on this site by the way. Feel free to visit my site if you'd like to get a different perspective. betrayedstayathomemom.com. Keep up the great work.



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