The kickass survival site for anyone who's ever been lied to, cheated on and left for dead.
Elle, So true yet so hard to do, especially if you already forgave once and it happened again. The tears and sorrys don't hold the same meaning any more. Are we actually now forgiving again or are we just agreeing to give it our all and putting our anger aside for the sake of our own sanity. Not sure on that one. Spiritually and realistically I'm torn on the answer. I continue after 11 months to push ahead and try to feel and show the love that once existed. It is so hard to admit to myself that , yes things are different, that fairy tale doesn't exist for you. Yet with children and real life we must sometimes take the uncharted waters that we never hoped to have to travel down. As the saying goes, always be serene as a swan above the water and never show your paddling like hell below.
It is hard to do but I remain convinced that it's hard to do in large part because we think it's letting the other person off the hook. I've never "officially" forgiven my husband but what I have done is accept that he is who he is, and I've stopped wishing he was different. I've stopped expecting him to be capable of things that, at this point in time, he simply isn't capable of. Once we accept another person for exactly who they are, no who we wish they were, it gives us the grace to forgive and the freedom to choose our own path. We're no longer hostage to our dreams of what could be "if only". And...there is no fairy tale. Not for any of us. As you point out, even the serene swan is "paddling like hell". Aren't we all?Elle
Elle, You should get payed for your words of wisdom. You are so right in saying that it is in accepting the individual that we married and have finally learned who they are that is the hardest task at hand. As mothers we want the best for our children and to believe that we could have chosen someone with more flaws than we could have imagined is difficult. I do want to heal and I want my children to only know the good in their father. I continue to pray and work together with my husband towards a happier more solid place where not only I can accept who he is, but that he can too. So needless to say the acceptance that you speak of is painfully difficult to achieve. Thank you for listening.
Elle, I had responded back earlier but I'm not sure what happened to it. I had said that you need to be payed for your wisdom. Of course you are correct that I am having a hard time accepting who my husband is, instead of who I thought he was. Crazy 23 years later to be in this spot. The sad part is I think that he doesn't even like "that" person either. As a mom I don't want our children to know that person as well. We are working hard piecing life back together but yes at times you can't help but think ,"who is this stranger?". It sure changes the dynamics of your intamacy. Especially when he always hated people just like himself. Thank you for listening and being so wise on the subject even though I'm sure you could have done without.
Thank-you...and for sharing your own struggle. It is incredibly hard. And harder still when you want to ensure that your kids are able to have a healthy relationship with their father, without knowing the pain he caused their mother. Elle
It’s been a little over a month since D-Day. The day I found out that my husband of almost 5 years and father of my three year old daughter, just might have fathered this 5 month old little girl that this woman contacted me in regards to.Makes your stomach drop, just thinking about it, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever discovered that your husband, the one you have given your everything to, built a life for and around, fathered another woman’s child, you know what I mean. That child that was supposed to be my second child, his sperm was supposed to create only for me! I felt so robbed of my future. How could he do this to me? His wife, ten years younger than himself at the age of 22, wasn’t worthy enough to be thought about during an extramarital affair with a woman at the age of almost forty, and being 100lbs bigger than I, to even stop and think about birth control? I was so shocked to discover that the man I devoted my everything to had such lack of control. Buh.Now that I’ve put my drowning emotions aside and have taken the forgiveness, reconciliation, and rebuilding path, I am having trouble accepting the fact that this other woman is going to be in my life for quite some time. I know I need to forgive her, but in all honesty, I feel like I am just trying to accept her and this child into my life to “show” her that she is not worth a failed marriage, that she is not worth what she says she is to him. We had a few confrontations, where she popped off all sorts of lies about him having 9-10 orgasms per day by her, etc. She also decided to call us all sorts of names, like loser parents, white trash, etc. I love children, I feel I could love her child greatly—I already love his other child from a previous relationship. She is as innocent as I am, how could I not love her? But this woman is not. She knew my husband was mine. She knew us. She even confessed to me that she pursued him to great and desperate extent (I know my husband isn’t innocent either, please don’t bash me for being “blind”, I am not and know very well who is the one who should be held responsible for this act). I just don’t know how I could ever truly forgive her, rather than only wanting to flaunt that “I won” (even though there was really no competition, he ended the affair before she told him about the pregnancy and there was no doubt that he struggled with this guilt for quite some time). I need help on reasons why I should forgive this woman, in order to live my life happily with my “new” family.Thank you for all opinions, thoughts, and concerns.-ForcedToAccept
Forced to Accept,What a sad, sad situation you're dealing with. I'm so sorry. You don't have to forgive this other woman. The point of the quote, I believe, isn't so much to "forgive" as in "be kind/compassionate" as to "accept". It sounds as if you're quite capable of extending compassion to the innocents in this situation. You're right in that this Other Woman clearly intends to hurt you. Don't let her get close enough to do that to you. Forgiving doesn't mean letting her abuse you. It doesn't even mean being nice to her. It means accepting that she is who she is...and that who she is is the product of all sorts of experiences that you likely know nothing about. Does that make her behaviour okay? Absolutely not. But it makes it more likely.Control what you can...which includes your exposure to this woman. Cut her from your life as much as possible. Your husband should have as little contact as possible. Is he sure he's the father? Has there been a paternity test? Is he financially responsible for the child? Does he have visitation?In the meantime, focus on your own happiness. If appropriate, create a relationship with this child that's yours alone. Both of you are survivors of others' selfish choices.Elle
One more thing: Please don't worry about being "bashed" on this site. We strongly discourage bashing of betrayed wives, no matter their choices. It serves no-one.
I love what Elle has said here to you. Also take into account how fresh your trauma is. I am only 3 months post Dday and wonder if it will be years before forgiveness enters my heart. It's really a releasing of anger towards another person and not allowing yourself or you emotions to be influenced by that anger...I am really not there...often find myself imagining her perfect demise... hugs to you for the burdens you carry. Join a support group if you csnkate
Forced to Accept, I, too, have chosen to rebuild a marriage with a husband who fathered a child with his affair partner. I think my healing would be farther along if it were not for the baby's mother. She has no remorse and seems to see herself only as victim although we are certain that she intentionally got pregnant after my husband had told her he couldn't continue their affair. She begged to see him and threatened to go to his workplace if he didn't comply. They did not use a barrier method of contraception because she said that she was both infertile and on the pill for hormonal imbalance. He broke up with her before she told him she was pregnant. I do believe this baby is a gift to our marriage. Without the baby, my husband would never havve revealed the affair, and he would have either resumed it or our marriage would have eventually disintegrated. The revalation,even as devastating as it was, was a wake upcall for our marriage.After months of therapy and prayer and careful consideration, my husband decided not to have a relationship with his child beyond the financial responsibilities. He feels that it is the best thing he can do for his child and everyone involved.It had been a heartwrenching sacrifice, and he is sometimes struck with grief over the loss. the affair partner has had extreme difficulty letting go of my husband. she has stalked me online and in person and hacked my email and social media accounts. She has stated on occasion thinks he has cheated on her with me, his wife of over 20 years. She used the pregnancy to try to destroy our marriage, and we could plainly see through her actions and words, that she would use the child in ways that would cause the child great emotional harm. I'm tired of having this woman who was the perpetrator of unspeakable wrongs against me exercise power over me. Some days, I feel like I will never emerge from the darkness. The only thing I can do is try to control my own thoughts. I'm trying to let go of my anxiety and worries over what she will pull next. the only way I have found to do this is to articulate in my own journal what I genuinely want for her. I pray that her child will be healthy and loving toward her, that she will be a good mother to her child, that she will find acceptance of the state of her relationship with my husband ( that it permanently ended over a year ago), that she will move on and enter a healthy relationship with a single available man who will love her child like his own. I do want to work toward forgiveness toward her even though she will never know that I have forgiven her. this is an act to help me attain peace.
wow. I admire you for your prayers for her. I hope to be able to at least do that one day.kate
oh goodness! I have been struggling all week with this... I too want to forgive the O.W. I want her out of my head and she wont be until I forgive her (I think). Because I havent forgiven her she (in imagination form) has so much power over me.For now I took a baby step and just asked God to protect my husband and I from her...AND protect her from me! haha!-Kate
Kate,That's a fantastic start. I spent a few months (at least!) imagining all sorts of gruesome and humiliating ways that the OW could disappear from my life. And then, one day, I got tired of my anger. I wanted her out of my head. Someone told me something about her the other day -- she's married and has a baby. And, honestly, I felt very little. No anger. No "that's not fair". Not even really any curiosity. I don't care where she is or what she's doing. As long as she's doing with HER husband, not someone else's. :)Elle
I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive but I hope to one day not care anymore. I don't think that's the same as forgiving. Forgiving is accepting what they did, not caring is accept that they are an ass and you shouldn't have expected any more of them.
I don't think I will ever forgive the OW. She has never indicated she is interested in it either... in fact she acts like she was the victim. Nope. No sympathy for her here. At least not yet. She gets instead my lack of attention, lack of attention and lack of compassion. She is losing the power she had over me. My husband I will one day forgive because I want to heal my family and myself. It's important to forgive him because he's my children's father & I want to them the best of everything. So in that way I want to give them a better father, if not the best father. Thanks Elle... ok, ok, I'll try to forgive her. Not today though. Maybe next year. Have a good one and thanks for all you do.
I'm actually not someone who believes that you must forgive to move on. I'm not sure I've "forgiven" my husband. I have accepted that he was the man who cheated on me. I'm glad he's not that man anymore. But forgive? Not sure about that.Elle
Thanks for your honesty. I guess I am confused. As for me I will forgive, I know I will, because I have been forgiven myself so much in my life. I am NO saint. This isn't faith based either its just recognizing that I have a lot to grateful for, that this affair will not kill me and that I can survive with our without him. And its not for him. He in fact has asked me for it but I don't even think he knows what it means. But I do know I won't survive with this hanging on to me because its just too exhausting. Plus my best revenge to the OW is really about showing her that she was just a bump in my marital road. In a way my husband and I communicate better than we have before. A small gift?I don't want to move on without forgiveness because then it would for me, feel unresolved, and I need that resolution. Maybe the moving on process, practicing to be friends again, will bring the forgiveness with it? Practice makes semi-perfect? We wont be perfect ever, I don't know what we'll end up but that's my plan.
I've heard all the reasons for finding forgiveness. I've read all the pillow embroidery worthy quips and quotes about how forgiveness will benefit me. None of it has swayed my position.Count me in the ranks of no forgiveness , no way, no how. Betrayal of this magnitude is unforgivable. Let God forgive them. I'm fresh out of compassion for cheaters and that means my well of forgiveness is bone dry.The good news...you can be happy without it! I've accepted what my FWH did, as unbelievably selfish and cruel as it was, and I've chosen to move forward. It's not an attitude that works for everyone, but it works just fine for me.Now..about forgiving the OW?? Are we petitioning for Sainthood here? PLEEZE! Best to not waste any energy on her at all. Not forgiveness, not anger, not a single moment of emotion...period. The end.
I'll raise a glass (or two!) to that.Elle
So glad you said that, it really helps alleviate the pressure on those who blame themselves for not being able to forgive. For most of us the first question a counselor asks is, do you think that you will ever be able to forgive him? Let's get real, our lives have been turned upside down and we are supposed to know if we can forgive!! Forgiveness is a process, easier for some but much harder for others and we should not have to feel bad or guilty for having a tough time with it. Our pain is enough to suffer with, there is no need to blame ourselves, we can only hope that one day forgiveness greets us at our doors.
I agree with Shawn - no way, no how will I ever forgive the OW. She's a deeply pathological mole and not worth ANY of my mental space. She's never asked for forgiveness and I wouldn't wave the magical forgiveness wand in her direction even if she did ask. My H on the other hand, he too has never asked for forgiveness. I don't think it's a component in my healing process, nor in his. I have struggled to even *accept* this horrid event and that my H could do something so cruel. Forgiving it? I don't even know what that would mean. Is that the key to moving through this, getting to a better place, etc. I've done some rotten things in our marriage and he did this horrible, rotten thing. We sometimes get into an unfortunate 'who hurt the other worse' battle (and I always think I 'win' - cheating in my book trumps most other things), but, really, no one wins that stupid game. Seems we need to accept that we're far from perfect people who have done some bad things to the life partner we were supposed to do good by, not bad by. We explore, reflect, share, grow, learn, grow, learn and grow some more. But, please, someone please tell me if/how forgiveness helped you (and not in the religious sense please). Thank you!
“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life's important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.” ― Fred Rogers
Elle and Everyone --This is off topic for this post so I apologize but has anyone read the book "Vow: A Memoir of a Marriage and Other Affairs" by Wendy Plump? I devoured it in close to a single sitting and am curious if you, Elle especially, have read it? And, then, of course, what you thought of it. WARNING: if you are newly out from Dday or just not feeling strong this may NOT be a good book to read. It's triggering and unsettling and comforting and normalizing all at the same time. Just like infidelity, nothing about this book is black and white.It was just one of those books (albeit I wish it didn't hit so close to home) that made me wish I was still in a book club so I could discuss it and hear what others thought. Anyone read it?
Pippi,Nice to hear from you! How are you doing?I haven't read it though I've heard of it. I'll make a point of reading it and posting my thoughts. Perhaps we can have a virtual book club. Elle
Hi Elle --I'm good . . . most days. I'm in that place where I fear being fooled again but so much stronger now. I just try to remember that I survived it and if it happens again it will be life altering (as if the first time wasn't!) but it will not kill me."Vow" was interesting to read because Wendy betrays her husband repeatedly early on in their marriage. He then has a couple of affairs as well. But, she is devastated when she discovers that he has had a 10 year affair with a woman that is now the mother of her husband's eight month old child. With such a history of betrayal I was surprised that Wendy was so leveled by the revelation. But, the book is triggering. I had a rough couple of days after reading it. Reading about someone else's Dday always seems to take me right back to mine. Never want to forget that day but it's still so hard to revisit.
I found once I forgave my hubby and the other women, I was able to move forward with my healing process. It was so freeing!Elsie
That's wonderful. Will you share how you got to that place of forgiveness?Elle
It's been 14 mths since D-Day and last week I finally was able to forgive my husband. A few months ago I thought I was getting better, I thought I was finally getting to the point of being able to start putting this all behind me. And then, one random Saturday, everything resurfaced when the voluntary paternity request papers came in the mail. I went physically numb in a split second. It all came flying back; all the hurt, the fear, the worry, the anxiety, the sadness....the vengeful feelings. Everything I've worked SOOOO hard to overcome. The first thing I did was text my therapist. I was sitting back in her office within 2 days, shaking, crying....crumbling. I told her I knew I needed to leave this in God's hands, it was the best thing I could do at this point. So I started praying....and praying, and praying, and praying. And all I kept seeing were messages everywhere...Facebook, Pinterest...everywhere, were messages of the importance and the power of forgiveness. So after a major blow-out in a moment of pure rage, I realized that I needed to forgive him. I needed to stop being angry at him. So after attempting for about a week, I finally had a good opportunity to have his undivided attention. I told him that I decided to forgive him....not to excuse what he did, not to dissolve the pain and the fear, but to help me release the anger that I realized had still been harboring inside me and was literally a monster hiding in the shadows, feeding on my insides, just waiting for a trigger. It needed to be released because there's still too much unknown on the table and we need to be able to work through this together....in peace. It was definitely not easy to get out, but once it was done I realized it wasn't so bad and the boulder that I'd been carrying around in my shoulders was lifted. I knew I'd done the right thing. I still have a ways to go, and depending on the results, it would be long and agonizing, or it could be over. I'm still praying like a crazy person for the obvious. I want nothing more right now, than to be able to move on.
I decided that I had to forgive so that I can move forward. I decided pretty early in our recovery process that I needed to forgive my husband. He still does not believe he is worthy of my forgiveness, but no one is really worthy of forgiveness. That's why it is such a difficult thing to do. I did not believe I could stay in our marriage and help it become healthy again or help myself recover if I continued to live in a state of anger, sadness, resentment and pain. Like the writer above described, these emotions weighed on me like a boulder, anchoring me in a horrible place. I had to start with the decision to forgive. The process is ongoing. I have triggers and pain flare up, and I have to forgive again. They are getting less painful and not dominating my life the way they once did, though I am not sure the triggers will ever completely disappear. Praying for the other woman and the child of the affair isn't a selfless, saintly act. I have chosen to do it to help me gain the strength to forgive her so that I can drop another boulder. I do want good things for the child. Biologically, the child is my children's have sibling and the offspring of the man I love. The baby is an innocent victim of a selfish, immoral act. I don't want the child to suffer because of this. In order for the child to have a good life, the mother needs good things in her life. She needs to heal and gain some sense of self worth and boundaries. She is a sick. hurting person to have accepted the kind of relationship she had with my husbandi want her to get emotionalally well so that she can move on and stay out of our lives. I'm Hopi.g that I'm not the delusional one now!
No you're not delusional at all; you're incredibly compassionate. Though I hope, like you, the Other Woman does in fact use this as a chance to grow emotionally and spiritually and to provide a healthy home for her child...I wouldn't hold my breath. Some people learn on a different timeline than others. Unfortunately.Kudos to you for recognizing how much richer your own life is when you can lay down those boulders. And thanks for sharing your wisdom.Elle