Q&A What are Specific Examples of Vertical Forgiveness?

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Hi Rick,

Please help!!!! My unfaithful husband and I disagree about vertical and horizontal forgiveness.

We just passed the 1 year anniversary of first D-day. This is after 17 years of marriage. Since D-day I've been diagnosed with severe depression, major anxiety, and PTSD as a result of the affair. Prior to the affair I dealt with 7-8 years of chronic pelvic pain which caused me to avoid sex causing him to resent me and me him. A destructive cycle of failure and resulted in his actively and knowingly seeking sex elsewhere. I feel this also triggers my animosity and resentment toward him and his failure to have empathy and compassion towards my medical problems. Thankfully 10 surgeries later I've finally been diagnosed 2-3 weeks ago.

Full disclosure was 3 months ago know while in EMS Online. We've just finished the course and are now in Married for life.

I FEEL there's a huge jump (I saw another response you answered from a Q&A recently and agree) in going from his affair to "working on our marriage PRE AFFAIR". I don't feel 13 weeks is by ANY means a reasonable amount of time to heal, recover, and potentially reconcile from the anguish of an affair.

I feel that by letting him move home, working on this course, and seeing a marriage counselor is my way of vertically forgiving. He says no and that Vertical Forgiveness is me having no resentment or anger toward him or the AP no matter what. Period.

Is it possible to heal and reconcile and move on to a better marriage if we disagree about the technical definition?

I tell him I don’t want to hang onto the pain and he says "then don't". I wish it were that easy. I truly want to move on and have a better relationship but I feel there will always be a piece of my heart that feels the resentment and sadness for what he put me through with his affair and all that came along with it. I'm sure this is normal at this point in time....but what about by the 2nd anniversary or 3rd or 10th? Or ever?

What are the chances of us reconciling if I cannot truly vertically 100% forgive him deep down inside while outwardly we share a normal relationship and healthy sex life? Isn't it MY CROSS TO BEAR if I have a small piece of my heart still hurting in some way 5-10-20 years down the line but I'm not "punishing" HIM in any way? I don't believe that EVERYONE who’s suffered through infidelity can say there's not a piece of their heart, head, or mind that doesn't hurt a tiny little bit or doesn't have thoughts run through their mind. In my eyes things are still fairly fresh.

Please tell me. I'm so desperate to understand WHAT DOES VF LOOK LIKE? Can you please share specific tangible examples relating to an affair and forgiveness vertically and horizontally?

And more so can you please explain WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY? How can I get to VF and what would that look like when healing from an affair?

At what point do you give up and walk away and cut your losses?



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