Q&A Is There a Step by Step Guide on How to Forgive a Betrayal Such as Mine?

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Question: 

Rick,

I know that you have written on the subject of forgiveness in many of your articles. I know forgiveness is not optional, and that it is for me and not my unfaithful spouse. I understand the vertical and horizontal forgiveness. But I need help.

I forgave my spouse his first affair 18 years ago even when I was not entirely sure and had no solid proof that it even WAS an affair. With his second and most recent affair, I was even able to come to what I believe was the beginnings of forgiveness when I moved back home this past July after a 10 month separation. After working for 18 months through Harboring Hope, EMSW, and 5 therapists, I felt that there was hope of working through both of his emotional affairs and that we could have a stronger, happier marriage. For three weeks, I had the marriage I had always dreamed of and then, through an anonymous package of information and pictures, I found out that he had been lying to me, not only for the past 18 months, but for the past 18 years, and his "emotional" affairs were not only deeply emotional, but also physical.

This betrayal sent me right back to square one. I am now 5 months past Dday 2, and I am having enormous difficulty reaching anything even remotely close to forgiveness. I simply cant seem to let this go and allow myself to forgive. I have prayed for them, for myself, for our situation every day, but I cannot find it in myself to forgive the fact that he lied all that time, including the time we were attending EMSW and therapy, and that he continued the affair the entire time we were attempting to "reconnect" by going on dates all the while telling me that he loved me and was through with her.

Maybe I have missed it in an article somewhere, but do you have any suggestions for a step by step process to reach the stage of true forgiveness after a betrayal like this? I feel that I have been betrayed on so many levels. His AP did her part by texting me the juicier tidbits of what they had done as well as tell me that he said he wished I would die in a car accident. (He denied saying that part, of course).The jumble of hurt, anger, intrusive thoughts, fear and resentment that swirl through my head constantly makes it hard for me to find a place to start...a guide to steps for forgiving a betrayal such as this would be so appreciated!

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