When I Chose to Forgive

I think it was the night after I had discovered Wayne’s betrayal that he asked to meet with me so we could talk. He said he had some things that he wanted to tell me in person. Hoping to get an answer to my biggest question -“why”- I agreed to meet with him. I did not get the answer to my question that night, but what I did get was more pieces to the puzzle. He told me how he had begun to act out sexually when he was 12, then filled in some details from that time to the present. There was a long silence that followed his revelation. As I was trying to make sense of everything that I had just learned he said, “I am so sorry. I know you will never be able to forgive me.”

Honestly, until he brought it up, the question of forgiveness had not entered my mind. I was in a state of shock, trying to let it all sink in. But as soon as he mentioned forgiveness, I realized I had a decision to make. There were a few more moments of silence as I considered my options. My initial reaction was to tell him that he was right; there was no way I could ever forgive him. But as I sat in that thought for a few minutes I began to sense a great danger to my heart. I fully realize how odd this must sound; my heart, having just received yet another deep wound, feeling a sense of danger over the prospect of withholding forgiveness from the one who had wounded me. I’m not sure that I can fully explain what I was feeling other than to say that I felt as though holding back forgiveness at that point would leave me vulnerable to an even greater amount of pain.

So in an effort to preserve my heart, I chose to forgive him. I remember telling him, “I forgive you, but I don’t trust you, so you are still not welcome back at the house.” There was no logic behind my decision to forgive. I hadn’t taken a class on the art of forgiving, or heard a lesson on the dangers of not forgiving. At that point I had not yet met Rick and been introduced to the concept of ‘the cost of forgiveness.’ (He wrote a great newsletter on this recently, if you are interested.) I was just a girl with a severely wounded heart, who was doing the best she could to preserve what little of it she had left.

As soon as I told Wayne that I had forgiven him, I felt an intense sense of relief, almost as if a giant burden had been released from off my back. Please don’t misunderstand, I still felt the pain of betrayal, but somehow I felt released from the need to carry anger and bitterness around with me as I healed.

My decision to forgive my husband may seem a bit quick. Some might even argue that he got off too easy, but they would be missing the fact that while I forgave quickly, I did not rush through reconciliation. The process of mending our broken relationship was one that I walked through very slowly and carefully. While choosing both forgiveness and reconciliation, my ultimate goal was to guard and heal my heart, regardless of how long it may or may not take.

OK… I would love to hear from you. What is your experience regarding forgiveness? What are your fears? What are your hopes? What has helped or hurt you in this process?

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Two months into this and I

Two months into this and I forgave him about a month ago. Doesn't mean I don't hurt every day and doesn't mean he is off the hook for his actions. Forgiveness is allowing my heart to open up again and it isn't about him as much as about me. Me choosing to forgive him allows me to grow and heal better. It isn't easy and it doesn't mean that I trust him but I am allowing my heart to soften a bit and not be so bitter. I still have a long ways to go and we both need to do more soul searching but we are healing a bit. Day to day. Ofcourse I am fearful he will cheat again but I'm hopeful that he won't. This blog along with a couple others have helped me to see that I can't forever play the victim card. I have to eventually look at it as a fact like someone said. It is a fact of my life but not something that defies me or my life. Thank you for your insight and your knowledge. Also, did you all seek counseling or do this on your own? My husband will not go to counseling however I am seeing changes in a lot of ways so that is great but counseling is what I think we need most but what he will not yet agree too. (probably never will honestly)

forgiveness

Hmmm, your subject is interesting. I think forgiveness is ongoing, because the healing is ongoing. I do forgive my husband, and I have said it out loud, and occasionally when I start to really feel the hurt, and the humiliation, and the anger - I want to take it back, because I feel like I've done something wrong in forgiving. I've mentioned before, my forgiveness sometimes has backfired on me, because there are days when everything feels good again that I almost regret it. I know forgiveness is not the same as forgetting - but sometimes I feel like my forgiveness makes it seem like all should be forgotten and never mentioned again - so it is indeed an ongoing struggle. I do forgive my husband, and I see that I played a role in steering him out of the marriage. I question myself from time to time, wondering if I really truly forgave him. sometimes I think my forgiveness was given too quick - before I let all my emotions ride out what I was dealing with. I knew that it was what I wanted, and still do -- I just never imagined it would be this hard to get through over a year later. c.

re: fears and hopes

My fears are that we will never recover from our wrong choices. My spouse has said I am forgiven but I don't feel like it. I am not sure how to measure our reconciliation progress. My hopes are to feel chosen again by my spouse and not always distraught over all the pain I have caused.

forgiveness

Thank you for sharing. I am afraid to forgive and then find that I really haven't because all the pain and bitterness comes up. I feel like forgiving shouldn't be something that should be given lightly. (not that you did - I just don't want my actions to be contrary to this and I am afraid of this as I am going on a roller coaster each day_ This is the hardest process. At first, I thought that I could forgive and understand, but then the pain and reality keeps going deeper. I don't trust and I don't know how to ask for what I need without feeling like I am needy. I think in the past I have forgiven too easily. I am lost and in pain at the moment. I still love him but the love is breaking my heart. --me

forgiveness

Thankyou for your post on this.  I am struggling with forgiving.  I think I am struggling with it because my husband has connected forgiveness trust and with "it's over and done with and move along".  I am learning that trust and forgiveness are not mutally inclusive, and that one can be offered without the other.  Truely one of the most difficult parts in this right now...working on it though

I just found out my partners

I just found out my partners infidelity and I am deeply wounded, he was my best friend and our "commitment" and trust made us special. He regrets it and is remorseful, he sobs like a baby for me to give him another chance. I first want/need to forgive the betrayal and heal my heart before I can even start thinking of being with him. Right now I can't see a future with him and it hurts because he is a great man who made a mistake and was weak at that time. I just can't do it. I want to forgive him for myself, to get the poison out of me and heal. I don't know what to do n I feel so lost because I don't know how to start forgiving this betrayal. Anyone have suggestions or have been through this?

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