Temporary Hate

Webster’s dictionary defines hate as:

intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

When Samantha and I share at speaking engagements, she almost always shares about how she really found herself hating me early in the recovery process. (I make sure she says that too, since so many betrayed female spouses attest to feeling the same ‘temporary’ hatred towards their mates.) I don’t remember her ever saying that to me, but when she shared her story for the first time on the site, she stated emphatically that she felt that way. I was healthy enough to not have it shake me the way it would have early on if I had heard that, but I really did understand what she was saying.

I had actual feelings of hatred for her too during the marriage and double life I was living.

You too may have these same feelings of hatred towards your spouse. My suspicion though is that hate is due to being injured or hurt and is fueled by both unforgiveness and a lack of ability to wrap your mind around the collective trauma of what he or she has done to you. At some level, it’s normal and part of the process. Everyone goes through an anger stage, but not everyone goes through a ‘hatred phase.’ (Note: Please do not email me about how unloving or unproductive hate is. Everyone’s journey is different and this is a community built around safety and respect, so please withhold judgment and condemnation.) If my wife Samantha felt it I’m quite sure many of you are either feeling it or have felt it. Samantha was such a caged woman and because of our dysfunctional lifestyle she had to give herself permission to be angry and hate me in an effort to get through the season of life she was in.

We both walked through this temporary hate we had for each other and the perceived unwillingness to fulfill the other’s needs and care for each other the way we so desperately wanted and expected. If you too are struggling with what I call “temporary hatred” here is how we walked out of it:

1.       Forgiveness. To love for any length of time means to be able to forgive. As Rick always says, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. To continue in resentment will only exacerbate the pain and hurt inside of you and continue to complicate the entire process of recovery. To forgive means to release your mate of their deserved consequences, realizing we are all capable of unspeakable atrocities and that you are willing to no longer hold it against them. It doesn’t mean trusting them again, or even saving the marriage. But the only way you’ll overcome this hate is to forgive them from your heart. Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling.

2.       Realize forgiveness has layers. It’s almost never a one-time thing. The process (and again I stress the word process) requires forgiving your mate again and again for the new depths of pain that you encounter as you explore the trauma in your heart due to their actions. It will take time and it will be a necessity if any amount of true healing is to occur.   

3.       Get help from a trusted source on forgiveness. Preferably someone who has been through infidelity before and found that same genuine forgiveness. The program here on the site called Harboring Hope is exceptional and will help you find forgiveness, and prolong its effects. It’s not uncommon that every once in a while you will tap into another layer of bitterness or resentment that you were unaware of, or thought you had already dealt with. It doesn’t mean you’re not healed, but going deeper in your healing. All past growth is not lost, but you are finding a new area, or a deeper area, that may need further forgiveness and mercy in order to obtain a new level of healing.

4.       Do not exercise cheap forgiveness. It’s not alright they cheated. It’s not acceptable to be cheated on or tossed aside for someone else. However, forgiveness is not about reentering the relationship too quickly, but is more about gaining the proper perspective you need to see things clearly. You’ll need to be angry. You’ll need to get in touch with that anger and use it as a source to get out of bed sometimes. But eventually anger boomerangs and you don’t want to live with that kind of pain for too long.  

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So timely...

Samuel, your articles seem so timely for every step of my healing as my husband and I are trying to reconcile almost 1 year exactly from when he began his affair. Someone once told me that Love and Hate are the same thing... the intensity is the same, just the flip side of each other. We've seen it first hand while he was leading his double life. In my heart I know I love him and I know he at his core is a good man and father, but the fact that he could commit such a "criminal" act of treason and emotional and marital "rape" is hard to accept or understand. I am learning through this journey that God is at the core of all of this: that I have no control over anything another person does, that my thoughts and emotions are not the driving force of my life, that we are both powerless in what God has planned for us and our family. If God wanted to destroy our family it would have been done a year ago. But it seems my husband awoke from his alternate universe and realized that he almost lost it all over a meaningless person who as easily as she appeared, almostly instantly disappeared from his life. It has been a hard journey not to dwell on his past mistakes and choices to deceive. It has been even harder to forgive without grievous repentance or sincere empathy for the hurt and pain his choices caused.
Ironically it's the hatred that seemingly keeps us engaged when Love seems absent. It's another paradox in this game of human relationships.
Thank you for this article... it validates my journey and I am grateful for your insight and ability to put it into words.


Acemom, it is in fact, a process to recovery. my own grief if you will was over time, as I got help, and as it set in. i did some exercises with Rick which absolutely caused me to wake up and see things for how they truly were. it took a good few months of seeing Rick, and some other things I utilized to truly see what I had done to Samantha and how my choices affected so many in such debilitating ways. to this day, when I think of who i was, and what ive done, my heart sinks in grief and pain. it's no one's fault but my own. as you take steps to pursue healing and pursue clarity, i believe it will come in spades. but, i'd encourage you to make sure you are pursuing it and putting yourselves (mostly your husband obviously, and graciously) but putting yourselves in the right place to receive insight and healing and understanding. if i can help at all, please say the word and i'll do whatever I can to help.


Thanks, Samuel. There is a thin line between love and hate. I hated my husband for months. It's been almost two years since I found out he had been cheating since we were dating in high school. We have no fond memories that are not tainted. I still feel angry at him and those years he spent lying to me from 84 until 2011. I thought we were so close. Somehow back them, as young as I was I noticed he didn't feel right. How's a teenager supposed to understand or follow intuition? I take it out on him sometimes when I am in pain . I can see him trying to help heal our family, it helps. I want to forgive not excuse him, and all of those females who he told about me. But, they didn't care because he had alot to offer. Sad. I hope they never forget their choices, and feel the pain my family feels. It can't be all for nothing.I just want to feel like my pain was NOT IN VAIN. I don't want to be bitter.


Godspeach, thanks so much for commenting. One of our early mentors said this to me during our initial stage of recovery and it's stuck with me ever since: God never wastes our sorrows. it's true. for our kids, our family, our finances, our spouse, our former life, you name it. God never wastes our sorrows. he will in fact, use it for good. though it may have been meant for evil, God in his sovereign compassion and mercy, will find a way to use it for good, if you let him. You'll need healing for sure, and you'll need a plan, so I'd consider the harboring hope course here on the site, but I promise you, from personal experience, God never wastes our sorrows. it's hard to see it now, but over time, if God allowed it, he has purpose in it and through it. anger always eventually boomerangs and as you pursue healing for that anger and bitterness, it will be and can be transformed in such a way that it doesn't steal from you any longer . i wish you the best and if I can do anything please let me know.

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