Forgiveness after Infidelity, is it possible?

Spring 2015 was mostly nice.  Husband and I were living together again. We bought new wedding rings and he got down on one knee to ask if I would wear it.  We talked about renewing our wedding vows.  We worked hard to change habits on our own and with the help of Dale, our couples counselor, and our individual counselors. We enjoyed being back together and started having a little fun.  We took the train to Seattle and went to a concert at Jazz Alley, beach trips and a visit to see his family in Colorado.

FORGIVENESS AFTER INFIDELITY TAKES TIME, IT CANNOT BE RUSHED

Then Husband started feeling comfortable and there was some backsliding, nothing too earth-shattering but enough to put me on edge.  He started talking about Speak from your heartHIM forgiving me for some of the horrible things I said to him during the first few days after I found out about his affair.  He bought a book recommended by his therapist about forgiving each other and suggested I read it.  I don’t even remember the title I hated it so much.  The offending premise was that if I didn’t forgive him right away, I would be a miserable person, forever locked in anger.  Bullshit!!  Forgiveness after something like this takes time and can not be rushed, I knew that.  That he needed to forgive me, and me to forgive him, to move forward was insulting.  I felt he should understand the nasty things I said to him came from the extreme pain and trauma he put me through.  But it got me thinking and I was thankful when I found a book at the library, and ended up buying, on forgiveness the Buddhist way: Heart of Forgiveness: A Practical Path to Healing, by Madeline Ko-I Bastis.  Maybe there were things I had done that Husband needed to forgive me for, and he for sure wanted and needed my forgiveness.  What gave me relief in working toward forgiving Husband was when Madeline discussed the beginning stages of forgiveness.  This meditation she wrote gave me peace: “For all the harm you have done me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive you as much as I can.” and “I am willing to forgive, but not yet.”  This helped give myself permission to take the time I needed, as long as I was making progress.  Don’t let anyone try to rush your forgiveness for something big.  For the little things, it is important to forgive and move on as quickly as possible for our own peace of mind.  It is unhealthy to not forgive, but again, the big things take time.

Husband was going to church, back with me and life was good…for him.  It was another story for me, that pain in my heart was still there and wasn’t budging.  I felt like I carried all the collateral damage from his poor choices.  On June 4, 2015 I wrote in my journal: “How fucking great to be ‘Husband’…Do what he wants, takes what he wants, with no regard to anyone, especially his wife.  And now, he’s found God & isn’t he just the most wonderful person on earth again?!”  I know, a little harsh, and I know now it wasn’t quite as simple as that for him, he had shame and guilt and had to live with the damage he caused.  Every time I cried or became upset it was hard for him because he knew he was the cause. He continued to be patient and stay the course while I continued to try to heal.  One of the most frustrating things for me was not understanding why this happened, how it could happen.  I always prided myself on having very accurate antenna and that I was so fooled was tough.  I kept thinking, if I could get closure or relief  my heart would stop hurting. Ripping up old pictures, or confronting one of the other women (yep, I did that!) only felt good for a little while. What did help was time, there was no quick fix. It also helped how motivated my husband was to change and work to repair our marriage.  It took us both, if either of us wasn’t invested to stay we wouldn’t be together now.

ALWAYS SPEAK FROM YOUR HEART

We kept plugging away, baby steps to healing.  It had been eight months and the progress we’d made so far was good, but we were still in our infancy to being where we are today. We learned something important that helped us and our feelings of satisfaction when we communicated. Husband learned he needed to speak from his heart and NOT just his head, which wasn’t always truthful. When he spoke from his heart it made all the difference in the world and we both felt the connection. You can tell when someone is giving you lip service OR speaking from a deeper, more meaningful place and connecting, heart to heart. Life is richer and more fulfilling when we’re lucky enough to have those heart to heart connections. I’m happy to say, this is our new normal way of communicating.  Not that it’s always perfect, but we recognize the difference now and make a course correction when necessary.

Till Next Time…
Peace & Love ~
D’Alene

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