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I am posting the following because I am a BS who has chosen to forgive. By doing so, I am much happier, I am able to give 100% to my marriage (that I discovered after much reflection and prayer) that I really do want and know it is worth fighting for. 7 months past DD and NC, i am happier than I have been in a very long time, my marriage is strong (but scarred), and I am at peace. I still have triggers, but they quickly pass. I do not feel anger or resentment towards my husband. I will not forget, and I do not excuse or dismiss his actions, but I do forgive. What he did and who he was is not who he is today. He is remorseful and we are both in R together and in it for the long run. Forgiveness is difficult to do. It is not for everyone, and anyone who chooses to forgive does so at their own right time. There is no timetable to forgive. Each person's story and heart are different. It is a choice, and it can make a difference in successfully rebuilding a scarred and damaged marriage brought about by infidelity. The following is long, but worth reading.
 

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WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

To understand what forgiveness is, it is important to consider what forgiveness is not. The act of forgiveness does not suggest you have forgotten the injustice. Nor does it imply you condone or excuse the wrongdoer. You are not condemning; that only leads to forgiveness that stems from moral superiority. What’s more, you are not seeking justice or compensation.

When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge, no matter how deserving of these things the wrongdoer may be. You give the great gifts of acceptance, generosity and love. Though the wrongdoer does not deserve these gifts, you don’t let that stand in your way. You give, not out of pity, not out of grim obligation. Rather, you give because you have chosen to have a merciful heart. A heart with the power to free yourself so you can live a better life.

Yes, forgiveness is a paradox—something that may sound illogical but still works. It is the foregoing of resentment or revenge when the wrongdoer’s actions deserve it. It is giving the gifts of mercy, generosity and love when the wrongdoer’s actions indicate that he/she does not deserve them. As we give the gift of forgiveness, we ourselves are healed.
 

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WHY FORGIVE?

While people forgive for a host of reasons, forgiveness is the right thing to do physically, spiritually and socially.

Physically, forgiveness creates a higher quality of life, a healthier body, and a more positive attitude. Dr. Enright has scientifically proven these and other therapeutic benefits of forgiveness through his experimental studies (with Randomized Experimental and Control Groups). In every one of Dr. Enright’s studies, those in the experimental group showed better emotional health (reduced anger, anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD symptoms with increased hopefulness about the future, self-esteem, and/or willingness to forgive) than those in the control group. For more information, read the text of all the journal articles related to Dr. Enright’s research projects.


According to the respected health website WebMD.com, if you can bring yourself to forgive, “you are likely to enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood. Back pain, stomach problems, and headaches may disappear. And you’ll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive.”

While refusing to forgive may not directly cause disease, according to WebMD, the negative impact of holding on to painful memories and past wounds can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness—including cancer.

In fact, forgiveness therapy is now an integral part of treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Watch a video interview with Rev. Michael Barry, director of pastoral care at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia.

"It's important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone's reactions to the treatments -- even someone's willingness to pursue treatment," said Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

According to Duke University, Univ. of Tennessee, and Stanford University, "Holding onto hurts, grudges, annoyances, pet peeves or old wounds hurts the body, especially when the memories are triggered by current life events." They confirmed a physiological link between negative emotional states like revengeful thinking and actions and how it produces stress on the body. They found that stress from revenge or hateful thoughts also lowers the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to illness and asserts that, "People who are able to forgive can actually modify their heart rate, lower their blood pressure, decrease physical pain and even relieve their depression." Read the story in Psychology Today. Harvard Women's Health Watch also reported findings on how forgiveness instead of hate or holding on to grudges can benefit your mental and physical health. Read What Does Forgiveness Have to Do With Depression?

Spiritually, forgiveness affirms what our faith usually requires of us and, therefore, helps us live a life of integrity. Forgiveness has a common theme across Hebrew, Confucian, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu writings. Many people forgive because their God asks them to do so. They forgive as an act of love toward God. They forgive because they know that it is a morally good thing to do.

Socially, forgiveness reduces anger and resentment and often leads to an improvement in personal relationships with family, friends and community. Forgiveness has a way of cutting through our anger, disappointment and resentment to give everyone involved a fresh start. As you forgive, you are set free from the prison of resentment. Forgiving liberates us. Only forgiveness liberates us from a painful past to a brand-new future. At the same time, those around us benefit because we are less likely to carry our anger into other situations. We are less likely to displace our anger onto those who don’t deserve such treatment.
 

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When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge, no matter how deserving of these things the wrongdoer may be.


Wow, I give you props Looking. I am only 3.5 months from DD and I am in R with my wife, so I am no where close to this kind of realization but it does give me hope. I haven't even considered forgiving my wife. I think that will be some years down the road for me(if ever).

But congrats, I do know how nice it is to forgive. It's often more satisfying for the one doing the forgiving. I just couldn't fathom me doing so so soon. But it's nice to hear some do.

I wish you luck in your continuing R.
 

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Why are some people afraid to forgive?
An unclear or mistaken understanding of forgiveness may contribute to this fear. For example, forgiveness may mistakenly be seen as a relatively superficial choice that denies or ignores the pain caused by the wrongdoing. Or forgiveness may be seen as an act that must happen quickly and that does not allow for the time one might need to process the hurtful event.

By contrast, forgiveness may be resisted in order to maintain anger that is “protecting” the person from looking directly at deep pain caused by the wrongdoing. Some people may fear that forgiveness will be seen as condoning the wrong action or letting the wrongdoer “off the hook.” And, in some cases, choosing forgiveness may be confused with undue pressure for full reconciliation with a wrongdoer who may continue to act in an unfair or unsafe manner.


Should I forgive immediately after being hurt by someone, or should I take some time first?
This question is quite difficult because circumstances are an important ingredient in the answer. Some offenses are so dreadful that they take much time, while others require only a bit of work with much reward. To set a prescribed timeline for commencing forgiving is to ignore our dictum that forgiving is a choice. To suggest that someone must begin forgiving immediately upon suffering a moral injury is to ignore the necessary period of anger that precedes the forgiveness work. Yet, if we realize that anger, appropriately expressed, is a part of the forgiveness process, then it seems quite reasonable for someone to begin forgiving soon after the injury if the person so chooses. In reality, there is no right or wrong answer to when a person may decide to alter one’s angry course in favor of mercy and kindness.
 

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That's great that you're able to pray away the pain and
grant forgiveness. At this point (5 months later) I cannot.

"it's the greatest gift you can give yourself".

Bah.

It's the greatest rugsweep job you can try to live
with for the rest of your life "happily".

Sorry, not buying into it.
Still too much pain.

But good for you. Some people are just wired different.
 

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Looking, Hi! So glad to hear your marriage, and more importantly you, are still improving. Very happy. Xx
 
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That's great that you're able to pray away the pain and
grant forgiveness. At this point (5 months later) I cannot.

"it's the greatest gift you can give yourself".

Bah.

It's the greatest rugsweep job you can try to live
with for the rest of your life "happily".

Sorry, not buying into it.
Still too much pain.

But good for you. Some people are just wired different.
No, you are wrong cantthinkstraight. It is a way of looking at things. A way of viewing things. Understanding and accepting. NOT condoning. You cannot change what has been done but u can accept it has been done. No amount of angry thinking changes what has been done.

However, 5 months in is a difficult time and I can completely understand why there is no forgiveness yet. The act of infidelity can cause such huge ripple effects throughout one's life. Especially if the spouse continues the A or leaves for the AP. More so if children involved.

Forgiveness is about acceptance and moving forward. You can forgive and do the 180, in fact it is better to do so as the 180 becomes much more real, more effective because it is real inside AND out. Forgiveness can happen alongside R, Divorce, separation, dealing with and talking about the issues. Whichever path is chosen, forgiveness exists well alongside it. And the inability to forgive brings deep unhappiness alongside whichever path is chosen. And the unhappiness which comes with not forgiving is reserved only for the person wronged (though of course the person who does the acts that cause so much pain cannot by definition be a happy and contented person. They have their own demons that allow them to commit such acts). Rugsweeping is a whole different ball game. That doesn't necessarily involve forgiveness, and it certainly isn't a healthy way of dealing with issues. Rugsweeping is as unhealthy as unforgiving, bitterness and hatred. And as said above, the inability to forgive and to harbour bitter thought can seep into other areas of life and affect the way you deal with others. It can cause you to misplace the anger and put it onto undeserving people. But also as said above, it takes an amount of time to reach a point of forgiveness. Depending on the person and the circumstance.

I forgave my man fairly quickly, but he did not do the work, the heavy lifting, and so the anger didn't go entirely. Or the upset. He didn't help me relieve the pain. We have finally split due to his inability to deal with the issues and to ensure total honesty and keeping to his promises (some of them were lies also e.g. No more lies...ever, though he did do certain things that were required. Transparency in actions (though he wasn't coming completely clean), regular updates of where he was and what he was doing etc which did help me. But without dealing with the real issues, R was bound for failure). And actually, it took a good year post DD to more completely accept and forgive. I forgave him long ago for the acts, but I did not forgive the lies while they continued, I did not accept his avoidance of dealing with the issues. And so the acceptance of my situation became apparent, that I would never get what I needed from him. I accepted we were over. And reading that above has managed to slot those final tiny pieces of forgiveness and acceptance into place. Yeah I have lost the love of my life, but hey, it obviously wasn't meant to be, now I know what I really want in a man, now I can look for the full package, the one that doesn't come with the lies cheating and rugsweeping, and now I am totally educated on infidelity and the signs of it. He was a 5* education on that score. And he has laid the path for me to make the brighter future happen for myself instead of just hoping for the best and accepting 2nd rate.

Thanks for the post Looking, for seeing it in black and white, to give more substance to what is there in only random thoughts and feelings.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Forgiveness is not for everyone, and it certainly does not come easily. To forgive is a choice to accept the things we cannot change and decide to move forward with our lives rather that live in the past and keep dwelling over something that makes us unhappy, hurt and sometimes miserable and depressed.

Infidelity is ugly. WE ALL CAN AGREE TO THAT. First, a BS must decide if their marriage is worth saving. Then they must decide if their WS's actions prove that they are remorseful and want to save the marriage to. I can only speak from my experience. For the last 7 months, my husband has jumped into R with both feet. We have had bumps and bruises along the way, but I fully committed to forgiving him about 4 months ago. Yes - we were in R and I still had not forgiven him - truly forgiven him. Neither of us will ever forget. It haunts him today, and it is a random thought or trigger for me. He has not forgiven himself - he owns it, he has learned from it, and he is a better man for it. If I did not forgive, I could not commit myself 100% to our marriage.

I believe the WS does deserve to be punished, but only until you the BS chooses to forgive and commit yourself back to the marriage. You can't expect your marriage to work out if you hate your partner or want them to hurt - it does not make sense. If you do not forgive, you are only dragging it out, and there is good chance that the marriage won't work. At some point (IF A WS IS TRULY REMORSEFUL AND COMMITTED) a BS has to realize that they can do more harm than good and they can push teh WS away. Why would someone want to stay in a marraige where they are constantly berated and punished for something that they cannot change?

Neither party should ever forget, and they should both be thankful that their marriage survived (if that is what they truly want). However, if your goal as a BS is to punish your WS for all eternity for how they wronged you, you are doing yourself a huge injustice, failing yourself and promissing you and your family a life of misery.

If you simply cannot forgive, you should move on and choose a different path for yourself. If the WS shows no sign of remorse or wanting to change, you should move on. If you take your anger out on those around you, especially your children and your work is effected, you should perhaps seek help and then decide if your marriage is worth saving.

Each person, each marriage, each infidelity is different. If we forgive and our spouses let us down again, at least we will have known that we did everything in our power to make it work. Yet if we do not lead with our heart, we are depriving ourselves of what could be. There are no guarantees in life. Only you can decide what is right for you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep living life to the fullest. Don't let another persons actions keep you down.

--Just my own $.02 and lessons learned.
 

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No, you are wrong cantthinkstraight. It is a way of looking at things. A way of viewing things. Understanding and accepting. NOT condoning. You cannot change what has been done but u can accept it has been done. No amount of angry thinking changes what has been done.


Remains - you tried and gave it your all - you did what was in your heart - you were successful to yourself. You handled your situation amazingly, and you came out on top because of how you are able to see things. You are so right - no matter how angry you get, or how much you hate a person, or how long you decide to punish them for, it WILL NOT change the fact that damage has been done.
 

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That's great that you're able to pray away the pain and
grant forgiveness. At this point (5 months later) I cannot.

"it's the greatest gift you can give yourself".

Bah.

It's the greatest rugsweep job you can try to live
with for the rest of your life "happily".

Sorry, not buying into it.
Still too much pain.

But good for you. Some people are just wired different.
:iagree:
 

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Wow, I give you props Looking. I am only 3.5 months from DD and I am in R with my wife, so I am no where close to this kind of realization but it does give me hope. I haven't even considered forgiving my wife. I think that will be some years down the road for me(if ever).

But congrats, I do know how nice it is to forgive. It's often more satisfying for the one doing the forgiving. I just couldn't fathom me doing so so soon. But it's nice to hear some do.

I wish you luck in your continuing R.
A very honest point.

I too initially said I forgave. But then when I really thought about it, I was being dishonest with myself.

I feel that a betrayal is an act that is never forgiven or forgotten. It can be managed but not banished.

IMO, that is a healthy self protective mechanism if one is to stay in the marriage, given that so many cheaters tend to be repeat offenders.

I read about them on Tam.....two years out, ten years out the BS is cheated on again.

I am determined not to go through that again. IMO, I deserve better. I really am a good and loyal and faithful person and not being able to forgive a betrayal does not change that.

In fact, maybe it just shows how much I value all those traits in myself and others.

BTW: In the catholic religion, infidelity is the only grounds for a divorce and they will even give a complete annulment of the marriage.

It seems they do not advocate forgiveness so easily.
 

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That's great that you're able to pray away the pain and
grant forgiveness. At this point (5 months later) I cannot.

"it's the greatest gift you can give yourself".

Bah.

It's the greatest rugsweep job you can try to live
with for the rest of your life "happily".


Sorry, not buying into it.
Still too much pain.

But good for you. Some people are just wired different.
I disagree. It isn't rug sweeping at all. By choosing to forgive, you choose to NOT allow it to consume you. And yes, you CAN live happily afterward. Not everyone can, but some of us CAN do it. R isn't for everyone. And, forgiving doesn't mean you CONDONE what your spouse has done. What it means is that it isn't going to be your focus, day and night, for the rest of your life. It is a choice that is made. Some can't do it. It is up to them.

And praying away the pain? It is still a process. Even with prayer, you are still going to have days that it gets to you. But over time, the pain lessens. Five months is too soon for some, but not for others. But it doesn't mean it is impossible.

My husband forgave me, even when I couldn't forgive myself. And I forgave my husband as well. I still have days when my mind wanders back to Dday and the days, even weeks, after, and it stays with me for awhile. But it doesn't mean I didn't forgive him. It doesn't mean I am not happy in my marriage.

Whether you wish to believe that forgiveness helps or not is totally up to you. But for those of us who truly HAVE been forgiven and DO forgive, it is real, and it helps in OUR marriages. It isn't rug sweeping. I'd say you are right about one thing... for YOU, it is too soon.
 

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I think too sometimes when you tell someone that "yes I forgive you", that it might jolt them a bit in that wow I did something really bad that someone needs to actually forgive me.

I am just thinking that if someone said to me, Yes highwood I forgive you for what you did..I would also feel bad because I did something terrible to someone.

Again what I wrote is just a thought...like I said some people might hear those words that they are forgiven and not think in that way.
 

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I think too sometimes when you tell someone that "yes I forgive you", that it might jolt them a bit in that wow I did something really bad that someone needs to actually forgive me.

I am just thinking that if someone said to me, Yes highwood I forgive you for what you did..I would also feel bad because I did something terrible to someone.

Again what I wrote is just a thought...like I said some people might hear those words that they are forgiven and not think in that way.
Good point, highwood.

It all depends on the cheating spouse and how deeply flawed their character is.

If it is a minor flaw, forgiving them may make them feel ashamed and may be the impetus for remaining faithful

With those cheaters who may have deeper character flaws, forgiveness may seem like a get out of jail card because they think you will always forgive their transgressions.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
That's great that you're able to pray away the pain and
grant forgiveness. At this point (5 months later) I cannot.
If I could have just prayed away the pain, that would have been AWESOME! I am not super religious. I consider myself a non-denominational Christian. I treat others how I would like to be treated to the best of my ability. I read a lot, I observe closely, and I became super sensitive to my own marriage crisis. I prayed because I started to lose hope. I prayed that God would scream at me what to do. I prayed for the strength to make it through and survive each day for me and my children. I prayed that my husband would open his eyes and see what he had done. Maybe I did not get a direct response or an email or a phone call from above, but something seemed to work. The pain of betrayal is almost unbearable. Yet a combination of things pulled me through it. Prayer, educating myself, making note of everything, and a decision that I had had enough and I could either continue feeling sorry for myself or move on....I chose to move on. I already knew that I wanted my marriage to work, and once he jumped on board, it took me a few months to truly forgive. I had to see and feel his actions. Then I knew that I was in it 100%. It happened - lets both move on from it. He is not able to move past what he did to me, but he is able to move on with me. At some point I hope he will be able to forgive himslef, but never forget.

"it's the greatest gift you can give yourself".

Bah.
OK - so this was part of the article. My greatest gift to myself - acceptance. Because I finally accepted it happened and cannot be changed, I was then able to forgive.

It's the greatest rugsweep job you can try to live
with for the rest of your life "happily".
First you have to accept and then choose - stay or leave. If you stay, you must forgive, or you won't be happy. I will not allow someone's bad choice rule my world or my life. I have all the power over that. If you are not ready to move on and accept and you say you forgive - yes, it is a rugsweep. For me - I am already out the door and 100 miles from home - I'm moving!

Sorry, not buying into it.
Still too much pain.
You are not there yet and it is OK. I felt the same as you. Your timetable is just different - there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe your R is/was different. Different situations, different actions - all are factors of how fast we can move on.

But good for you. Some people are just wired different.
That is true, and it does not make one person any better than the other. Our past experiences and our beliefs all play a role in how we are wired.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think too sometimes when you tell someone that "yes I forgive you", that it might jolt them a bit in that wow I did something really bad that someone needs to actually forgive me.

I am just thinking that if someone said to me, Yes highwood I forgive you for what you did..I would also feel bad because I did something terrible to someone.

Again what I wrote is just a thought...like I said some people might hear those words that they are forgiven and not think in that way.
I agree. Once I decided to forgive my husband, he told me he didn't want me to, that he didn't deserve it. I told him it was not up to him and was not for him - it was for me, and he said that he could not stop me, but he was not going to forgive himself.
 
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