...I think true forgiveness for something so severe as an affair evolves over time. Much more time then most people think, I read many BS only weeks or a few months away declaring they've forgiven and I don't really know if that's a healthy forgiveness or a forced one? I couldn't imagine feeling forgiveness so early on, I just don't know how it could even come about...
I agree that the work of forgiveness is directly tied to the severity of the offense. And since most in this Community agree that the betrayal of an affair is about as bad as an offense can be, the work of forgiveness will be significant.
There is no magic formula: "Do these 3 things during the next 3 weeks and you will discover forgiveness!" No way. It really is a process that takes longer for some than for others. Nobody should be forced into it.
And the eventual choice to forgive doesn't mean the work of forgiveness is over. Every time the pain of a past offense is triggered, I feel the urge to reach back into the past and clobber the offender with accusation again. Forgiveness is the choice that allows me to be honest about the pain while refusing to pick up the weapon. (Or to quickly correct things if I falter.)
Having said that, I have seen betrayed spouses move to forgiveness within weeks or months. I am always suspicious of forgiveness that comes too quickly because it really does take longer than that (sometimes much longer) for most. But it is real for some. Their past experiences & beliefs play a major role in this, but perhaps the greatest influence toward forgiveness is their own awareness of the need to be forgiven. Those who have experienced forgiveness for past failure and brokenness in significant ways are able to embrace grace/forgiveness more quickly.
And remember, the struggle with TRUST will usually continue well past the point at which forgiveness is offered. They are related, but separate. You can release the past offense (forgiveness) but remain uncommitted to re-entering that vulnerable place (trust) necessary for a fully healed intimate relationship. Both require taking intentional steps, but forgiveness always comes first.
Thanks Tim. It took all the faith I had to take the step to forgive. I fully understood the importance of forgiving transgressions. My belief - is that I ask for forgiveness daily for my own transgressions and amazingly, it is given to me, so It would be contrary to my own belief to not make every effort to forgive- in spite of the depth of the betrayal. It was terribly hard and the soul searching went to great depths, I did not get there instantly or easily.
Additionally, I still feel as though I am grieving the loss of my history, my best friend, my husband...that grief has been overwhelming a times. But I know it is a part of my process.
SO I still feel I can be a bit frustrated - when I know I have clearly stated what I need from my WH, and he provides the hollow apology in lieu of that request. To me he is attempting to absolve his own pain. I feel that I will steadfastly make gains on my grief (pain) as time passes
He is forgiven...so he has to accept what I have had to do to move on. Simple as that.
And I would hope I have done much to not cause confusion or send mixed signals to WH or you all. I have clearly stated to this man, what is necessary. I know I will not get it. So I am taking care of me, realizing that my WH may never clue in. Apologies if it seemed I was sending a wave of confusion. Thanks for discussing this topic at such great lengths.