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TimeToFly
Robin1971 wrote:
yes to what Kal wrote i am not sure why it posted that way i apologize and i am very sorry to read about your situation


Thanks...just wanted to clarify. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot as well. 
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TimT
I don't know if any of you listen to podcasts, but if you do, I'd encourage you to listen to a new one titled Us & Them. The host attempts to bring people with opposing views together to see if listening and learning can happen when viewpoints are deeply entrenched. (Start with the first episode, Trey & Alice, to hear a great example of this being worked through, especially in the second half of the podcast.)

That's what I hope for this forum, too. There is something we can learn from everyone, even those we disagree with. That's why I made the choice, in this forum, to include both those who had experienced betrayal and those who had been unfaithful. Feelings & beliefs are going to be triggered, but we learn by listening to each other. In fact, I probably learn more by listening to people I disagree with.

I do want to say one thing about having an empathetic response to a wayward spouse. In my experience, the couples who have moved past an affair and on to an intimate connection have always been those who are willing to listen and learn from each other. The one who committed the offense may feel like they have little right to speak (and should certainly NOT justify any affair with excuses), but they need to be heard. A choice for an affair is not a logical choice; it is an emotional one. If attention is only given to logic on the other side of it, then healing will be incomplete. That's the simple truth. 

Justice, of course, would feel little need for an empathetic response, but grace longs for it. Eventually, as pain subsides, the betrayed spouse needs to be attentive to the emotional longings of their spouse. Again, I don't mean emotional longings for the affair or the affair partner or even emotional excuses of breaking vows. But I do mean gaining an understanding of what emotional needs were being addressed in the affair (assuming there were some) that were being neglected in the marriage.

Robin's Story is probably the best example of this on our site. I may invite her to check in to this topic and see if she has anything to add.
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Jennifer
I have so many thoughts about this topic that I find it hard to even begin. Robin's story from the index is my story and it has been another three years since I wrote that.

My husband made a huge, painful, life-changing mistake. One that can never be erased or forgotten and the memories of that still ripple through our relationship. There are no excuses or reasons that justify the choice he made but we are all human. In the wake of the affair, someone asked me how do I want to be treated when confronted with the mistakes I make and that allowed me, over time, to look at my husband's affair differently. We all screw up, we all do wrong, but we are all  deserving of grace and forgiveness.

Empathy for the WS is not easy and certainly takes time to get there. It has been my experience that one of the reason my husband and I were able to heal and recover from his affair was because we were both willing to listen and try and understand each other. Just because the decision he made was wrong does not mean he has no feelings about what happened and healing from an affair belongs to two people. A lot of times there is so much guilt and shame from the WS that if they are not allowed to share that it may be internalized and lead to other issues within themselves or in the relationship.

Empathy is something that allows you to heal whether the relationship has worked out or not. It allows you to walk in another's shoes and gain a deeper understanding of all the reason things went wrong. It is a gift I consciously gave my husband and myself and I have seen only good come from that decision.


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Anna26
Robin wrote:

My husband made a huge, painful, life-changing mistake. One that can never be erased or forgotten and the memories of that still ripple through our relationship. There are no excuses or reasons that justify the choice he made but we are all human. In the wake of the affair, someone asked me how do I want to be treated when confronted with the mistakes I make and that allowed me, over time, to look at my husband's affair differently. We all screw up, we all do wrong, but we are all  deserving of grace and forgiveness.





Thank you for this Robin, I agree wholeheartedly that none of us are perfect, and any one of us could be capable, in the right circumstances, of making a wrong step that can alter the course of a marriage forever.  Some of us may be so certain that we could never cross that line, but really, how can any of us know? We may never have been in that situation.
All we can do is BELIEVE that we won't allow ourselves to ever get in that position.
Surely a case of,  'there but for the grace of God, go I' , if ever there was one..
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