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Courage
Thank you so much for the great advice and the book recommendation- I will definitely pick it up. I can't imagine what a pain free day feels like. This feels like my new normal. Having said that though, I want to forgive, I want to get past this.
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Grace
Mine is the Perspective of the WS:

I believe that forgiveness is not a matter of excusing what I did.  I believe that forgiveness is a matter of releasing the right to hold out a debt.  Giving up any desire to use the betrayal as a weapon against the other person.  Letting go of the desire to answer every legitimate concern that is coming from the WS with the answer 'but you cheated on me.'

We are all guilty of something.  There is no perfect person, and no perfect marriage. Unfortunately infidelity is often treated as the unforgivable sin in a marriage.  It is rarely an isolated incident, but rather a symptom of something deeper that is missing.  It usually happens as a result of what is lacking in the relationship and YES it is a WRONG response.  I regret that I fell into this trap, and I truly am sorry for what I did.  I hurt my spouse, my kids, our parents, and myself in the process.  The ripple effect is probably beyond my understanding.  HOWEVER, it is not without hope, and I am here because I believe that forgiveness is possible.

My husband believes that to forgive me is to say that what I did is OK. This is certainly not the case.. any WS who realizes their error needs to know deep down that what they did is NOT ok.  I believe that what the BS needs to realize is that forgiveness will release THEM from the cage they create by becoming bitter. You cannot stay stagnant in an unforgiving place... we are either moving toward forgiveness or further away from it. To give grace when it is not deserved is truly a gift from the betrayed person, and a necessary part of healing for both people. When I am extended grace and forgiveness, it will be another step in the direction of the restoration of our marriage, because it is just as necessary for him to give it as it is for me to receive it.

It is also important for me to show grace when I have the opportunity.  When there is an angry response and my husband admits wrong, it is my absolute responsibility to forgive him and extend the grace that I desire on a consistent basis.  The truth is, neither of us will get it 100% right, but we are two broken people who are trying to figure this out.  I am still not sure he is committed to coming out the other side of this mess together, but in the best interest of our family, I pray it is so.

I know I cannot rush him or force it forgiveness. All I can do is live out the change that I know has taken place on the inside of me, and the healing that continues.  This will take time, but if the change is real, I will be successful in demonstrating it in an everyday sense.  It doesn't mean I will not have frustrating  days, and it does not guarantee that he will respond the way I hope for.  My actions are not dependent on his response though, and that is the consistent life he needs to see in me. 

Yes, the ideal marriage we both first had in our minds is no longer possible, but something even better is possible... because as a result of who we are in the wake of such terrible circumstances can create a newer, more powerful, more transparent, more accountable and beautiful friendship than we ever thought possible.
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TimT
Grace wrote:
My husband believes that to forgive me is to say that what I did is OK. This is certainly not the case.. any WS who realizes their error needs to know deep down that what they did is NOT ok.  I believe that what the BS needs to realize is that forgiveness will release THEM from the cage they create by becoming bitter. You cannot stay stagnant in an unforgiving place... we are either moving toward forgiveness or further away from it. To give grace when it is not deserved is truly a gift from the betrayed person, and a necessary part of healing for both people. When I am extended grace and forgiveness, it will be another step in the direction of the restoration of our marriage, because it is just as necessary for him to give it as it is for me to receive it.

Well stated, Grace. Those of you who speak from the perspective of being betrayed, what do you think?
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TimeToFly
TimT wrote:
Grace wrote:
My husband believes that to forgive me is to say that what I did is OK. This is certainly not the case.. any WS who realizes their error needs to know deep down that what they did is NOT ok.  I believe that what the BS needs to realize is that forgiveness will release THEM from the cage they create by becoming bitter. You cannot stay stagnant in an unforgiving place... we are either moving toward forgiveness or further away from it. To give grace when it is not deserved is truly a gift from the betrayed person, and a necessary part of healing for both people. When I am extended grace and forgiveness, it will be another step in the direction of the restoration of our marriage, because it is just as necessary for him to give it as it is for me to receive it.

Well stated, Grace. Those of you who speak from the perspective of being betrayed, what do you think?


I agree...what my ex-husband did was NOT OK by any means. It was wrong & no amount of justifying it will make it right. I did offer him complete forgiveness & a sincere willingness to work on the marriage. I took full responsibility for the mistakes I made as well. I gave the forgiveness because I wanted to do that for him & for us. You're right...he didn't deserve it but I wasn't about to inflict hurt & pain on him just because of what he did to me. Nor was I about to go & embark upon an affair. I knew that he was in pain too (although mine was far greater I believe) & felt that forgiving him was a step in the right direction. How would we ever begin to heal & work on our marriage if I didn't forgive him? In my mind it was what I choose to do because it would allow us the the hope of finding a way to work through what had happened.

Of course now what's so difficult for me to UNDERSTAND & ACCEPT is that even with all the forgiveness & willingness to work on our marriage he still kept wanting to be with her, talk to her & continue his affair with her. So sometimes I ask myself where did all that get me...in the end his actions lead me to a divorce. I wonder if he will ever realize how much strength it took to offer that forgiveness & I'm quite certain I'll never know why he couldn't see what a precious gift he was receiving from me.
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Grace
Being the offending party, I can understand the emotional bonds that cause his actions, but as I said before, it is not OK to continue contact with the other person that became a wedge in your relationship.  There is a video on this site by David Carder that talks about the impossibility of rebuilding a relationship when the 'other person' is still in the picture.  My husband has talked about the struggle with fighting an invisible enemy in his mind, and this is definitely a forgiveness blocker.  Even so, I am encouraged to hear that you came to a place of forgiveness for your sake, so that you are able to close the book that would remain open if you chose to hold on to the pain in a sense that is 'against' him.  From my perspective, the pain I caused myself was the part of my heart that I 'sold' for what?  I gave up everything for nothing... and I completely and totally regret what I did.  The change in me now is evident to my children and I believe to my husband as well, but he is still withholding the forgiveness because he is unable to see the difference between simply laying it down and excusing it.   I pray that he comes to the place where you have: complete forgiveness and a desire to rebuild. I have resolved to remain accountable to him, my children, my friends, and everyone who is looking on because of the person I want to be.  The story I want to tell is a story of brokenness that found restoration and a miracle.  This requires a lot of healing on the inside of me and a study of my decision making process that led me down that wrong road.  I have had to take a look at what I was missing, what I was looking for, and what that relationship provided.  As I work through that healing process and have stepped back from the situation, I am finding freedom and joy in loving my husband even though I am not receiving any reciprocation yet.  More than that I am receiving a pushing back because he does not want to let me into his heart again.  I am thankful that I do not have a desire to return to that relationship or any other that would inhibit the repair of my marriage.  What my husband can't do is control my choices... and I am sure he has wanted to along the way.  The strength you showed in forgiving him in spite of his choices is enormous and your capacity for grace will be a blessing in any relationship you have in the future.  Thank you for being an example of unconditional love.  All I can do is pray that my husband will find the same place you have, followed by healing and restoration, and a new marriage with me.
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TimeToFly
Grace wrote:
Being the offending party, I can understand the emotional bonds that cause his actions, but as I said before, it is not OK to continue contact with the other person that became a wedge in your relationship.  There is a video on this site by David Carder that talks about the impossibility of rebuilding a relationship when the 'other person' is still in the picture.  My husband has talked about the struggle with fighting an invisible enemy in his mind, and this is definitely a forgiveness blocker.  Even so, I am encouraged to hear that you came to a place of forgiveness for your sake, so that you are able to close the book that would remain open if you chose to hold on to the pain in a sense that is 'against' him.  From my perspective, the pain I caused myself was the part of my heart that I 'sold' for what?  I gave up everything for nothing... and I completely and totally regret what I did.  The change in me now is evident to my children and I believe to my husband as well, but he is still withholding the forgiveness because he is unable to see the difference between simply laying it down and excusing it.   I pray that he comes to the place where you have: complete forgiveness and a desire to rebuild. I have resolved to remain accountable to him, my children, my friends, and everyone who is looking on because of the person I want to be.  The story I want to tell is a story of brokenness that found restoration and a miracle.  This requires a lot of healing on the inside of me and a study of my decision making process that led me down that wrong road.  I have had to take a look at what I was missing, what I was looking for, and what that relationship provided.  As I work through that healing process and have stepped back from the situation, I am finding freedom and joy in loving my husband even though I am not receiving any reciprocation yet.  More than that I am receiving a pushing back because he does not want to let me into his heart again.  I am thankful that I do not have a desire to return to that relationship or any other that would inhibit the repair of my marriage.  What my husband can't do is control my choices... and I am sure he has wanted to along the way.  The strength you showed in forgiving him in spite of his choices is enormous and your capacity for grace will be a blessing in any relationship you have in the future.  Thank you for being an example of unconditional love.  All I can do is pray that my husband will find the same place you have, followed by healing and restoration, and a new marriage with me.


Thank you for your kind words. I will say it wasn't easy to offer forgiveness especially after all the discovery that comes with an affair. However I wanted to do that because I felt it was best for both of us. It seemed to me that we would begin to heal from all the pain if there was forgiveness. The unfortunate part in my story is that my ex couldn't break free from everything he was sharing with her. I was forced into a divorce that I never wanted. Now I'm not sure that going forward I have the ability to forgive & offer grace the way I did with him. It seems my capacity for that has changed perhaps because I was hurt so much not only by the affair but also by the fact that he couldn't see what I was doing for the sake of our marriage. 
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Grace
I know that is not the end you wanted, but given the truth of free will, we cannot control each other's actions. Just as I cannot make my husband forgive me or trust me... But when it happens I will know it is real. The important thing is for you to find peace and know that you did your part. I ache for the pain that you have gone through, and I pray your heart will heal in time. Thank you for sharing your experience so I can understand my husbands perspective better. I truly desire to be different, and seeing all the possible responses is like looking my decision making process in the face. I am not proud of the choices I made, and given the same scenario again I would definitely choose to run the other way as fast as I can. I will pray for your wholeness and that God will restore your capacity to love fully.
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Branded
TimeToFly wrote:
Of course now what's so difficult for me to UNDERSTAND & ACCEPT is that even with all the forgiveness & willingness to work on our marriage he still kept wanting to be with her, talk to her & continue his affair with her. So sometimes I ask myself where did all that get me...in the end his actions lead me to a divorce. I wonder if he will ever realize how much strength it took to offer that forgiveness & I'm quite certain I'll never know why he couldn't see what a precious gift he was receiving from me.

Okay... I'm speaking from the perspective of a guy that went nuts, had an affair, and is still waiting for a hint of forgiveness from my wife. But I can tell you that maybe your husband will never understand this stuff the way you want him to. When I was in the middle of my affair, I could only think of things from my perspective. I didn't even WANT to understand my wife's point of view because I'm sure that would have made me feel way too guilty/responsible.

My affair ended and I'm trying to figure out if my marriage will every survive all of this. But my brother also had an affair (before mine) and it changed him. Even though his affair eventually fell apart he has never really acknowledged everything it cost him. It cost him a LOT, but it's as if he'd rather live with his mistakes than admit being and idiot. 

Maybe that's what makes the difference. I'm learning how to admit I was an idiot. I'm trying not to be one now. I see some of the other cheaters in this forum admitting the same thing. Sorry your husband didn't get it and maybe he never will, but I hope you can move on anyway.

And since your husband didn't seem to really want what you were offering, would you mind boxing some of it up and sending it to my wife? She could use some of that!
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HonestWife
TimeToFly wrote:


.....ACCEPT is that even with all the forgiveness & willingness to work on our marriage he still kept wanting to be with her, talk to her & continue his affair with her. So sometimes I ask myself where did all that get me...in the end his actions lead me to a divorce. I wonder if he will ever realize how much strength it took to offer that forgiveness & I'm quite certain I'll never know why he couldn't see what a precious gift he was receiving from me.



Well I think ws who never get it are ws who never get it. It speaks to your values morals ideals that YOU did whatever you could to make it work. Now you know what trying HARD looks like. There are no regrets that you maybe could have worked it out. Shirley glass words it well in her book "not just friends" that if you try to make it work, at least you know you tried. Working on reconciliation is not for everyone but if you did try, please don't feel bad about it. I will tell you I KNOW and many on here how hard you worked and the precious gift you gave him. Geesh , the humiliation alone of std testing is enough to cry myself to sleep.

My ws and I are in limbo. He insists he wants to make it work but still deleting history , hidden emails that he insists have nothing in them and even told me this week , if we don't make it , it will be bc of my over reaction (over 10 years of affairs lies pornography meeting women off the internet---and I'm over reacting about him deleting his emails
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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Courage
I so love to hear the perspective of the WS. It gives me insight and validates so much of what my husband says about his thoughts during his affair. It provides me with an understanding and perspective that I now know is not unique just to his affair experience. It appears that his thoughts during his affair, are in fact pretty common. It doesn't necessarily lessen the pain, but in presenting understanding, it in fact I think offers some grace and hopefully paves the way to forgiveness. My husband often has said, and this was mentioned above, that no matter what wrongs I have done, it will never compare to what he has done, so he will always end up the worst offender. I do understand how this can seem frustrating to the WS, bc although they caused great pain, it does not mean they don't have Merritt in some of their concerns of where they've felt they've been wronged by the BS. By no means does this make the affair okay, I just think that by accepting and admitting our part in a relationship that was failing, we can begin to rebuild. Does this make sense? I just try to understand his perspective from every angle. The more I understand, the better position I am in to work towards forgiveness, which is the ultimate goal. We are all human at the end of the day and we all make mistakes.
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TimeToFly
Grace wrote:
I know that is not the end you wanted, but given the truth of free will, we cannot control each other's actions. Just as I cannot make my husband forgive me or trust me... But when it happens I will know it is real. The important thing is for you to find peace and know that you did your part. I ache for the pain that you have gone through, and I pray your heart will heal in time. Thank you for sharing your experience so I can understand my husbands perspective better. I truly desire to be different, and seeing all the possible responses is like looking my decision making process in the face. I am not proud of the choices I made, and given the same scenario again I would definitely choose to run the other way as fast as I can. I will pray for your wholeness and that God will restore your capacity to love fully.


Thank you for all your kind words. You are absolutely right Grace, it's not the end that I wanted. I know I did everything I could to try & work on our marriage. I didn't want to lose what we shared for over 30 years (our 28th anniversary would have been next week). However I just couldn't stay with someone who wasn't committed to loving only me. I was being "put down" more than I was being "lifted up". In the end, divorce was the only choice. I may never have the capacity that I did have to fully love, forgive, trust, etc. going forward. That's now very hard for me to think about doing considering how much I was hurt by everything. 




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TimeToFly
Branded wrote:
TimeToFly wrote:
Of course now what's so difficult for me to UNDERSTAND & ACCEPT is that even with all the forgiveness & willingness to work on our marriage he still kept wanting to be with her, talk to her & continue his affair with her. So sometimes I ask myself where did all that get me...in the end his actions lead me to a divorce. I wonder if he will ever realize how much strength it took to offer that forgiveness & I'm quite certain I'll never know why he couldn't see what a precious gift he was receiving from me.

Okay... I'm speaking from the perspective of a guy that went nuts, had an affair, and is still waiting for a hint of forgiveness from my wife. But I can tell you that maybe your husband will never understand this stuff the way you want him to. When I was in the middle of my affair, I could only think of things from my perspective. I didn't even WANT to understand my wife's point of view because I'm sure that would have made me feel way too guilty/responsible.

My affair ended and I'm trying to figure out if my marriage will every survive all of this. But my brother also had an affair (before mine) and it changed him. Even though his affair eventually fell apart he has never really acknowledged everything it cost him. It cost him a LOT, but it's as if he'd rather live with his mistakes than admit being and idiot. 

Maybe that's what makes the difference. I'm learning how to admit I was an idiot. I'm trying not to be one now. I see some of the other cheaters in this forum admitting the same thing. Sorry your husband didn't get it and maybe he never will, but I hope you can move on anyway.

And since your husband didn't seem to really want what you were offering, would you mind boxing some of it up and sending it to my wife? She could use some of that!


Thanks for your response. I'm glad you're working on things & are able to admit the mistakes that you made. That's a positive step in the right direction. I'm sorry your wife hasn't come to a place yet to be able to offer you forgiveness. I'm sure that's what you would like & it's probably hard for you at times but I would encourage you to keep trying to do the right things to make her feel safe. Perhaps if she can see & feel that she will be able to forgive you & then you will be able to move forward. 

As far as me, I'm trying to move on but it's not easy. This is not the place I thought I would be in at this point in my life. It's especially hard after you've spent so many years with someone & then you are on your own. 

Hope things will work out for you & your wife. By the way, your last couple of lines were funny! 
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TimeToFly
HonestWife wrote:
TimeToFly wrote:
.....ACCEPT is that even with all the forgiveness & willingness to work on our marriage he still kept wanting to be with her, talk to her & continue his affair with her. So sometimes I ask myself where did all that get me...in the end his actions lead me to a divorce. I wonder if he will ever realize how much strength it took to offer that forgiveness & I'm quite certain I'll never know why he couldn't see what a precious gift he was receiving from me.
Well I think ws who never get it are ws who never get it. It speaks to your values morals ideals that YOU did whatever you could to make it work. Now you know what trying HARD looks like. There are no regrets that you maybe could have worked it out. Shirley glass words it well in her book "not just friends" that if you try to make it work, at least you know you tried. Working on reconciliation is not for everyone but if you did try, please don't feel bad about it. I will tell you I KNOW and many on here how hard you worked and the precious gift you gave him. Geesh , the humiliation alone of std testing is enough to cry myself to sleep. My ws and I are in limbo. He insists he wants to make it work but still deleting history , hidden emails that he insists have nothing in them and even told me this week , if we don't make it , it will be bc of my over reaction (over 10 years of affairs lies pornography meeting women off the internet---and I'm over reacting about him deleting his emails


Thank you for what you said. Yes, I did work very hard...maybe too hard at times but I have no regrets as far as that goes. I wanted to do the hard work that was required. Unfortunately, my ex didn't share the same passion as me. In the big picture he did very little to work on our marriage. He was more concerned with keeping in touch with "her" than with what was going on with us. 

I dealt with all that...hidden emails, different email accounts, deleting things, etc. for so long even when we were "supposed" to be working on our marriage. You have to really want to end all that contact & be committed to doing it in order for things to have a chance with your marriage. My ex was never able to do that. 

Rest assured you are not over reacting. It sounds to me like you have had plenty to deal with & he's not giving you the security you need. I hope he really does want to make it work (as he says) but if all of that deceitful behavior continues on his part it will never work. You deserve so much more. 
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
I so love to hear the perspective of the WS. It gives me insight and validates so much of what my husband says about his thoughts during his affair. It provides me with an understanding and perspective that I now know is not unique just to his affair experience. It appears that his thoughts during his affair, are in fact pretty common. It doesn't necessarily lessen the pain, but in presenting understanding, it in fact I think offers some grace and hopefully paves the way to forgiveness. My husband often has said, and this was mentioned above, that no matter what wrongs I have done, it will never compare to what he has done, so he will always end up the worst offender. I do understand how this can seem frustrating to the WS, bc although they caused great pain, it does not mean they don't have Merritt in some of their concerns of where they've felt they've been wronged by the BS. By no means does this make the affair okay, I just think that by accepting and admitting our part in a relationship that was failing, we can begin to rebuild. Does this make sense? I just try to understand his perspective from every angle. The more I understand, the better position I am in to work towards forgiveness, which is the ultimate goal. We are all human at the end of the day and we all make mistakes.


Courage, it sounds like you are trying to gain a better understanding of everything that has happened. You are right...we all make mistakes. I think it's important that we acknowledge them, take responsibility for them & don't keep making the same ones over & over. At least your husband seems to realize that his actions caused a lot of hurt & pain. That's an important realization. I hope you can continue to work towards forgiveness. 
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