Although I am 4 years in since disclosure I still haven’t come out and said to my husband “I forgive you.” I am the type of person who never forgets and rarely forgives. And although we are in a much better place right now, I still haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable enough to make that statement.
Recently I met Rae Z through her blog “Betrayed Stay At Home Mom.” In one of Rae’s comments on my blog she said that forgiveness is overrated and overused. I agree completely. There are people in my life, not including my husband, that have wronged me in some way and I haven’t forgiven them, nor do I see a reason too. It doesn’t haunt me at night, I don’t think about them, I don’t talk about them, and I don’t feel the need to forgive, it’s just a thing of the past and I just don’t dwell on it.
One thing I learned through counselling was that there is a tendency for the betrayed spouse to see themselves as being ‘better’ than the spouse that had the affair. For the longest time I was this person. After I found out about the affair, I treated my husband like dirt. I talked down to him, I treated him like he was the biggest idiot for having an affair and then even dumber for getting the OW pregnant, providing her with a means to hold onto him forever. It wasn’t until I started to see my husband as an equal to me that we were able to begin the healing process. Yes, he made a really stupid mistake, but it’s a mistake only, and that doesn’t affect his character or his IQ.
So I see forgiveness as a necessary step towards healing. My definition of forgiveness in this situation means letting go of all the anger and resentment I might feel towards my husband. It means not forever bringing it up whenever we have the smallest argument or disagreement about something completely un-related to the affair. It means not holding it over my husbands head and reminding him of what he did to me again and again. I see it as letting go of all the hurt feelings and sadness and remembering only the good times pre and post affair. It means trusting my husband again completely. If I can’t ever forgive him, then I can’t ever let go of all of the above, and if I can’t let go of those things, then I know I wont have the marriage I want, or have seen other couples achieve after complete forgiveness. I want the fairy tale and I won’t stop until I get it.