I will never tell him I forgive him

I have read a couple betrayed spouse posts recently, as well as an article or two, on the subject of forgiveness. I have also heard the phrase, “I will never forgive him,” quite a few times. I am pretty specifically focusing on betrayed spouses forgiving their cheating spouses. Although I have mentioned forgiveness a few times on my blog, usually in passing, not as a topic, forgiveness has played a role in the reconciliation of our marriage post my husband’s infidelity. I don’t think forgiveness is something you do for others… it is something you do for yourself. It is about letting go of the hurt and letting in the healing. I know that sounds mushy, I guess sometimes I am mushy. I have read about wives who have divorced their husbands, but have forgiven them, and wives who have stayed, and not forgiven. This would be their definition of forgiving, whatever that might be.

I believe forgiving is part of a process of loving ourselves, a part of letting go of bad feelings. Blue Eyes has never asked me if I forgive him. I will never tell him that I have forgiven him. My forgiving is about opening up my heart to and for myself. Blue Eyes constantly asks me if I still love him, but not if I forgive him. I think he assumes that if I still love him (and he knows I have a fierce and loyal love), I am coming to terms with my new reality and learning to accept him for who he really is. My guess is he thinks I can never forgive him for what he has done, but that is the kind of forgiveness that includes saying what he did was okay. He knows none of it was okay and that kind of forgiveness doesn’t exist in my world. I believe, he believes on most days that I believe in him. Does that even make sense?

On his worst days, I know Blue Eyes stops believing, if only for a moment. He will always have trouble forgiving himself and that brings on shame. Readers probably realize by now how much I despise the shame emotion. Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others by letting go of bitterness and anger equals healing, to me.

Regardless of what has or has not gone on in my marriage since d-day, what I have done, or how I feel, I don’t judge the betrayed spouse, one way or the other. It is not as easy as saying, “she is bitter and angry and won’t let go of all the bad thoughts… she needs to learn to forgive him or she will never move forward from this.” We all do what we do on our own terms and in our own time. These kinds of remarks are said a lot, and in my mind, it is about letting people off the hook for bad behavior, “Come on, hasn’t he suffered enough for what he did?” Um, how he suffers and how much he suffers is up to the cheater. We also have the power to make decisions that work for us. In my mind, forgiveness is a very personal journey and like other words, shame and guilt, for example, I have found that we all think of these ideas and terms a little differently. We arrive to a certain point with baggage and that baggage rears its ugly head in the form of all those emotions, magnified by trauma.

Synonyms for forgiveness include absolution, exoneration, overlooking, grace, and mercy (thesaurus.com). None of which I would have ever attached to forgiveness. One definition of mercy is: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone who it is within one’s power to punish or harm. (Google) Personally, punishing or harming my husband sounds like retribution. I am not into that. I will never overlook his indiscretions, and I do not feel like I have the power to exonerate or pardon my husband. No one does. We are all flawed human beings responsible for our own behavior. Blue Eyes has the power to come to terms with why he did what he did and to become a better person, a more enlightened one for sure, but really, since I had no intention of harming him or making him pay a price, there is no mercy to be had, although some days I do feel like he is being given a gift, after what he has done, that he still has a wife at all. In the end, forgiveness is irrelevant to my marriage unless it is somehow holding me back from true healing and of being an honest and loving partner. I no longer feel intense anger, I no longer feel bound by my role as a victim. I don’t feed off negative energy or conversations where I want to bring up his horrible decisions and behavior. It’s done. I do not personally think that forgiving another person lets them off the hook. Only they can let themselves off the hook.

I have, indeed, and pretty recently said that I will never forgive the stalking whore’s behavior. I am not trying to have a relationship with that horrid woman, and frankly the only healing I have to do in terms of her sorry ass, is to forget she ever existed. That forgetting is about giving no value to her existence, not about forgiving her. Not forgiving her is not holding me back. Not being able to forget she exists, yeah, that’s a bitch. I am not a religious person. I do not believe in forgiveness for forgiveness sake. Forgiveness is relevant to my marriage only because I choose to move forward with my marriage and therefore healing from what my husband has done is important. I have no intention of forgiving people who have harmed me and that I do not want to have a relationship with. They can go fuck themselves.

I do constantly question the concept of consequences when it relates to my husband and his shitty cheating behavior. I have come to terms with what’s done, is done. I don’t hold anger or bitterness in my heart in regards to my husband. However, future behavior for Blue Eyes does hold consequences if it is something he and I have agreed is not conducive to a lasting, loving and nurturing relationship. Separating or divorcing will not be about a lack of forgiveness. It will be because my husband is not doing what he needs to do to be an honest, loyal, and loving life partner. I deserve that. I always deserved that.

32 thoughts on “I will never tell him I forgive him

  1. My definition of forgiveness has a lot to do with acceptance. I accept that my husband is flawed, that his flaws led to actions that hurt me and our marriage. I accept that as a result of his betrayal and my response to it, that I will never be the same person I was before. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve had personal growth, but I have had personal transformation. The forgiveness part is in not wishing him harm, not wanting to retaliate, not wanting him to ever be in my shoes, and wanting only good things for him, whether that is with me or without me in his life.

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  2. I am in the same camp as your very well written post.

    LOL, I do find it odd that they constantly ask if we love them. I mean REALLY, do you honestly think I would be here, with YOU, after all you’ve done, if I didn’t have an undying love for you? I try to tell him a lot that I love him, before he asks. During the affair when he would be distant and cold to me I would always ask if he loved me and he always, seemingly sincerely :/ would say yes. I don’t think I trust those words much anymore, so I no longer ask. I see his love by his action or inaction.

    As you said, if I leave it won’t be because of forgiveness. It will be because he would continue to be an unfeeling asshole!! As for the OW, our MC actually told me I needed to consider forgiving her. Uh, yeah!! I told her that would NEVER happen. Didn’t give to shits about her, nor does she give two shits about me or my forgiveness, so no angst there.

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    • BE has always been incredibly insecure. Apparently he thinks I am just doing “this” for the “fun” of it. But I get it… people fall out of love. Possibly this is one of the things that distances me from some people… I love fiercely, but I never ask others if they love me. Honestly, I just assume they do if they are willing to put up with me. Thus me going along my merry little way all these years not even realizing what was going on. My husband’s parents berated (and a lot more) their children in private and yet gushed about them to everyone else. It makes for some deep-seated insecurities. Ha, none of my therapists have suggested forgiving the OW, even though as I have said above, theoretically it is for my healing not hers. I don’t feel like I need to “forgive” to move forward. I don’t care about her. One therapist worked with me just in case the alcoholic stalking hoarder confronted me again in person. Thank goodness I am past the fear and don’t really care where she is or what she is doing. Yep, no angst about that here either, finally. 🙂

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  3. I think forgiveness is like smoke. The more we grasp at it the more you push it away. I have never asked for it nor will I, but you are right that it is a deeply personal issue. I don’t want forgiveness to be absolved, I don’t want it to be told that it will be okay, nor do I want it to be told that if I work hard enough that she will forgive me. All of those thing insinuate that there is an ending to this journey. If I am truly here to stay then there is no ending, there is only the journey. All I can do is work everyday to be the person I should have been in the beginning. Is that deserving of forgiveness? Why forgive me for being someone I shouldn’t have been only because I am now working to be who I should have already been. It is a concept I won’t get. I know she loves me and I love her and I work to show her, but forgiveness? She doesn’t need to forgive me and if she needs to forgive herself then I will do what I can to support that, but I cannot understand it.
    I don’t want this to sound negative because that is not my intention. I just know for me the concept is so foreign that it is not real to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. We do stand on opposite sides of the street here. I would imagine my husband might understand your thoughts more easily than I, but I do understand we all do very much have our own perspectives. For me personally, I don’t consider my journey to healing and a better relationship to end with forgiveness, but in fact my real journey of healing to begin with forgiveness. This forgiveness is not about my husband or his feelings regarding forgiveness, but about my letting go of the trauma and bitter feelings around what my husband did that hurt me, badly. I, likewise, do not want to sound negative, but I doubt you can understand the kind of pain I am talking about releasing unless you have been hurt in this way.

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      • I can understand what you mean and how it is different. Your healing is learning to live with what someone else has done to you. Where as mine is learning to live with the knowledge that I CHOSE to hurt the one person I should have never hurt.

        I will never fully understand what you or my wife have to go through and I will not pretend that I ever will. I will add that, as you put it, this is a journey that is personal and unique to each person and their situation. Everyone deals with it differently and heal differently and so would be the path to forgiveness.

        I am not saying that one person deserves forgiveness more or that it is easier for one side or another because I don’t think either of us would ever know. However, we do not need to know because it is so different for everyone. We just have to understand our role in the healing process and hopefully follow though.

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  4. Great post. I actually started writing about this subject earlier this week but haven’t published it. H asks me every once in a while if I’ll forgive him. I always tell him I’m working on it, and it’s true. I’m not sure what his definition of forgiveness is, but for me, forgiveness will mean I won’t throw the affair in his face any longer. I won’t be able to say “you hurt me because you betrayed me” when I’m actually irritated with him about not helping around the house or some other trivial normal thing. I’m not ready to go there yet, but I believe I will be able to do it one day. I’ll have to do it for myself more than for him.

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  5. Forgiveness is such a fickle term that I have trouble defining in any sort of tangible terms. I remember reading a book early on that was recommended to me by another blogger which focuses on the path to forgiveness. It states that you cannot even begin to “forgive” without acceptance. And that acceptance is the hardest part. Accepting that this happened, it’s a reality. A reality we cannot change. Acceptance, not to be confused with tolerance of the behavior, is something I continue to struggle with. Like everything else, we just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. xoxo

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    • I have crossed that hurdle, of acceptance of the reality of my situation. It’s about me, not him. I cannot change his behavior, not what he did nor what he will do, but I can live knowing I have the power to make whatever change is necessary to maintain control of my own reality. His power is gone. One foot in front of the other, you will get there too. ❤

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  6. Couldn’t agree more, especially the last few lines: “Separating or divorcing will not be about a lack of forgiveness. It will be because my husband is not doing what he needs to do to be an honest, loyal, and loving life partner. I deserve that. I always deserved that.”

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  7. Once again you have shown your true strength in yourself and put down your feelings into wonderful words to share with others. Thank you, I needed to read this today. Hugs to you in your never ending difficult journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Bugs. It does feel like a never ending journey doesn’t it? Healing ourselves probably will take a lifetime, but doing the work in my mind is critical to how we feel about and treat ourselves, along with how we interact with those around us. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, forgiveness. It must in the air or maybe the issue sits there, staring at me.

    Forgiveness is complicated. I personally don’t think one deserves forgiveness unless they’ve sincerely apologized and worked to correct it. I think we can move on and heal without it. I believe that we have to accept what someone has done in order to move on but for me acceptance and forgiveness provide the same thing to me – peace.

    As for me, The Player hasn’t asked for it, perhaps knowing where I stood has made him not ask.

    When I called one of the whores (who was also married) towards the end of the called said, “I am sorry, I hope you can forgive me.” It never bothered me to tell her there wasn’t a way I would ever forgive her for what she has done. She said she had an affair with The Player because she “bored” and she made an “error in judgement.” Maybe over time I will forgive The Player if he stays the course and recovers. I am however, totally fine with the concept of accepting what he’s done in order for me to be able to move forward.

    The process is grueling, I hear you and feel you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • In your comment, I feel like you are talking it out the same way I did writing this post. Your second paragraph, yes. That is why I said forgiving is about us, not them. Likewise, BE has not asked for forgiveness. Honestly, I don’t think they feel like they deserve any kind of forgiveness because as I said above, I think they think in terms of being absolved and that ain’t gonna happen, and they know it.

      In my mind, acceptance and forgiveness, as long as you are moving forward, are the same thing. When we think of forgiveness in terms of the person who wronged us, it leaves us unable to move forward because we will never say, “okay, now I am okay with what you did.” That is not forgiveness to me, that makes me feel weak as if I didn’t deserve something better in the first place. To me it is all about recognizing something bad happened to me because I let a sick person in without knowing it (and all the turmoil wrapped up in that), but that sick person is trying to get better. He is trying to get better for himself, and for our partnership. Forgiveness to me is letting go of the bitterness and the feelings of having been weak. To me, it is about healing and I agree, it is grueling. xxx

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  9. How and how much a cheater suffers applies only to those people who are actually capable of feeling anything other than “who’s going to wash my clothes now?” Narcissistic cheaters do not, never have and never will feel any guilt. They’re incapable. Sigh.

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  10. I’ve been trying to figure this while forgiveness thing out too.. I was raised in a catholic family.. But not devout. Then explored other religions as a young adult. I know about forgiveness! And early on (it’s been over 14 months since dday now,) I did come to the conclusion that I had forgiven Matt. Interestingly, he has asked me a few times “have you going to forgive me?

    I know I have, as I’m sure I’d have been long gone from here and him if I hadn’t. But it is an ongoing “thing” for me… It is not slight! Everyday, I’m still reminded of what he did to me… Forgiveness does not mean forgetting … If only it were that easy 😔

    Beautiful post as always Kat. I admire you’re journey. I know I said long time ago on here.. That BE’s betrayal.. Your “experience” with infidelity is one of the most hurtful I’ve read.

    And you are doing thru amazing! I want to be like you when I grow up ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Rac, I have no religious feelings when it comes to forgiveness, or much of anything else really. I also don’t associate with the word sin. I don’t believe a person can walk into a confessional and come out having been absolved. I actually don’t quite understand the concept, but that is just me. I didn’t grow up relying on that kind of redemption. I grew up being taught by my mother that doing good and being good were preferable to lying, cheating and hurting people. Sure we are all fallible, but we answer to ourselves and our own conscience. It has been a real slap in the face coming to terms with the fact that a lot of people did not grow up like me. A lot of people grew up rationalizing their behavior and lying their way through. As I said above, Blue Eyes would never ask me if I have forgiven him. I don’t think he expects forgiveness, just that I remain calm and understanding and compassionate. My experience with infidelity has certainly been an eye opener. In my mind it is less hurtful than if my husband had fallen out of love with me and cheated on purpose to hurt me as there was no real love shared between him and the OW, just sex, and I do believe he never stopped loving me. I put very little stock in sex. I do think that coming to terms with the fact that he will always struggle with being an addict, that has been difficult, but not insurmountable. Thanks for the words of support. They help me get through the day sometimes. xoxo

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  11. Out of curiosity, after this all happened, do you tell BE that you love him?
    I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to “forgive” my ex. I find that I’m less angry though, and unlike before, I don’t wish he would die some horrible death. After all this time, it still hurts. It just hurts left. The hardest thing for me to deal with is that after all he has done, nobody suffered like I did. I have zero doubt that I was a good and loving wife. I still hate what he did to me. I still struggle with it to some degree every day of my life. People say I’m not over him. This infuriates me. I am. I just am not over the feelings of injustice and abandonment.
    I think forgiveness is just about letting go. Maybe it’s a lot harder when you still see him every day. I admire both of you so much for making the effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, C, I do tell him that I love him. I do love him. The only way I can let go is to realize that we are all flawed and that he, in the most confounding and infuriating way, did not mean to hurt me. I think the not forgiving people like your ex would be similar to how I feel about those people that have wronged me who I do not intend to ever have a relationship with… I don’t care about forgiving them. I can certainly move forward in my life without forgiving them because they are not in my life, and I never wanted them to be. I have no doubt it hurts a lot more when people you think know and love you do things that intentionally harm you and they don’t care. They don’t want to make amends, they don’t want to make it better in any way and separating yourself and your worth from that takes commitment to healing. I can only imagine that pain. From the limited time I have known you, I think you are over “him.” Maybe just not over the idea of him. The idea that the life you had was a life you loved and wanted and he ruined it. He single handedly ruined it. So that is two things you are having to metabolize… getting past having a life you loved, and getting over someone treating you like shit through no fault of your own. It just takes time and building a new life you love. You are on your way… ❤

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