I Can't Forgive My Husband
I often hear from wives who are struggling greatly with trying to decide if they should forgive their husbands for having an affair. I often hear comments like: "I'm not sure if I should or can forgive his affair. While I was sitting home with our kids, he lied to me and betrayed me and then looked me right in the eye as though everything was fine. This is deplorable behavior. And, if it was coming from anyone else, I would banish this person from my life and never look back. But, since this is my husband and the father of my children, the lines are more blurry. I feel like perhaps I should forgive him, but I'm not sure if I can." I Can't Forgive My Husband
I understand these feelings all too well. I had them myself. I always thought an affair or cheating were the few things that I absolutely could not, under any circumstances, forgive. But when this happened to me, things were not so clear. There are so many other considerations that go into this and deciding that you can't or won't forgive has huge consequences as well. In the following article, I'll offer some tips for those wives who are deciding if they should forgive the husband who cheated or had an affair.
It's Usually Not Advisable To Make Any Rash Decisions About Forgiving A Husband's Affair: Give Yourself The Time You Need: It goes without saying that many husbands fall all over themselves with apologies and pressure in the days and weeks following the affair. They want a quick resolution because they usually have a good deal of painful regret.
Unfortunately, wounded wives don't function in the same way. We can't just turn our feelings off and on because he wants for us to. There are many considerations that just can't be rushed. And here's something else that's very important. Often, what really matters are his actions over time. He can recite millions of apologies and make you tons of promises. But, without the passage of time, you have no way of knowing if what he's saying is true or sincere.
Much of the time, you just have to tell yourself (and him) that while you're open the idea of forgiveness, you don't have all of the information that you need. Most of the time, you'll need to wait and see how he acts and how much he is rehabilitated in the days to come. Many husbands do rise to the occasion here and show you that they truly are sorry and will walk to the ends of the earth to make this up to you. These husbands are much easier to forgive than those husbands who try to insinuate that the affair was your fault, become indignant about their role in it, and pressure you to "just get over it."
It often takes a bit of time to see which category your husband falls into. And, if you're not getting the reaction or behaviors that you want, don't be shy about telling him that, in order to truly forgive, you're going to need X, Y, and Z. (You can fill in your own blank here because everyone's needs are individual.) This doesn't mean that you set the bar impossibly high. But it does mean that asking him to feel and show genuine remorse, to work with you to save the marriage, and to show you real progress, accountability, and rehabilitation is certainly not too much to ask.
Don't Worry About The "Shoulds" That Are So Often Come After An Affair: It's so easy to get caught up in the "shoulds" in this situation. Many wives turn the "shoulds" onto themselves. Examples are "I should have been a better wife." "I should have paid more attention to him." "I should forgive him and save my marriage for my family's sake." These shoulds will drive you crazy and don't do anything to help you. I Can't Forgive My Husband
I often recommend disregarding these sorts of thoughts and statements. Moving on after an affair is hard enough without allowing any unnecessary pressure on yourself. It's better to check in with yourself and ask yourself which smaller steps you want to take. If you're having difficulty with something, this is the universe's way of telling you that you're either not ready or that you don't yet have what you need to move on. So, it doesn't make sense to dive in anyway when something is lacking.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't forgive. I often advocate forgiveness. But, if you give something away that you don't truly have, this process often doesn't "stick" because you weren't 100% sure and didn't give it willingly. For example, let's say everything in your being is telling you that you aren't ready to forgive. Instead of choking back your doubts and going forward anyway, examine the source behind your doubts. It's likely that your needs aren't being met or you have some loose ends that need to be addressed.
If you ignore these doubts, then you might well be short changing yourself. And sometimes, you'll have to speak up. If you need for your husband to be more demonstrative, remorseful, rehabilitated, or sorry, then by all means tell him that this is what you're going to need in order to eventually be able to forgive. Most men are willing to give you what you need if you have the courage to tell them what this is. Don't be shy or worry that they will be judgmental. These things wouldn't be necessary but for their mistake.
Sometimes, if you're not ready to fully forgive, you can compromise with just moving forward while you withhold total forgiveness. It's not always an either / or situation. You can still participate and move forward toward healing without totally forgiving before you are ready.
Why Some Wives Eventually Chose To Forgive Their Husbands For Having An Affair: I firmly believe that forgiveness for an affair should be a carefully considered, gradual, and conscious choice. It's not "giving in." And it's not "looking the other way" or "letting him off the hook." Forgiveness is actually more for the faithful spouse than for the cheating one.
Most wives forgive for a few reasons. First, it becomes very tiring to constantly hold onto anger, resentment, and pain. It's common to come to point where you're just so tired of clinging so tightly to negative things. Second, most of us come very gradually to the place where we've watched, waiting and evaluated. And, we've come to the conclusion that he's made some changes and some concessions that satisfy us enough to have relative confidence that forgiveness is the right thing for us at this time. It's often a very deliberate choice that is carefully considered. I Can't Forgive My Husband