Figuring Out Forgiveness

Kelly’s post about forgiveness really made me think. Understanding that there are levels to it, verging from acceptance to outright blind faith forgiveness makes it easier for me to digest.

I was ready to tell my husband that I was on the verge of forgiveness this past Saturday. I really was…even before I read Kelly’s post and learned it was National Forgiveness Day (wonder which cheating congressman asked for that national day?).

We had a discussion about his week at work and he asked if talking about “her” upset me. I told him that I needed him to speak about her. It helped me. So, he did, telling me that she’s on vacation this coming week. She wanted to work on a Monday (the company is closed on Mondays) to get a jump on the holiday orders. He told her that wasn’t going to happen (meaning, they would be alone and that wasn’t ever going to happen). I then asked if she was moving to Florida, yet. (I wasn’t being very careful because I let that slip. I know she’s got a beach house she just bought down there – FB is soooo informative). He said no, not that he was aware of. I’m sure it pissed him off. I could tell. Anyway, we got home and from that point on, I was in an obvious “funk”. Not really meaning to be, but I realized something and was processing it in my mind, having my own internal dialog.

So, I went for a long walk and just went about my day, but withdrawn. He noticed and when we were getting ready to attend a wake, he flared up at me because I was “having a bad day, now he was having one.” Whatever, cheater boy…whatever. I told him that it wasn’t my fault. None of it was. And I left it at that.

In the car I said, “I honestly don’t know what to say.” He asked what I meant and I said that it’s been a year and we’ve come so far but he hasn’t gotten a new job. He said, “No, I haven’t.” and with that lovely volley, I just clammed up, waiting for him to do the right thing. The ball was in his court, after all.

We went to the wake and paid our respects. We came home and pretty much, avoided each other until he asked if I wanted to go to the movies.

So, we did. We saw “The Judge” and it was pretty good. When we went to bed and I asked him if he was happy. He responded, “Of course, I’m happy. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Sigh…

I held my tongue and then asked him what he wanted from this marriage? What did he need? He was reading his book (no, he hasn’t finished “Just Friends” – doubt he ever will.) and said that he would like some time to answer that question.

Yeah…awesome. You do that. Take all the time you need to answer the most important fucking question of our lives. It’s okay. I’ll just be over here, on the left side of the bed waiting for the rest of my pathetic life.

We woke up the next day feeling better. Not sure why, but we did. I decided to make breakfast. He decided to seduce me. Hey, I have needs to…why not?

Anyway, it was a better day. But, I didn’t mention my question. I just let lying dogs lie (hmmm….interesting choice of phrase there…).

But, what I realized was what I was ready to forgive and what I wasn’t. I can forgive his weakness. I can even forgive his affair (after all, he “forgave” me for mine…or did he?) But, I can’t forgive that he hasn’t left his job. I can’t forgive that he hasn’t even looked for another job. In many ways, that is more hurtful. That is the ultimate, “FUCK YOU” and guess what? I’m not okay with that.

Have I told him this? No, not yet. You know why? Because it’s ALWAYS ME that broaches the difficult subjects, that asks the tough, messy questions, that always says “I’m sorry” first. I’m hurt. Rather, I’m heartbroken.

Figuring out forgiveness is really tricky. It takes time. Each person decides what they will or won’t forgive. We’re all different. I just know I don’t want want to hurt anymore.

14 thoughts on “Figuring Out Forgiveness

  1. It’s a new thing I’m seeing. I call it forgiveness shaming. It’s like fat shaming. They dress up admonishment to forgive as if it’s in “your interests” and it becomes an obligation. And that’s totally counterproductive. It’s also a lie. It’s not an obligation. And obliged forgiveness isn’t real. It has no value.

    Fat shaming isn’t about motivating people to lose weight. It isn’t about their health. It’s just abuse that’s smart enough to dress itself up falsely.

    So I stopped aiming for forgiveness. I try to live in today as it is, as he is. I value that. And slowly, bits of forgiveness come. Like an onion. Some layers never will, probably. Never mind. Acceptance is enough.

    Maybe you and your husband would like “how can I forgive you?” I want to get around to writing about it one of these days.

    • I actually got that book and started to read it. Perhaps the definition of forgiveness (in my head) really mirrors acceptance more. Living up to the mythological “forgiveness” is not suiting me. So, perhaps dealing with levels of acceptance would be easier.

  2. It is a small steps process, and I love how Kelly described it. The things you can forgive. Bit by bit. Some will never be forgiven. And that is actually right, in my book. Like Neph, I found it easier to stop chasing it like it was gonna give me some peace. I also believe it is a self-help trope. Pulling us in, telling us everything will be right with the world if we can just FORGIVE. A certain amount of acceptance is more likely. And you don’t beat yourself up for being such an unforgiving bitch ;-).

  3. brokenjoan says:

    I have to accept, I don’t have to forgive! Tempted, hope your hubby steps up to the plate & becomes more proactive in helping you to heal. Hugs, Joan

  4. That Kelly person you all keep talking about is either brillant or totally insane 😉

    Funny thing is I think I have more of a problem with acceptance than forgiveness. That is a story for another day.

    Tempted your husband has to get a different job. He has to start looking, now!! First thing my husband did after d-day? Started talking to recruiters and looking, the whore just speeded up the process. I would have completely went bat shit crazy had he still been there a year later. I would have probably ended up
    In jail.

    This makes me angry for you.

    I’m going to send you a hug instead, but I’m sending your husband a kick in the balls…Asshole!!

  5. LOL Kelly… that made me chuckle!

    And Tempted… fuck forgiveness, that’s what I say. I’ll forgive him for leaving the toilet seat up or for forgetting to put his dirty washing in the laundry basket but I will NEVER forgive my husband for making the absolute decision to fuck the pit faced whore!!

    THAT is absolutely UNFORGIVEABLE!!!!!

    • I hear you, PW. But, I’ve got to let some shit slide. If I was completely clean in this situation (meaning, never a cheater), then I would think the same way. But the truth is I’m not innocent and I think because of that, it was a point of justification for his infidelity. With that fact, I have to move toward acceptance because he did with me years ago. I have to be fair about that and can’t be a hypocrite. Two wrongs don’t make a right, though. And I always said that the third strike = divorce. There is no going back from that…

      • I understand completely… it would be very hypocritical of you to never forgive your husband, if he seemingly forgave you all those years ago… I get it, I really do. But your husband was also armed with so much more information when he cheated, than you were, like how devastated you would be when you found out. He knew exactly how you would feel, having already been there himself, yet chose to cheat anyway.

        Would I like to be able to forgive My husband?? I don’t even know the answer to that question anymore. I just don’t think forgiveness is on the cards for us… acceptance tho?? That’s what I’m aiming for, what I have achieved. I can’t bury my head in the sand and pretend none of it happened. It did.

        And I second your third strike and your done approach. There will be no third chances in our marriage. Any whiff of whore and we are done and he knows that!!

      • Didn’t all of our husbands know “Cheat and I’m outa here!!” I know mine did, I always told him it was a deal breaker. Here I sit though two years later, and sometimes I feel like that parent that says “If you do that I’m going to ground you…” Then they do it and nothing happens…so why should he believe me now? Why is now the deal breaker? If he got away with it once, why not do it again?

        Just some thoughts for you two on your Wednesday afternoon 🙂

  6. We never actually had THAT conversation. I just always assumed it was a given. I really did!!! Even tho my mom cheated on my dad, my dad cheated on my mom and his dad cheated, it NEVER dawned on me that he would do that to me, to us. How fucking naive was I???? I really do feel incredibly stupid 😦

    • You are NOT stupid. You were trusting! My husband’s father cheated on his mother and their marriage dissolved because of it (six kids). Then I cheated…you’d think he would know, like you said, PW…he was armed at the level of destruction.

      Here’s the thing…he chose to do it anyway. So, what does that say about the man? Many things…

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