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I often get emails from women who aren’t sure how to respond to their husbands’ begging for forgiveness or asking to be “taken back” after cheating or an affair. Some common comments are things like “he says that he’s so sorry and is desperate for me to take him back. He wants me to forgive him. He promises that he will make this up to me and that he’ll do “anything” to get me back. But I’m still very angry and confused. Should I forgive him? Is it even possible to forgive after being betrayed in this way?” I’ll address these questions in the following article.
What Is Your Heart Telling You To Do?: Often, after a few weeks or months following the affair you’ll often hear your heart whispering to you as to what you should do. You may well still feel angry and confused. There may still be resentment and awkwardness. And your feelings will likely continue to swing and change from day to day.
Still, in the midst of chaos, you may start to hear or feel little whisperings or feelings of empathy or affection. You may want to reach our to your husband but your pride or need to hold onto your feelings keeps you from doing this. Or, you may find yourself wanting his reassurance or affection but you tell yourself that you absolutely should not need anything from this man.
The truth is that these little feelings are calling out to you because you deep down know that there are some redeeming qualities in your husband and that once upon a time, you were happy. You may start to remember the good things that he’s done or the good husband that he was before this mistake. Yes, the mistake absolutely changes things but it often doesn’t and can’t completely negate the things that happened before it.
Some wives are never able to see this and these are the ones who often just can’t recover. Despite their best efforts and their husband trying everything in his power to repent, they just can not ever move past it because they are unwilling to try. I’m not saying this is right or wrong. It just is. Some wives are willing to attempt to separate who the man is and was previously from one action that he took. Some are not. This is individual for each person and it doesn’t necessarily reflect on if you are right or wrong. It’s simply the way you feel and you have a right to these feelings.
What Was Your Marriage And Your History Before The Cheating?: Often, you have to consider what your life was like before the affair. If this is a man who has always treated your badly and his affair is just more of the same in a string of bad treatment and negative actions, then you’ll likely have a much harder time forgiving then if your reality is one wherein your husband has always treated you kindly and with respect. Only you can evaluate this.
Try to chose a time when you’re at least somewhat calm and can be somewhat objective. Ask yourself if, were it not for the affair, you could’ve and would’ve been happy in your marriage. If there were issues, were they ones that could’ve been worked through or improved upon? Or were they deal breakers from which you are better off moving on?
It Doesn’t Matter What Others Think Of You. What Matters Is What You Want: So many women write to me and express their fears that they will be judged very harshly or as a “door mat” for taking their husbands back. The truth is, it’s no one’s business but your own. You are the one who is going to have to live with it. And the friends who are so judgmental are often voicing their own insecurities or beliefs onto you. They likely won’t be there with you when you spend your initial nights alone or when you have doubts and regret. I’m not saying that this is your future or your reality. You may well be happier or better off without your husband. But only you can determine if this is true. Not your friends. Not your family. Only you.
Is He Really Willing To Do What It Takes To Make It Up To You After The Cheating?: At the end of the day, it really comes down to if you believe him and his assertions that he’s sorry. What has he done to prove this to you? Has he taken immediate action to redeem himself, shown himself to be accountable and trustworthy, stopped all contact with the other woman, and worked with you to affair proof the marriage in the future? Has he taken full responsibility without trying to place some of the blame onto you? If he’s eventually willing to do all of these things, then you have a pretty good indication that he really is going to do what he’s said. Unfortunately, he can’t take his actions back, although he may very likely wish that he could. But, if he’s doing everything that he can and your heart is telling you that you may not want to walk away, this could well be valid and you could well make the best outcome of a difficult situation.
Forgiveness Should Be More For You Than For Him: Many people tell me that they think that forgiveness is “giving in.” I really disagree. I understand that the perception may be that you are a stronger person if you hold on to the anger and if you “punish” your husband. But in truth, holding on to these negative emotions hurts you as much as it hurts him. You really can not move forward, whether you want to stay married or not, if you focus on the negative rather than the positive in your life. The positive may ultimately not include your husband, but you have to concentrate on surrounding yourself with what makes you feel better, not worse.
write by turner