One of the things that strikes me on a weekly basis is how I can in one week forgive my ex-husband for his cheating and abandonment of me and then the next week I’m back to hating his guts and those of Bozo his mistress. Am I bitter? You bet. Angry? Totally. Able to let it go and move on… not so much.
What I have found with forgiveness is that it’s not really a one-shot deal. Now sometimes it’s because the original sin is aggravated. When my ex gave my child’s mother’s day card, made in his kindergarten class, to his mistress I wanted to rip his and her heads off. I went into this crazy mommy spiral thinking how could Bozo as a mother accept that card? It created a litany of personal wrongs that whipped my non-forgiving spirit into full force. I got all caught up in a tangle of withdrawn forgiveness for my ex, for Bozo and for myself because it most scenarios there’s more than one thing to forgive and one person. It’s hard just to forgive like rain off an umbrella all the individual betrayals that make up an affair. And when one forgiveness is challenged, it can cause a whole hailstorm of memories that require forgiveness.
But sometimes, without apparent warning, reverse forgiveness just hits you. I hear this from my friends who were in long-term marriages and relationships and their partner cheated on them and left. It affects both men and women. The cheating is bad enough but then to be left with your hat in hand is like salt in a paper cut. Many report the same things as I am expressing to you. There are good days and bad days with respect to forgiveness.
Forgiveness is an ongoing struggle – like laying off the potato chips. It’s awfully tempting to relax into bitterness. It’s quite frankly a whole lot easier being bitter than moving on. Being bitter is sort of fun at times. Mean snarky things come out of my mouth that make me and others laugh at Bozo and my ex. It creates a temporary, albeit memorable, fix. It’s a lot more effort to take the high road, be the bigger person, and to let things go.
I think it’s important to not only teach each other that forgiveness is a process, but also that forgiveness is not a permanent state of being- at least it was not for me. I have to admit I kind of expected the sun to shine down on me, angels to strum their harps and I would magically lose 30 pounds all because I had found forgiveness. Well, it didn’t and it doesn’t.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to be realistic with yourself in your expectations of what happens when you finally “forgive” that person. Know that you can and probably will take it back especially when they do stupid and hurtful things to you. Know that you can reverse forgiveness and then find it again. We are human and do the best we can. And it’s much harder to be on the forgiveness train than the cheater bus.
Don’t believe me? Check out Amazon and see how many books there are to help the person who was betrayed. Thousands. No so much information out there to help the cheater recover. Why? Because they had fun running about and cheating while the rest of us stayed home and raised the kids and paid the bills. I read the cheater posts online, but somehow it’s hard for me to feel empathy for their guilt that they spent the night in a five star hotel with someone else’s husband – especially when family trips were spent in the Holiday Inn.
Hmmm… See? I’m back in my reverse forgiveness bitterness mode. But thankfully I have an outlet like writing and supporting others in their recover journey. I encourage you to find a healthy one for you. Because, after all, you can recover, you can rebound, or you can Bounce with Style.
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What a beautiful way to put “forgiveness.” I get so tired of people telling me to move on blah! blah! blah! Walk in my shoes; then you can give me advice. I was married to a man (?) for 30 years, he had another “wife” for 20 of those years, Turns out she was my friend and his friend’s wife. A tad bit narcissistic???….. No remorse, no guilt, just bad choices. Turns out, they don’t even like each other anymore. !!!!
Cheater’s are excellent manipulators and will lie until the minute they walk out the door. Cheaters want what they want and will do whatever it takes to get it. The one being cheated on is not “stupid” or my other favorite “how could you not know?” Cheaters are just good at what they do.
Anyway, somedays are better than others. I am moving on slowly, but surely. I will help other women who have or are going through this. I know this in my heart and soul.
Everything happens for a reason; I can only hope they both get to experience some of the pain they “forced” others to endure. Then perhaps they can understand what true remorse looks like… What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
I loved what you wrote.
Thank you so much Irish Eyes. Im glad they are smiling and I am sad that you have had to go through such pain. I could empathize with everything you wrote. My ex was a master at manipulation and was a very convincing liar. When I look back I can see how people would say to me “How did you not know” but the one thing they don’t factor in is that you love and trust the person you married, you are not cheating so why would you think the other one is, and its just so rotten you can’t believe the person you loved would do this. That’s HOW I DID NO KNOW!!!! I am sure you were in the same boat as me. You can’t fathom how someone could face your friend (same with me) and their husband (same as me) and you (same as me) day in and day out for years doing this incredibly cruel, evil, hurtful, hateful and selfish behavior. I dont care how the cheater spins it – what their so called justifiable reasons were, its just selfish, cruiel and lazy. I’m glad you loved what I wrote because it helps my heart knowing that I touched yours and though we are suffering together we are not alone. love and hugs, sandra