Learning to Forgive

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Learning to Forgive
Thu, 01-12-2006 - 3:46pm

My husband and I are married 7 years. We dated for about 1.5 years before getting married. He has always been very attentive and caring toward me, but during the first few years of our relationship, he also did things that made me feel betrayed and nervous. While we were dating, he maintained friendships with his ex-wife and other female friends. I felt I did not have a right to tell him not to, so I kept silent. After we got married, he still occasionally called female friends, and I also found out that he participated in sex chats (online and telephone). I told him how I felt, and he would stop for a while but then it would happen again.

After several years of fighting, he finally stopped this behavior about four years ago. Having learned better assertive skills, I finally communicated to him that his behavior was not acceptable and that I could not be in a relationship where I could not trust him. Since then, our marriage has been much better.

The problem is, though, that I still feel afraid and angry. I constantly wonder whether his behavior went beyond phone and sex chats and whether he actually had a physical affair with anyone. And I frighten myself with thoughts that maybe he is still doing things behind my back, even though things seem much better between us.

I have discussed my fears with him, and he says that he never had an affair. But I still continue to wonder.

How do I move past these feelings?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2005
Fri, 01-13-2006 - 4:56pm

Its hard to look back and NOT question his faithfullness after all the lies but it doesn't get you anywhere. Hes definitely not going to confess anything if there had been anything more than an EA. And if you somehow found out he did have an PA, what would you do? Would you leave him?

You have to focus on whats going on now. Its not fair but you've chosen to keep the M. And look how well its going - your M is doing better and that's great.

The fear of him cheating again is expected. Its your natural defense system. Many times the fear is just that and there isn't anything going on. If it makes you feel better, do your regular checks on email and phone bills. Its a safety net, and believe me I know we need those after being betrayed.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
Fri, 01-13-2006 - 6:42pm

I have tried several times to post and for some reason they dont show up. It's been a little frustrating but just being able to read the advise from others helps. I hope this one makes it on because I wanted to share my "AHA" moment with someone and no one else in my world would understand. Plus I dont think I will be visiting as often as I used to. I will from time to time b/c I will always have a question or hope maybe I can help. ;-)

My H had an "online" A in 11/04. I found out about the online stuff pretty early on and he said it wasnt going to lead to anything, he stopped and I kinda let it go b/c I was very distracted with work and a sick child, even tho it hurt me and he knew what it did to me then. We kinda just went on and he felt bad about it for a few months and things seemed to go back to normal. Then in 4/05 he started a PA with a married OW. DDAy was 6 weeks later. Then came the mess of "i dont love you" ect...all my fault....all the same stuff we've all heard. After seperating and finding ourselves we have decided to work on M. So we have been doing MC and it only took a few times before I got to the bottom of it all.

I had found a lump in my breast a few months PRIOR to his online A. None of this dawned on me at the time, b/c I was kinda worried about myself, not ever IMAGINING my husband wasnt really there for me during all this. (His mom died in so much pain b/c of this disease.) So i just automatically assumed his support, and he put on a brave face and I guess, did for me what he could at the time. But it was a lightening bolt to me. It doesnt excuse his cruel, selfish behavior but it tells me why. I will always hurt from the painful things he said and did, things he doesnt even remember doing, which in turn, makes me hurt just a little more. But, It does give me a little bit of closure and I feel in time, I might be able to forgive him. There are still a few things that he has done that are still just too unforgivable for me now and I am not THAT forgiving just yet.

He started to distance himself from me after that, he didnt want to care so much about someone he thought might die on him again. Then his work schedule changed and I only saw him on the weekends and a few minutes here and there in passing. Things started falling down hill from that. Thats when we got to all the selfish thinking on his part, he started thinking about himself when he thought I might not be around and it just snowballed from there.

He tells me over and over that he is sorry and he loves me. He realizes the integrity of the OW and wants nothing more to do with her. She had also done some awful things to me personally which he is just now realizing to be true, which in turn, makes him even more ashamed. He tells me how much he regrets taking from me to give to her and he wishes he could take every second back. He used to say this to me in the past (while still talking to OW on a secret phone I didnt have access to)and I took it, hook-line-sinker.

Just this past week, during our last MC, he told me all the same stuff, but he was crying.
I have spent 13 years with this man and have only known him to cry 4 times. He let a few tears fall on our wedding day (as he was saying vows no less). He was unconsolable when his mother passed. He sobbed happily when our D was born and this time when he told me how sorry he was for destroying something so beautiful and that he doesnt deserve such a strong woman. This is how I know it is genuine this time.

I have so much hope for a better, stronger M and I will work for that, I will continue to fight for it. I have done some undignified things to keep him focused on me and our marriage and try to make a diversion to the OW and weird to say, but I think it worked. I kept him so busy, he didnt have the time to go see OW, they just talked, then the talking stopped. I wouldnt be surprised if OW has gone on to some other A, I just got that vibe from her. So did he.

Wish us luck, I think the foundation is good to build on again. Thanks to all of you

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Tue, 01-17-2006 - 9:27am

Thank you Hannah. Your words of advice are much appreciated!