Ten Phases to Gain Forgiveness for Infidelity

forgiveness for infidelity

Author David J.Lieberman offers his suggestions regarding forgiveness for infidelity.

As usual, I have about four books that I’m simultaneously reading.  One of them, Make Peace With Anyone” by David J. Lieberman, Ph.D., offers some suggestions regarding forgiveness for infidelity that I wanted to share with you.

Dr. Lieberman offers a ten phase approach to gain forgiveness after someone has clearly violated the trust, respect and rights of another. In other words, this is a process for the cheater to gain forgiveness from the betrayed for their infidelity.

The Ten Phases to Gain Forgiveness for Infidelity

Use the three-star approach.  Lieberman’s three-stars are humility, emotion and respect. In essence, this phase states that if the cheater has anything other than complete humility (no ego), it’s a waste of time.  It’s all about the betrayed, not the cheater.

Also it is important that the cheater be genuinely emotional and not to base their attempts at forgiveness on logic.  At the same time, the cheater must maintain a high degree of respect.  That means no arguing, screaming or making demands.  The cheater needs to understand that it is not so much about what he/she did as much as it is about the underlying loss of respect.

Accept responsibility.  Man up (or woman up) and take full and complete responsibility for your actions.  Do not make excuses or try to shift blame.  If you take responsibility then you have the power to make things right.

Sincerely apologize.  Say “I’m sorry.”  Say it sincerely or it won’t be believed.  If you are not believed, you will not be forgiven.  One important note that Lieberman makes is that if you are not truly sorry for what you’ve done…“it might be time to reevaluate the situation, the relationship, and yourself.”

Be willing to accept and even offer consequences.  What the cheater did showed a total lack of trust and responsibility.  Putting oneself in the hands of the betrayed and taking responsibility for their actions and any consequences goes a long way toward establishing the power that the betrayed lost.   Don’t try and weasel out without accepting any repercussions.  Freely giving the betrayed back his/her power by acknowledging that it is up to them to determine the fate of the relationship is very important.

Solidify in the real world with a specific action.  The cheater should actually make changes in his/her life which will go a long way in letting the betrayed know that the cheater is sincere in their convictions.  As Lieberman says, “Actions shout, while words whisper.”

The cheater can set the victim’s mind at ease by making changes in their life that show that what they did was wrong and they are not making changes merely to gain forgiveness for infidelity.  “Whatever caused the catalyst, change the dynamics to prevent or severely minimize the chances of it happening again.”

Reestablish mutual respect.  The victim has lost respect in the cheater.  The cheater should show the victim what kind of person they really are by doing things that shows their true character.  Do something good for someone else or stand up for someone or for a good cause.  The cheater should let the betrayed see their true nature so that their transgression is filtered through this better light.

Restore the sense of balance.  Lieberman says that the key to forgiveness lies in restoring balance to the relationship.  It is important to let the victim know that the transgression produced no enjoyment or benefit whatsoever.  It must be made clear that not only was the affair a mistake, but it didn’t produce any benefits either.  If the cheater did gain in some way, then they will have to give back more in order to make things right as soon as possible.  Continue to do what is right.

Establish peace of mind.  The cheater has to answer the question, Why?  Lieberman suggests that every wrong action comes down to the same motivation – and that is fear.  Perhaps the reason for the affair was that the cheater feared he/she was unattractive or not lovable, for instance.  Fear is what makes us all vulnerable and the root of this fear needs to be explored within the cheater’s mind.  Then the cheater must relate this fear to the person they have hurt.

Now the transgression is seen less as a betrayal and more as an irrational act of fear by a confused person.  This furthers the cheater’s vulnerability and helps to restore the victim’s feeling of power and dignity.  This allows the victim to take an active and important role in restoring his/her own sense of control.  By the cheater rooting their motivations in fear, which is a response to feelings of inadequacy to deal with the situation, it diminishes the perception of his/her ego.

After amplifying the fear-based motivation, reestablishing the commitment to the victim and to the relationship is essential.

Internal justification.  The cheater must try to demonstrate how the relationship will be better than it was before the transgression.  Otherwise, the victim will only feel that if he/she agrees to forgive, he/she’s thinking that it’s only going to go back to a damaged relationship, which might not be worth much anymore.  But by showing the victim what happened and the subsequent changes the cheater has made to strengthen the commitment and relationship, the victim is gaining something better than what was lost.

Put together a specific, painless game plan.  It’s important for the cheater to show the betrayed exactly how things will proceed – slowly, easily, and with the victim in control all of the way.  The cheater needs to offer a clear-cut course of action that moves slowly and offers the option to continue, stop or change course at any time.

Lieberman ends this section with a spiritual reflection that I thought was wonderful:

“Just to cover our bases…if you are meeting with resistance, remember that the world is a reflection of you, and you can only give away what you have – whether it’s love or fear, kindness or anger. And you can only receive what you have, and the only way to have it is to give it away. Got that?

Simply, if you want something to be in your life, you must manifest that quality to some degree. If you want a loving person, you must be a person who loves. Kindness, for example, may exist in the world, but not in your world, if you are not kind. The world is set up as a reflection, direct and pure. You cannot receive if you do not give.

Therefore, if you want to be forgiven, you may need to forgive yourself and others. If you are holding on to anger or resentment over what someone has done to you, you can’t be sincere with this person. If you can resolve any anger toward yourself or another that you’re holding on to, you will find a smoother path ahead in resolving this current situation.”

 

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The Cheater Must Become the Healer
“The Unfaithful Person's Guide to Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair”

If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.

 

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21 Responses to Ten Phases to Gain Forgiveness for Infidelity

  1. sharkgirl January 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Am I fooling myself? We’ve been back together 3 months he says he’s dealt with it and has no guilt but I don’t believe he has when he just says it was a bit of fun and we stopped been an us. I don’t see what I need to see, but are my expectations too high. If he says I’m his world I just don’t realise it, shouldn’t he want to make me realise it. He says he doesn’t show me but he shouldn’t have to, when I need that shouldnt he do it for. We’ve had an arguement about something else and I was already feeling insecure but becasue this other issue has come up hes now not speaking to me and us has not been resolved. In a text he questioned why he’d feel guilty his attitude is what’s done is done, can’t change it and won’t go back. He says I threw it in his face when I got upset he changes his pin on his phone and his attitude to that well I changed it again so what. So fing what is he for real, I think I’ve forgiven but how do I know, I know Ive not forgiven her for her part in this and I have to let go of that anger. Not sure this is the right place I just dont know where to turn right now, this site has always given me so much.

  2. roller coaster rider January 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    sharkgirl, I don’t think you can forgive when he clearly doesn’t want to be transparent and own his behavior that led to your lack of trust in the first place. Linda and Doug, there is a lot of important information in today’s blog that will probably require a lot of thought and my guess is that the majority of CSs will not want to do the work to bring about a genuine change in themselves. With that said, though, I want to add that in my case it has been the strangest things. One day I woke up, watched a part of a program that was about forgiveness (spoken by a woman who had been molested and raped by her father for many years) and decided to forgive my cheater. I just decided to do it. I didn’t decide to change any of the consequences for his infidelity, and the marriage that was is no more. The divorce will be completed very soon. However, I believe that the forgiveness I chose to extend him has set me free. I’m free from bitterness, free from most of the pain, free from even the tormenting thoughts of ‘why.’ I am also free from believing that without him in my life I would die. We are talking a lot these days. We have done a few things together; we have some plans and even a few dreams. We now know a lot about the ‘whys’ but what is more important is what we want going forward. Either together or not, we both have grown in a lot of ways, and forgiveness is huge.

  3. Paula January 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I agree with RCR, the relationship cannot flourish if the CS does not feel guilt. That is not a negative thing, they MUST feel guilt, and then deal with that guilt, in order to be healthy and as whole as possible. I cannot understand how someone who profeeses to love you cannot feel bad about shredding your heart and undermining your sense of self (that sounds a little narcissistic to me) it doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’m sure to most. Keep your head up, keep working on your own growth, you will know if he will be able to keep sharing your life when you feel the power of your own strength, hopefully, he will wake up to himself (soon 🙂 ) and make the necessary changes for his own personal growth.

  4. Sad January 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Linda and Doug, this comprehensive guide for CS to GAIN forgiveness is really useful information. The CS needs to play a huge and active role in the healing process for recovery to be complete. But information for the CS is sparse. Reading this post is like finding water in the desert. We followed the guide phase by phase to review our situation straight away. We are 2+years post DDay. With much sweat and tears, we got to the stage of being happier and more intimate, but the past still haunts and we have been looking for ways on how to leave the past behind… Very early in our recovery, we read about adequate just compensations recommended by Dr Willard Harley for forgiveness. It took us a while to work out what it should encompass in our case. Your post today is a god-sent, now my H has a comprehensive guide on what to do to gain forgiveness, and I now know what to demand/encourage to reach forgiveness. As far as I can tell, my H is totally committed to healing. And I hope my H can carry me to reach forgiveness one day, and I guess it is then and only then I will be able to leave the past behind. If we fail, we should have no regrets having done what we possibly can. Linda and Doug, good counselling is not available where we are, we are relying almost totally on the internet, thank you again for all the good you are doing through this site.

  5. sharkgirl January 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks for the comments, I think that’s the problem now I can’t move forward anymore as an us without him putting in the work, I’m ok then I have a moment because what’s still missing hits me that it’s still missing. I’m getting stronger on my own all the time and I can leave and be ok I’m not ready to yet though, but how long do I give him, how long do I wait? I know it’s not far off when I reach that point though…I’m not hear guaranteed and if he doesn’t start proving he wants and deserves me soon then he’s not a man I want. I know it’s about me yes but me moving on now is down to him and I don’t know how to make him see that, I don’t know what else to say and I’m tired I don’t know I have the fight left in me. He should be showing his love, his worth and earning my trust. You can’t help those that won’t help themselves, I don’t want to stay give up though when I truly believe we have a fighting chance but I don’t know how much longer.

  6. SamIam January 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    If I were a CS, I am sure I would love to “just move past this”, not “face my guilt” and not “be humble” about my failings~ but as a BS it was totally necessary that my H man up and live it, face it. and be it! And because he has, I have forgiven him. We are healing and have work to do. But I feel settled and at peace with forgiving him, so I know it was/is the right time. A little joy crept into my heart a few nights ago as I found him reading this blog. Yay! it’s not just me trying to figure a way through this. Turns out he may just be the man I married after all.

  7. SamIam January 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    ps~ we are 1+ from D-day~ it takes time~ probably more time that you think you are willing to give. Take care of yourself~ Godspeed.

  8. Husker January 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Thanks for mentioning the book “Make Peace With Anyone”. I didn’t get that one, but Amazon suggested another book from Mr Lieberman called “If God Were Your Therapist”. As I read the descriptions and reviews, that one looked interesting so I got it. Oh my gosh, I’m getting so much out of this book.

    I’m a very logical thinker and this book seems to be written directly for me. It is straight forward and to the point. (It is based much more on psychology than our relationship with God.)

    As I read this, I am seeing that I have probably had low self-esteem for about as long as I can remember. My wife and I started dating in high school, and she was my biggest cheerleader. She made me feel great about myself. I loved that about her. Over time, I think she has grown tired of having to do that for me and somewhere along the way she stopped. For the last many years, I’ve felt a longing for the encouragement from her that I used to get. I think that as that support stopped, I didn’t have enough self-esteem to keep engaged with life like I should. As I withdrew, that made me that much less attractive to her which probably made her pull back the support even more causing a downward spiral.

    I know that is a lot to get just from reading the first half of a book, but it seems to be what has happened with us.

    I don’t blame my wife for my lack of self-esteem, but that also doesn’t excuse her from her affair.

    I hope this book goes on to give good help in how to rebuild self-esteem, but I’m seeing myself in a new way now. I can see that I need to work on that within myself which if successful, I think will also help me get to the place where I can more easily, and completely forgive no matter what she decides to do.

    It seems quite clear to me now, if we can just get there.

  9. Saddenned January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Forgiveness is hard. I wish I didn’t have the battles of anxiety and pain that I deal with. It is real. I am almost 11 months from D day and I still have many moments of uncertainty. I am a Christian and do believe there are blessings in store as a result of me staying and working on this. I always thought it would be cowardly to stay, but I have learned that is not always the case. Sometimes it takes more strength to stay (this is of course case by case). I have thought so many times that my son and I should just leave. It has taken a lot of work over the past year and I feel like I have aged 15 years, but I am making progress and our marriage is making a lot of progress. Forgiveness is the key. Remember, we don’t forgive because it’s deserved. We forgive because it is the right thing to do. Forgiveness releases you. I watched a Christian Lesson one day and the pastor asked if you ever had those imaginary conversations in your head with people. He said you do that when you haven’t forgiven someone for something they have done. In other words, their actions consume you. I never heard it put that way before, but it is so true. This experience in my life has been a truly humbling experience for me. I learned how much work love is. See before my H’s EA, I just took for granted that he would always be there. I would get busy in life and forget the meaning marriage and compromise. Since then, I remember I do love him, so therefore, I have to work too on our relationship. I have to accept that he made a huge mistake and I have to forgive him for it. I can type it out so easy, but I am not out of the dark yet. I wake up every morning and tell myself this. If something were to happen to us now, at least I know I have give 100 percent over the last 11 months. I can rest assured that I tried. Would/Could I forgive him again? It is hard to say. I know I don’t want to experience that pain again, but I don’t if there was a second time, that I would feel the same.

    Anyway that is my two cents.

  10. DJ January 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Like Sad, I think this is a wonderful comprehensive guide all rolled up in short form that will be easy to use. If my husband did these things, I think I would melt into his arms.

    Thank you, Linda and Doug!

  11. Rachel January 28, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Saddened- what you said is so true. I hope I can get to that place. My husband isn’t in love with me. Hasn’t been for 15 years out of 24. I don’t have much hope. He doesn’t know if he wants to stay or go. Why should I work on repairing what he’s done if he’s not in for the long haul? He’s not lunching with his ex g.f. From 30 years ago or texting. He found her last march and been seeing her until nov. When I told him we need help. He totally shut me out of his life. Says he’s sorry but doesn’t know what he wants.

  12. Anita January 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I just finished doing my part in the petition to get my marriage
    annuled. The rest is out of my hands, unless they need more
    information that I need to elaborate on.
    On this particular post about forgiveness, seems the most
    approriate for me to say my final piece.
    I can only speak for myself on this.
    I now know and understand what happened in my own
    marriage and why it didn’t survive.
    It brought me into a whole new perpective, that has enabled
    me to forgive and let it all go with a feeling of satifaction.
    I am glad I took the time to do the annulement, I feel
    complete now, with no more questions of why?
    Forgiveness, is key to any healing, but also taking the time
    to see our own faults and how we played a part is important
    also.
    However its time for me to put this in the past, and
    remember the good times.
    God Bless!

  13. Hopeful January 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    I too think that I would be able to forgive my H more easily if he would take some of the steps mentioned above. As I’ve said in other posts, though, I don’t feel as though my H is helping me at all. He has expressed remorse for “communicating” with someone else — he won’t call it an affair. I suppose that “communicating” makes it more okay in his mind. (How does he rationalize “gift giving”, I wonder). And, knowing him as well as I do, I know that he feels remorseful for what he did because his actions are inconsistent with his view of himself — in other words, he disappointed himself. I do not believe that my H understands or has even attempted to understand the pain that I endured as a result of his actions. His remorse, his embarrassment, and whatever else he is feeling are, as usual, all about him. As far as I’m concerned, he has not taken meaningful steps to help me heal. I think he should be groveling, or at least, honoring my requests for open and honest communication. Instead, he is routinely defensive and accusatory. He is not making it easy for me to forgive him.

    We are 3 and 1/2 months since Dday. I can’t (and won’t) hang in here much longer. I know that some of you have waited out your uncooperative CS’s for much longer — how did you do it? Divorce would not be my first choice, primarily because of my children, but how can I continue to do this, day after day, with little to no cooperation from my CS?

  14. sharkgirl January 29, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Hopeful, I lay there looking at him last night and I’m not ready to walk from this relationship yet, I love him and I want this to work. It’s taken a lot of realisation and much from this site and the people on it. I don’t need him to be happy so if I carry on doing this things that make me happy I won’t loose me and that I know is the most important thing, everything off him is a bonus. He’s not ready to do what he needs to do and Im pretty sure it’s to do with the guilt it makes him feel amongst other stuff. I’m fortunate he is doing somethings, thing is it’s just not meeting my expectatations so I do need to accept the positive things no matter how small. Yeah it’s wrong he screwed up and I’m picking up the pieces, maybe my forgiveness won’t be complete till he does some things from the list but it’s enough for the moment so that I’m not living in anger. As for him when he’s ready I’ll be there but I accept there is only so much I can do and like you when he wouldn’t end it I reached a point where I wasn’t prepared to accept him been ‘friends’ with her and asked him to leave to decide if that friendship was more important than me and us. We all have our breaking points, the important thing is you are happy with it when you make that move because you have to live with it. This time I’m hanging in becasue I’m getting something and I know it’s the right thing to do, we have chance now where as before with her on the scene we didn’t. So I’m hanging in here I’m happy not where I’d like to be but my lifes actually good bar the ‘moments’ but I accept that for the moment that’s normal for my life, and I’ll be there for him and when he’s ready hopefully this time it’ll be me he’s turning to. From the first dday it was 5months till he could see the reality off his affair and it was after 2months he left and after 4 I started divorce proceedings and I was happy and prepared to go through with it and had it gone through would’ve had no regrets at that time it was right.

  15. Hopeful January 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Sharkgirl,
    Are you saying that you started divorce proceedings but then didn’t go through with them? What happened to change things?

    Today has been a really difficult day for me — the worst I’ve had in awhile. I am getting through the day by reminding myself that there are ups and downs, and that I will be surely be up soon. It’s just so sad though, because this isn’t the life I bargained for. I never in a million years thought that I would be in this place. I look at my H, and it’s as though I’m looking at a stranger. I can’t wrap myhead around the fact that the sweet man I married 16 years ago has betrayed me like this. And has said so many really mean and hurtful things to me. And that he now is unable to even have an honest conversation with me about his betrayal without first talking to his counselor. How did I get here?

    My H has his appointment with his counselor this week, during which he will ask for advice about how to discuss his EA with me. I am in a holding pattern (again), waiting for that discussion. But, I need to know the complete truth (i.e., wasthe EA in fact a PA?) before I can move on. And by moving on, I’m not sure if that will be with him or without him.

    Anyway, it feels good to write this here. Just writing the words helps. Thanks for listening.

  16. Rachel January 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Hopeful – we are living the same life. This is so weird but almost comforting knowing that I’m not the only one going through this nightmare. I have so many bad days too. Yesterday was really a good day but when my H said that he sometimes wants to be with me and sometimes doesnt want to. Wants to be with someone that he is emotionally connected with well, that’s not me that’s the g.f. From 30 years ago!!! He was 20 years old. Didnt we all love w
    Everyone when we were 20? So hard for me to comprehend. I’m in therapy, my 15 yr old is in therapy and om on Prozac so I can except this bad dream. Can’t believe this is happening to me!

  17. chiffchaff January 30, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    If my H also followed these guidelines, in fact, if he even seemed interested in following some guidelines or seeking my forgiveness, my life would be so much better with him.
    Sorry, but feeling down today, one of those days but he seemed very distant yesterday and this morning. I’m so worried that I’m never going to be enough for him, that he’s looking for someone again who’s just like the OW to ‘bring him to life’. I think he’s weak and finds all of this pain and hard work too much like hard work. It’s not helped by him having a massive commute for his work so our time together is very limited in the working week. Sometimes, because we’re the only people we both have, it’s so very hard to maintain the effort on focusing on my own self-esteem and not just fretting about whether he really loves me or not, or whether I’ll ever be enough for him.
    It feels sometimes like he’s waiting to forgive me, not the other way around.

  18. sharkgirl January 30, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Hopeful, yes I started divorce proceedings. He ended it with her over e-mails, over a period of days but then there were the hi how are you, good weekend, e-mails and I knew he couldn’t end it and I couldn’t live like that. Reading this site it was so hard because I knew, even without this site, it wasn’t reality what they hadm it wouldn’t last, he was lying to her too not that she knows that. Yet it was so right for me to do that. He didn’t sign divorce papers though and prior to the time been up whereby my solicitor would’ve started chasing me I encountered his Dad who was telling me it wasn’t what my OH wanted but he was too stubborn to say anything and I was doing the same and we were just pulling against each other. Him and the kids I guess made me send an e-mail nothing too much just an ‘is this the right thing’ and it went from there. When he said he wanted to give it another go I said fine but… and amongst other things contact with her ended there and then, asked for a week I told him no and forget ti. So I gt all the I shouldn’t blackmail him etc… but next morning I woke to ta text that he’d ended it. He got a few more of her that day but he told me about them all and the e-mail she sent at work. For me it was right to give him another chance because I felt prior to that we hadn’t one whilst she was around, had he not stopped the contact I’d have had my solicitor chasing that divorce though. I know longer feel married though and wonder if I ever will again. All I can say is don’t do anything in an emotional state and just be honest with yourself and you will know the right thing to do. You will never be a 100% with a decision like this though, but I promise you will know.

    We have this moments of clarity sometimes it’s hard to hang on to them. Work on you, stay strong and true to yourself, use this website its a god send. Sadly it’s all about them during and after for some of them too, he got em at the weekend. I want some proclamation of love, why he’s here, why me not her when it all was declared so wonderful in the e-mails. He’s never been one for this though. I asked him in then end if he though I loved him, was hoping for a yes than I could explore why, he said he wasn’t sure though. So I asked really and he said why do you I replied of course I wouldn’t be here else ‘exactly’ … same as he tells me, then tried point out the little things I do and I’ve told him why and what I love about him. Then got he loves my nagging, etc… which although jokey is my Dom. Do I accept him as he’s always been or now is that not enough. I’m hopeful for Valentines.
    It my own insecurities that make me question yet if he’s lying, he’s deceiving himself most it’ll come out and his kids will be hurt the most me carrying on been me means I’ll be ok.

  19. HopefulexCS January 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    This is the first time i have posted a comment on this site (or any in fact). This post is really useful to me. My W and I are fast approaching 1y since big D-day. There were many other d-days which have already passed, but this one will be massive. I am reading this post because my W was reading it. I sense she is trying to work out how, why, if and when to forgive. I think I have done many of the things listed above, but I question how to REALLY know if I have done them (it truly feels like I have). My sense is that we are not really at that point yet. There are still too many questions. It’s massive ! I can totally understand the lost of respect, and I hate that the loss exists, but I have to accept that I am no longer the man my W thought I was. She doesn’t even recognise me any longer. One step above is to ‘restore the sense of balance’ and if I’m honest, I dont think I have done this very well. It seems that any statement I make about how I feel about the affair or the OW are quickly knocked down based on my actions during the affair. It seems that my sense of who I am and my actions today mean nothing compared to my actions while in the affair fog. How do I deal with that? What ‘argument’ do I have for that? I wanted to respond to each of the steps above and write how I think I have done that step to get some feedback from other BS, but I’m on vacation using an IPhone which is not the best thing to use for this type of thing.
    We had another big conversation and arguemt last night, and these days they often end up with little or no movement or solution. It is getting to the point where I no longer want to go for walks or a glass of wine, because we end up in the same place….a dead-end! I really love my W and think she loves me. We have two wonderful kids (teens). When we get on it’s fantastic, especially as we’ve been together for 25 years, but the A is enormous! I try, but I know I will never be able to comprehend the full extent of what I have done to my beautiful wife. I’m not asking for forgiveness and never will. The A is just too big to ask for that. I do hope she forgives me for her own sake, not mine, but I do feel it would also helps us to move forward from to stuck position we are in. I also read a post ‘what IS and what is NOT forgiveness’ that seemed helpful. I might point my W toward it. I totally understand that we might not get through this together (which will truly be heartbreaking), but more than anything, all I want is some peace of mind for my wife again. She has lived a nightmare for over a year and a half (not counting the previous years of possible unhappiness beneath the water surface). That leads me to a question that has bugged me for months. I know she is battling with herself constantly about leaving me, but she would hate to be the one to break up the family (even though it would really be me who caused it). I know it seems like a crazy question, but should I leave instead? That would mean she will start to rebuild herself (I know she can and would) and it would also be me who broke he family. Is that honerable or plane stupid? I have been up all night trying to work out the next move, but Believe me, this is NOT what I want or would chose, I just want to help her become whole again….

  20. Notoverit January 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    HopefulexCS,

    Don’t leave. I am in the same situation as your W and, even with the struggles about whether to leave or not, I know I really don’t want to end the marriage. It seems like it would be a lot easier to just throw your hands up and run (as the BS). but the underlying love for your spouse keeps you trying one last time (I’ve had a lot of those last times). I talked to my counselor about this issue and she said that I don’t feel that my H has truly learned his lesson because he has not figured out the why he had the EA (and I doubt he ever will). Do you know why you entered into the A? Have you told your wife what was missing in your life that you thought this would fulfill? That is an important question that all of us BSs want to know and so few CSs have the answer. My counselor said that if I could think like my CS and try to understand his reasons or just accept that he doesn’t truly know why then I can move on BECAUSE I can feel like he has learned his lesson and will never hurt me again. I know that sounds convoluted but if I think he has learned his lesson then I can fell safe in the relationship. Just him telling me that he will never do this again is not enough; I have to know that he understands what he did, WHY he did it, and how he hurt me. Have you opened up to your W about this? Tried to make her feel safe again? Just a thought because that is what I am struggling with at this point, 1 year and two months from D-day.

  21. HopefulexCS February 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Notoverit,
    Thanks for the reply and sorry for the delay in responding. Today is the final day of our vacation (so still on iphone) and I had previously told my W that we should focus on having our much needed family holiday instead of spending time reading blogs etc. The rest of the family are asleep right now, so I don’t feel bad reading and writing. In answer to some of your Qs, we have discussed why the A happened. We did this very early on. A year prior to my A, I wrote a letter to my W explaining how I felt. I foolishly did not give the letter to her at that time, I just put it in the draw. Within the following year, I started my A. Oct 2010, I sat in bed with her and opened up about how I was feeling about our rel. I was already having the A and foolishly did not tell her about it. I truly thought that she would feel the same way I felt, and thought she would want to end the marriage. She did the complete opposite and really started to work hard on our rel. I will not go into too much detail as I don’t want to change the tread, but needless to say that my W was getting no response out of me (considering her massive effort in many ways). She found out about the OW and who she was on New Years Eve 2010. I basically lied my way through the first few months of 2011, and our repair started in March, after my W confronted to OT and got ALL the nasty details. It wrecked her…… Well I wrecked her! So, back to the matter. We both know where and why things went wrong in our marriage ( way before the A), and we are both guilty, maybe me more than her? I don’t think that is our problem any longer, and never really was. The problem is all the other things that EAs have on their victims. Who it was with (known to our family – not friends, but known), what I did, how long I did it, my bare-faced lies, contempt, recklessness, betrayal….. Oh the list goes on. In short, it is hard to explain away those actions. I’m not the man she thought I was, so she doesn’t feel safe with me any longer. She doesn’t trust herself, let alone me, and can’t trust that this will never happen again. There are gaps in my explanations about the A, things don’t make sense to her, the story is incongruent, so she won’t believe it. Hence she can’t believe that I have changed. She thinks I am hiding details about the A and my feelings toward the OW. I suppose there is just a massive lack of trust. Wow, this writing stuff down really helps me. I have just realized what the problems are….. MY ACTIONS during the A and TRUST. It’s funny that even though she has said that before, I just haven’t REALLY let it in. Of course I knew that, but it just feels different when you write it down. Anyway, I’m trying to do lots in terms of trust. I am making sure my actions are sound and transparent. I open up about feelings, I cry more than I want to. I show her love in ways she has always longed for, our physical connection is fantastic and our emotional connection equals it (when my W feels safe). I have hurt her so deeply that she can’t just jump up and forget my actions. Her mind and memory are incredible, and just bring her down on a regular basis. Hey, it’s early days and we have a long road yet to travel, but I just want her to trust me….who I am today, who I have been for the majority of our rel. I want her to trust herself and what she can see in me, but the problem is that she trusted me before, and I broke that into bits, jumped up and down on it and spat on it. I have wholeheartedly changed my actions, but this is so massive and cuts so deep, I think it’s just gonna take a long time, if not forever.

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