So can you forgive cheating?

We’ve talked about the subject of forgiveness a bunch on this site.   Based on most information that we’ve read and from reader comments, it seems that the consensus is that you must try to eventually forgive the cheater for your own benefit and that it will set you free and on the road to healing from the affair.

However, the other day while reading I found a somewhat unique perspective on forgiveness that I thought might make for good discussion/debate.

First of all, what is forgiveness?

I found this in Wikipedia…Forgiveness is defined as the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt’.

Can You Forgive Cheating?

Now, here is the unique perspective that I mentioned:

“It is a common belief that in order to ‘heal’ oneself and your relationship, we must learn to ‘forgive’ our partners for their bad behavior and the pain they’ve inflicted upon us.

This is completely false, on many levels.

Forgiveness is the work of God, not of human beings. Let me make this perfectly clear. YOU CANNOT FORGIVE another human being, you have no credentials to do so. Only God can grant forgiveness. You personally do have and will never have enough information, moral superiority or spiritual advancement to EVER forgive another human being!

Forgiveness implies a cleansing of the person, but in the case of human beings, it is always accompanied by expectations of a change in the other person’s behavior.  It is always conditional.

When we say we ‘forgive’ someone, all we really do is put them on probation. We don’t wash them clean of our expectations for a change. Nor do we erase the black mark next to their name in the record book.”

The author goes on to further explain that human forgiveness is always a game.  It’s a game whereby if I “forgive” you, the understanding between us is that now I am morally superior to you, and that you “owe” me.

The author says that this doesn’t mean we must live in the morass of pain and loss, though.  There is a solution, and according to the author the solution is ‘to release that other person from your expectations of them, and of your (often hidden) contract with them that they must fit and meet those expectations’ –  whether you continue to stay in the relationship or not. Otherwise, you will never be free of the crazy whirlwind in your own head that YOU are inflicting on yourself.

Yes, the cheater’s behavior was horrible.  But from that point on, it is not the cheater inflicting harm on you. It is YOU inflicting harm on YOURSELF.

To the author then, this basically means that you no longer hold the cheater to the vows of faithfulness. You no longer hold him/her to the expectation you have of his/her behavior. It is not a possibility in your relationship from this point forward. And it is something you will have to live with forever.

So, here are some points to banter around in our discussion this week…

First of all, can you forgive cheating?

What are your thoughts/opinions on this author’s view on forgiveness and its alternative?

If you feel you have forgiven your spouse for their infidelity, what was the effect of that on you and your relationship?

Do you feel that you could find peace and healing by releasing the cheater from your expectations of them – their faithfulness?

As always, please respond to each other in the comment section.

Thanks!

Linda & Doug

If you feel forgiveness is possible and necessary, you might want to click the following link to check out a very good resource from Marriage Sherpa.

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    57 replies to "Discussion – Can You Forgive Cheating?"

    • our journey

      Doug, I would very much like to read the book or article if you wouldn’t mind sharing the source with us.

      At this point I don’t agree with the author.

      The Bible has quite a bit to say on forgiveness, and I don’t believe it agrees with what this author has to say either.

      I do believe it is possible for me to forgive though I’m not completely there yet.

      I believe we should be able to trust our spouses/partners to be faithful. I would not find any peace in our relationship without that commitment.

      • Doug

        Our Journey, The book that this came from was “After the Affair – Clear Mind, Clear Heart, Clear Soul: A Victorious and Joyous Life After Huge Disappointments, Betrayals and Losses” By Dr. Max Vogt. This is an ebook and Dr. Vogt just ran a two for one promotion because he is discontinuing the sale of his ebooks and is just doing coaching/counseling now. Therefore, I do not think you can still get it. The website I purchased it at has been completely changed to reflect his coaching programs.

    • Anita

      I agree that forgiveness is so important for any relationship,
      because at some point we will hurt other person or they will
      hurt us, sometimes its even unintensional, that just happened to me a couple of days ago with someone I knew, who asked me if I was upset with her, I told no, why?
      she told me that I ignored her when she said hello, I said
      I’m sorry I must not of heard you. Of course we settled it.
      In this case I had no idea that she was offended, and I was
      going about my daily life, and yet she felt I was upset with
      her. Thats how easy offenses can happen, and forgiving
      is so important.
      Of course this was a litttle misunderstanding, and easily
      fixed. Larger offenses that are more painful do take a
      longer time to heal from and to forgive.
      I agree with (Yes the cheaters behavior was horrible. But
      from that point on, its not the cheater inflicting pain on you.
      It YOU inflicting pain on YOURSELF. I agree with this.
      I also agree that when you forgive someone its like canceling their debt to you, meaning nothing more it owed.
      For myself in the beginning I thougtht there would no way I
      could forgive my exhusband and his affair partner, I was
      so upset and had so much anger that I didn’t even know how it would be possible to forgive. However I had to make
      the choice to let it consume me or to forgive. I chose to
      forgive. For myself my forgiveness happened over a period
      of time. Whenever a (Trigger) memory would pop up that
      was painful, I told myself even though it hurt me I was going to forgive. Eventually when those triggers/memories
      would be less and less, and my pain became less and less until one day it was gone. That’s when I realized it
      was me who had control over how fast I healed, of course
      with God’s help.

    • Anita

      During the time I was married before my civil divorce I had dealt with more than one offense of cheating. Each time I
      would get over each offense after a couple of years of
      grieving. On my exhusband’s last affair it was adultery, and
      he was in love with his affair partner, and our marriage ended with a civil divorce.
      After I grieved his affair and our divorce, I realized I had
      spent much of my marriage, grieving over his actions that
      were an offense to me. It was than I realized we were
      better off apart and me starting over with a new life of
      my own. By doing that I was able to fully forgive and have that new life, free from infidelity. By having that freedom
      from infidelity my quality of life has improved, and I no
      longer grieve. Instead it all became a part of my past
      and I enjoy my life now. In my own situation it was better
      for me to get out of a marriage that was unhealthy for
      me, and brought me so much saddness. Now my life
      is so much better and happier.

    • Broken2

      Some of what this author says is semi believeable. First off if I am not going to hold my husband to our marriage vows….which is being faithful..then why stay married???? I dont agree with that statement. I do agree with the fact that we as BS torture ourselves with our thoughts and must learn to control them which does inflict pain on us all by ourselves. However the cause is the cheater …had the betrayel never happened those thoughts wouldn’t be there so yes the cheater is doing it albiet indirectly. This author sounds like a former cheater who has done whatever possible to switch the blame to the BS.

      Not sure about the forgiveness thing only coming from God???hmmm Forgiving your spouse is essentail to recovery but I think its a long process. I dont think you wake up one morning and say I forgive you and then magically everyone is happy. I think it happens little by little. I do agree with the concept that we only hurt ourselves when we cant forgive.

      I forgave my husband along time ago….but everyday there is still work to do and everyday I still deal with the crap in my head.

      • Recovering

        I don’t think that the author means that we don’t hold our husband’s to their marriage vows, but that we know that those vows themselves aren’t what is going to keep our husbands faithful – obviously or we wouldn’t be in our situations. We know they are capable of breaking these vows. We now have to hold them to being decent people, and being honest and transparent. The vow is already broken and gone, and we CAN’T really get that back – ever.

        I also don’t think it is necessary to forgive to recover, at least forgiveness of your husband. I will never forgive mine. He made a concious choice to do something sick and evil that he KNEW would hurt me, regardless of what he was thinking at the time. I accept that he isn’t who I thought, am learning now who he really is, and we are working on the RELATIONSHIP. I believe forgiving YOURSELF is critical to healing. Not accepting blame for the cheating. I didn’t cheat. No matter how the relationship was going, I did not do it. I talked myself out of the suspicions, and for that I forgive myself. I no longer feel guilt for what I did or didn’t do before, because I was not perfect, and yes I could’ve been a better spouse, but I wasn’t CHOOSING to be a bad wife. He CHOSE to be a bad husband when he cheated. He wasn’t sorry while it was going on… is now that he see’s reality. Acceptance for me. Not forgiveness. Learning and moving on and not harboring hate for him, but that isn’t the same as forgiving….

    • Recovering

      It is kinda funny, as I usually don’t agree with these articles, but I kinda do agree with the author. I am not a “God forgives” person, and I feel that I can forgive people for things, but regarding the act of cheating, there will be NO forgiveness of him. I will NEVER forgive him. I will NEVER forget what he did. That doesn’t mean that he and I cannot move on in our relationship – quite the contrary. What he did was sick and wrong – and a CHOICE. Regardless of “fog”, they knew it was wrong, and that they had other choices if they wanted to be together. These things won’t be overlooked, or forgiven by me, ever. He has learned from his HORRIBLE choice, and I accept that he has learned, and love him and still want to be with him. I forgave MYSELF for trusting so fully and not paying more attention to myself and my suspicions. I trust him less now, and myself more. His actions were about HIM, so I cannot forgive something so selfish. I have accepted that there is a part of him that I hate, and I will always have my radar up for that part to return now, and do my best to keep US in a place where he has less chance of losing his mind again. I have accepted that it isn’t my responsibility to keep him faithful – that is HIS job. If he fails again, there will not be another shot, at least with me. True forgiveness would allow him another shot, one after another. It would wipe his slate clean every time. Nope. Not gonna happen! I have accepted that he did something evil and sick and that I don’t know him as well as I had thought – or I looked past things I didn’t want to see. Either way, it is accepting the new him, and the new me, but not forgiveness. He KNOWS now that if it were to ever happen again that it wouldn’t just be words that I would leave. I wouldn’t even waste a tear if there was a next time. I forgave myself, and accepted what he did. I will never again fully believe that my husband will be faithful – he already wasn’t. I can’t hold him to something he already destroyed. Faithfulness and fidelity now it is more of a condition than a promise; a condition of me to stay with him. I will never give him total power over me again – so yah, I will not allow him to inflict pain on me. Not like that, never again.

      • tryingtoowife

        Recovering – I agree with you. I believe that I can never forgive my husband, although I can with his help, try to find a new fulfilling relationship where we can be truly happy again with each other. But this is such a different life from what we had. The blind trust, my regard for his moral compass shown through the long time we where working together building our family life – lost in a cruel, selfish act – the way I one day saw him as, all changed so drastically and it is impossible to go back to that frame of mind. My way to see it is that forgiveness will come in a kind of getting used to being with each other again without questioning of the past, or holding back in anger, and accepting (completely) that the qualities we had before in our relationship is gone, and learn to celebrate the new ones we are creating now: like transparency, better communication and valuing each other in this new morphing relationship, one with complete open eyes and honesty. Accepting reality, we are not the ” forever happy couple” as we and other saw us.
        Quite honestly, my husband himself tells me that he does not ask for forgiveness, but all he asks is time to prove himself worth of me again, and one day see again the respect and love he saw in my eyes before.
        I can not forgive him, but I believe that we can have still a good relationship if we can keep moving on to a place where all this won’t hurt so bad, if we keep helping each other through, if one day we look back and truly believe that we learned our lesson forgiveness won’t be an issue and it might have happened. If God can forgive my husband, good for my husband. I will keep my word and cherish all I have always believed about a good marriage, even if mended. I wont hold my husband in a broken vows now nonexistent, void of belief, but on his behaviour and strength. I don’t even wear my wedding ring anymore, because the importance for me now lies on what WE do, WE are for each other, instead of promises.

    • Hopeful

      I find everyone’s comments useful. I’m one year post-DDay and my H and I have a stronger, better, more transparent, and loving relationship than we have ever had in ten years. We have generally had a good relationship, but the communication and sense of teamwork is dramatically different. While I “trust” that it is real and permanent shift, I still don’t trust him or trust the idea that we may not unravel again in similar ways. I worry, in other words.

      Anyway, we’re doing well, and this issue of forgiveness is really on my mind. I have not yet told me “I forgive you” as I still don’t feel I have or can. I’m not entirely sure what it means, and until I do, I guess I can’t. I suppose I mostly understand and accept but the idea of forgiveness, for me, has to be a process that continues to occur now and in the future. The idea that it happens and then we move on just doesn’t work. I guess because I see the relationship and love generally as an ongoing process that must be actively recreated in the everyday. Let go of the everydayness of love and things go wonky. Let it go and this could happen again. So, I feel like I could forgive him now because he is present but this forgiveness would vanish if he let’s himself go again into selfishness, depression, and fantasy.

      I like giving over control of a permanent ok-ness because we cant’ ever wholly control anything and because letting go of control probably means attending more to building and enjoying the everyday with him. This is different than letting go of the expectation of faithfulness for me. I want that standard and expect it and need it, but I need to let go of the fear of him failing. He isn’t going to fail now or next year or the year after or after that. I know this pretty well. It’d be somewhere down the road. So, why make myself miserable now because I am afraid.

      Well, forgive or no, this makes so much sense to me and is the work of healing I HAVE TO DO and HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to do, since I decided to stay here:
      “Yes, the cheater’s behavior was horrible. But from that point on, it is not the cheater inflicting harm on you. It is YOU inflicting harm on YOURSELF.”

      I am now doing damage. He has moved mountains to change and grow and heal himself in painful, humiliating ways. He should have done that and owed me. BUt, I guess I feel that I owe him and myself to move on and quit swirling in the eddy of fear and hate and resentment. I guess I’ll feel I have done something like “forgive” when I can get myself out of that eddy by hard paddling right like a madwoman.

      Anyway, I don’t know anymore than anyone else how to really define forgiveness.

      • chiffchaff

        Hopeful – your second paragraph is where I am, almost one year after Dday. I have the same fear that in trusting him now we will spiral back into his need for fantasy and unrealistic needs. I also think that although my H won’t do it again in the near future, he has demonstrated just what he’s capable of when he puts his mind to it so I cannot believe that he will NEVER do it again. Or come close to doing it again. It’s a character flaw and it belongs to him to control it.
        It isn’t forgiveness, it’s something else entirely and I don’t have a word for it.

      • Healing Mark

        Hopeful. When your spouse is engaging in the behaviors that are attendant to having an affair, your spouse is inflicting damage upon you and your marriage. Once the affair has been ended, assuming that your spouse is and has expressed to you their honest remorse for what they have done and started working to rebuild the marriage, the extent to which the affair continues to negatively impact your life is more you than your spouse inflicting harm on yourself. The infliction of this harm is initially inevitable as nobody that truly loves their spouse and then discovers that this spouse has had an affair is not going to then experience a multitude of negative emotions, hurt and anger not the least of them. The key for me was getting to a point where I no longer let the existence of my W’s EA control my emotions and ended the harm I would cause to myself and my W when I let my thoughts of the EA consume me and cause me to be bitter, angry and distrustful of my W.

        I have seen forgiveness defined many ways, including as the ending of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of an actual or perceived offense, disagreement or mistake, or stopping demands for punishment or restitution. So, Hopeful, your description of reaching “forgiveness” once you are able to swim out of your described eddy (funny, I, too, felt exactly like that prior to finding a way to escape my eddy) sure fits the definition above for forgiveness. The affair is an actual offense to you and your marriage/family, and you have every right to be resentful, distrusting, indignant and angry. But until you can stop feeling and acting that way (i.e., until you forgive), your ability to have a happy and loving relationship with your CS will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish. Same for your ability to enjoy your life to its fullest, at least in my experience and opinion.

        I did not have hang ups over forgiving my W, assuming that I could do so, which was not sure that I could do as soon as I found out about her EA and recognized the lies that had been told to hide it and the damage that it had caused me and my family, and for some time after such discovery as well. The goal was to forgive, but never forget, and by never forgetting I mean that my W and I have agreed upon certain boundaries for friendships with members of the opposite sex and the crossing of such boundaries is understood by my W to now result in the ending of our marriage. There will be attempts to survive a second affair, but instead her choice to cross our agreed upon boundaries will result in the ending of our marriage all friends and family, including our children, will then know that my W cheated not once, but twice, with the second affair undertaken with full knowledge of its potential consequences. But my W stated that, EA notwithstanding, she could not remain married to someone who would use the EA to continue to punish her or to continue to be something that she somehow had to make up for, as well as someone who continued to resent her, distrust her, or be angry with her due to the fact, which she can never change, that she developed loving feelings for another man while married to me. To not be this person that my W could not remain married to, and to regain my sanity and more and more semblances of happiness, I needed to reach a point where I could, and did, genuinely forgive my W. It took me something short of a year after D-day to be able to do, and their were many false “starts” along the way, but at a certain point (no, it wasn’t like I woke up one day and said to myself, “I can now forgive!”) the fact of the occurrence of the EA no longer controlled me and caused me to be hurt, angry or resentful, and I recognized that my W and I were actually back to a place in our marriage where we were happy together and feelings of distrust had become quite minimal (the fact that the EA occurred will likely never allow me to trust my W as much as I did prior to its occurrence, but the level of trust is such that I can remain happily married to my W).

        Best of luck as you strive to swim out of your eddy!

        • Hopeful

          Thanks to those who replied to me. Helps me orient towards what it means to forget. HM, yes, I guess it is that I want us to both REALLY KNOW what you describe above as the understanding that we can move one but know that any stepping over a now clearly defined and agreed upon boundary will result in the end of the marriage. We’ve agreed to this but gosh I am afraid as to whether I will be strong enough. I must be is all i know. Can’t go through this twice.

          That’s another story though.

          I like forgiveness as being active work on my end at this point. My H has done his work and is open as all open to talking and listening as I heal and he is not the type (at least now) to say “get over it.” The last phase is me: letting go of the resentment and fear and image of the OW’s butthole-y face. Clearly still loath that woman to the core. I suspect she’ll also be one of my least favorite human beings but I gotta let go of hating her, too. That hate is like an anchor.

          Anywho, I feel like I am almost there.

          Paddling in solidarity.

    • Paula

      This is a very tricky area, I believe, I have swung around this topic a bit. I used to believe you HAD to forgive for yourself, but I now think it’s more about a kind of forgiveness, or acceptance, not forgiveness as I first thought it was, where there is a completeness to it. Anita says that forgiveness is necessary, but she needed that to feel free about her divorce. Those who stay have different needs, and it is more about acceptance, I don’t believe complete forgiveness is necessary, or even possible in these circumstances. Just because I haven’t fully forgiven completely doesn’t mean I am hanging onto hatred or anger for these two people, not at all, I have worked through that. My ex and I have a lovely friendship, where we are still able to spend time together. I believe those who had problems in their marriages that were very apparent before an affair, have the opportunity to make their marriages better than ever, but for those of us who were of the opinion that we had great relationships with our partners, and were completely blindsided by their behaviour, find it so much harder to forgive, and rebuild, because we mourn the loss of something really great, and the forgiveness is harder to achieve becasue we can’t really understand why they smashed this thing that we considered truly fulfiling and fabulous. Some people need the forgiveness to move forward, others can find another way, with acceptance and ownership of the fact that forgiveness isn’t going to happen. I do believe you cannot go on with all of the poison held to your chest, as that is just too damaging to oneself, but I don’t think letting that dissipate is necessarily full forgiveness.

    • tryingtoowife

      Reading everyone’s posts, specially healing Mark and Hopeful, your post is so clear on what is and why forgiveness should happen, and I am so terribly sad as I type this. I am on a intense soul searching. I forgave my husband completely once, before we where married. He had a one night stand in a drunk night out. We talked, we were young and had so much life in front of us, I believed he felt truly sorry for what he did. We moved on, I forgave him with all my heart, we married, we had two amazing children and I truly felt blessed that we gave each other a chance. We had an amazing 19 years together (18 married). We did not talk about it again. Then midlife crisis hit him, someone showed intense interest on him, bang on! He did it again, but this time a physical affair which lasted for months. As Paula says, I was completely blindsided by his behaviour. I did not see it coming. I, try to believe that this is a separate thing ( we were not married and we were young before) but I can’t help thinking that I am a doormat for staying, because I am staying with someone that ‘forgot’ he had done it before, ‘forgot’ the chance I gave him once, “forgot” the only thing I ever asked from him, honesty. But leaving means that I am leaving behind the best part of my life. I forgave the first time, now, I don’t have the strength. If only I could. If only I had no reason to stay, but he is moving mountains to prove himself worth again, he is doing all he can, but I am so afraid. As was said here, I trust he is not going to do it in another 1, 2 years, but I could not go through this again after all this pain and healing. I would rather die. That is why I cannot forgive, but i also know that if I decided to stay, we have to move forward carrying less burden. Oh God!

    • CookieMomster

      Recovering…WOW! Powerful stuff but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. My husband says that what he did will never happen again, but I would be a fool to not be more vigilant than I was before his EA. The vows are broken and like Humpty Dumpty, certainly can’t be put together again. I like what you say about Faithfulness and fidelity now being a condition of your staying with your husband. If they want us to stay they need to remain faithful. There can be no second chances for someone that inflicts that kind of pain on someone they say they love should they do it again.

    • stillbroken

      on the topic of forgiveness, doug i want to ask you a question.. is it possible for a cheater to feel more worthless than the betrayed? my husband seems cant forgive himself after what he did and saw the effect on me and his family.. i wonder if its true that he’s suffering as painful as me, or its just an act to avoid fights with me..

      • stillbroken

        Doug, do you ever feel that you need to forgive yourself for your action? if yes, have you been able to forgive yourself? if yes again, what did you tell yourself so you finally able to forgive yourself?
        i wonder if forgiveness is a topic among the betrayed only, or the cheaters also have needs to forgive themself and have troubles doing so

        • Doug

          stillbroken, To be honest, I don’t really think about forgiving myself too much. I really don’t know why either. I guess my concern since the affair has been primarily to help Linda and our relationship. I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame and perhaps when Linda is 100% healed, I will be able to forgive myself then.

          To answer your other question, sure I feel that it’s possible for a cheater to feel more worthless than the betrayed, but I also believe that he can be using that as a deflection mechanism to avoid getting at the real issues. You know your husband the best. Has he shown in the past that he gets extremely upset with himself when he has done something wrong? How is he demonstrating this pain…is he despondent or depressed, or what? Otherwise, is he doing things that you feel he needs to do to help you heal?

          • stillbroken

            Doug.. yes he is doing all things that i need but at the same time i feel that he’s becoming defensive if i want to bring back conversation about his affair lately.. he seems too afraid to talk about it and i see that he literally cant talk at those times, his body shaken, his voice shaken, tears etc.. he said its because talking about it is too hurtful.. i cant decide yet whether its genuine or a mechanism to avoid the real issues..

            thanks for your reply doug..

        • Linda

          stillbroken, I feel it is imperative for Doug to forgive himself, I believe that we cannot be completely healed until he does so. I believe it can be more difficult to for yourself than another person. Forgiving oneself takes self reflection and can be very painful. It was a very long process for me to forgive myself for the things I did to contribute to the demise of our marriage. It was difficult to accept that I wasn’t the perfect wife.

          • Teresa

            Linda, since you are saying that forgiving oneself takes a lot of self reflection and is painful, I have to ask WHY Doug hasn’t taken the time to do this himself, especially if you feel that you cannot heal as a couple until he does?
            Or maybe I should direct this question to Doug? It’s been over 3 yrs, right Doug? So why haven’t you thought about forgiving yourself….to help finish the healing?

            • Doug

              It’s not that I haven’t taken the time as I’ve done the self reflection and I’m doing the work, but I guess I feel that until Linda is completely healed I don’t feel as though I deserve to forgive myself. I think we’re close though.

      • livingonafence

        There is a huge difference between “Wow, I can’t believe what a selfish POS I am. Look at what I destroyed because I just do whatever I want.” and “The person I loved and cared for, and believed loved me, stabbed me in the back repeatedly and intentionally. He lied to my face and viewed me and our relationship as worthless. I trusted my spouse and his love for me, and it was a lie. My entire world and sense of security is gone, and a pert of it is gone forever. I now feel ugly, unlovable, and like an utter fool. I don’t even know this person I live with but I know they don’t care enough about me to not spend their time reeling in love with someone else.”

        In other words, no. They do not hurt as badly as the BS. Do they feel worthless? Well, when it comes to the EA, is there any reason they shouldn’t?

        I’m not trying to be hash here, but if you or I did what they did – lie, betray, have ‘love’ chats and then walk up to their spouse like nothing happened, and basically proved what a lying snake they can be if it’s what they choose to do, why shouldn’t they feel ‘worthless’?

        Any feelings the CS has were brought on by the CS through INTENTIONAL ACTS. This is why they feel bad – they wanted to do what they did. It wasn’t an accident or a mistake. It was what they wanted, what they went after. They feel badly for having to face that this is who they are, this is the kind of person they are.

        The BS? We were lied to, betrayed, dismissed, passed over, and all but abandoned by the CS. We were pushed out of our position in the hearts of the CS. We were second (or third, or not even in the running). Someone else was better, more entertaining, more interesting. THAT is pain. THAT is hurt.

        My personal opinion is that there is a part of it that is an act. Sure they feel bad, but I’m sure they play it up to make sure to show just how badly they feel.

        I’ve seen other posts, here and on other blogposts, with the BS saying the CS stated what they would and would not accept after the affair was discovered. Basically it’s the CS saying they are still dictating the terms of the relationship right down to how the BS is ‘allowed’ to feel or at least what part of their feelings they’re allowed to express. It’s more controlling behavior with one goal – to keep the CS from having to deal with the fallout of their actions.

        Any party in any relationship can leave, but a CS stating what they’ll tolerate? that’s laughable. THEY are the ones at risk of losing something. THEY are the ones that screwed up the marriage. THEY are the ones that get whatever they get. They can choose not to stay, but to list what they will and won’t accept? HA!

        My H tried this over a year ago. I told him if he didn’t like the mess he made he was free to go, but he wasn’t about to continue to control this marriage. He had his shot and we all saw how that went, so now he gets what he gets and he knows where the door is. Mind you, this was about 4 months post DDay, so I wasn’t in the mood. He stayed and never tried to tell me how I would act or risk losing him again. He also played up his guilt, but then anger would show up when that didn’t work and what was really there was someone that felt very badly for their actions but just wanted it to go away.

        Very long response shortened? A CS, particularly in the months following DDay, should feel awful at the realization that they’re selfish liars. They should feel worthless for being such a lowlife sneak. They should feel like trolls that are unlovable because their actions were completely unlovable.

        The pain isn’t comparable. One is the self realization of a complete lack of morals, integrity and character combined with needy self absorbed sleaziness. The other is a betray of an extremely intimate nature, one withou warning or cause, one which will change the BS forever in a negative way. Trust isn’t what it was, self assurance will always be questioned, and a feeling of safety with the person you thought you could depend on is wiped out of your life. And NONE of it was self inflicted.

        If a rapist feels horrible for raping someone, are they suffering the same as the rape victim? Cheating is an attack on the marriage and on the BS. It is intentional and calculated. Hurting because you’re capable of such a things is NOT the same as hurting because you were the victim of such acts. By you H continuing to display such deep ‘wounds’, he’s still acting selfish if you ask me. He’s letting HIS pain become the issue. Right now he should be dealing with your pain that he caused, not trying to gain sympathy or wait to be told he really isn’t a monster. Maybe he isn’t, but that’s his issue. He did this to himself and to you, and he should be a little more focused on your pain and a little less on his. So should you.

        If you spend too much time reassuring him of the possibility that he’s a good person deep down, and worrying about his pain, when exactly is your pain addressed? If he feels better, will you?

        • WriterWife

          LOAF, your comment has given me a lot to think about. I do agree that many CS will attempt to control what the BS feels and that’s not tenable. I also think that, as you did, the BS needs to establish boundaries and not allow their feelings to be dictated.

          I’m not sure I totally agree that the CS needs to ignore his pain to focus fully on the BS pain and I’m not willing to discount that the CS feels real and genuine pain. I do think the CS should prioritize the BS pain, but if the CS doesn’t deal with their own pain and their own issues, that will delay healing. They shouldn’t place the burden of their own healing on the BS — this is where they need to do a lot of work on their own (or with the help of counseling, etc), but I think it’s important that both spouses are able to share their pain: the BS at being betrayed, the CS for causing the BS pain. Let me make clear that the CS should in no way try to diminish the pain they caused or to turn the focus to themselves which often happens (esp in the early months).

          In the same way that I won’t allow my husband to dictate what I should or shouldn’t feel, I can’t dictate what he should or shouldn’t feel. Even if he did take deliberate actions and knowingly caused this pain — that doesn’t negate the pain he’s feeling. Together, we work through all of it — my feelings and his.

          In my personal opinion, any CS who plays up their own pain as an act to negate or diminish what the BS is feeling isn’t approaching recovery from an honest or useful perspective. They may not be actively cheating, but they’re still manipulating their relationship, just in a different way. A relationship in which one spouse is manipulating the other isn’t a healthy one and, I’d argue, would make any kind of forgiveness or recovery difficult.

        • stillbroken

          livingonafence.. i’ve been taking care of my pain and myself good since dday, even too good, i care less about him, only care about myself, doing all i want and not prioritizing him at all, contrary he’s doing everything since dday to try to pay up his mistakes, now everything is about me.. but i’m still hurting and i keep demanding a lot more from him, and his tears makes me wonder if he also hurt, not just me.. and if i’ve been demanding too much

          i wonder again is there such thing as a betrayed spouse demanding too much from cheating spouse?

          • livingonafence

            WW – I agree, a CS should be able to express his/her pain. I’m sorry if my post wasn’t clear. I was referring to them getting to the point where their pain is overtaking the situation. THAT is unacceptable. What they go through is nothing compared to what a BS goes through. An ugly self-realizaton is not the same as an attack from a perceived partner.
            I think we’ve all experienced some ugly self-truths as a result of the EA. We look at ourselves very critically and we’ve all discovered some things we do not like about ourselves at all. That pain, that forced acceptance, is nothing compared to the discovery of an affair. I think we can all agree on that one.

            Stillbroken, I’m glad to hear you are doing things for you. Your original post had me thinking otherwise. To answer your question regarding if a BS can demand too much? The answer is ABSOLUTELY. I should know – I’m the Queen of MEMEME when it comes to the EA. It’s an easy place to get to.

            If you’re worried that you’re in this camp, try not bringing the EA up for 3 days. For 3 days, just be married. No affair, no hurt, no guilt trips or feelings of entitlement. Consider it practice. If your marriage is going to survive, you need to learn how to just be married. No, you can’t go back to pre EA days ever, but you can’t let it shape your ‘new’ marriage either. Again, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘it’s all about me now’, but that won’t get you what you want anymore than your H’s EA did.

            3 days is short enough that anyone can get through it but long enough to see a little difference in attitudes. If 3 days works, go for 4, and so on.

            Am I advocating never speaking of it again? No, but habits form quickly and if the new habit is “I’m better than you, I was hurt, I’m all that matters now and you’re shit” than you won’t be very happy in your relationship. If you’re worried that you’re in that camp, try practicing not letting the EA be the foundation of your relationship.

    • CookieMomster

      LOAF:…. hitting the nail on the head as always!! Especially the part about dictating what feelings I am “allowed” to express! My H claims my wanting to talk about the EA digs up way too much pain for him regarding our own past relationship (which of course was the REASON for the EA) and therefore not only does he “have no sympathy for my pain” (his words) but if I continue to bring up the EA he KNOWS where the door is and will use it.

      • livingonafence

        Huh? So he’s blaming his lack of boundries or integrity on your relationship and says he doesn’t feel badly for the pain he’s caused you?

        I’m not saying this sarcastically – why are you still there? He cheated and doesn’t care? So what are you fighting for? You can’t be the only person in a marriage that cares.

        My husband, back in ‘the day’ said a few similar lines. I got sick of it quickly. One day we were fighting and he made a comment about walking out the door and never coming back. I walked over and ripped the door open and said “Have a great life!” and just stood there. He looked at me, confused at my standing up for myself, and said something about that not being what he wanted but he couldn’t take it anymore or whatever. I said “keep saying you’ll leave and soon it won’t be an option”. followed by “keep saying you don’t care what you did and soon you’ll never have to hear about it again!”

        Your H is saying these things because he either wants to manipulate you into shutting up or he really doesn’t care. If it’s the former, manipulation isn’t acceptable in a marriage. If it’s the latter, do you really want to be in a marriage with someone so cruel?

    • WriterWife

      I’ll start out by saying that as an agnostic, I don’t agree with the author’s view on forgiveness because I don’t believe in God the way he does. To me, forgiveness is between me and my husband and I do believe in the ability and possibility of forgiving a cheater.

      I was raised in the Christian church and I do find truth in the proposition of “he who is without sin cast the first stone.” My husband made a mistake by cheating. I too have made mistakes in our marriage (and in my life). I hope to forgive my husband for the things he’s done in the same way that I hope to be forgiven for things that I’ve done. I would like to think that were I in the situation my husband faced over the past year I’d have made different decisions, but I can’t say that with certainty. I’ve made bad decisions in my life — who is to say I wouldn’t have then?

      I believe in second chances and in giving people the chance to change and make things right. I have full expectations of my husband changing (as I myself have changed) and the author above is right that my husband has a black mark by his name. Not one that I hold over his head or that somehow makes me more superior than him, but one that means he’s gotten his second chance and won’t get another.

      I don’t want to be in a marriage with a spouse I can’t forgive and can’t find a way to trust again.

      • Healing Mark

        Kudos WriterWife! I, too, don’t want to be in a marriage with a spouse that I can’t forgive and can’t find a way to trust again. Fortunately for me, I have forgiven my W, but not forgotten that she made some pretty big mistakes once she began to get too close to her AP and began in earnest efforts to hide her unacceptable behaviors (she really couldn’t hide how her desire to get closer to the OP caused such damage to our relationship at that time). I cannot trust her exactly like I did before her EA, although she does understand more clearly what our agreed upon boundaries are now with respect to friendships with persons of the opposite sex, and also understands that she needs to be very careful not to cross such boundaries lest she cause the end of our marriage. That said, her willingness to participate in total transparency with respect to activities with friends and social acquaintances makes it much easier to trust that she is not trying to hide anything, and I have no gut feelings that she is getting too close to anyone outside of our relationship.

        For those who feel that forgiveness is not possible, please consider the following (caveat: many of these are not my own observations, but simply ones that I have found of particular interest):

        1. If you chose not to forgive your CS, you are then arguably forever a victim of the wrongs of the CS, and with forgiveness it seems to me that you are then no longer a victim, but more like a survivor.

        2. Forgiveness in a marriage of the betrayal of an affair is NOT forgetting that the affiar occurred. Forgiving my W allowed me to put the harm caused by her EA in the past and move forward with efforts to make our relationship better than even before the EA, and in moving forward we did so with the lessons we both learned from the occurrence of the EA and its fallout.

        3. Forgiveness is not ignoring what has happened, and it is often not a one-time event, especially when it comes to forgiving a spouse that has had an affair.

        4. Forgiveness does not mean that you have given the forgiven person permission to go and do the same thing once again or over and over. For me, there was no chance for forgiveness until my W had convinvinced me that she truly understood that what she had done was harmful, disrespectful and simply wrong, and that she truly understands that if she ever has another affair, whether an EA or PA, our marriage will be ended. Not may be ended, but will be ended, with no questions asked and no efforts at any kind of healing.

        5. Betrayal is something that someone else does to you, but anger and bitternesss over betrayal is something that you do to yourself. I cannot control the fact that my W had an EA and the fact that the occurrence of the same has and will continue to cause me various negative feelings (with the passage of time, my thoughts of the fact that the EA occurred, and of its negative consequences, are few and far in between, thank God!). But I can now control how these thoughts make me feel, and the ability to have such control became much easier once I was able to genuinely forgive my W for her EA and attendant “mistakes”.

        • chiffchaff

          There should be a ‘Like’ button for comments.
          Chiffchaff likes this comment.

        • livingonafence

          #3 is SOOOOO true! I think we’ve all ‘forgiven’ and then backtracked to anger again. It’s as if this level of forgiveness takes a thousand baby steps. You don’t just wake up one day and think “Oh boy, am I glad THAT’S over!” It’s a long series of accepting events, understanding – as well as we can- what happened, deciding if we can move forward, and then ‘forgiving’. Once that happens, the next event pops into our heads, and it starts again.

          But oh wouldn’t it be nice if we could just wake up and it’s all over???

          • Healing Mark

            Yes it WOULD!!!!! But after time, at least for me, fewer and fewer things pop into my head and the hell that is getting past the EA mostly ends. Life becomes much more normal, but the affair antennae, while much shorter than immediately after D-day, do not seem to go away. Funny, I don’t recall ever having them before I began to suspect that my W was getting a bit too close to her AP.

    • Gizfield

      To me, it’s like this. Contrary to popular belief, cheaters are like lost, abandoned little children looking for SOMEONE, anyone, probably to rescue them. Mature, secure, confident Adults do not commit adultery. They might get a divorce, or stay and be unhappy but they dont screw around with other people. So while they are doing this, and for a while afterward it’s like your are dealing with a misbehaving child. I think it it’s important to figure out if their behavior has been bad all along, or more related to specific events. Some of these people have never grown up and never will.

      • chiffchaff

        Gizfield – I think those type of CSs (of which my H was definitely one) want ‘something’ to rescue them and provide an escape. my H tried workaholism first, then pornography and then a range of EAs before he created the full blown PA/EA. He has acted like a child and it’s only in the past few months since I allowed him to come home that he’s behaved more like an adult. It scares me when his ‘inner child’ shows itself as it does. He can be obsessed about ‘being silly’ even getting angry when not allowed to ‘be silly’ because it’s inappropriate. I am hoping that this naughty inner child is under control now.

    • Gizfield

      I think they are suffering from what Dr. Phil calls “poor impulse control”, definitely very juvenile behavior. I can’t help it…., I want …, I need…, basically me, me, me. A five year old stuck in a fifty year old body.

    • Dave

      I hope to get to a point someday where I can, but a lot of that depends on our progress, or more specifically my progress.

      We had a major setback last month but redoubled our efforts with the counselor, and we seem to be making some progress again.

      Will I forgive? I hope so. Not for her. For me. I don’t want to grow to be a bitter old man. Will I forget. That is impossible, but I hope to get to a point where it isn’t a persistent thought that occupies a significant piece of my mind every second of every day and every night.

    • Gizfield

      My perspective on this is based on my past. In about 1989 I was with my first husband. Married five years, lived together five before that. I was finally coming to the realization that he was an alcoholic, and abusive as well, mentally, emotionally, and physically. So depressing. And what should happen but my first TRUE LOVE called me at my mothers house. Didnt plan any more contact but the seed was planted. My mother soon died, so I lost both parents within a year. Found out later the ex actually stopped where we lived and talked to my husband about his car. I saw him but didnt realize it was him. Anyway, we got in contact and started sneaking around. He was single at the time but still a jerk. This went on a few months, I dont remember why we stopped seeing each other, our even if we had sex. A few years later, he resurfaced and we started sneaking Again. Ugh. I was still married, but this time he was “engaged” to a girl he lived with and who was pregnant. Looking back, it’s hard to say who is more disgusting to me, him or me. But that was not enough to stop all this.

    • Gizfield

      Part 2. Ok, the second time we snuck around a few months, not sure how long. My husband was suspicious but never caught me, and to my knowledge my ex’s GF never did either. We spent the night together once, I dont think we did the first time now, while his GF was at the hospital having their baby. Again, ughhhh. at that point, something in me just snapped, I saw him for what he really was for the first time in the almost 20 years I had been “in love” with him. I had forgotten him for years when I was happy in my marriage, but when I wasn’t I felt like he was my true love. I was trying to break away from my husband but was too pathetic to do so. Not to mentioned the fact that he always threatened to hunt me down and kill me… I was seriously depressed at this time, drinking A LOT, and truthfully suicidal at times. I knew what I had done was wrong, but I didnt really think about it a lot. My husband did not find out, and has been dead many years now. I would never do this again but I never really felt that guilty. It just seemed like something I did, and I moved on. I couldn’t change it, and was disgusted by it, but I never really suffered from it, probably because no one knew but my best friend. I have suffered MUCH more from being betrayed than from being the betrayer. But it has been almost 20 years ago, and the memories have been faded for years now.

      • Healing Mark

        Gizfield. Ain’t karma a bitch! I can’t imagine why you have suffered so MUCH more from being betrayed than from being the betrayer. But thanks for sharing this fact with us. Too bad you didn’t suffer from your affair, and hope that you don’t expect anyone else you know to suffer from having had an affair. And not just a one time mistake? Really? How have you brought your “experience” to the affair you are dealing with now?

        • livingonafence

          I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. Are you seriously wondering why she would suffer more from being betrayed than from betraying, or are you being sarcastic?
          Also, why would you say “hope you don’t expect anyone else you know to suffer from having an affair”?

          I guess I don’t understand your comment. thx

          • Healing Mark

            Yes, sarcastic. Posts don’t really allow full effect. I have enjoyed Gizfield’s posts but the last few were…. WOW! I don’t know exactly how I would feel if I cheated on my W and she later cheated on me, but I can’t imagine that it would be the same as if I had been faithful to her and then she cheated. I had several opportunities over the years to have either an EA or PA with different women, but resisted the temptation and gave up opportunities to establish close friendships with women who wanted and perhaps needed a close male friend. But just didn’t feel right to me, perhaps because I did not trust myself to resist the temptation more than once.

            LOAF, hope things are getting better for you. I’ve also enjoyed most all of your posts. Take care.

          • Healing Mark

            Yes, sarcastic. Doesn’t come across too well via typed comments. I’ve gotten a lot of good info from Gisfield’s prior posts, but the last few…. WOW! I don’t know exactly how I would feel if I cheated on my W and then she cheated on me, but imagine that it would not be the same as how I felt after having been faithful to her for over 20 years and then coming face to face with an EA.

            LOAF, I have also enjoyed many of your posts as well. Hope things are getting better for you. Take care.

            • livingonafence

              HM, I think you’re correct – if I’d cheated way back when I probably would have more understanding of what he did AND i’d be able to say to myself “well, I did it too, so…” I think resisting temptation for so long and then seeing them just give in so seemingly easily is another thing that causes pain – I felt him worth enough not to do it, and he didn’t view me the same.

              Things have been better for a while, but thanks. It’s a strange thing that’s actually been a recent topic in the higher healing forum – the posts here on the blog are more raw, more recent, more pain. It has a way of dragging one back to that time in their own head. I’ve made a commitment to NOT let that happen anymore – just did this in the last day or so – because it is helpful for those that are very new to this to see someone farther along.

              Somehow you manage to not be dragged into that time machine – good for you!

            • Healing Mark

              LOAF. That is exactly why I get on this site now and then. And understand that I did for some time get dragged into that time machine time and time again. Just got tired of it and with the benefit of time and a few other things, I finally got the strength to push such thoughts out of my head before they could affect me.

    • Gizfield

      I guess my version of”forgiveness” for myself is feeling disgusted by my actions, and not continuing to do them.cheating seemed like such a loser thing to do, even at the time. Lucky me, I was caught between an abusive, alcoholic loser and a cheating, pathological liar loser. No wonder I couldn’t choose… I always did feel that God forgave me because I felt my actions were wrong and I didnt repeat them. I am not even sure how you would forgive yourself.

    • Gizfield

      H Mark, I’m certainly not surprised by your response, but trust me, I have suffered plenty in my life. I guess you missed the whole “married to an abusive, alcoholic thing”. I was totally unprepared for that and dont wish it on anyone. I can’t help whether you believe I didnt do it again or not. Trust me, one of the “revenge fantasies” that goes through your head when you are betrayed is “hey, I could do this myself”. I didnt and dont plan to. Like I said, you can’t change the past. It was outside my value set at the time and now. I do stand by my statement that most Cheaters will not feel as bad as the Betrayed in most cases. I’m not trying to defend it, I’m just saying most of them won’t. I’m not trying to defend what I did cause there is no defense for it.

      • Healing Mark

        Can’t respond to your next post, but before I retire, just want to say that I’m sorry for the “abusive, alcoholic thing” but, stil, don’t go cheating. That said, I love most all of your posts so I wanted to give you a bit of a playful “jab” although it’s hard for this to play out well given the medium of communication. Keep providing all of us with your great insights and thoughtful commentaries. And do not hold against me the fact that I chose to stick a poke your way. Trust me, I’ve had a few thrust my way, and it’s all cool.

        Good night and have a great weekend.

      • livingonafence

        This is exactly what I’m saying. Thank you Gizfield for being honest and providing an example.
        The CS looks at the events and says “I shouldn’t have done that”, accepts they screwed up and moves on. It’s like wishing they had bought a different car or not put up with a crappy boss. They want a ‘do-over’, but like every other event we all wish we didn’t do, they can’t have one. It isn’t that traumatic by itself.

        Being caught, that’s traumatic. That forces a boatload of emotions to the surface because they have to deal with the fact that their selfishness caused so much pain, turmoil and drama, and they have to just live knowing ther BS has a much lower opinion of them than before they cheated. The BS is devastated and the CS is now a lowlife. THAT is traumatic, and they feel awful for hurting the BS, but the actual cheating? It isn’t that painful. It was, in fact, fun. That’s why they did it, right? They know it was wrong so there’s a bit of guilt, but the sorrow is for the pain they caused and self pity for volunteering to be forever viewed as someone that can’t be trusted 100% and has limited integrity. THAT hurts them because they can’t fix it.

        The BS was blindsided, ignored, lied to, and cast aside for someone else. Nothing was self inflicted. Their entire foundation was ripped to shreds. The CS snuck around, lied, had fun, received and gave sexual and loving attention, had their ‘secret’, and then was caught. Think about this honestly – does ANYONE actually believe the CS feels worse than the BS? Does ANYONE think the effects of the affair will be worse for the CS?

        I’ll go back to my rape analogy – even if the rapist is terribly sorry for what he did, does anyone think he feels worse than the person he attacked? And what about the lifelong scar? Is he carrying it? Is he afraid to be alone or to go outside? Is he worried that he did something to deseve this? Will he forever feel vulnerable and unsafe? No, he simply feels bad for an act he perpetrated. He gets to consciously think “I should never have done that. That’s not hte kind of person I want to be and I’ll never do that again.” and move on with his life having learned a lesson about himself. She gets to be afraid forever, wondering if she’ll be attacked again. She gets to relive the events over and over. She’s had her view of the world changed for the worse, forever. She feels ugy, unsafe and unlovable. She feels like she did something wrong and is constantly searching for what she could have done differently. She can’t get her emotions in check. She can’t focus on anything. She feels very alone and isn’t sure she won’t feel this way forever. She knows there was no one there to protect her and that she cannot depend on anyone to take care of her. ]

        Tell me, does anyone really think the rapist will ever feel as badly as the rape victim? Does anyone really think the CS will ever feel as badly as the BS?

        The feelings aren’t even comparable. One person went out and did whatever they wanted, and in hindsight thinks they shouldn’t have done that and wonders what kind of person they are. The other was attacked from seemingly out of the blue and is forever damaged on some level.

    • Gizfield

      Oh, I didnt answer the last part of the question, Healing Mark. How have I brought my experience to the current affair? Well, I realize sometimes people are so lost they dont know what to do. They dont see a way out of their problem so they do something stupid. I realize that their really is “false love”, that it can control you while you feel it, and that it can disappear without a trace in the blink of an eye. I dont think there is anything “special”about affair partners, myself included. You pretty much attach yourself to someone who matches your level of pathetic ness. I believe you can think someone it’s the life of your life, your soulmate, etc. and be completely wrong. I think you can totally forget these false loves, not this business that if you see them on the street you will fal l totally and madly in love with them against your will. That is why most Cheaters want to move on, because they want nothing to do with their past “love”.

    • Gizfield

      Healing mark, thanks for your comments. I am glad youhave enjoy ed some of my posts. I’m not sure what you meant about WOW on the latest ones but they were pretty intense. I absolutely hate adultery in anyone, especially myself .I see things much more clearly after the passage of so many years. I thought it was wrong before hand.did it anyway. Verified to myself it was wrong and vowed not to repeat. So really there was not much else left to do. Once you examine every excuse you have for doing something and reject them all, it’s over in your mind. As long as you rationalize or are wishy washy, it is not over. I can be objective because I have none of those feelings. I am GUILTY AS CHARGED.no doubt about it. I only hope my input can help others make sense of their own situation in some way :~)

    • Gizfield

      LOaf, I’m glad my comments were helpful. I agree with exactly what you are saying. I know honesty can be brutal, especially if you are putting your own self in a bad light, but really I think it can be helpful to others who have questions. Like, exactly how bad do cheaters feel? Now at least you know how one feels. I dont really believe in karma, but I do believe God has some lessons he wants us to learn. Some will, some wont. Self knowledge is about the best punishment you can get. In my opinion at least.

    • Gizfield

      “nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron I saw this on facebook this morning and really liked it. I wondered What is it that I need to be taught that I haven’t learned yet? I know not to cheat, but I think my idea of what LOVE really is was off. I am in the process of working on this right now. In the past it was all about looks, or sex, or romance, or fun, our happiness or whatever it is that Hollywood and books make you think it is. I always thought it was so stupid when I heard dr. Phil say something like Love is an action, not an emotion, or Relationships based on physical attraction will eventually fail. Then I saw the movie Fireproof and I thought This is what I want, not the crap I have had in the past. Marriage is to help you grow spiritually and become your best, most mature self by loving another imperfect person.. That is such a great concept. I know some people are not into religion but The Love Dare book has totally very changed my perception of what love really is. It is broken into 40 days, each has a scripture about love, an essay, and a related activity, plus a journal area. I read some article by a therapist on how Romance as the ideal is harmful to marriage and love and I tend to agree.

    • Gizfield

      Healing Mark, let me clarify, I did not cheat on my husband then he later did it to me. I cheated on my first husband, who died 13 years ago. I have been married to my current husband 9 years and he was the cheater.

    • Serena

      Gizfield,
      I’ve been reading on this site for awhile and have learned a great deal from your posts. However, I’m with Healing Mark on this one. WOW. Regardless that it was your first husband and not your current one is beside the point. You were a cheater. Many of your posts reflect how horrible you think cheaters are, but yet, you were one too. Isn’t that the definition of a hypocrite? I’m sorry you were in a bad marriage, but the fact that your first husband was an ‘abusive alcoholic’ shouldn’t be relative. You were married and you still chose to cheat. At two different times (with the same man).

      And yes, that is your past. You cannot change it. And in no way am I dismissing the pain you are experiencing now (as the BS). As a fellow BS, I know the pain involved. I guess I’m not sure the point I am trying to make…..only to say that I get tired of some of the people on this site (not necessarily you) being so self-righteous about how horrible the cheaters are. I’m sorry, but EVERYONE screws up in life….regardless of the ‘offense’ they do.

      I hope you have forgiven yourself for your past mistakes….and I truly hope you find forgiveness and peace in your current situation.

    • chiffchaff

      My H admitted this weekend that he doesn’t like me reading this blog, still. I never read it when he’s around but recently our computer has been playing up and exiting some pages hasn’t worked. I could sense he was twitchy when he saw these pages still here so I asked him and he said that he didn’t like it because it indicated that I still had some concerns about ‘us’ and ‘him’.
      It’s interesting, and following Gizfield’s comments above, that CSs really do seem to move on about their affair differently. It’s clear that my H thinks that I shouldn’t have any concerns now, which presumably means he feels settled again with me and no longer thinks of escaping to the promised land of the OW.
      It did make me wonder why I still visit the blog and I think it’s partly because I have lots of unanswered questions but I know some of those questions do not need answering because they probably can’t be answered by him. It’s all the ‘why’ questions. Why, when we get on so well now and experience so much joy together did he have to do what he did with someone else. I will never understand. It is like PTSD.
      This blog helps me to continue thinking and reviewing the past 12 months. I can recognise change in myself and in my H, but I never want things to go back to how they were. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that as I stand on the brink of feeling truly close to my H again I am too scared of him to let go. He will never understand just how much he hurt me by what he did and I believe that if I hadn’t discovered it when I did he would still be doing it now.

    • Gizfield

      Serena, I think to be a hypocrite I would have to be either doing something myself and saying it was wrong for others, or saying it was wrong for everyone else but not me. I think pretty much I have included myself in any criticism of cheater I’ve made but I could be wrong. As far as something that happened 20 years ago being the same as it happening now, I dont agree, especially since it involved different people, but we are all entitled to our opinion. I will say this: if you have been in a domestic abuse situation, it is relevant to everything you do. It will mess you up more than you can imagine. You will not even RECOGNIZE the person you see in the mirror. I’m no psychologist but maybe Doug or linda can direct you to some research. I did not bring it up to excuse myself, I brought it up as an example that I think people who cheat are f’d up, whether they know or admit it or not. No exceptions, myself included.

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