Moving forward and working towards forgiveness

ImageMy husband is asleep next to me right now. He had a long day… a good day but a long one. I can hear him breathing heavily and it makes me feel safe. 

Last night I asked him to read JR’s Rock Bottom written by fellow blogger and Glitter Girl, Kayboo24. I asked my husband to read the post because I wanted him to see that his feelings of self-hatred and loathing were both normal and unhealthy for our marriage. I’ve asked him to move forward and forgive himself. It’s possible to hate the behavior without hating the man. I see that JR’s struggle to forgive himself is the same issue plagues my husband. 

My husband read the post and agreed, saying that he feels exactly the same as JR. He hates himself, he feels like he doesn’t deserve me and questions why I stay with him. He loves me and wants me here but he feels like I am forgiving the unforgivable. I wanted to discuss it more with him but then he did something unexpected. 

My husband began clicking around until he was brought to my blog. I silently watched him scan my posts… reading the initial sentences before deciding to click on my recent post A letter to myself, a betrayed wife. He began reading and I felt my eyes well up. A tear fell from my eye and I realized I was emotional because I felt he was reading something so personal in my presence. I know he randomly reads my blog but not on a regular basis. I think he is afraid of what he will read. Afraid that reading my pain or even hopeful words will cause him more guilt and pain. I tell him what I write about in my posts but that is very different from him reading it. And it’s very different watching him read it in front of me. 

He read through a few posts. Slowly. Taking in the words but not speaking. Not looking upset or angry or guilty. He just read. I had a load of laundry that needed folding so I got up and started doing the laundry. Once he finished he had to go and make a fruit salad for a breakfast the next day at work. When he came back to bed I was half asleep. I felt him get into bed and kiss me. I felt his hand caress my body, bringing me close to him, kissing me deeply and passionately. I felt my hips pull in close to him. Our evening ended wrapped up in each other, making love… 

The thing is I plan to write him a post soon too. A letter to my husband. I plan to write it soon. I don’t want to focus on the pain on this journey, but I also cannot ignore it either. But this post is my promise to move forward. To take steps towards change and hope every day and every moment. 

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11 thoughts on “Moving forward and working towards forgiveness

  1. My husband couldn’t read my blogs in the beginning because he was dealing with his own pain and he couldn’t bear to read about mine. Now he reads everyone of them and asks me if I’ve written one. Once he realized I think that I was healing and he wasn’t being bashed it was easy for him to start. Blessings!

    • I think it was helpful for him to see that I am moving forward. That I do feel hopeful. And he should see that there is still pain inside me and how I am learning to not let it control my mind as much anymore.

      I actually would like him to write for himself. He’s written a few things on his computer but nothing for public viewing yet.

  2. My husband struggles with this too & wrote about it a few months back. On one hand, I’m happy he’s hurt & feels the pain of what he’s done. On the other, in order for us to move forward, he needs to forgive himself. It’s a tough balancing act.

  3. I feel the two of you moving in to a better place. It is weird and I do not know how else to explain it. It is a feeling in what you write, but yet not really the words. I would say you are half way through the muck, keep going, you will be on the other side one day. Life is to short to be anything but happy:)

  4. My husband also struggles with self forgiveness. He tells me he feels deep shame anytime the things he’s done are brought up. The thing is him forgiving himself is not my problem or my responsibility. I’m not going to be his codependent wife anymore, I did that for years and it did not work out well for me, or for him. I’m not going to tiptoe around pretending like I’m okay so he does not feel bad about what he’s done. His recovery and self forgiveness are between him and God.

    The thing that gets me is that lesser crimes are punishable by law. If I stole a camera from Wal-Mart I’d be arrested and face fines and possible jail time, yet Wal-mart as a whole wont suffer. My husband stole 7 years of my life, he took the most valuable thing I had, my time. He broke my heart in the process and gave me two sexually transmitted diseases to boot. How in the hell is that not a punishable crime?

    If he can ever forgive himself great, if not its his issue. His bigger problem is gaining my forgiveness because that’s what he really wants.

  5. Gezz.. I should have added that I’m in a wretched mood this morning! Sorry!!!

    I’m so glad you and your H are moving into a better place. I think it’s beneficial when they read the blog written by their betrayed wife. My H reads most of my post as well.

    • I hear you. I hope your mood improved as the day went on! 🙂

      I think it’s a fine line between letting him absorb the pain he’s caused and supporting him to move forward. At this point, I feel like my husband will have the same reaction and struggle as JR if he cannot forgive himself. I don’t believe that forgiveness means to condone or even accept the behavior. I think it will allow him an emotional release from his self-contempt. When he gets to the point where he can offer himself forgiveness, he can reclaim what he values most in himself and have a greater understanding of who he is and why he acted the way he did.

  6. I have a similar feeling and experience – I love my husband even through the pain I see that my husband even though he does not express it has his own guilt and pain!

    • Yes, I think men struggle to express their emotions anyhow. But then you add in the fact that they caused us (their wives) pain and then they feel like their pain and guilt is permanent. Moving forward means growing stronger. We cannot grow stronger if they are stuck in their guilt. Guilt does not mean taking responsibility either.

  7. While our husbands must forgive themselves, feeling shame is a good thing. It is the ones who don’t feel shame that are the problem. In 1984, my husband left his first wife when he had an affair with a woman who was a complete lunatic. He was not in love with his first wife, merely infatuated when he got married, rather young at the time. He left her for a worse relationship, not thinking at the time, just acting on impulse, which is what he did when he married her in the first place. And he never felt shame.
    I thought it was different with us. And it was. But my husband still flirted with other women, and it really bothered me. He thought it was harmless, that he would never have another affair, and that it was just the way he was.
    Well, two years ago, (my husband and I had been together almost 25 years at the time) a woman flirted back in a big way, and pursued him. After allegedly “learning” from his first marriage, he would not let it get physical, but he became completely infatuated with her, and the two began a very intense emotional affair. He even told the woman he loved her, and she said she loved him, and basically wanted him to leave his marriage for her. When I asked him what the f*&k was going on, he sugar coated the extent of it, but agreed to end it immediately. He was in the heat of the whole infatuation thing in his own head, so it was not that simple, but he got over her pretty quickly, and realized he was never in love, merely infatuated in a big way. Nonetheless, he stopped having contact with her, and we started working on repairing our marriage.
    THIS TIME, he felt shame and remorse. Not immediately, but soon, and he was glad to feel it because he should feel shame and remorse for the damage he did to our marriage. Two years later, everything between is the best it has ever been. We are more in love than ever, and he has finally grown up, and no longer flirts at all. But he has to go through those feelings of shame and remorse, then forgiveness, and so does your husband. It sounds like you are on the right track. Give it time. It will take a long time to heal, but it keeps getting better. I am still looking forward to the day when I don’t think about my husband’s emotional affair at all. It just hurts much less now, and I pull myself into the present moment, and am grateful that we are where we are as a result of the hell we went through.

    • This comment really hit home for me. My husband also has an issue with “flirting” or complimenting other women. He is in an industry where he feels that he must develop relationships with his clients–and this goes for both men and women. He never saw it as an issue because there is no emotion behind the compliment. But, his AP was a desperate housewife who preyed upon him. She took his compliments to mean that he was interested in her–why else would he remember little nuances about her or ask her how things were going? He says he thought of her little more than any other female associate or client. Yet, she pried into him enough to realize he was insecure about something and she preyed upon what she found. This has been an ongoing conversation between us–about what is appropriate and what makes ME feel uncomfortable.
      Thank you. This entire comment was so helpful to me.

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