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How do I forgive,

(98 Posts)
persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 13:46:42

Some years ago I posted here about my dh whom I suspected of having multiple inappropriate relationships with several of his colleagues. He always denied and made me feel I was going mad. However, eventually the truth came out. Even faced with the e-mails he tried to deny, but was eventually obliged to concede. It seems he needed the excitement of these relationships which I am fairly sure fell short of sexual intercourse. I suspect too that he did not discuss our relationship. I think he pretended to be single. He claimed he was a good husband as he provided well financially. He thought that what I did not know would not hurt me. He is a person who needs constant stimulation and variety at all times. Most things bore him quickly, I fear that includes me. However he is kind to me in most other respects. MH was enormously supportive, but told me to LTB. Relate feared he would never really change and gently suggested I leave him. Worn down by years of the situation and with compromised health, I was too fragile to lose not only the marriage, but all our lovely couples based social life, our couples based hobbies, our couples based holidays, my home, my standard of living , the base we provided for our adult children etc... It was suggested both by Relate and MH that I rebuild my own life. This I have done. I have my own friends, a part-time job, hobbies etc. I was even able to ask my dh how he would feel if I behaved as he did. I asked him why only one of us could have inappropriate relationships. He was horrified at the prospect. He has certainly scaled down his behaviour. He would say stopped. Frankly I no longer much care. I am not so afraid of losing everything although I do not welcome it. However, I do feel resentment and bitterness and often react unkindly and irritably to him. I hate the way I sometimes react. I dislike what I find myself saying. How do you forgive? I am unlikely to forget, but I want to forgive, or at least not react in the way that I do.

givemeaclue Mon 16-Dec-13 13:47:56

Why do you want to forgive? You sound very unhappy are you sure you wouldn't be better off without him?

EirikurNoromaour Mon 16-Dec-13 13:48:57

Unless he takes full responsibility you have no chance. Burying it under the carpet is not the same as forgiveness. I don't think I could forgive that.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 16-Dec-13 13:48:58

You can forgive far more easily from a distance than if you persist in keeping someone around as a daily reminder of their treatment of you.

wannabestressfree Mon 16-Dec-13 13:50:11

I think its too late for that tbh.
I think you are acting the way you are because you have successfully rebuilt your life and feel that the shackles of that relationship are falling away except for him...
You must have been married a long time and yet he denied you, I would be angry about that too.
I would revisit your decision to go it alone as I thin thats what you need to do.

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Mon 16-Dec-13 13:53:27

I'm not sure you can forgive someone who isn't sorry.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 14:12:05

So he denied and denied his cheating until you forced him to admit it, he then said he didn't have sex with them (this is 100% definitely a lie, I guarantee), he had no reaction to your sense of urt until you implied you could cheat too (ie until you mentioned something that would affect him, your feelings are irrelevant) you feel he did it because he was "bored" (nice), and you haven't mentioned anything he's done to show remorse or to repair the relationship. You can't forgive him because he doesn't want forgiveness. At best you are totally irrelevant to him, at worst he actively hates you. Either way he certainly doesn't love you. Sorry.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 14:48:23

I have no idea why you want to forgive. Absolutely none. He isn't sorry, he isn't going to really change.

You're staying with him for your own reasons, I think you might just have to accept that what you have isn't a real relationship but a bit of a facade that fulfills your social needs.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 14:50:54

Wow! Thank you for the replies. They make a lot of sense. I realise now he has never expressed regret. He refuses to discuss his inappropriate behaviour, asking why I am "dragging that up". He makes me feel bad about "spoiling the atmosphere". He never talks about emotions or anything difficult. He has been divorced before and his ex took the majority of the family assets, so he dreads a further divorce. That alone might curb his behaviour. He has a health issue now and that and the medication has calmed him down. He claims to love me, and does provide generously and willingly for me and our adult children when they need help. We are quite good friends. However I did suffer much humiliation and grief. Apart from being unable to forgive him, I am not unhappy. I think I am too old to face major changes.

givemeaclue Mon 16-Dec-13 14:52:58 are too young to consign yourself to this

Meerka Mon 16-Dec-13 14:53:20

Very difficult to forgive a lying hypocrite

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 14:53:34

Oh Folkgirl, I don't think the status quo simply fulfills my social needs. Because of a the state of the marriage, I really need my friends.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 14:59:21

But you don't need to be in a marriage to have friends!

Seriously, it would be difficult to begin with but give it a few months and you'd be a different person.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:00:04

You say his poor health "might curb his behaviour." Does that mean he's still behaving inappropriately?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:01:18

Besides, his behaving being curbed because he is ill isn't the same as him not doing it because he doesn't want to.

Sorry, but it really doesn't sound like a marriage that I would want to be in.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:05:23

One of our friends got divorced and no longer feels she can join in the hobbies she and her now ex shared. Of course she is welcome, she just feels awkward and inappropriate. She is a lovely person, but has stopped her active social life. We try to involve her, but she no longer enjoys joining in. I don't want to be isolated. Why should I lose my friends and hobbies simply because my DH behaves as he does or did.
However, I have always felt guilty about not being able to forgive. Thanks to your clear replies, I will stop that at once.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:06:56

But that was your friend's choice. She wasn't pushed out. You could make a different choice.

Your husband, quite frankly, is a dick.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:09:20

It sounds like your self esteem is on the floor and no wonder given the way you've been treated. You can make a better life for yourself but it will be hard. It's totally up to you. If you choose to stay things are very unlikely to improve.

CailinDana Mon 16-Dec-13 15:11:21

The fact that he has treated with you with such contempt and still you are the one who feels guilty shows just how much this marriage has damaged you.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:17:37

I agree, I'm not sure I can even get my head round why you would feel you should forgive, let alone want to!

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:21:27

CailinDana, He doesn't consider that he treated me with contempt. He believed that what I didn't know couldn't hurt me. I don't think he intended to hurt me, or for me to find out. He believes that anything short of actual intercourse is not infidelity. Well he did until I asked if he minded if I behaved as he had. I think he is sorry I got hurt. I'm not at all certain he regrets his behaviour, or that he has stopped completely. I think at worst it is light flirtation. Who cares? My hurt is long exhausted. I am done with the pain. I have moved on. But I don't want to turn bitter. I am not irritable with anyone else except him. I always heard that failure to forgive hurt the person unable to forgive most. I want to forgive to stop behaving in ways I don't like. Does that make any sense?

Jan45 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:25:29

So if I am reading this right, he cheats and will still cheat, you asked him why only one of you are allowed to cheat and he has now scaled down his extra marital affairs. Sorry but this is not a husband or a partner, it's a man who wants the life of a bachelor but still have the benefits of a domestic wife and all that entails.

Sorry but it looks to me like you are staying purely out of money, i.e., a high standard of living, oh, and hobbies - sorry but if he loved you he wouldn't be looking for shags elsewhere and if you really loved him I don't think you'd settle for this. I know I wouldn't but it's up to you, what happens next time you find him out cos you do know it will continue, right?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:28:23

Why is this all about what he thinks? It's all very him-centric.

Do you think he treated you with disrespect?
Do you feel hurt by his actions?
Do you think what he did was infidelity, even if it did fall short of intercourse?

No it doesn't make sense. None of it makes sense. You can't forgive someone if they are still in your life doing what they did and not accepting that what they did was wrong.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 15:30:06

You aren't going to get any advice on how to forgive because this is an utterly ridiculous situation.

I'm sorry to be harsh, really, but I really want you to see just how wrong this is. You're only going to get one life and this is it.

persephone2013 Mon 16-Dec-13 15:32:14

Jan45, I think you may be right in that he did want the life of a bachelor and the benefits of a wife. Now I think his behaviour is much modified, and having faced the real risk of us parting, he appreciates our marriage more. But he will not talk about such things.

I stayed because I simply couldn't face all the losses that not staying would have entailed. He is very sociable, popular and fun. Without him I would be isolated. I hoped that I could rebuild my life and then consider the future.

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