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Question: how do you forgive?

(45 Posts)
TheRedBaron Mon 21-May-18 22:20:21

I'm wondering how to forgive my DH. He's done some things that I just can't move past, even though I'd like to. I think I'm past it all and it just rears its head up and we're back to square one. So in general terms, and regardless of what a person has done, how do you forgive and move on? Is it something they have to do? Something I have to do? Has anybody managed it and can give any advice? Accepting it has happened and can't be changed, and understanding why that person acted the way they did, must be part of it right? But also remorse, and trusting the person won't do it again is also important I guess.

Singlenotsingle Mon 21-May-18 22:25:51

Of course it's important. Is he sorry? Has he promised it won't happen again? We can say we forgive, and maybe on an intellectual level we do, but deep in our heart it won't happen unless we know we can trust there not to be a repetition of the behaviour.

TheMonkeyMummy Mon 21-May-18 22:27:00

Surely more clarification is needed here?

However, without details, I guess it boils down to this.

Do you love DP? Do you want DP in your life?

If the answer is yes, then you have to get over it. If no, you know what to do...

ChevalierTialys Mon 21-May-18 22:34:02

Sadly I have no advice to give OP, but for my own situation (also struggling to forgive and move past something DP's done) am following the responses you recieve with interest. flowers hope you are ok.

Annon54103 Mon 21-May-18 22:35:55

I am in the exact same situation, I want to forgive my other half for something bad that he done and I tell him I have forgiven him but deep down I don’t think I have and this is a year later.

My grandmother recently passed away and she had dementia, every day she would speak about how my grandfather was having an affair. He had an affair about 40 years ago and she had never let go of that, which is heartbreaking.

You could ask close friends for opinions and it might make u see things from different perspectives xx

sadiesnakes Tue 22-May-18 02:18:17

Following aswell, dh did something that's basically ruined my trust in him completely and lied to cover himself. I can't trust him at all and it's ruined everything. I can't leave because of massive commitments but I'm so angry and sad over it and just can't forgive no matter how I try rationalize it. It actually feels like a nightmare because he's not the man I thought he was. It's been 15 months now.

Monty27 Tue 22-May-18 02:23:44

It would depend what it was I was to forgive.

Puffycat Tue 22-May-18 02:24:44

I reckon forgiveness is just a feeling. You do or you don’t, listen to your guts.
If you can look at that person and feel “yeah you fucked up but we can work through this “ fine, but if you you look and think “you total bastard” I think maybe it’s time to move on

Skiingkangaroo1 Tue 22-May-18 02:57:49

I don't think you can choose to forgive exactly, if your husband has done things that you can't forgive then that's not your fault! You may want to forgive, but if in time you still can't then you have to decide whether it's important enough to divorce or separate. Don't live your life damaged by his misdemeamors.

JellyBean31 Tue 22-May-18 06:47:06

I once heard it spoken about as a kind of baggage. Whatever this issue is you are carrying it with you on a daily basis... Who is it hurting? You? Your DP?

Is his day to day life affected by you not being able to forgive? Is he bothered by it unless you argue about it?

If you are the only person being hurt, and you are certain he is sorry and its a situation that won't be repeated, you can simply chose not to carry it around anymore.

When I practised this, it did work but it was his actions in a 1 off situation that was never going to happen again that I was struggling to forgive. Years later when he cheated, this was no use.... But then he wasn't really sorry!!

ijustwannadance Tue 22-May-18 06:56:26

I'm not sure I could forgive or pretend I had.
My mental health would suffer too much holding it all in.
I would never truely believe they were sorry. It would just be words to make me shut up about it.

Also depends what it is.

Nellia Tue 22-May-18 08:22:46

You change your interpretation of the word forgiveness.

You do not forgive to lift the burden off the other person to some how let them off the hook.

You forgive to take away the burden you feel.
To know that the act was on them not you and as such the anger hurt and pain you feel is something weighing you down that you have to let go off to make you feel better. Ask yourself how carrying that pain serves you.
Focus on yourself and your mental wellbeing and what makes you feel good not the other persons wrong doing.
If you see what I mean.

However being able to trust that person again is on them to prove they are worthy of being held in good esteem by you.

That is their burden to carry not yours.

Equally whether you forgive them or not is not their concern because they are not the one carrying the pain you are.

mmmccccccxxx Tue 22-May-18 08:33:56

I think there is a point when you have decided to stay with someone you have to move on otherwise why stay?

You may need counselling or just a husband whom cares and seems remorseful x

We have choices in life you have chose to stay with him if this is the case you then need to decide when you can draw a line of not you need to move on end the relationship or stop
Morning about it and change the relationship x

trickyboots Tue 22-May-18 13:41:29

Everything you said op. Also knowing that the relationship has changed. He's no longer a person that "wouldn't hurt you like that". It's ok not to reach a perfect place of forgiveness- maybe time is the only vehicle for that. It resurfacing due to various triggers sounds normal- he needs to work with you on those triggers and convince you it won't happen again. I'm presuming affair- but in my situation, my dh hurt me by disregarding my feelings and acting like a horror over a certain period of difficulty. I do love him but when I'm reminded of it- it does still piss me offs

crazyhead Tue 22-May-18 14:31:23

I sometimes feel that the idea of having to 'get over' things is wrong.

I wonder if betrayal is sometimes a bit like grief and bereavement - it's a big loss and the experience doesn't go away exactly - you might always have those lurching moments where is comes back to you - but your life grows around it and it becomes less of a big deal over time.

I suppose then the question is, whether your life is able to grow in this relationship, or whether (a bit like grief can be) you are stuck?

OverTheHedgeHammy Tue 22-May-18 14:35:58

The question is, do you trust him to not do it again? I mean, really and truly trust him. If he faced the same situation again, would he act like he did the last time, or would he not do that (whatever 'that' was) again?

If you don't trust him to do the right thing, then I'm not sure you could ever truly forgive him.

Thewhale2903 Tue 22-May-18 14:41:11

I am going to presume that most people here are talking about their OH having an affair. Personally I don't think that's something that can ever be forgiven and it will niggle away and ruin the relationship.
How do you forgive that and move on? I wouldn't imagine that anyone that's says they have is being completely honest with others or themselves.

Mannix Tue 22-May-18 14:42:32

You know the phrase ‘forgive and forget’? Sometimes I think that the forgetting part is more important than the forgiving part. So if you think about whatever he did, and it still makes you say to yourself “that was an awful thing to do” - maybe that doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t think about it very often. You’ve both accepted that it was a terrible thing, and maybe you’ll never forgive him in the sense of saying “it’s ok that you did that”, but you move on from it and it doesn’t bother you on a day to day basis.

You could describe the above approach as denial or sticking your head in the sand or whatever, but I think it’s about staying sane and not hurting yourself by going over it again and again inside your head.

Of course, this does assume that he’s worth forgiving in the first place. It can also be empowering to acknowledge to yourself that you don’t have to forgive him.

ravenmum Tue 22-May-18 15:10:43

a) you have to want to forgive him


b) you have to know why you want to forgive him, and it has to be a bloody good reason - one that you are truly convinced by. So that when the subject comes up, all you have to do is think of that reason and it shoots those negative thoughts down.

Headupshouldersback Tue 22-May-18 15:27:14

Hi, this is basically my life now.
I’m 2 years past my husband of 23 yrs having a six month online EA with the woman he left his first wife for.
She got in touch after 27 years (thanks fb)
and they spent 6 months chatting and sharing their day etc.
When I discovered it, it devastated me.
We had been very happily married.
He is very remorseful and cut her off completely, explaining that I was his world.
But the pain this has caused me is overwhelming.
I still obsess over this woman. I feel I cannot compete with her and it has spoiled everything.
I wish everything could be like before but I’m reminded of it all the time and I have terrible relapses.
It’s basically fucked up my mental health, damaged my confidence and removed my feeling of security and I’m not sure I can ever forgive him for that.

Babdoc Tue 22-May-18 15:35:13

Forgiveness has to be earned, not given for free. The absolute basic prerequisite is that the sinner has to genuinely repent. If your DH is not truly sorry, and you know he would do the same again if he could get away with it, then you are under no obligation to forgive.
However, if he has repented, and is doing all he can to re-establish your trust, there is a duty (at least for Christians, it may be different for atheists or other faiths) to do your best to forgive.
Only you know which category your DH is in!

Paperdoll16 Tue 22-May-18 15:37:23

So many interesting points raised in this thread.

Totally agree with the baggage analogy jellybean I actually think that's such a good interpretation of being able (or not) to overcome such betrayal. It's a shame the one who has been deceived is the one that usually carries that 'baggage' daily, with the decider only being affected when it's thrown back in their face.

isthismylifenow Tue 22-May-18 15:45:04

Ah forgiveness, my old friend.

Firstly, if it is something new and fresh, you cannot expect to forgive right away. It takes time. Longer for some. Its not just something like waking up one day two weeks later and saying, right today is the day I deal with this. It doesn't really work like that. Firstly you have to deal with the issues relating to the thing that caused the issue. Processing it.

For me, I would would say its a mindset. You have to be ready to forgive. And no, you will never forget. Not something that has hurt you this deeply. But, as they say, time is a healer. But you will never forget it.

I am in the process too. I think I am close. How I think about it is, do I want to live forever with this hanging over me? Is it doing me any good overthinking this? Would my life be easier if I wasn't holding this resentment? As I know, that the person who I need to forgive doesn't feel the same. The above points don't apply to him.... he has done what they have done and moved on from it. Its only ME sitting here holding onto all this grief. And grief is exactly what it is. Grief isn't just about death, its a loss. Of trust, of your spirit, anything that has been lost because of that action.

So, yes you can forgive. But only when you are ready to do so.

Murane Tue 22-May-18 15:57:33

Depends what it is you're forgiving. If it's just stupidity or meanness then you have to realise you love this person and that's the most important thing, and you're not perfect either. If you're trying to forgive cheating then don't bother - imo once that trust is broken you can't get it back, and if someone cheats on you they obviously don't love you anyway.

There's a saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Don't give someone the opportunity to fool you twice.

ravenmum Tue 22-May-18 16:01:09

I didn't forgive my ex's affair, and he wasn't interested in being forgiven anyway. It's four years ago now and I still occasionally have moments (usually when stressed) when I go over the crap he did and rant about it in my head. As we are not together, you might think I don't have to deal with him not being a person that "wouldn't hurt you like that". But actually I am still coming to terms with that, as it was a shock. And I have had to totally rethink my ideas about what people are like, and what relationships are like, as I now believe that anyone might have an affair, and there's no-one you can trust not to do that.

So I've had to learn to trust and hope that if another partner has an affair they will at least do it less nastily. Or that they will be honest and leave me if they don't want to be with me. I can't trust that they won't want someone else as I no longer believe in that. Maybe that is your problem, that you are trying to make yourself believe something you don't? How about trying to work out how to live with your new beliefes instead?

It takes time to juggle all the new information and work out how to process all the new thoughts.

Can you sit down with your husband and talk about what's going through your head? Ask him how he thinks he would come to terms with things in your situation? How he sees relationships now?

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