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Old 30th September 2012, 02:32 PM   #1
moggie1502
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I just can't forget!

I have not visited the site for some time now but am still in need of some advice. I discovered just over two years ago that my husband of 38 years cheated on me while on a family visit abroad. The affair is long over and to this day he still doesn't know why he did it and why he risked everything for what has since amounted to mean nothing whatsoever. He was, and still is, deeply regretful and is now overall a much more loving and attentive partner. We decided to try and put it behind us and move on and generally speaking that is what we have done and life is pretty good. I had a year of counselling and accepted the fact that it did happen and I don't regret our decision to stay together. However my problem is that I just cannot seem to forget or forgive what he did to me and that as more time goes by and the more 'normal' life becomes, the harder it is for me to understand why it ever happened in the first place. Never a day goes by when I don't think about it in some way or another and I cannot seem to get it out of my head. He has been totally honest and open with me, we have discussed everything and I don't have a problem regarding trust etc. so why do I still feel like this?
There are times when I seriously think there is something wrong with me and I should be able to deal with it all much better that I am as I know deep down that things could be a whole lot worse. Can anyone out there relate to any of this and give me some advice and help.
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Old 30th September 2012, 07:33 PM   #2
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Dear Moggie,
Yes, there is something terribly wrong with your thinking/feeling after all these years. It is the same old problem that crops up in those who have never thought themselves to be in need of any forgiveness.

Is there nothing in your own life that would point to a need for a Saviour regarding your own human condition? If so, we must learn to forgive and forget the sins that others commit against us just as we are in need to be forgiven too. We all fall short of God's Glory and He has reached out to us to save us from sins that we dont even realize we are doing sometimes. We are fallen creatures, and the only remedy is through Jesus Christ and His sacrafice given on the Cross for us. It is then that we learn to forgive those who repent...and even those who are unaware of the need to do so.

You are on a path of destruction as long as you do not find a way to let it all go. How can you expect God to forgive you of your sins and shortcomings, both great and small, when you are not doing the same for someone who obviously has repented decades ago?

The "help" you received probably never touched on this fact...or if they did, they were not able to convince you that if it were not for the Grace of God, we would all be in big trouble on some level.

Kindest Regards

Last edited by Forever; 1st October 2012 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 30th September 2012, 09:35 PM   #3
chosen
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Re: I just can't forget!

I tend to disagree. A terrible betrayal like this takes ages to get over. 2 years is nothing. Its still very fresh and painful. This is why so many just cant get over it and end the marriage, because trust is so hard to regain once it has been broken. However you have chosen to stay and that is brilliant, but dont expect to be over it so soon. A lady that I got to know quite well on another fourm found out about an affair that her husband had. It was once off sex with a customer of his. It was about 4 or 5 years before she was able to begin to let it go and trust again. She was devastated and deeply hurt, and she struggled and struggled to be able to trust him again, and many times felt like giving up, but she didnt, and as time passed it did get better.Dont be so hard on yourself.Your marriage was shattered, and painstakingly putting it back together again takes a lot of time.
Try not to dwell on it too much though, but week by week and month by month it will gradually get better and better.
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Old 1st October 2012, 01:00 AM   #4
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Hi Chosen,
Apparently she said she has NOT lost trust...which means she is still dwelling on the "why's" of something that happened ages ago, not something that just happened two years ago...that is when she actually found out. Her husband has proven himself to be trust worthy over many years since that time, so it is not as if she tends to think that he might repeat that same mistake.

Her problem is with forgiving as she has stated. Moving on in the marriage would require that to happen, and then to put it to rest in her heart and mind...but she cant. What is she to do? She elected to stay because he is a better husband than he was way back then when he did the deed, so she weighed all that into her decision to remain in the marriage.

Playback is haunting her and it is the devil himself at work because she does not know how to battle her own mind and banish the enemy. That is what she needs help with here. Maybe someone can come up with something in just a word that can help, but it is simply a matter of telling herself the truth about the man he is now and has been for years whenever those thoughts pop up.

Remember the story in the Bible about the woman caught in adultery? The religious people brought her before Jesus expecting to be able to stone her to death and get His approval...which was customary and part of the law...before the idea of forgiveness abounded . But He said instead, "let those who are without sin cast the first stone". They all knew they were sinners...some in a bigger way than others...and ALL left the scene. I bet her husband was shocked to see her walk back through their front door rather than having to bury her body huh? And I bet her husband had to reconsider the reasons why Jesus Himself did not condemn her, but instead, told her to "go and sin no more".

Now I realize that this is difficult, but there is a way to overcome our tendency to hang on to the injuries of the past...and it is to keep telling ourselves the facts about the offenders repentance as well as to banish the thoughts as soon as they arrive on the scene in our mind. It can be done if we want to...unless we enjoy our righteous posturing and licking our wounds too much...I know it from personal experience.

So her choices are to "stone him" (as she likely already does in her heart from time to time), or forgive him and be finished with this chapter in her life. I suspect that if you give advise to go "easy" on herself for too much longer, she will develope a martyr complex, bitterness, and become cold and aloof at a time when she should be enjoying her future with him. There are women and men who take liberty in mulling over the past sins of their spouse, only to end up being surprised by their spouse becoming bitter for the lack of genuine love and affection that needed to be reciprocated.

Last edited by Forever; 1st October 2012 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 1st October 2012, 04:32 AM   #5
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Moggie,
I suspect that even if he gave you an answer for the reason why he fell into an affair, it would not stop the playback that is constantly happening in your mind over two years later after finding this out. What reason could possibly satisfy you and put this thing to rest?

He probably sees it as something totally out of character and stupid, reckless and shameful and he cringes when forced to look back...and the reason why he did it makes absolutely no sense to him today given his love and commitment to you.

Here is some practical advice that I did which may be of help to you:

I prayed and asked God to help me...because I was making myself sick and knew what I was risking to continue on the way I was about something that could not be changed. I was "impressed" to write down all the things I loved about my husband...all the good he does/did for me from simple little phone calls to say hi when he was at work, to refilling my empty glass, to fixing things around the house that he knew I would like done. I thought it would be a very short list since initially I could think of nothing because I was so hurt and angry, but I filled pages. After I finished, I re-read it and all the pain and anger left as if it were never there...until the devil brought his offenses back to my attention...usually if he managed to irritate me. So each time that happened, I took out the list and slowly read all the reasons why I loved the person he is and was trying to be, and I used that list until it happened no more.

That is the way I handled his unfaithfulness. What do you have to lose by giving this a try? A year of counseling did nothing but getting you to accept that it happened...but that still left you with many unanswered questions which you will never know the twisted reasoning to.

Are we defined entirely by our sins? Is there nothing redeemable about him to hang onto when the temptation to dwell on the distant past still plays in your head? The Bible tells us to be careful about letting bitterness take root...and after a year that is exactly what was happening to me, to the point that I would imagine killing him...is that where you want to go to or even to divorce over this?

That is all I have to offer to you and I hope you find peace of mind.

Last edited by Forever; 1st October 2012 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 1st October 2012, 07:33 AM   #6
chosen
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Re: I just can't forget!

Forever. This was also the case with that lady that I mentioned, She discovered his affair many years after it happened, but to her and to Moggie it is as if it happened just before they discovered it. There is also the difficulty that it has been hidden for so long, and that makes it even harder to deal with.
IT takes time, and even though I believe that forgiveness is vital for our own well being, it doesnt mean that you can just live as if it never happened and just get over it immediatly. As I said it took about 5 years in that other ladies case before she felt that she was past being fearful and was able to put it in the past, and even now she has the occasional wobble.
Two years is very recent in my opinion. Give it another two, and things will be a lot better. Maybe some more counselling will help also?
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Old 1st October 2012, 04:05 PM   #7
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Understood Chosen, it is as if it just happened two years ago when she found out...

I guess my point is that this does NOT have to go on for YEARS because there is a Biblical and practical remedy to employ. Moggie does not like the way she is feeling because she knows her husband does love her and has repented years ago...even without being "caught". Now, she is ensnared in the mental replay, but there IS a way out if she wants it.

Many divorce even when their spouse DOES repent...such as what is happening to SM's wife. It is the "replay" in the mind that can result in bitterness, coldness, loss of affection and equilibrium...and eventually the death of what could be a very good marriage. The devil takes advantage of the sensitive nature of this sin, all the while when we are supposed to battle the accompaning fall out...that is, IF we willing to continue on in the marriage. This is why Jesus warns us to forgive even up to seventy times seven. Her husband is NOT a serial adulterer and has repented years ago...not because he was "forced" to, but because he was ashamed for what he fell into and loves his wife. He did it all w/o her knowing and w/o all the drama that goes with this type of sin.

Moggie wants those feelings to STOP because she values the marriage! You cant help her employ strategies by telling her that it is likely going to take five years or even longer. Time alone does not heal some wounds...sometimes you have to be more proactive to accomplish that. Some people cannot take the mental pounding for that long and need a more practical remedy for the thoughts that go round and round in their mind. That is why she came back to the forum.

I find it interesting that Jesus wants/commands us to forgive (even if we toss the marriage)...yet we end up having to go directly to Him in order to be able to do it! That is what I did...and He came through for me in flying colors...and that is what I am trying to share with her. I would hate to see her buckle under the torment of the enemy when there is a solution.

She wanted to know if anyone here could "relate" and what they did to get out of the mental torture. Well, here I am...and I did it after a year of that kind of suffering. Telling her to give it a couple more years of mental/emotional torment is not what I think she came here for...as a matter of fact, she will keep doing that as long as someone cannot offer more than a bandaid...and the result of too much torment for too long may result in the loss of the marriage...which she says she wants to keep.

Then there is her husband. How long do you suppose he can withstand her inability to forgive him when he is in such desperate need of it? I have seen marriages end simply because the offending spouse thought it to be a mercy to end their wife's suffering by way of divorce as the only solution to give her a "fresh" start in life. Just ask SM.

Last edited by Forever; 1st October 2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 1st October 2012, 07:03 PM   #8
chosen
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Re: I just can't forget!

In my experience time is a good healer. I can only go by my own experiences of mental torture, and that what helped me. Some deep wounds take a lot of healing, just as if we had a deep physical wound. I think that If I was told that time does heal, it would give me hope, rather than me striving and stressing to do it myself. Of course God is the only one who can really heal those wounds completely.
I do agree that dwelling on things isnt helpful, and thinking of how far you have already come is.
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Old 1st October 2012, 09:03 PM   #9
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Agreed that time can be a great healer. But it depends on the situation. If you had thought that you had to stay with your Ex after what he did, time would have only made it worse. As it were, you kicked him to the curb straight away, divorced him, and started the healing process w/o him being in the household...and it was hard enough to do even that much given the nature of his offense.

She, on the other hand, wants to salvage the marriage and has to live with him in order to do that on a day by day basis. So she needs something more than just time to cope with this. That is why it is so important to give her practical remedies that she can turn to whenever the replay going on in her head begins...he did his part, now she must do more than just wait it out to succeed.

She can decide what will work for this situation...I only know what worked for me given that I wanted to forgive and forget while still remaining married.

Something else to consider...1aokgal. Her situation is likely never to change after twenty years. But she has held fast to the love, admiration and respect that she has for her husband even in the face of their issue. She could not have done that had she not paid special attention to his many loving qualities rather than allowing her mind to throw her into constant pity parties no? She took inventory of his love and did not throw out the baby with the bath water...and does not live a life of bitterness which would have surely ended their marriage. In other words, she lives a life of forgiving and there is a special place in Heaven for those who can do this. There are many others here who have done it both ways...divorcing, or else, employing practical remedies that saved their marriage. I think it is of utmost importance to figure out which one a person desires to do and then advise them to that end.

Last edited by Forever; 1st October 2012 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 09:23 AM   #10
chosen
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Re: I just can't forget!

Forever, had it been an affair I may have chosen to stay, but as it was something far worse even than that, I had no choice. Maybe you are right that is a bit easier without the husband around but it still took many years to get over it(if you ever completely do). Also on your own you can have the added burden of being a single parent with all that entails, and maybe loosing your home and income etc.

I am sure that your experiences will help her(and I pray that they do), but I still think that 2 years is nothing after such a betrayal. When there is cheating, the marriage is in effect destroyed, and needs to be started again from scratch. In fact its even harder than starting again, because you have broken that trust.
I dont want her to feel that there is something wrong with her because she isnt yet back to what she was before. THese things can tale a lot of time, but going by this other lady that I have been following, in almost identical circumstances, it can get better and I am thrilled to see her 'getting' there.
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Old 2nd October 2012, 01:22 PM   #11
Raymond
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Re: I just can't forget!

I think it is a spiritual battle as well and knowing how to deal with the playback in one's head. Forgiveness is a decision initially which seems to have happened. A christian will have the weapons to deal with this. What about someone who is not a christian. What advice would you give them?
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Old 2nd October 2012, 06:36 PM   #12
Forever
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Re: I just can't forget!

Good point Raymond! I was going to address that question but ran out of time.

Even an agnostic can sit down and make a list to take inventory of their spouse's love and good qualities. When playback begins, they can still refer back to that list as a reminder of the value which remains in the relationship and how it is enriching their lives...and what they have to lose by becoming bitter.

Not everyone is willing to try...but Moggie came back three times to this forum for help because she is still suffering and needing/wanting help to move forward. I do not know if she is a Christian, Buddist, Muslim, or Agnostic...but what does it matter? She can still employ the truth about her husbands repentance and love, even if she has a different faith or no faith at all...because these problems are common across the board for everyone of every belief since we all suffer from being in a human condition with the propensity to "sin" or betray each other.

It would be more helpful if she did have a faith of some sort...simply because the need to forgive is understood in all those who do have a faith. Even agnostics know from experience that one cannot do well in this life without a way to let the effects of transgressions (especially repented ones) come to an end before hatred and bitterness find a home in the heart.

Was the 38 years she shared with her husband so terrible that she has nothing to write down as a helpful reference? Is he skirting the issue and being arrogant about her pain? No.

So she must find a "rock solid" irrefutable point of reference about his remorse and the love he is trying to offer to cling to when these thoughts begin in order to combat them. IT WORKS!

Hi Chosen:
No, I do not want her to feel that there is anything "wrong" with her either. Just want her to know that these situations are common in the human condition and that there is a remedy that cuts short the suffering. Her feelings are quite normal, but can easily spiral out of control to the point of destroying her well being and the marriage itself. I would think we see this enough here, but too often we only offer sympathy rather than practical advice. SM's marriage could have been saved (as well as many others) if only their spouse could have been included in this forum. I think though, that some people would rather prefer to hang on to the offense rather than to take a good look at what they stand to lose on many different levels.

I know about your situation. I would have had to do the same in those circumstances...but Moggie wants to salvage the marriage and regain her feelings of respect and love for her husband. They both have a lot to lose if she cannot find a way to do that.

Last edited by Forever; 2nd October 2012 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 9th November 2012, 08:16 AM   #13
Lost
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Re: I just can't forget!

It's a shame that this forum has only one male poster and the rest are all females who are all excellent however.

Perhaps, men have a different perspective on "cheating" than us women?

I agree with chosen. Usually, people can forgive but they don't forget. I won't forget as to what happened.

My hubby was lying to this OW that he was single since 3 years ago. I spoke to this OW over the phone. She had two kids and had a long-term partner who doesn't live with her. I'm not sure if I "forgive" him just yet though I accepted that he had to do what he had to do. This woman now knows that he was lying all along. She said, "you are welcome to him". Well, I thought I was his Wife LOL it sounded as if she thought he was hers! lololol

Unfortunately, cheating seems to be extremely common as I looked at stats. In the present cultural climate where divorce isn't frowned upon and availability of accessible internet social, dating & porn sites (which allow people to "meet" so easily in secret), things are not going to change much. Just like Porn, you just won't win when husband decided to do as he wants or needs.

One off sex is much easier. Long-term "relationship" is completely another as there must be a huge emotional component for men to keep going back to the same woman over such a long time. This OW seems to think he belonged her!
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Old 9th November 2012, 08:46 AM   #14
Raymond
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Re: I just can't forget!

You are right Lost. It is part of the culture we live in now. Porn practically finds you if you are not careful. Movies are full of adultery and affairs. Do men have a different angle on cheating? I don't think so. Often it will be the wife who cheats as we have found out on here many a time.

As a man I believe in marriage and faithfulness otherwise I would not be on here.

Are you still living with your husband?

As for forgiveness I think it releases you from the past and from the person to go on and fully live. Forgetting is helpful in the sense of not being on continual playback which goes with forgiveness. Of course forgiveness does not justify the wrong but it will release you and if often the first step in healing.
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Old 9th November 2012, 10:26 AM   #15
chosen
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Re: I just can't forget!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond View Post
You are right Lost. It is part of the culture we live in now. Porn practically finds you if you are not careful. Movies are full of adultery and affairs. Do men have a different angle on cheating? I don't think so. Often it will be the wife who cheats as we have found out on here many a time.

As a man I believe in marriage and faithfulness otherwise I would not be on here.

Are you still living with your husband?

As for forgiveness I think it releases you from the past and from the person to go on and fully live. Forgetting is helpful in the sense of not being on continual playback which goes with forgiveness. Of course forgiveness does not justify the wrong but it will release you and if often the first step in healing.
MY husband too believes VERY strongly in complete faithfullness and the sanctity of marriage. At one time many many more men did cheat than women, but apparently when you compare men and women who both work now, its very even the numbers of wives to husbands who cheat. Its the opportunity I suppose and when women dont work there arent the opportunitues to meet guys. My brothers 2 ex wives both cheated. one 4 times with people she met through work. My husbands ex cheated with a work colleague. I know several other women who have cheated as well, as well as men, so sadly its not just a male preserve now. I suppose thats why it is even more common that ever because both sexes are at it.

Porn is so easily accessed now, and you do have to be morally strong and determined toresist temptation. As you say Raymond, films and tv programmes are full of sex and nudity. Sometimes I think it would be nice to go to the cinema, but I look and look and there just isnt a film on that doesnt have sex or bad violence. Most dramas after 9pm have the same. I often think that a drama looks good, but I can almost guarantee that there will be sex scenes in it, and DH refuses to watch anything that has that in, and I wont either.
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