Affair healing Blog
A word to those of you who've had an affair...
I met with a couple who were desperate to determine whether or not their marriage was salvageable. She had recently discovered evidence of repeated sexual communications with other women over the past year and suspected there might be more to the truth. While speaking privately with me, he admitted a history of unfaithfulness in previous relationships and expressed a desire to break this pattern once and for all. In the counseling session, he told her the same thing.
Her response was full of wisdom, expressed in a way that I'd never quite heard before. Here's how their conversation went.
As pointed out in an earlier post, a self-focused apology (one in which "I'm sorry" is just a way to get out of an uncomfortable situation, not bring any true relief to the offended person) is seldom satisfying to the recipient. But forgiveness-seekers aren't the only ones who can sap the power out of forgiveness. Forgiveness-givers can be selfish, too.
I hesitate when it comes to pointing out the shortcomings of an offended person. After all, why should anything be required of a victim? Shouldn't the offender carry the full responsibility for making things right?
And in the case of an affair, shouldn't the cheater be expected to do all the work of fixing the marriage?
The following comment was recently posted in our Community forum:
I always stated I would never stay if my husband cheated on me. I would never be that kind of doormat. My self-respect and self-worth would never survive...
I will never forgive my husband. I will never forgive the whore who took him away from me. This wasn't my choice and yet I have to carry the pain for their selfish choices. I hope they both rot in hell.
It's a sentiment often expressed, in one way or another, by those who have been betrayed by infidelity. The pain inflicted on them, perhaps the greatest emotional pain they will ever experience, is undeserved. Why would anyone even suggest forgiving such a selfish, unjust act?