Affair healing Blog
This is an edited copy of the letter one woman wrote to her husband after her affair. It is used with her permission. The entire letter is included as an extra resource in the Understanding WHY course.
If you had told me seven months ago that I would be writing this letter, I might not have believed it—not because I am not profoundly sorry and regretful for my actions in the past, but because I never believed I could survive telling the truth, that you would survive hearing it, that we could survive its aftermath, or that you would even be willing to offer me the chance.
Helen Tower is one of the people I follow on Twitter and am often encouraged by what she writes. Recently, she posted a letter she wrote to her "ex-unfaithful" husband. She gave permission to post it here, too. You can read the entire post on her Sailing Through Infidelity blog.
Dear ex-unfaithful husband,
I want to thank you for sticking with me during the trying times after I discovered your affair. I am so happy this is now in the past.
We went through periods during which I was willing to hurt myself just to hurt you, in a desperate attempt to soothe my pain. You never lost focus on your commitment to do whatever it took to save our marriage.
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?