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Hello everyone -<P>I am really struggling lately with forgiveness, for myself. How does one do it?<P>I have hurt my husband, and the OM's wife.<BR>I have let my husband down, and I also have let myself down.<P>I am permanetly scarred. I can never erase what I did. Oh how I wish that I could.<BR>What I did was sooo stupid, so selfish, so wrong. Who the heck was that person who did that?<P>I thought I was never a selfish person, and I used to care so much for others feelings. Then I go and do this. What came over me?<P>Some good CAN come out of this - I can have a better marriage than I ever expected, I can become a wiser person, and I HAVE learned so much.<BR>BUT..... I will forever have this in my past.<BR>I will never be able to say I was always faithful. No matter what good I do from this day on, this terrible act is in my past.<P>Some days I do well... others I struggle with the pain and utter disgust in myself, the embarressment, the shame, the way that this has changed me.<P>My husband has always given me unconditional love. He is the best husband, a wonderful human being. Why did I ever think I should risk this???<P>I know... I deserve all the feelings I am having.<P>I did not lose my husband through this, thank God.<BR>My "punishment" is having to live with myself, and always remember what I have done.<BR>I know I need to forgive myself and move on - it is not very easy.<P>Thanks for allowing me to vent. I am hoping tomorrow is a better day - for me, and for all of you.<P>QoF

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if you were the OW in my h's short affair and you told me that, I would take you crying into my arms for a big hug and you would have my forgiveness in an instant<BR>if only you were.........<BR>we all make mistakes, be gentle on yourself

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I agree w/Tears....you can forgive yourself by putting the bat down and commit to your marriage. Let your actions peak. You can live your way into better thinking. The feelings of resenting yourself will pass in time.<P>Bill<P>------------------<BR><P>May the roads rise to meet you,<BR>May the winds always be at your back,<BR>May the sun shine warm upon your face,<BR>The rains fall soft upon your fields,<BR>And until we meet again,<BR>May god hold you<BR>In the hollow of his hand.

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As a WS, I know how you feel. My H has forgiven me, I know that God has forgiven me, but the hardest part is forgiving myself for letting this mess happen.<P>But each day is a new beginning. You don't have to beat yourself up over this (and I know that can be hard). You are truly remorseful, and that's a good thing, but you can't live life, or have a happy marriage if you focus on the past. Focus on the future, because you cna't change the past. You can only learn and grow from your mistakes.<P>Hang in there. I don't know if I can ever forgive myself or not, but I can push those thoughts to the back of my mind and keep them there. Don't let it affect the person that you are today. Take care. <P>

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Queen,<P>I once knew a male friend who had done a lot of really bad things in his life for which he could not find absolution. He told me, "There is no forgiveness in this world." I told him, "Yes there is; all you have to do is ask for it, and it will be given to you."<P>So I'm telling you the same. Ask, and you shall receive. By humbling yourself before the people you have hurt, you are also forgiving yourself. If the people you ask forgiveness of don't want to forgive you, then they must continue to carry around that bitterness. But you will have done your part, and from then on out, your job with them is finished.<P>Have you talked to your pastor or a clergyman about this? A counselor, perhaps? Forgiveness is a very key element in the recovery of oneself, I've found.<P>belld

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While I'm not in your place I feel your pain. I only wish the OW in my life felt as you do. <P>You can not change the past. But you can enfluence the future. Offer your experience and advice to any couple in trouble. Go beyond capacity to love your H for the rest of your lives. Don't waste anymore time on this. Yes it was a mistake that hurt many people. So use that to your advantage. And educate as many people as you can.<P>I was betrayed. While my H was the cause for my anger, bitterness over the years I shut myself down and shut him out. That is something I can't forgive myself for. But something I can't change. So when I hear someone starting to do this I jump in when I can. To explain the best I can how destructive and poisonous that is. You can do the same. Use your mistake as a tool to teach in the future. It can be a good thing. Good Luck. LSM

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Your post made me feel s-o-o-o-o ashamed of myself! Maybe it was exactly what I needed to read.<BR>Because last night, I layed in bed next to my 5-year-old son as he cried for his father, trying to comfort him, and I grew more and more furious and filled with hate. I wanted to run downstairs, hop on the PC and send the most venomous e-mail to the OW! The words just consumed my mind and kept coming and coming. How could the B**** do this to my family? How could she possibly prioritize herself and her selfish dreams over our little boy's need to have a relationship with his father, and his right to have two loving parents in our home? How in the sam hill could she do this to her own husband and child--sneak off from them every weekend to hide away with my H for fun and games? How callous and cold and thoughtless could a person possibly be? I quoted her from an e-mail to my husband that I intercepted: "Please remember, my darling, that people divorce a spouse, not a child. . ." (As she begged for him to leave me and to validate their relationship.)<BR>"Oh, yeah?" I thought "Why don't you ask my son's opinion on that as he lays here sobbing 'Daddy, Daddy'?"<BR>Nevermind that she slept with the only man that I have ever loved, and here I am--after giving up my career to dedicate myself to my family wholeheartedly, I am now jobless, out of money, and staying with my parents until I figure out what to do. Do I forgive and go back to him, muddle through this nightmare with a (now)very nasty man, or do I figure out how to raise three kids alone? <BR>But never mind MY feelings--my children didn't deserve this. Why should they suffer the consequences of people who could not keep their trousers on and their legs closed?<P>But hold on--as I lay there, consumed with rage, a little voice kept telling me: "You know that woman is a victim, also. And who are you to judge her?"<P>She fell in love with my husband, and got caught up in a disease and state of mind that any of us are subject to, even myself. Although I have never been disloyal to this marriage, I am not innocent, either.<P>Forgive me if you are not a religious person--I am, and I should be ashamed of myself for being hypocritical all this time to my own professed convictions--but we are commanded by the Lord to forgive one another, no matter what. He has already forgiven us for everything we do, regardless of who we are! And of course, no one on this earth is perfect. Anyone of us can start on a downward slide by taking a few steps on the wayward path of curiosity and intrigue. By opening the wrong door just to take a peek and then getting lured through it to a whole new world of wrong-doing.<P>Again, I am sorry if you are not a relgious person, but as a Sunday school teacher, (a very betrayed Sunday school teacher!) I wanted to share this with you as a way to put it into perspective, and whether you believe in Christianity or not, it may help: <P>The oft-told story of how Jesus came across people holding court in the temple, prepared to execute a woman taken in adultery (in the very act!) by stoning her to death, which was the prescibed method of justice for such a crime in those days. Can you imagine, first off, her shame at being judged in public for simply falling in love with a man she was not married to? And then, her terror at facing a horrid, agonizing death for her sin at the hands of people in her own neighborhood? Perhaps she envisioned leaving children without a mother. Perhaps her affair was her only source of happiness in life, and she was being killed for trying to make herself happy. Perhaps she realized that she had hurt a man, her husband, that she truly loved but had betrayed in her weakness--and now it was too late to even attempt to apologize to him.<P>Jesus ignored the judges when they challenged him to his opinion on the "Law," And then he finally said: "Let anyone who has never sinned be the first person to throw a stone at this woman." He looked away as each person quietly left the temple in shame. When he looked back again to the woman, and saw that she stood alone, he asked "Where are all those people who were here accusing you? Isn't there anyone left to condemn you for your sin?" And when she said "No one, my Lord." He said to her "And I don't comdemn you, either. Go along, and sin no more." <BR>See, no preaching. No lecture. No mention of the ancient "Laws of God." Not even a stern word. (Unlike me. I was thinking words last night along the line of "slut" "hooch" "whore" "skeezer" "homewrecker". . .you get the idea.) Just forgiveness--and encouragement for a fresh start.<P>Please remember this: Our own discouragement, guilt and self-loathing is Satan's number one tool for leading us away from happiness and progress towards a wonderful life. If you are tempted to sin once, then perhaps you will lose the path in one of two ways: either denial and gradual loss of conscience by continuing sin, or else such an intense self-loathing that you feel that you will never be worthy of happiness again--and you will continue in sin to seek comfort for your emptiness. You just can't let this happen to yourself.<P>I know that I am really one to lecture as I am struggling with my own feelings toward the OW. (And, needless to say, my anger towards my husband, who I still love.) But I realize, too, that I have been told many times that forgiveness is meant for the one who is offended, not the offender. Hatred of another person will eat you up inside--imagine what disgust for your own self will do to you! A person who hates will never be a happy person.<P>Sometimes a person's own mistakes are what builds a better character for the future--like tempering steel with fire. It's true! If you forgive yourself, you will learn to be a more fantastic person!<P>I know that you want to be happy again someday. Do what you can to make restitution to the ones you love--your family. Your husband. And, if it's possible and it won't get you into further conflict, do what you can to apologize to the other wife (if there is one.) Maybe that is not realistic, and may be met with a lot of wrath, but I know personally that if the OW had at least expressed a heartfelt apology when I confronted her, I would have forgiven her. I admit, begrudgingly and with few words of sympathy (I know myself pretty well.) But it would have eased my pain--a little. And it would have done a lot to improve my image of her. (In fact, when I saw your message, I was kinda hoping it was from her.)<P>I very much appreciate your perspective and your thoughts--it has been a help to me to see my own errors. <P>Please keep your chin up and smile at yourself in the mirror today. Treat yourself to something you like to remind yourself that you are a special person. You realize your mistake and you deserve to be forgiven. Now take action and start progressing towards a happy life. My prayers are with you--Bernzini

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Thank you, Bernzini, for your post.<P>I have been there and felt the same way, consumed by rage at the OW and my H, and feeling even worse because the anger was threatening to overload my emotional system. It's like a fever that keeps climbing and climbing until it eventually breaks.<P>I always think of the story you told about Jesus and the prostitute whenever I think of the OW. Yes, a sincere apology would have gone a long way in my ability to forgive her; however, I expect that I will not get one. Therefore, I will have to forgive her on my own.<P>Again, thank you for retelling a story I can really relate to.<P>belld

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You CAN forgive yourself! We are so blessed to have God's GRACE! That is what saves us....His grace. No matter what we have done, God can forgive us! Stop magnifying the problem and concentrate on the good in your life! No, you can't change what you have done, but realize that YOU make your future! The best to you!!!

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QueenofFools, I wish that the my H's OW felt the same way as you do. To a certain extent, I wish my H felt like you do. I think he does, but he has not quite gotten to the "Thank God, I have not lost my wonderful wife through this." I'm hoping that will come though. Right now, he would feel very relieved if I would just leave him.<P>I received an e-mail from the OW. In it she said, "I'm sorry you're hurting, but I did not do this to you." In otherwords, she shifted her own responsibility by saying I brought this all down on myself. She couldn't even take responsibility for not turning away when she was having sinful feelings for a married man. No, she had to step in with her selfish self and get what she wanted. <P>When I thought that she felt like you do, I could easily forgive her just as I could easily forgive you if you had been my H's OW. After I read that e-mail from his OW though, I took back my forgiveness and am having a very difficult time "reforgiving" her. The most I have been able to pray for is for her to find happiness in her life with some other man so that she will leave my H alone. Not a very good reason to wish her happiness, but it is all I can do right now.<P>I hope that you find happiness with your H, so that you can turn away these thoughts of the OM and what you have done to yourself and those you love. I hope these same things for my H. I hope the hurt and shame you are feeling will diminish in time. You will be in my prayers.

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bernzini:<BR><B>Sometimes a person's own mistakes are what builds a better character for the future--like tempering steel with fire. It's true! If you forgive yourself, you will learn to be a more fantastic person!<BR></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That was very well said. My h is like that. At first it bothered me that he didn't seem to suffer much guilt, but now I'm glad he doesn't suffer from it.<P>Since you brought up that story, I can't resist: if she was caught in the act, where the heck is the man???? Why wasn't he dragged in to be stoned????<P>Either way, the response of Jesus would be the same, but it sure shows the hypocrisy of the rest of the crowd!<P>

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Your reply to this thread was outstanding Bernzini!!! It really hit home with me. I haven't hated the OW in my situation but I have had geat loads of anger towards her for what I feel are lies she told on her behalf. I felt that she truly believed my H was the entire reaason the affair was just that. It does take two to have an affair and anyone can back out at any time. I know that that is most likely easier said than done but none the less it is very true.<P>Right after I found out her H found out and he called and asked if I could meet him to talk. I was eager to do so and met him very soon after we hung up. I sat there with the OWH and actually didn't think much about my H's part in the matter but stuck up for his wife 100%. You see-she and I were once friends. I thought we were very good friends-maybe we were but I don't think so now. I was in such a state of shock. I was reeling from the news. I remember every little feeling and my mind just kept saying inside my head that there must be an explanation. I kept thinking they planned this (my H and the OW) as a joke. The OW had a great sense of humor and I kept hoping any minute someone would tell me it was a joke-a big fat stinking joke. I never heard that though.<P>It really happened. And I really hurt. And I miss the comfort I once felt in my marraige, I miss the chats and good times the OW and I spent with each other. I hate telling my children when they ask why we are no longer friends why it is so.<P>But you Bernzini opened my eyes to the fact that the OW is also a victim. I know that my H and I both feel she used him so I guess it is only fair to realize she may very well think the same about him. And she is right-maybe he did also use her.<P>I know both my H and the OW wish they had never taken that first step. I know it must be totally embarrassing to them to have to live with this. I know as much as I hurt the fear they both must have felt when they told their spouses was greater than any fear I had.<P>I also know that I have got to stop wishing this hadn't happened. It has and I have to move ahead. I have avoided making any new friends. I don't feel it is important for me to risk this in my life again. However-if I truly felt I had to worry about that I wouldn't be with H at this time. <P>I have got to get my feet back on the ground. I have got to find out who this person is that lurks inside me-acting as though she has no feelings for life or love any more.<P>I will pray harder than ever to God and ask that he show me how I can move toward forgiving not only my H but the OW. I tried awhile back but it didn't happen. I am lost. I don't even really know what "forgiving them" means. I think I am afraid it means I must forget it ever happened and play that silly game that makes me out to be a dummy. <P>If you can truly explain what forgiveness is all about please let me know. I think there are four people out there that need someone to take the step towards forgiving.<P>Thanks for lighting my way,<P>------------------<BR>*heartache*<BR>"Loyalty Is A Two Way Street"<BR>

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by belldandy:<BR>[B]Thank you, Bernzini, for your post.<P>Bell:<P>I am not going to get an apology from HER, either. In fact, all I got was: "Bother me and I will see you in court."<P>I said "Go right ahead. I have 3 floppy disks full of your disgusting chat and at least 20 photographs of your face and body in varying degrees of nudity, along with 2 pages of hotel reciepts for Motel 6. Should I show them to your hubby now or in court?"<P>Needless to say, she changed her phone number and there has been no more mail showing up. Coward.<p>[This message has been edited by Bernzini (edited August 15, 2000).]

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Thank you all for your replies and advice.<P>Forgiveness does not come easy, for yourself, or to forgive someone else. Yes,some days I do think I have forgiven myself, yet there are some days that it does eat me up. This is to be expected I guess.<P>For some reason, I am worried that 50 years from now, as my H or I are on our death bed, is he going to remember all the wonderful happy years we had together, or will the last thought about looking back on his life, will be thinking of the time I hurt him so very much? <P>I will continue to move on and put it all behind me, and become a better person for it.<BR>dwelling on it everyday means I'm taking <BR>time and thoughts away from my H.<P>Here are some quotes I got from a book that I have - maybe they will help some of us.<P>From "forgive and forget - healing the hurts we don't deserve"<P>You do not have to tolerate what people do when you forgive them for doing it ; you may forgive people, but still refuse to tolerate what they have done.<BR>```````````````````````````````````````````<BR>What happens when you finally do forgive yourself ? When you forgive yourself, you rewrite your script. What you are in your present scene is not tied down to what you did in an earlier scene. The bad guy you played in Act One is eliminated and you play Act Two as a good guy. You release yourself today from yesterday's scenario. You walk into tomorrow, guilt gone.<BR>````````````````````````````````````````````<BR>Look back into your past, admit the ugly facts, and declare that they are irrelevant to your present.<BR>``````````````````````````````````````````<BR>The hurt that creates a crisis of forgiving has three dimensions. It is always personal, unfair and deep. When you feel this kind of pain, you have a wound that can only be healed by forgiving the one who wounded you.<BR>````````````````````````````````````````````<P>In a way, forgiving makes up for what God could not give us when he made us. What he could not give us was the power to change the past ; he could not invent a delete button for bad things that happen to us.<BR>All he could give us was the power to remember them.<BR>Once we are wounded and wronged, the gift of memory becomes an inability to forget. And our inability to forget becames our inability<BR>to be glad about life.<BR>``````````````````````````````````````````<P>If you are trying to forgive ; even if you manage forgiving in fits and starts, if you forgive today, hate again tomorrow, and have to forgive the day after , you are a forgiver. Most of us are amateurs, bungling differs sometimes.<BR>````````````````````````````````````````````<P>Thanks again everyone.<BR>QoF

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Q of F ...<P>Yes forgiving is hard. as the WS and now the BS, it's something that I grapple with everyday. Before d-day of my H's affair, I told him that I had finally forgiven myself. I had asked God to forgive me so many times, until I felt him speak to me and tell me to forgive myself. I think that at that point my H was tired of his affair and had no way of getting out. During the big confrontation with me, him & the OW, she wanted to know why and he mentioned our talk about my forgiveness of myself for my actions. <P>Lapeine - I know that one about blaming the other spouse. Do you know she goes to the same church we go to?! And she had the nerve to say that she never wanted to break up anyone's home, that he sounded so miserable. I wanted to reach through the phone and wring her neck. <P>I keep hoping that these long two years will be made up. I know that there must be something God has in store for me, why else would I learn so many lessons so young? But I am getting better and learning so much from all of you guys. Maybe forgiveness is the hard part and after we forgive maybe the road eases as we try to rebuild.<P>Vee

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Check out the following...<P><A HREF="http://www.marriagebuilders.com/forum/Forum31/HTML/000076.html" TARGET=_blank>Can I forgive?????</A>…..indy032…..1/31/2000<BR><A HREF="http://www.marriagebuilders.com/forum/Forum31/HTML/000293.html" TARGET=_blank>Making New Memories</A>…..HGBrawner…..3/25/2000<BR><A HREF="http://www.marriagebuilders.com/forum/Forum28/HTML/003319.html" TARGET=_blank>Forgiveness.....</A>…..just_me…..6/5/2000<P>and outside links...<BR><A HREF="http://www.divorcebusting.com/forumlinks4.html" TARGET=_blank>Forgiveness is a Gift You Give Yourself</A><BR><A HREF="http://forgivenessweb.com" TARGET=_blank>The Forgiveness Web</A><P>and books...<OL TYPE=1><BR><LI> <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/034541344X" TARGET=_blank><B>The Art of Forgiving :</B> When You Need to Forgive and Don't Know How</A> by Lewis B. Smedes <BR><LI> <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060674318" TARGET=_blank><B>Forgive and Forget </B>: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve</A> by Lewis B. Smedes <BR><LI> <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785282556" TARGET=_blank><B>The Choosing to Forgive Workbook</B></A> by Les Carter, Frank Minirth <BR></OL><P> [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Jim<BR><p>[This message has been edited by NSR (edited July 26, 2000).]

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QofF, I wish you were married to me! [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>My W is still in the emotional ecstacy of her A. Like you, she has come to the realization that what she is doing is hurting other people a great deal.<P>Unlike you, she still doesn't want to stop and ask for any kind of forgivness. She's still in the selfish mode. Willing to give up her job, house, marriage, and move her and her daughter to be closer to the OM.<P>I will lose my W over this. I will also lose the child I have taken in as my own. You may hate yourself for what you have done, but you have turned the corner and started walking back towards grace. I envy your H, because with hard work on your part, his unconditional love will be rewarded by someone who truly appreciates what that love means and how valuable and precious true love can be. <P>While you may struggle with your past, you can take immense pride in the one thing you have accomplished:<P>You have learned, and you will continue to learn every day from your mistakes. So many people (like my W) keep on making the same mistake over and over again without learning a thing. When you and your H are on your deathbed, you can find solace in the fact that you saved the most precious thing you have...that you didn't throw it away for selfish desires...that you found a reason to love again.<P>Thank you. You have given me hope that there are decent people in the world.

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Thanks Vee.<P>NSR - thanks so much for the links - I will check them out.<P>cjac - your reply made me cry [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com] <BR> thanks for the kind words, and thanks for reminding me in years to come, I can find solace that I saved the most precious thing - my marriage. [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<BR>I am so sorry for what you are going through right now - I hope that your wife wakes up soon, and sees what she is putting at risk.<P>QoF

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QoF,<P>well... forgiveness.... comes with repentance. But.. because we are the ones who actually committed the crime.. we live with the memories, emotions, and relive them and struggle with them.<P>I have forgiven myself God has forgiven me.But I wonder.. has my husband really forgiven me? <P>He associates his pain with the sudden lose of a child. He says this is the pain he feels. Yes he is still here.. but mostly in body only. Yes he loves me.. have no doubt about that.. but that love is tarnished. Not that bright love.. one that shows what it has endured.<P>I struggle with seeing his empty face. Seeing his empty heart. Seeing his spiritual struggle (which i am responsible for). And yo know what? I can do nothing. For what ever comes out of my mouth he wonders if it is truth.. there for... I canno reassure him of anything. I feel soo danged lost.<P>You got many replies which are all so beautiful. You are very lucky.<P>I am told with time.. wounds heal. You have seen your wrong, you admit that wrong. You are on your way to healing. <P>God Bless,<BR>mercy

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QofF, it is so interesting that you questioned 50 years from now on a deathbed. I think of that often. I was the betrayed and I think about my husband asking me if I've finally forgiven him (I haven't yet--it's been ten months) and I won't be able to say yes. But that is his problem. He chose to have the affair so he must live with the consequences. I know I sound hard but that is how I feel. I don't understand why betrayers betray and want to come home and expect their spouse to make it all right. Maybe eventually my heart will soften.

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