How does one forgive ??? PLEASE, I really need your help, PLEASE ???
Run, I can only imagine the emotional turmoil you must be experiencing.
First of all recognize that you're in a vulnerable state right now, and avoid anyone that makes unhelpful comments like 'you deserve it.' Your relationship is between you and your wife, it's not anyone else's business and people who want to take sides is certainly not helpful in an effort to try and save it - that basic dynamic is one that causes division. Opinions on this type of situation isn't all that helpful as far as I'm concerned, because what's most important is YOUR relationship.
As far as forgiveness is concerned, I have to say it never comes from ignoring the issue. I mention this only because often it is so painful and there is such strong emotion around it that it is never seen completely in its entirety, so it's a matter of how thoroughly it is seen and dealt with. To put it another way, don't try to jump the gun - you'll go through it in your own time at your own pace.
True union with anybody involves the heart breaking open, whether it is in a romantic relationship or otherwise, and while it's not necessarily a painful experience there IS that openness - the pain comes from the violent suddenness of a breaking, so to speak. You can tell when that's there because there is a sense that the other actually shares your pain, rather than feel bad about your pain which is just their own feeling. If the pain is so strong that it feels like it kills you, then a true and full sharing of that is reflected in the other experiencing it the same way - because it is a tear of the relationship, what you have together. I mention this because it would allow you to distinguish between a 'breach of contract' and an actual break of the bond between you, which you obviously feel.
So beyond dealing with the situation (and by that I don't mean analyzing it psychologically, just seeing and meeting it) forgiveness involves that kind of opening to each other. But again, don't beat yourself up over it - have compassion for yourself and whatever feelings you may have around the situation. If anything recognize when there is the butting in influence of friends and family and distinguish that from people who give you support and help you put things in perspective. It's not about anybody else's opinion on what should happen, which direction you should go, it's about supporting you in your efforts in dealing with the situation.
This is really rough news R.D.W. and my heart goes out to you. You will have a hill to climb but I think Scully has given you a truly outstanding post. Read it again. Good luck R.D.W. and thank you for sharing this difficult news with others here. We're all pulling for you and the Mrs. how ever it turns out.
Forgiveness is a gift someone gives to someone who is undeserving. And that's why forgiving is so hard to do. The very nature of forgiveness means extending a gift of grace to one who truly doesn't deserve it at all.
Forgiveness isn't so much of a feeling, so much as a decision. Sometimes it just begins with, "I want to want to forgive," and moves slowly to "I want to forgive" to "I forgive". Sometimes, it's reaffirming the decision each time the hurt and anger re-surfaces. Therefore, don't be surprised if bitterness and hurt reappear even after you have decided to forgive. In time, these feelings do go away.
Extending grace (forgiveness) doesn't mean you must be a doormat. Should she abuse this grace, she is choosing to leave YOU, and needs to be shown the door.
You know from your own experience how sexual temptation is hard to resist... you understand her better than she knows. If you've ever truly been forgiven for something tremendous, you know how deeply healing it is.
Though your relationship is at a painfull crossroads, you can capitalize on the moment to invest in it more deeply than before. Get counseling. I assume you are not religious, but prayer suddenly gets relevent at times like these...
PS: We all support you here! We're rooting for you! Find real support in people, not in drink.
Run Dont walk
I'm just so sorry you have to go through this.
My thoughts are the same as some voiced,:
Professional counseling is definitely called for.
If it was me, in your shoes, I'd start going to counseling right away .. for my own sanity. I would think that it might feel like being eaten up from the inside out. There is nothing like a good professional cousellor to have someone help you work it through. A nonjudgemental listener at times is a great thing.
If you do work it out with your wife my thoughts is that it is more of "acceptance" of what happened rather than forgiveness. Can you ever accept what has happened and move on from their with your wife or will it be a forever thorn in the marriage that will always mar your lives together. Hard decisions and thoughts. A cousellor would be a great thing to get.
Again, I'm sorry about all this. (((((( Run don't walk ))))))
Sorting things out is what it's about, and having help in the form of a neutral and objective counselor would certain help in that regard.
What this all points to is it is up to you to put it all together, even if you have help. There is no secret, it's your life and it's not a matter of some special way of doing it, which you will no doubt continue to receive from well meaning people. Not only is your thinking torn, your emotions and your intellect is also conflicted isn't it? Is it really about forcing yourself into thinking or feeling a certain way, does that even work? (see: The JW experience) As cliche as it may sound, just allow yourself to be where you're at, however you're at for now. It makes no sense to take one side in the inner conflict when you want all of yourself to be at peace, so just don't leave any part of yourself out - but you may want to take some time out from other people and such to clear your head.
Cruser, there may be more than you are aware!
MarkfromCali : but you may want to take some time out from other people and such to clear your head.
Yeah it's important ... (also on the same note, sometime the better way to think about something is to leave it on a shell for a while ... then it happen that you get a total other perspective on it)
Take care ... be strong ....
Eddited to add : be strong here does mean "keep a little place for joy anyway" (it's not the end of the world _ it this can help _ I know not easy)
Also while I'm thinking about it keep things on the shell (but not too long) I did it 7 years on an 11 year relationship and it didn't really help ...
did you say you had an earlier thread where you were thinking of leaving her for someone else? It sounds like you guys have had some major unhappiness or something missing in order for both of you to even contemplate someone else..
one thing I do know, is once trust is broken it takes much more to repair.. If you both want to make this work, the advice about getting help is smart.. perhaps you can talk out the problems that lead you both to crossroad decisions might be able to be figured out and get you on the right path again..
Cruser, there may be more than you are aware!
Based on our conversation tonight, there may well be.
The success rate you mentioned is, to me, quite surprising.
I'm all ears (or, eyes).
PS: Enjoy the next 2 days of heavy rain.
Craig, the rain is good for the fish run so I'm smilin all the way to the river!! Regarding my experiance with couples that have successfully gotten past an experiance with infidelity, I have to state that it was in the context of a completely different environment than what JWs are used to. If you think about it, most people here on JWD would probably agree that JW congregations are pathetically dysfunctional when it comes to any sort of human relations. When a couple's relationship is equally dysfunctional, there is little chance that the faith community will or can have a possitive effect on them if they are trying to reconcile. My experiance is quite different. I served in an elected capacity which dealt with couples that had difficulties of all kinds including cheating. We created a committee of three professional councilors, two men and one woman, volunteers all, who agreed to work with these couples, providing they both wanted to resolve their differences. In our faith community, a great deal of importance is placed on keeping these situations completely confidential and if anyone does become aware of the situation, they are to remain supportive of both parties, not take sides and become part of the problem.
Our efforts were pretty successful with the greater majority agreeing to work on what is good in their relationship and with the faith community supporting any and all efforts to re-build, it was not unusual for the situation to heal and the bond re-built and the relationship became stronger than before the rift. We as humans learn by our mistakes if given an opportunity. If the faith community is dysfunctional and takes sides, spreads rumors, shuns one or another, there is little chance any counciling will overcome the pressures of collective psychological coersion. If there were ever an indictment of the witlesses, it is their sick approach to marriage relationships. All probems are solved by selling more magazines and having more "studies".
Hope that clarify's my "hit-and-run" comment!