DEAR CHRISTINE: How do I forgive cheating husband?
Is it possible to truly forgive if you don’t forget?
I’m asking because my husband had a woman on me for nearly two years. I only found out when someone saw them together and asked me about it.
As I had my suspicions about their friendship, I told him how they were seen in other places together and asked him what was really going on.
My bluff worked as he admitted that he had been seeing her and they had been intimate, but it was over.
He apologised to me and since then has been very attentive. Even when I get angry at him for no reason, he does not respond as he knows he wronged me.
In my heart I forgive him because even when he was with her he never neglected his duties to me and our children. In fact, if he never confessed to cheating I never would have guessed that he had stepped out.
Before this, I considered my husband as the best man alive and our marriage as special. Now, I am not so sure. What would you advise?
– In a quandary
Dear In a quandary,
You raise a number of issues which need to be addressed.
First, it is natural to have doubts about your husband and marriage since his indiscretion. After all, he betrayed you and the sanctity of your marriage. You considered him and your relationship special, but his actions have shattered that.
That you never even guessed what he was up to shows that he was discreet and seemingly went out of his way to keep his adventure as hidden as possible. But that also shows what he is capable of and will make you sceptical about his actions, however innocent, in the future.
That said, the fact that he has acknowledged he was wrong and is now being humble even when you are being difficult demonstrates remorse. From this distance, that seems genuine. The typical man in situations like these is usually wrong but loud and ignorant with it.
To his credit, too, he never allowed his fling to interfere with his duties to his family. Often men who play on the side don’t do that.
Given these factors, I think you need to forgive him and try to rekindle your love affair – what brought the two of you together in the first place.
Counselling is an option to help this healing process, as sometimes having a neutral third party there to umpire the proceedings can make the world of difference.
Even if you don’t go the counselling route, the two of you need to speak frankly on why he stepped out – in other words, what she offered that he was not getting at home.
Here, you will need to be open-minded in this process and not dismiss what he is saying, for often couples get comfortable with each other and take one another’s feelings for granted.
I think even in circumstances like these a wife should go back with her husband if they really love each other, as marriage is for better or for worse.
Yes, there will be trust issues afterwards, but no one is perfect. Forgive; don’t forget.