Unsuspectingly on a cold winter morning over two years ago, I stumbled upon messages between my husband and another woman. My blood turned cold then boiled as the reality set in as I read weeks of flirty exchanges. I took a deep breath but not deep enough as I went for the jugular. I teased out every detail thought I needed to know. They never spent time together in person, it was “only” a couple of months of chatting online, it was “only” emotional, “only” electronic, “only” friends….blah blah blah.
Betrayal is betrayal
I can’t tell you that an emotional affair is worse than a physical one, or a physical affair is worse than emotional. Or how you may feel about an electronic affair and what really “counts” as cheating. Heck, we all have different ideas of what even constitutes as sex between two people. I do know women and men that have gone through all kinds of betrayal by their spouses and there is a commonality. Your heart is broken by the person you trusted most.
I saw a divorce lawyer at the same time we started seeing a counselor. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I agreed to stay together until I knew for sure. The marriage was on life support, but I wasn’t ready to pull the plug. The year was a blur of anger, mistrust, doubts, tears, yelling. No, screaming. No matter how apologetic, no matter how many trust-building measures he took, it wasn’t enough. It was never going to be enough and our time had expired. I expected that coming to a decision would ease my anger. It was over, I gave it time, I thought long and hard, I wasn’t getting over it so I made my choice. Why was I still so damn angry?
You can only feel bad for so long….
It had to stop. It was slowly killing me. Truly. I needed to try something different from the counseling, the reading and research, the praying, the reflecting, the yoga, the meds, the girlfriend trips and talks. I finally tried what I was taught to do as early as I can remember….I tried forgiveness. You know, what almost every major religion and spirituality preaches. I’m not talking about just saying “It’s OK.” I’m talking about letting go. Really letting go of resentment, anger and pain. Letting go of living in the past and reliving the pain again and again. A conscious decision and that takes energy and yes, more time. I was going to forgive because I wanted so badly to live again.
Slowly the fog has lifted and I’m gentler, a lot less reactive, and so much lighter. My home is more peaceful, there is hope in our family and times of joy. I love myself again. I’m able to love him again. No, I haven’t forgotten completely, don’t be silly. Forgiveness didn’t justify his actions or make them okay. But when it crosses my mind, I have to let it do just that…cross right on by without any emotion attached.
I have finally learned what forgiveness truly means and it was one of the most challenging and difficult things I’ve ever had to do to. It’s been one of the healthiest and wisest decisions I’ve ever made. Forgive, even if its to find your own peace.
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Forgiveness is the. MOST. DIFFICULT. thing. Emotional betrayal destroys a basic need: trust. Faith is the only way to move forward. Not forget but move forward. It has to be both people, no matter what. No blame games. Just faith and a willingness to let what happens, happen.
I loved this story Jo, and agree, forgiveness is really tough sometimes, especially when we are hurt on a deep level. Thanks for reading and commenting.