Forgiving my soon to be ex

I’m trying very hard to forgive him, but I am really having trouble. This past year, I discovered that he had been sexually unfaithful for the past five years, and that it was an activity he did not want to give up. When given the ultimatum of us or sex, he chose that instead of his family. I am very angry and very sad at how he has destroyed our family, and am not sure I can really forgive him for this. Yet I am supposed to, am I not, as a good Catholic? So do I risk going to hell because I’m still upset and not thinking charitibly towards him? He is completely unrepentent, and sees little wrong with his decision. I am praying for him and his lovers, but that’s not quite the same, is it?

I am pretty sure it will be a process, and I am sure that God is not going to require you to be OK with what your husband has done to you and your family. It sounds like you are on the right track now, praying for your husband and those he has been involved with. Just turn it all over to God and have faith and confidence that he will show the right way to forgive your husband. Hang in there. You are doing great in a miserable situation.

my situation was far different than yours. when my ex and i separated, it was not for the same reason, mine was faithful but the marriage ended because he refused to respect me, and to stick up for me when he should have, and i put up with racial slurs from his family and him when he jumped on the wagon and did what his family did, and he refused to go to counseling with me to try to save the marriage i put up with this and being demeaned for 10 years, and also at that time i was a jw, so that
made matters worse. eventually, i had had it, and left. it was a mutual decision.we parted friends, and that was i forgive my ex for the way he treated me? sort of. it takes along time to get over someone who hurts you, be it adultery, or mental pain, as was my case, forgiving takes months, or years. depends on the person. as for going to hell? i doubt it. if that was the case, then there’d be alot of unforgiving people going to hell wouldn’t there? myself included.counseling with your priest is a good idea. it has helped me immensley, believe me. my priest is wonderful, so is my hubby. ( my husband of 7 years )

It can be hard and complicated to forgive an ex spouse by whom you feel betrayed or abused. It has been ten years for me. As time has passed, I have come to see that he is no doubt nuts, likely bipolar, not capable of a marriage relationship, pitiful, mean, a failure, a lousy dad, untrustworthy, selfish, and mostly worthless. I am much better off without him. I kind of even feel sorry for him, because a psychiatrist said he probably can’t be helped. As time goes by, it gets a bit easier, but he still tries to hurt me whenever he can.

If I told you all the pain he caused me, how he hurt me and our children by his actions, it would curl your hair. He has much to ask forgiveness for.

Before he left us, I was praying for God to kill him. This sounds nutty, but I tell you this to show how miserable and desperate I was. I was also praying that God would give me some worthwhile work to do in his service. I now pray for God to distance him from us.

Before I was working at a huge corporate law firm, using my power for evil, as it were, and now I teach school in a school in the US urban area with the highest poverty rate. I am remarried very happily and expect to turn in my annulment papers within the month. I love my job and use my power for good.

My ex has been married and divorced again, fired, declared bankruptcy, unemployed for two years, and now drives a truck so we hardly ever see him.

Ailina, I feel for you, and will pray for you.

I’m dealing with similar issues of forgiveness. Whether my husband has been sexually unfaithful, I couldn’t say, but he’s certainly had two, and possibly more, inappropriate friendships with women that he felt the need to keep hidden from me. When he was given an ultimatum about the very long term secret friend (actually, I think I said to re-direct her to our joint e-mail account, NOT that he had to end anything), he very angrily ended it-- or said he did. I also know he lies, so it’s impossible to know the truth of anything he really says or does.

This link about forgiveness was posted sometime ago on these boards. It makes the point that we are required to forgive if the offender repents and asks for forgiveness. Seeing this was a load off my back, as blame has been heaped on my unendingly for my supposed inability to forgive (there are other issues in our marriage, too, including ones similar to some that MyPhilomena described). I am doing my best to be forgiving, but neither my husband nor the other person in question think they’ve done anything wrong, and have certainly not asked for forgiveness.

So, I feel better knowing this is not going to be held entirely against me (by God), but it does still leave me looking for a way to cope with the feelings of anger.

I am going to al-anon, and the readings, I think, would be helpful for anyone. I am also working on getting back to my own interests, and making sure I keep myself busy. I try to pray for others, and particularly for the people in question. I have to agree, it’s a process. Keep at it, and don’t be too hard on yourself, or let anyone else be.

It’s extremely hard to forgive, but it’s a great survival skill. It doesn’t mean condoning what was done. It does mean you no longer give it power over you. When you don’t forgive, you continue to carry the hurt, the pain, and it continues in your life forever. It continues to hurt you while the other person goes on their merry little way. We tend to think if we don’t forgive them, it continues to hurt them or punish them in some way. In reality, it hurts us. Ask God for the grace to forgive this person who has hurt you so deeply. He will grant it.

that is well and truly spoken my friend. good advice for me! :thumbsup: i’ll apply it :slight_smile: i think my old anger and hurt is more directed at the jw’s who hurt me and humiliated me more than it is at my ex husband. i was only mentally hurt by him because he refused to stick up for his wife when it all went down, and the racial slurs are what hurt the most, even more so than that of the humiliation they put me through so more of it is directed at them than at my ex. it is Christian like to forgive.

But, it is hard for some to forgive. Me included, but i will pray about it, and put it to rest. Good advice, i think i needed to hear that, especially from someone who is Catholic :slight_smile:



Forgiving is very hard to do. But take heart; it’s not always about ‘feeling’ OK or at peace with what’s happened; it’s sometimes just about a conscious decision to forgive. Once you can do that, you can let go of the person/situation. Then you can be free. You don’t need to be under his power to make you miserable.


thank you so much for that link. It takes sucha load off and I have been wrestling with the same thing…must one or HOW does one forgive a person who thinks they’re completely in the right. In fact, he probably thinks he has more things to forgive me for!

But I do agree that forgiveness is healthy for us. I’ll keep working on it and asking God for help, but maybe I don’t need to put so much pressure on myself.

For the OP…I am only recently divorced and, like you, started asking these same questions long before the divorce was final. You’re doing the right thing, sounds like you’re handling things with grace and, as my counselor told me, “getting through this with your integrity intact”. It’s not easy!

There are enough issues around divorce, I’ve been thinking maybe we need our own thread with a prayer list. :slight_smile:


I hope you are going to obtain an anullment from the Church. If so you will find that that process helps the healing and forgiveness process a whole lot.

Boy do I get where you’re coming from:bigyikes:!! There are many on this forum who helped me through my heartbreak. My soon to be ex also cheated, he had multiple affairs in our three year marriage.

After finding out I did forgive him, I had to if I was going to have any peace, but I didn’t do it alone. I prayed and prayed, especially to the Just Judge, Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother. They gave me the strength I needed to find out the truth and deal with it, later they gave me the ability to forgive him and try again.

My ex continued his behavior and they gave me the grace and strength to get him out of my life even though I was pregnant and had an eight-month old.

Later I found out that the baby girl I was carrying only had a 65% chance of surviving after birth and soon after that I found out that one of my husband’s girlfriend’s was pregnant also.

My little girl was born on May 22nd and flew into Jesus’ arms on May 23rd, 2006. I hear he has a son that was born in late April 2006. It’s all very hard to deal with, I pray…alot. The people on this forum are angels…they helped me deal with some of hardest times in my life and I don’t know any of them (except one…Hi Davis!!). I don’t know how I’ll every repay them, only to say “Thank You” and that isn’t enough, I know.

I suggest you come to this forum often, type away your sadness, frustration, questions, fears and tears. Most people here are very charitable and will give you excellent advice/feedback and support. Good luck and I am so sorry you are going through this, my prayers are with you.

Ailina, don’t confuse not forgiving someone with the feelings of hurt and pain.It is natural and normal to feel very hurt with someone that has done terrible things when they were supposed to love us.
Think of it like this, would you wish this person to change for the better, to find Christ and to be saved? Would you want your husband to escape the torments of hell? (maybe you may think he deserves it at the moment but deep down I’m sure you wouldn’t want him to go there!) If you can can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then you really have forgiven him.
You’re just still feeling the emotional pain of being betrayed.
Remember the words in the ‘Our Father,’… 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…'
The way we forgive is the way God will forgive us.
And at the end of the day, he really is more to be pitied.
He risks losing his soul, he has distanced himself from God. He can have NO true happiness here. He would be miserable if he really thought about it.
You cannot sin that much and feel truly happy. Happiness only comes from God and his soul would be empty of grace. He stands to lose so much as does anyone that persists in living a life of such immorality.
I feel sorry for people that lead such shallow and selfish lives.
So don’t waste energy hating him or not being able to forgive him because then you lose your own peace and right now you need God’s peace in your heart more than anything. Be convinced that, no matter how he’s hurt you, he’s hurting himself even more.
You are in the better place right now. Sin NEVER brings happiness.
Jesus was betrayed too, by those who said they loved Him. He just prayed for them. "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
I will be praying for you,
God bless you.

I totally agree with this. I’m so sorry to hear of your divorce and all you’ve been through, Ailina.
I went through a similar situation many years ago. My ex husband chose his girlfriend over me.
But he has gone on to have a miserable and lonely life, and all I feel for him now is pity. He had so much potential, but was bipolar and refused to get any help, turned to Scientology, which isn’t good for anybody, and is very lonely now.

Continue to pray for him, and tell Our Lord that you want to forgive him even though your feelings are painful, and He will help you.
I remember a time when my ex had thrown a rock at me and my hand was bleeding, and I was so angry I could have killed him. I remember asking God to show me His feelings for my husband, and suddenly I saw him from a different perspective - I saw how horrible he felt in order to do such things. God does answer our prayers.
I pray that you will go through this time and come out stronger, trusting God more than ever.

crm is correct. It will continue to hurt YOU and will not hurt him in the least. I am really glad I found this post as I have had alot of problems in the recent past with forgiveness for past betrayals of my spouse. (non appropriate friendship----and not wanting to give up this friendship) With the help of our loving God and His Precious Mother we have come a long long way. But be patient with yourself. Forgiveness is a process that you must constantly ask the Lord to help you with. I remember when I would say the Our Father I would say “Please help me to forgive those who have tresspassed against us”. Betrayal is a devastating thing. To me it was a pain beyond all pain. Make a conscious DECISION to fogive him, but don’t expect (at least right away) to feel all warm and fuzzy about him. God will help you if you sincerely ask Him to.


This is not an easy thing. I know from experience but remember that you are not alone. There are other people out there who are suffering just as much as you but I have attached a something by a lady named Joyce Meyer who has made me see things in a different light and forgive my ex for abandoned me and the kids for a younger women.

[FONT=“Book Antiqua”]Bitterness, Resentment and Unforgiveness
by Joyce Meyer

Many people ruin their lives and their health by eating the poison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us that, if we do not forgive people, we get turned over to the torturers. If you have a problem in this area or have ever had one, I am sure you bear witness with what I am saying. It is torture to have hateful thoughts rolling around inside of you toward another person.

Who Are You Helping When You Forgive?

Who are you helping the most when you forgive the person who hurt you? Actually, you are helping yourself more than the other person. I always looked at forgiving people who had hurt me as being a really hard thing to do. I thought it seemed so unfair for them to receive forgiveness when I had gotten hurt. I got pain, and they got free without having to pay for the pain they caused me. Now I realized that I am helping myself when I choose to forgive. I am helping the other person also by releasing them, so God can do what only He can do. If I am in the way, trying to get revenge or taking care of the situation myself instead of trusting and obeying God, He has no obligation to deal with that person. However, God will deal with the people who hurt us if we will put them in His hands through forgiveness. It is our seed of obedience to His Word; and once we have sown our seed, He will bring a harvest of blessing to us one way or another.

I am helping myself, because when I forgive I release God to work. I am happy when I am not full of the poison of unforgiveness. I feel better physically. Serious diseases can come as a result of the stress and pressure that bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness put on a person. Mark 11:22-26 clearly teaches us that unforgiveness hinders our faith from working. The Father cannot forgive our sins if we do not forgive other people (we reap what we sow). Sow mercy, and you will reap mercy; sow judgement, and you will reap judgement. Do yourself a favor and forgive.

There are still more benefits of forgiveness. When you are willing to forgive, your fellowship with God has a free flow. Unforgiveness blocks it. Paul said that we are to forgive in order to keep Satan from getting an advantage over us (11 Corinthians 2: 10-11). Ephesians 4:26-27 says that we are not to let the sun go down on our anger. Do not give the devil any such foothold or opportunity. Remember that the devil must have a foothold before he can get a stronghold. Be quick to forgive. Do not help the devil torture you. I also think it is hard to hate one person and love another. When we are full of wrong things, it is hard to treat anybody right. Even people you want to love may be suffering from your bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.

continued from above.

How To Forgive

Like everything else, there are practical steps to forgiving people that must be taken if we are going to be successful at it. I asked the Lord why so many people seem to want to forgive and yet are not successful doing it. He said, “because they are not obeying what I tell them to do in the Word.” As I searched the Word, I found the following instructions:

  1. Decide. You will never forgive if you wait to feel like it. Choose to obey God and steadfastly resist the devil in his attempts to poison you again with bitter thoughts. Make a quality decision, and God will heal your wounded emotions in due time.

  2. Depend. You cannot forgive without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is too hard to do on your own. If you are truly willing, God will enable you; but you are going to need to humble yourself and cry out to Him for help. In John 20:22-23, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. " His next instruction was about forgiving people. We certainly can use this as an example and ask Him to breathe on us that we might be able to forgive those who hurt us.

  3. Obey. There are several things we are told do in the Word concerning forgiving our enemies.

a. Pray for your enemies and those who abuse and misuse you. Pray for their happiness and welfare (Luke 6:27-28 Amplified). As you pray, God may be able to give them revelation that will bring them out of deception. They may not even be aware they hurt you, or maybe they are aware but are so self-centered that they do not care. Either way, they need revelation.

b. Bless and do not curse them (Romans 12:14). In the Greek, to bless means “to speak well of” and to curse means “to speak evil of.” You cannot forgive and gossip or be a talebearer. You must stop repeating the offense. You cannot get over it and also continue to talk about it. Proverbs 17:9 says that he who seeks to cover an offense seeks love.

Who Should Forgive?

Forgive the person from long ago who hurt you very badly and also the person whom you did not know in the grocery store, for stepping on your toe. Take those two extremes and forgive them in addition to everyone in between. Forgive quickly. The quicker you do it, the easier it is. Forgive freely. Matthew 10:8 says freely you have received, freely give. Forgiveness means to excuse a fault, absolve from payment, pardon, send away, cancel, and bestow favor unconditionally.

When you forgive, you must cancel the debt. Do not spend your life paying and collecting debts. Hebrews 10:30 says that vengeance belongs to the Lord; He will repay and settle the cases of His people. Let God pay you for past injustices; do not try to collect from the people who hurt you, because the people who hurt you cannot pay you. Matthew 18:25 says …“he could not pay”.

Also forgive yourself for past sins and for hurts you have caused others. You cannot pay people back, so ask God to.

Forgive God if you are angry at Him because your life did not turn out the way you thought it should. God is always just. There may be things you do not understand; but God loves you, and people make a serious mistake if they will not receive help from the only One who can truly help.

You may even need to forgive an object—the post office, bank, a certain store you feel cheated you, a car that always gave you trouble, etc. Get rid of all poison that comes from bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness; and remember Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified), “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance…for out of it flow the springs of life.”

Unforgiveness is spiritual filthiness; get washed in the water of the Word and stay clean. God bless you!

Forgiveness can be obtained even after the pain of betrayal, but one question I have is what about the feelings of disrespect or not holding your spouse in as high esteem as before the betrayal? I have forgiven my spouse completely, and even have had loving feelings for him again, but it’s not the same as before. The only way I can explain it is that I sometimes do not have the total reverence for him as I once did. Maybe after such a breach of trust the same feelings are NEVER there again? There is love, but not the same kind of love? I remember during the height of our turmoil over this, I was so hurt that even to think of him would make me sick to my stomach. I was actually repulsed by the thought of him. We have of course reconciled, and we are together and doing ok, but I have a fear that the feelings will never go back to pre betrayal. It has only been not quite 2 years, so maybe more time will help. I almost feel that the innocense of our relationship is gone. I can trust him again, but not like I trusted him before all this. Any thoughts?


Teelyn, I can completely understand what you are saying. I’m sure it would be very hard to feel those loving feelings towards your husband again and if he is really serious about making the marriage work, he should be doing everything in his power to make amends for betraying you.
But even if he isn’t, we all need to remember that we are all sinners and we all do things wrong and it brings to mind that famous quote by St. Jerome, I think???
'There but for the grace of God, go I.'
Only prayer will help you to love your husband the way God wants you to again.
But I think, that we must think how we would like to be forgiven and treated if ‘we’ were to make a mistake or do something terribly wrong, that we were truly sorry for.
I think in time, those feelings will pass. Keep praying…
God bless

Thanks jules, you know, my dad was an alcoholic and my mom and I went to Al Anon meetings regularly when he started recovering. “But for the grace of God, there go I” was said at every meeting. Thanks for bringing that to mind for me. It’s a wonderful forgiveness promoter. I think for me, the “blind” trust is not there. I trust him but now I trust him with my eyes open. It’s a self protection thing. God has blessed us tremendously thru this thing and I pray all the time for Him to continue to help us. He truly has, but peaceful patience is what I’m asking from Him. He has truly performed miracles. God is Good!!!


Sometimes, too, I think time is required. My parents divorced when I was quite young and it was a bitter divorce (this was before no-fault when cause had to be procured). They hated one another for years. But when I got married, 20 years later, they were able to sit together, dance and laugh. When my niece recently got married, 30 years later, they sat at the reception table together and had a grand time.

Now, hopefully it won’t take you guys 20 years to put it behind you, but I think it does get easier as time rolls on.

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