How do I begin to forgive my H and his infidelity


#1

My husband had an affair with my best friend (also Catholic). I discovered it, confronted them and to my understanding it is over. When I first suspected, they said it (calls, e-mails, chance meetings) was just between friends and “nothing happened”. 3 years later, still not feeling that the truth was told, my H confessed that it was indeed physical. The emotional aspect was bad enough. He seems very remorseful, feels a great deal of guilt and shame as well and wishes to make things right. I do as well, but I am having a great deal of difficulty moving forward, forgiving him and his lies, and putting it behind us. I just can’t get the images out of my head, nor the betrayal of 2 of the dearest people to me.

Please…is there anyone out there that has gone through the same thing and made it work? The friend is still around and we see her here and there. She does not know that I now know the relationship was indeed physical. And though I was able to forgive her 3 years ago, having lied to me all this time to find out it was physical causes me great pain. I need to distance myself, but do not wish to alarm our children as they (hers and ours) are friends. I myself was a child who suffered the pain of her father’s multiple affairs as a child/teen/young woman, still to this day. One with the mother of my best friend.


#2

I am so very sorry for your suffering.

May I propose that your children, as well as you, would be better off not exposed to this woman, no matter what their relationship is with her children. There need not be a big proclamation or explanation, just be “busy” and keep them away from any situation where she is present. Children are exceptionally intuitive, there is no way they have not known from the beginning that something was out of kilter. And, should she ask, I would tell her exactly why.

Counseling is good. Time is better. Prayer is best.

There are no easy answers. You were terribly betrayed and have every right to be as angry and as hurt as when you first learned of the betrayal. And it is your husband’s responsibility to answer any questions you have and live his life with honesty and integrity from here on out.

I have been there. And it got better, truly it did. Sadly, for reasons unique to the man I married, it got worse later, but that is my story and certainly need not be yours.

You are in my prayers.


#3

www.retrouvaille.org

I am sorry you are hurting!


#4

Hello,
I have not gone through this situation, but I know there are others who have. I don’t recall the titles, but I know there are books by people who have had this same problem; check with a Christian bookstore.

I concur with the previous post that it would be best to distance yourself (or cut your whole family off, if you can) from contact with her. It will help with the pictures in your head, and it should be best for your husband as well.

Read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over and pray that God would heal you and help you put it behind you. We will be praying for you, too.

RubyWannabe


#5

Second this.


#6

Oh my, this also happened to me, except that my H filed for divorce, which should be final soon. I understand the feeling of being doubly-betrayed.

I agree that you need to eliminate this family from your life. It’s too bad that the kids can lose friends over this, but your H caused this when he chose to have an affair with this woman. Hopefully, they are young enough not to ask questions when you phase out these friends. Too bad that she isn’t ashamed enough to keep the kids apart.

I admire you for wanting to restore your marriage. Try Retrouvaille, and get this family out of your life.


#7

As for your heart and forgiveness, please consider reading “Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. I am starting to read it now, and I think it would really help you.

Ruby


#8

Thanks everyone for the reading suggestions and the advice. I am working hard to distance myself since I found out the latest information 3 weeks ago. I have removed triggers in my home, pictures, gifts, etc. and have followed IrishAm’s suggestion to keep busy and keep the children apart. I know that I was intuitive as a child, so I am pretty sure that my children, especially my oldest, was aware that things were out of kilter. They started acting out around the same time. Moving is the next step–I just hate that I have to make all the changes and suffer, when in the meantime, she can carry on and her husband doesn’t even know.

At least I feel somewhat better that the truth is out and we can try to move forward from here.

Retrouvaille: We are thinking of this. Any thoughts? My husband does not like a lot of sharing, touchy-feely stuff with strangers. Does this happen, or is it a personal sharing thing? What I am really hoping is that there will be presenting couples that have gone through the same thing. I think that would be good for both of us–to listen to others.


#9

Its not like that at all! The first night you might get that impression, but the next two days are amazing. You don’t have to share anything with anyone (other than your spouse) unless you want to. My husband, who is not touch/feely, ended up speaking on the last day! There are usually two couples and a priest. They would share their experiences, and yes, there was a couple who had survived an affair.

As to beginning to forgive. . . you just have to go day by day. Some days will be easier than others. Its a decision you make, to forgive & to love, and you stick to it because that’s what Christ calls us to. Forgiveness does not equal condoning the bad behavior.

For a time I felt that if I was forgiving I was saying “its all OK” when it wasn’t. Once I was able to understand the difference it became easier. It also helped that my husband was willing to do all he could (counseling, retrouvaille, no private e-mail accounts, being where he said he was going to be, no contact etc.). It didn’t happen overnight though.

You probably feel like you’re right back where you started 3 years ago :frowning: . And your pain is increased because the affair was with a friend, doubly betrayed. Focus on your relationship with your husband. I’m sorry you lost a friend, I don’t think I could have remained friends with her even if I was told there was nothing “sexual” going on.


#10

Thanks Wisdom. I really do want to forgive, but I do feel the way you felt. If I forgive, he’ll think I think everything was OK. So thanks for that. I am lucky, since this last confession of guilt, my husband has been so different. As painful as this was/is, I am actually amazed at how relieved I feel (3 weeks later with more information they I can ever imagine). At first, I was so devastated. But now, I honestly feel there are no secrets–well maybe some small ones. And as for my H., it is like a weight has been lifted and he is much more attentive to me and my feelings right now. He is still pained though, but he is not so withdrawn. Maybe out of fear that I won’t be able to or want to continue in the marriage–I don’t know. I do know that he does want to make things work–he is just afraid about having to do that–you know–whole emotional sharing kind of thing because that just did not happen in this household growing up. He has come a long way, but he is still private. I think he figures if he shares, people will see him as a bad person and he already feels that way about himself. I also think he just wants to put it away in the back of his mind. That is fine, but not without us dealing with US first. That is what I told him. Otherwise it will fester and come up again later in some other way. That is why if we go to Retrouvaille that I hope someone there will have survived infidelity so that he can see that he can be forgiven and we can make the marriage work.


#11

4ever,

I cannot recommend Retrouvaille highly enough. It saved my marriage (infidelity as well). As already mentioned, sharing with others is optional and in no way forced. You write to eachother, you learn to communicate. You will likely hear from several couples as speakers.

There is very likely to be stories that include infidelity but I don’t think that is what will really help. While I can feel your pain of betrayal, as I went through it, every couple is a different dynamic. I don’t think there is any one fix.

I’ll pray that you and your spouse find you way to Retrouvaille, reconciliation and forgiveness. I know it’s hard but it CAN be done.


#12

**Moving is the next step–I just hate that I have to make all the changes and suffer, when in the meantime, she can carry on and her husband doesn’t even know. **

I know what you mean! It feels like you are being punished and didn’t do anything wrong, but look at it as a way to keep your family intact.

You need to cut off all contact with this woman, and sadly, her kids. Let her explain to them why. Oh, and cut off all contact with her husband. He is the last person you should commisserate with - a disaster waiting to happen; you and he could form a dangerous bond.

I stopped letting our kids play together outside of school when this began. I felt as if allowing them to continue to play would show a tacit approval of the adulterous relationship, and that my husband and their mother needed to see a consequence for their behavior. She even had the nerve to invite our son to her son’s birthday party, including a personal note that it would make her son very happy if mine would attend (they had been best friends). I called and let her know that he would not attend, and she would not invite any of my kids to her house again.

Unfortunately, the relationship continues.

I tried to reply to your message, but couldn’t…

Invite your husband to go, and I understand that it isn’t touchy feely at all. Do an internet search for “Retrouvaille dialogue” to see if you can find the discussion points. I think that we should do everything that we can to save a marriage.

Yes we have kids, and they are old enough to know why things at home changed.


#13

I agree with the other posts about retro. But also this is new to you. Give it a little bit of time to sink in. THis is a big shock. I agree it is awful, and cant say that i have been through it. But unfortunately know many who have. I have seen them make decisions based on hurt, anger, and vengence. Give it some time and pray to God to help you get through this. Then you have alot of emotions ahead of you. this wont get fixed fast, and it will take alot of time for you to trust anyone again. I am so sorry this happened to you. I will keep you in my prayers. But please dont rush into anything right now, you actually can make a bad situation worse. But above all dont blame yourself. You did not do this, and it is not your sin. It is sad you will also pay the price but this will either make your marriage stronger, or break it. It will be up to you and your husband. But again that will come in time.


#14

Dear OP.
Two things I think you NEED to do:

Tell your former best friend that you know everything about what has taken place. Go to her one day and stand in front of her. Tell what she has done, what it has meant to you, what it has meant to your marriage. She needs to hear it all in order to repent and ask forgiveness.
Silence in the name of piety is no piety at all…

Second. You need to tell her that either she will tell her husband what has been going on or you will.
Wouldn’t you wanna know?
Keeping silence in order to respect betrayal is soo lousy… especially when you have yourself experienced what it means to get cheated on. So tell her to let him know or you will see to it that he knows. A spouse always deserves the truth.

I am really sorry for everything that has happend to you. I advise you to not let anyone step on you … Some people play around repeatedly because they are married to a person who wont stand up for themselves. I hope that wont happen to you but if it does you nead to say a loud NO, for the sake of your children too.

Jesus strengthen you.

Grace.


#15

I agree that you should talk to your former best friend and let her know all the damage she has caused you. And let her know she needs to stay away from your family. Period.

As for former friend’s husband, I would not bother telling him anything. Since you aren’t friends anymore with them, I’d stay out of it. If by chance he calls you and asks, I would tell the truth. But frankly, you have enough on your plate without going after this husband. Besides, he may already suspect or even know what they did.


#16

I strongly disagree.
Again. Supposed you were cheated on by your spouse. Wouldn’t you prefer that the only other person, besides your spouse and her lover, who might be aware of it, would have the courage to tell you? I know I would. I cannot believe that we as Catholic brothers and sisters would keep another person in oblivion about such a thing. Notice I do not say that the OP should just tell her former friend’s husband. Only that she should tell her that IFshe will do the right thing herself then it has to be that way. Truth must be told. thats all there is to that.


#17

Sorry, Grace, but we will have to agree to disagree.

I think your advice to go after the cheater’s husband is vengeful. The OP’s issue is between her own husband and her former best friend. That’s all. Your advice for the OP to tell the cheater’s husband about the infidelity is equivalent to throwing gasoline on a fire…
At this point, the OP needs to work toward healing in her own family, she doesn’t need to start a war in another. IMO.


#18

Perhaps telling the other woman’s husband will save his life/prevent him from contracting an STD. It may also help keep the OP’s husband and the other woman apart from each other - affairs thrive on secrecy. If he is told with these points in mind, that is not vengeance.


#19

I personally agree with the other post dont tell, He will find out on his own. He may not believe you anyway. Just give it some time. You have your own problems to deal with, dont worry about theirs. Trust me the truth will come out, but dont let it be from you. Only if she wont leave him alone, then its different. Remember your family is suffering, dont be the one to feel guilty about another family suffering. The truth always has a way of comming out. You worry about what you have to deal with right now. Just wait for awhile anyway.


#20

Interesting…
supposed I was working somewhere and you all knew my husband was having an affair with someone else… day after day you saw me go about my business unaware that I was being cheated on… you would all keep silent and think: her husbnd will tell her himself or somehow the truth will come out… we will not be responsible for anything but just let things handle themselves…

I dont think that’s very charitable… Again I strongly advice the OP to tell her former best friend that she has to tell her husband about her betrayal or else that the OP will make sure that he finds out.
we don’t protect or treat a man with respect and care by not letting him know that he is being cheated on.


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