“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
Quite early on, I decided to forgive my husband. I knew I had to if our marriage was going to continue. For us, the alternative was that we self-combusted under the pressure of guilt on one side and recriminations on the other.
In the early days, forgiveness was a conscious, intellectual posture. While I could understand the reasons behind his behaviour and wanted to forgive, it still hurt worse than anything in my life to date and I carried a lot of anger and pain.
In the last few months I’ve come to realise that I’ve actually forgiven him on an emotional level too. While I can never forget his actions during those three months of madness, I can rationalise his behaviour and feel compassion for the lost man he was. I am no longer angry.
In hindsight I can see that his behaviour and attitudes towards me during the months following D-day were largely coloured by guilt and not, as I thought, by indifference to me. While he was feeling terrified of losing me, I was putting his inability to communicate down to him comparing me unfavourably with the young women he used.
Yesterday morning we ended up having a conversation around these matters. I’ve been a lot happier recently, despite my health not being wonderful, and I realised that because I’m not showing misery and unhappiness, he has actually now started to believe that he is forgiven.
I jokingly said that he’s 99% forgiven – because I want the 1% to be a reminder to him that I won’t tolerate infidelity another time. He laughed and said that he won’t be going there again.
I asked if he’d manage to forgive me if the situation had been reversed and he said he would. Then I asked if he’d forgiven himself. He said he’d never forgive himself for what he did and would regret his actions to the end of his days.
This bears out my theory that good men sometimes do bad things but since I’ve forgiven him and he’d forgive me, I hope he’ll eventually be able to give himself that gift.