That is a very popular phrase used in relationships when someone gets hurt. Whether you use this attitude toward your spouse, a family member, or even a really good friend, in my opinion, it’s one of the most damaging held positions you can maintain… Here we go.
In the beginning of my and Adams relationship, things happened that caused me to say that very thing. Of course what I meant was,
“I will say I forgive you, but I will throw it in your face every chance I get, and I will be waiting for the next time it happens.”
Which is exactly what I did.
He didn’t even have to do anything “wrong”. I would just accuse him because he was making me “feel” a certain way (which is IMPOSSIBLE; we control our own feelings). Regardless, I felt that feeling a lot. And by me throwing things in his face just pretty much affirmed what he was thinking.
Looking back, I think it was more of an encouragement for him; it was definitely a reason for him to be mad at me.
Usually, there are other issues, many in my case, that led up to the affair or affairs. Obviously the trust gets compromised and it takes quite a while to get it back, if at all. But there are issues lurking that cause someone to go outside their marriage. Those are either issues with themselves, or issues within the marriage that need to be addressed, ideally through discussion.
In January of 2007, Adam came to the house to try to reconcile.
It was 2 weeks before our divorce was supposed to be final. See, Adam HATES failing at something. For ME to divorce HIM left me with total control over that.
I LOVED it
Anyway, at that time I saw right through him. To be fair, his “good intentions” were there, but he always had good intentions. That’s why I stayed soooo long.
After watching him for 2 DAYS, I saw the BEHAVIOR was the same and I told him to leave.
In April of 2007, a second attempt was made.
By this time he had himself cleaned up. He looked like he had been off the drugs and he sounded good. But honestly, I didn’t see it coming and I knew that I didn’t want to get back with him.
I repeat, I did not want him back.
- He sat there in the chair and ADMITTED to what he had done.
- He APOLOGIZED.
- He CRIED.
This was a first, so it did grab my attention… for a second. At that point I did let him stay at the house, on the couch, and get time in with his kids.
But the biggest thing I saw over the next few months was HIM changing. His behavior was changing. He went above and beyond doing things to show me I could trust him.
The phone was a big issue. He changed his number and only gave it to certain people. When he talked on it we were always in the same room and he usually had it on speaker.
He ALWAYS left it out in the open which he NEVER used to do.
He smiled, he complimented, he was actively trying to get better and get better for US, not trying to follow advice of others, and, “be miserable and do it for the kids.”
It was like getting to know a completely different person. Which it was, I guess. And I did not tell him to do ANY of it. It was his decision.
But there is a difference between true forgiveness and the mental attitude of “I can forgive but not forget.” I am very realistic and completely understand that we can’t just wipe memories from our brain.
I know I truly forgave Adam for what he did. And believe me, I have not forgotten. But what I use those memories for is to tell stories and give examples to help others.
There is not one ounce of spite or disgust for him when I talk with someone about our past.
It is just that… our past. And I can honestly say (and he would back me up) that since we have been back together, I have NEVER thrown anything up in his face or ACCUSED him of his old ways.
I am not saying this to brag, but it was a decision I made. I was not going to live like that again, always waiting for that other shoe to drop and trying to catch him in something else. If something was going to happen it was going to happen and I had no ties to him (at the point he came back). And truly, I didn’t care. I don’t mean to sound harsh. I just mean, emotionally, I had moved on.
It’s not easy to forgive someone when you have been hurt by them. But it NEEDS to be done in order to repair and heal. I’m not just talking about the relationship. I mean for YOU to be healthy, sane, and functioning again. Believe me, not forgiving hurts you far more than the other person.
Jesus is the perfect example for us when it comes to forgiveness. That is where I got my strength from and my ability to forgive him in that way. When we forgive others as Christ forgives us, it makes it so much easier and our heart is softened.
To show grace and not resentment is the key. We are so quick to be offended. I know of people in my own family that choose to live a life of bitterness and grudge-holding. It is SO DESTRUCTIVE.
To truly forgive does not mean that you need to be their best friend or even continue in a relationship with them. Honestly, the decision not to forgive will affect you the most. There is a greater chance that you will carry that mistrust, anger, and bitterness with you to the next relationship, and the next, and the next.
You will not be able to form a serious relationship of value because in your eyes “they are all the same.” You with me ladies? ;)
Behavior will happen that will remind you of your old relationship and you will start accusing him or her of the things that were done to you in the past.
So, you can accept the reality and move forward, through forgiveness, or you can keep going the route most go and live with all that poison inside.
The choice is truly yours.