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How to forgive...???

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It's been a long journey since I found out only 2 months ago that I contracted the virus. It's only been 3 months since I found out that my husband had cheated on me to obtain the virus himself.

The forgiveness on the cheating has been much easier than the forgiveness for the herpes. I suppose they go hand in hand, but how do you forgive for the ultimate betrayal in a marriage? In turn, how do you forgive when the person harms you in such a way that you are forever reminded of that betrayal?

It hurts. I don't know how to cope with the virus somedays. I feel so angry that I had no choice...How do you forgive this one?

What are the first steps?

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Ultra Violet

Forgiveness is an action. It requires an active decision to let go of the anger so that it no longer causes YOU pain. It's something you do for yourself as much as that other person (perhaps more so).

There is a right time for forgiveness. To forgive too early can leave you feeling vulnerable. To forgive too late can mean you become bitter and resentful.

Once you have allowed yourself to fully experience the anger, sadness, rage and diappointment and have decided it's time to forgive, every time you find yourself having angry, bitter, resentful thoughts about your husband's actions: stop, take a breath and say to yourself "I choose to forgive and to let this go" or similar words.

Visualisation can be very powerful too. One that worked for me was visualising where the emotion was coming from in my body, and where it was connected to my ex. Then I found a way to break the connection (I visualised cutting it). I also told myself "I choose to forgive" and did this every time I got angry. Eventually I was less and less angry till there was no bitterness left.

Some people find writing a letter helps. You can pour out all your vitriol into the letter and then burn, bury, shread or post the letter. I recommend writing it in anger, reviewing it when the anger is released and then if you chose to, share those parts of the letter that express what you need your husband to know in a way that feels safe for you.

Good luck.

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What are your reasons for wanting to forgive?

1. For the sake of your child?

2. Because you love your husband?

3. Because your husband loves you?

4. Others?

Sometimes you need to figure out why you are even trying.. and why you should be.

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These are great responses to your post, Bennismama. I would also add therapy (individual counseling first and then couples/marital counseling). Betrayal is really difficult to overcome, but it can be done -- as an action, as suggested by UltraViolet, and in awareness of your motivation for doing it, as suggested by VVK. Good luck!

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What are your choices?

I think that UltraViolet had a great post, at least as far as the kind of actions you can take and mental attitude you can have about it. People forgive all kinds of things. You can, too.

But I would like to add some more thinking to this:

What are your choices here? Let's see...you can leave your husband, move on in life and decide that you do not want to put up with this kind of thing. This would be especially appropriate if you believe he will cheat on you again and have decided that you do not want to live with a chronic philanderer.

Here's another choice: You can remain with your husband feeling angry and bitter about it, taking it out on him (and yourself), making you both a lot less happy every day with your attitude. You can punish him in various ways.

Or...you can continue your marriage and decide to forgive. That means you are still not happy that he did what he did and that you have herpes, but you are willing to continue with him in the way that is happiest for both of you. I think forgiveness in this situation would come a lot easier to me if I thought he would not behave this way again. Since past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior (as most psychology books will tell you), that is a tough one. But people do make mistakes and people do decide not to repeat them. If you really, really believe he will not do it again or at least is extremely unlikely to repeat the infidelity, then I think, if you are going to continue with him, forgiveness is the only way you can expect to be happy with him and he with you.


In other words, if you are remaining with him, it is in your own, as well as his, best interest for you to decide to let it go. Tell yourself, people make mistakes, he made one, so what, it's over and I am going to be happy with him. Remind yourself of how much you love him, of all the good times, of all your ties to him and your reasons for remaining. Then, when you realize that you are going to be with him from now on, decide you are going to be happy. You deserve happiness, not bitterness and sadness. So if you are going to remain, forgiveness is really the only way, isn't it?

If, in spite of everything, you cannot forgive him, I recommend that you consider not staying. Living in bitterness, anger and recriminations will not do you, your children or your husband any good. So make up your mind one way or another so that you can have peace of mind.

Look at it this way, it's just a minor viral skin irritation and it will get better in time. There are new meds coming out soon that may eliminate outbreaks entirely. And one of these years there will be a vaccine which will make the social stigma for this virus evaporate. Things are getting better medically speaking so they might as well get better for you psychologically speaking.

Good luck with this. Take care of yourself and be as happy as you can be. Life is too short to allow yourself to brood and be miserable.

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I think I have accepted the fact that I have herpes. I haven't accepted the way I received it. I do need to figure out why I want to forgive. I think part of me has 3 desicions in mind, leaving in 2 years when I'm done iwth school, leaving tomorrow, and staying forever. I will probably get flamed for this but...

I was really ok with things at first. my husband and I are in counseling every week and seem to be making progress. But honestly, this isn't the first time it's happened. When we dated, he was with other women without telling me early on. He fessed up about it when we started getting serious. I wasn't really mad he'd been with other people, I was just upset that it wasn't full disclosure. So I got out of the relationship. Several months later, we decided to get back together with the discussion that our realtionship was exclusive, a few months after that we found out we were preggers. We decided to get married, and volia. 1 kid and 4 years later, we're at an affair.

Now I can't say I'm 100% victim here, during our first year of marriage my best (guy) friend and I had an emotional affair. We talked about being together and met weekly although my husband knew about it, didn't know it was going beyond friendship. We never did anything physically, my husband was working 60+ hour work weeks. I was lonely, but I effed up royally. My husband knows everything.

We're in counseling, trying to understand what's going on in our marriage. My husband comes home and is open about his day including the women he talks to (well, as far as I know) and how he's trying to change his attitudes towards women so he doesn't continue to use them and sex as a way to deal with unhappiness. He's trying to change his belief that I am the blame of all his unhappiness, I became the scapegoat of his unhappiness for the last year - which is what he said led to the affair, his anger with me, although he now realizes it was wrong to blame me.

I am a stay at home mom and student, I don't have a ton of options. But forgiveness is still too raw a subject for me to touch. Part of me just wants to use him to finish my degree and then leave him, knowing logically and full well that it's wrong. Part of me, wants to leave now and find a job later. And the last part of me wants DESPERATELY for my marriage to mend and heal and reblossom.

The problem is, I don't hate my husband. I love him very deeply. We are best friends, and we both really believe (as we did before), if we saw each other frequently (because we have a kid) we'd end up back together anyway - which is what keeps us ticking.

I probably sound like a nutcase. The herpes was sort of the last straw of inability to forgive. In a lot of ways i don't blame my husband for having an affair because in the last year, we didn't do anything to fix our mundane relationship. BUT I do blame him for hurting me with herpes. That sounds nuts. I'm smarter than that, but my emotions aren't.

If anyone read this long, I appreciate it. Thank you for all the advice.

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