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Dear Chump Lady, “I need to forgive the OW” — WTF?

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forgivenesstrollDear Chump Lady,

My divorce was final just 3 months ago in October. I went back to using my maiden name. I have been living with family since June (7, going on 8 months) and I expect to be living here until May. Meanwhile, cheater ex and the OW live together. Life is going on. I am moving on as much as I can from D-Day.

I was out with my sister, her husband, and another couple the other night for dinner. I am the 5th wheel. My 8-year-old son calls me in the middle of dinner and I answer. He is with his father for the weekend. You bet I’m answering. He is telling me about his weekend. OW bought him Beats earbuds. And they made rock candy!!! Can WE make candy at home?? I love that he called me. It’s the reason I bought the phone in the first place. I was doing what the Sane Parent does. I listened and showed interest in what he was doing.

After I hung up, my sister said she was really impressed with how I handled that so well. I was happy to receive the praise and told her that it’s hard when it comes to the OW. I have been completely No Contact (she blocked me when I found out who she was) and as much as I love my son, I don’t want to making f*%$ing rock candy. But, I am gracious with him. HE is trying to navigate his new world. I said that I was just happy that Cheater Ex and OW seem to treat my son well.

After hearing this, the married friend (woman) across from me said something along the lines of “and you need to forgive her.” I had to ask her to repeat herself. And she actually said it again. I furrowed my brow, leaned in and said, “Jane (not her real name), I have to forgive myself for picking the Cheater in the first place. And, SHE knew what she was doing when she started a relationship with a man who had a wife and child.”

My anger came quick and unapologetically. My blood pressure soared and I feared I had upset others at the table so I apologized for snapping at her. I mean, the tension was tangible. My sister had to stop her from saying anything else. (My sister and brother-in-law were on my side. They were as angry as I was that she would even broach the subject. During dinner. In a public place. But I didn’t realize it until we got home.)

Jane and I are friends. We both actively seek relationship with God. We both know that we have been given grace and blessings that only God can give. And I understand that there is a grain of truth to what she said. But how dare she? It’s this kind of stuff that sets me back on my road to Meh. It makes me feel alone to navigate my experience, my trauma, and my healing in a world of smug, married people. Until you’ve walked in my shoes, you don’t get a say. And you certainly don’t know the timetable for healing. It’s different for everyone. I dare you to take a moment to just PRETEND your spouse did what mine did. I bet you can’t even handle that, Lady.

So what would you have done? Other than posting on social media as I have done before, how do WE, the Faithful Ones, best handle these people? Because, frankly, I wish to be direct and firm. And angry. Is that anger considered “righteous anger”?

conniered…and pissed.

Dear Conniered,

What would I have done? Tracy probably would’ve sat there gobsmacked at Jane’s smug idiocy and fumbled for a rejoinder. Chump Lady, however, would’ve let loose both barrels. (Consequently, Chump Lady doesn’t get invited to too many dinner parties.)

“So, Jane, you sanctimonious bitch, who appointed you Jesus? Nice of you to sit there smug, enjoying the incandescent glow of your coupledom, and tell this recent divorcee how she’s doing Rebuilding Her Life All Wrong. Forgive the OW? A cheater who thinks she is perfectly splendid and did nothing wrong? And who doesn’t want my forgiveness?

“Yeah, Jane. I’ll order up some instant magnanimity to go with my shit sandwich entree. Now then, as long as we’re giving orders — Quit cheating on your husband, Jane. The only sort of person who squirms around chumps and demands chumps unilaterally forgive cheaters, are cheaters themselves.

“How dare I say such a thing? How dare I make assumptions about your personal life and morals? Oh Janey, Jane, Jane — I’d rather be me than you. Is that a syphilitic boil on your neck? You should have that looked at.”

Chump Lady would then get up and excuse herself from Jane’s company.

I know, Conniered. We never think of these things when idiots broadside us. I think you handled it quite well. You naturally got upset. If anyone should’ve apologized in that instance, it’s Jane not you. She’s the one who gave offense! Even if she was the most misguided of Forgiveness Trolls, she should care that she hurt you. I’m not reading where she was tripping all over herself to apologize.

Oh that’s right. We can’t apologize to the Bitter People.

Look, forgiveness is nobody’s business but YOURS. Next time someone asks impertinent questions about your forgiveness status, do what my Methodist minister father does when people proselytize at his door — he asks about their sex lives.

Good luck.

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  • I love CL’s answer.. but another good response when someone says “You should forgive the OW”.. say “Forgiveness is a gift, and not a gift I wish to bestow on someone as undeserving as that whore”. Forgiveness is a gift. You are under NO obligation to give it.

    Hang in there.

    • Although I like your response, I believe the gift is a gift you give yourself. However, in this situation, the whore would also be a recipient of the gift. Very tough waters to navigate. On one hand you need to free yourself of anger and on the other you want to avoid absolving the dirty whore.

      • Beg to differ; forgiveness is not a gift you give yourself, letting go of the anger (eventually) is a gift you give yourself. Making a new life is a gift you give yourself. This emphasis on “forgiveness” of people is overrated, and there is now research that it is HARMFUL for therapists (or others) to plug “forgiveness” of the cheater or OW/OM.

        No one should tell anyone else how to heal.

        Conniered–Jane is not a friend.

        • Jane is an arrogant bully… a “forgiveness bully.”

          And no Jane, Conniered is not forgiving OWifestress who is not repentant for destroying a marriage and family, and who never turned from her sinful ways (although perhaps she can claim rock candy redemption).

          Nice try though.

          I agree with CL, Jane sounds like a cheater apologist. I wonder why?

          • Forgiveness Bullies are all around. And they’re blind to what they are asking, thinking, saying, and doing. It comes from a place of their own guilt. You are correct. She’s a cheater apologist. Kind of like that commercial, “what’s in your wallet?” I’d ask, “what’s in your past?” Why does my forgiveness or lack thereof mean so much??

            • I do agree that forgiveness bullies are around but I think many are just clueless. They haven’t gone through the trauma, they don’t comprehend the depth of pain. They are parroting what they’ve heard in church, but they haven’t really experienced it. If they had, they wouldn’t be telling you to forgive the OW.

              Maybe you should have leaned over and said “I’m not a place where I can forgive the OW, but I will forgive you for being clueless.”

              • Ha ha, I love that. I may use that.
                The other one that really hurts that I have had from friends is “I can understand how people can get to a place where they cheat but I can’t understand how they don’t do a better job of not getting caught”. This was a person who had been a bridesmaid at my wedding that said that. Instead of loosing my temper, which is how I felt inside, I mumbled on about exit affairs!

              • To forgive is to release the indebted from a debt. It does not absolve responsibility or start things back at square one. It is a choice to stop trying to collect on a debt owed by a deadbeat who will never fulfill his/her obligation. Nothing more. It also implies that no further help is available because now the deadbeat has proven s/he is not a safe debt risk.

                Forgiving is about letting the past be in the past. However, here’s the new and non-negotiable agreement: if you’re an asshole today, you will receive a response that is befitting of an asshole today. So get ready.

        • Agreed, Jane is not a friend. A friend would have your back.

          For what it’s worth, I view “meh” as a type of forgiveness. Anger takes up emotional real estate. I think it’s a valuable tool to get us motivated to change and the strength to follow through. But it’s not a good thing over the long term.

          Given that I actively wished my ex-husband death–preferably in a single car accident on a late night commute home–the fact that I no longer actively wish him dead is pretty good. Magnanimous, even.

          Have I forgiven him? Nope. He hasn’t even admitted he’s had an affair/is having one, and he certainly hasn’t asked for my forgiveness.

          • Also agree here. Jane’s not a friend. Lose her. Fast. Now. You’re seeing what took me two hard years to see. Switzerland is a position. Mildly, lightly, “kindly” advocating for your ex, is not acceptable. If Jane were your friend she would have lit up your ex and slapped fives about the lack of ethics and decency shown by both your ex and his ho bag. Make no excuses for these people. Walk away and don’t go back. No more dinners with Jane. She PICKED HER SIDE. Move on without her. And for that matter, anyone who tells you your path of healing, acceptance, and growth is wrong.

            And don’t be shy. Make it known the next time someone asks why you don’t hang out with Jane. “She decided to take my ex’s side.” And then refuse to discuss it further. Because you know what? She did take your ex’s side.

            • Wow, Scott. I never looked at it that way. Why wasn’t she pissed FOR me??? I think i know. She has “dabbled” before.

          • I don’t think meh is a kind of forgiveness. I think it is the sign that you have forgiven. I try not to confuse forgiveness with restoration of relationship, or the development of a positive one with someone who has wronged me and is unrepentant. The OW here isn’t repentant, and there is no reason for a relationship with her. Forgiving her means not getting angry at what she did anymore, not calling her names and swearing at her. Forgiving the cheater means not caring about him or his cheating or who he’s with now. (Forgiving crappy parenting skills or abandonment or lack of financial responsibility is a separate issue of forgiveness.) Restoration would be an amicable friendship or being married again–no, thanks. I look forward to fully forgiving my husband someday, which, yes, would mean no longer hoping he dies in a car accident on his way home from work…just not caring what happens to him anymore. But no restoration. He had multiple chances to repent and did not, so he is to be to me, as the scripture says, as a tax collector (scorned, ignored, etc.). I’ve already decided to forgive him, because I don’t want to be angry and bitter. I don’t like it. I just use it for now. But the feelings don’t come right away. No one has a right to say what our feelings should be, or when they should change.

              • I think forgiveness is a semantics problem. We could probably be less offended at others if we assume their definition of forgiveness matched ours. Then when they tell us we need to forgive, we could just say we have every intention of doing so, and are well on our way there.

        • I’m with Tempest & CL. Jane either has the bible blinders on and she is a bible narc looking for God/cool points and wanted such a touching case study in her lexicon of stories for the next bible stuffy (oops. Study) (because she’s soooooooo in touch and the holt spirit just moved in her and said she needed to help you by letting you know that God wants you to forgive.. With no ducking actual clue of what you’re going through, thus no place to comment.) or she and hub have got some shit to deal with.

          Maybe she was speaking from a place of ‘I hope I help by showing her the way to prevent being a bitter Debbie downer’ … And if that’s the case, I almost forgive her (Bahahahaha) but especially after it came from a really positive phone call where you handled the whole situation amicably- it’s none of her damn business! In fact… I have a friend who is a lactation expert, who noted that most moms don’t stress about their babies or themselves- it’s what other people think if they use formula (once, part time, ever, whatever) her advice: lie. ‘All boob all the time. This baby has had all the boob juice’ it’s none of their business and you worrying about other people’s little feelers about the situation is ridiculous when you’re obviously figuring it out and your kid is pretty ok and your ex and schmoopie are… Whatever. Lie ‘forgive them? Oh you mean forgave them. Did that last Tuesday. All finished.” Insert something adorably new age for the people who are so biblical they forget to be about WWJD ‘yeh, I went to the scientology centre and after a few e-meter readings they said I was good, then I saw a reiki master for a few sessions and she referred me to a yogic flyer. Now that I’m really in the flow with the natural law of it all, I’m totally seeing how my path to forgiveness was already behind me. And then Jesus acame in my dreams and gave me a high five so now I just need to check in with the Flying Spaghetti Monster and I’m good” (shit,.. That derailed and got sarcastic at the end. I suggest deadpan serious for maximum efficacy)

      • I don’t think you need to forgive to ‘free yourself from anger’. I don’t forgive any of the people who went out of their way to fuck up my life in a huge, huge way – cheating was just the trigger to much bigger problems. I see no need to forgive them. They full well knew what they were doing, how it would impact me and my kids, and they chose to do it anyway.

        The anger is rarely present these days because I have moved on. And I was able to do that while still recognising there are some things that are unforgivable and I’m really, really ok with moving on whilst still knowing that there are some really horrible people in the world that I managed to remove from mine.

    • This is someone’s comment a long time ago on another post…

      “As much as I consider forgiveness to be freeing, graceful, and something we should all strive for, it is impossible if the offender offers no apology or recognition of the damage they caused. Period. You can accept, disconnect, and move on.”

  • All I can say is …..Jane, you ignorant slut………

    Hang in there C. You did fine. Most of us would have slapped her right into her smug soup.

  • I like that you called out her cheating, wonder how she met her husband.

    Some people have come out with this crap to me. And other crap like asking if I’m going to get back with my ex. Um…. No?!? Why would anyone ask that? Then it’s usually about ten mins after that someone will whisper in my ear that the person asking was/is a cheater. It’s so damn interesting. I can now see if someone is a cheater or not from their perspective on my experience.

    • “It’s so damn interesting. I can now see if someone is a cheater or not from their perspective on my experience.”

      MidlifeBlast, you nailed it! You and CL and everyone else who has come to that conclusion! I have also observed similar reactions when I tell my story. I’ve actually had people take a step away from me when I disclosed what happened, even though I usually keep it short and present it with class.

      Projection, much?

      • and there’s quite a few of them about right Boudica? And it’s the MARRIED ones, the single scumbags are doing single scumbag stuff, but I feel like my recent events brought all the married lowlifes out of the woodwork and also made a couple of married girlfriends uncomfortable too.

        • I agree with all 3 of you. It was one of the most interesting gifts I received in the whole narc ex thing. It was like finding out you can talk to spirits or predict the future.

          I have been able to separate the solid marriages from the cheater marriages. I can tell exactly who is a cheater and who is not, by their demeanor and the direction they cast their eyes if I tell my story.

          It’s SO obvious now, and easy to pick the cheaters and the marriages in trouble, and sometimes it’s difficult and sad to have that awareness.

          My own sister’s reaction was so strange. She was almost mean to me. It took me awhile to realize that she was freaking out that I left my narc because it “looks bad” when you have been pretending to have that perfect marriage, and I let the jig be up. I think she was afraid I’d discover her own situation was the same. I’m now positive her husband cheats on her. But I would never “out” them. It’s not my business to blow the whistle, but only to support her when the shit finally comes down.

          A gift and a curse. But I’m glad I can see the forest for the trees. And yes, Jane is definitely a cheater. No doubt.

  • Forgiveness of cheating spouses isn’t my job and it’s above my pay grade. That is entirely His responsibility.

    I don’t much think of my cheating ex these days (6 days post D-day), but when I do it’s with a firm conviction that she’s an asshole and an abiding concern that she will by her association make the lives of my sons more painful and difficult. I don’t hate her, but I know who she is. Much as I regard Bernie Madoff, O.J. Simpson, and the dickweed 6th grade bully who made me eat dirt in 3rd grade. They’re all dangerous characters best recognized and avoided.

    But forgiveness? No, not my job. Tell Jane when you want her advice on how to recover from infidelity you will ask. In the meantime, Fuck her and feed her Froot-Loops.

    • “Forgive” a person who willfully helped orchestrate the ruin of your marriage and family? Because she makes rock candy with your eight year old?! NO!

      Just because she isn’t treating your son like an intrusion (for now) doesn’t mean she’s not a horrible woman to the core.

      Good for you for not letting that twit at the table say something so imbecilic without responding.

      She needs to ask you for forgiveness.

    • I agree entirely with your point Nomar! I’ve always believed that it was mighty presumptuous of people who believe that they could forgive anyone. I don’t think we have that power. I like how you stated its above your pay grade too!

      It’s my job to accept what’s happened and move on to a better life. That’s the only gift I can give myself. Forgiveness of the ex or his OWife needs to come from above!

      • “It’s my job to accept what’s happened and move on to a better life.’

        Exactly so. Well put and succint.

        Like your Beantown sports graphic, BTW. Sox looking good for 2016!

        • Loved loved loved they pitching improvements! Looking forward to the season starting!

          75 days until Opening Day!

      • Maybe a good retort would be “I’m working on acceptance of what OW and my ex have done, forgiveness is too much to ask right now.”

        Basically I think people are just really uncomfortable around anger and bitterness, but it’s part of the process of grief and life altering changes forced on you against your will. It’s not exactly like you can skip all those emotions and go straight to forgiveness.

        • I’d want to say what I would say to my 5 year old “worry about yourself”. Jeez man. So immature really. But it still hurts when people say crap like that.

    • Wow nomar, that’s excellent! Thanks, I have always liked Iris Dement, and that song is perfect for me right now.

      But I have a question: you say you’re not thinking of cheater ex much (6 days post-DDay); did you mean 6 years? 6 days after I could barely remember my own name or come up with polysyllabic responses tom y kids’ questions. Just wondering…

      • Oops, yes. 6 years. I was a zombie at 6 days, still stuck in a nightmare false reconciliation. And yet yourself from a chaotic cheating spouse, including how the passage of time feels.

        “Time flies when your head’s not stuck in a blender.”

  • I think you handled that blindsided ignorant remark very well. Extremely well. I fear I would have thrown the table over and said, “fuck you!,” and challenge her to a duel.

    It will happen again and when it does look them in the eye and say, “Forgiving _ _ _ _ _ is between me and God.”

    That takes their sanctimonious so-called “Christian” advice and shoves it up their _ _ _. If she is TRULY ignorant, it will silence her.

    I am with CL on this. The first thought I had was, “Jane’s a cheater.”

    • ” I fear I would have thrown the table over and said, “fuck you!,” and challenge her to a duel.”
      Oh CJ – you make me wildly happy! Honestly, that tickled the crap out of me!!

    • If you offer an unrepentant OW forgiveness she can’t or won’t accept it as it would be an admission of sin.

      OW will choose image control over her soul every time.

      So sad.

    • I agree 100%, Divorce Minister–very well said. Repentance means CHANGING THE BEHAVIOR. “Go, and sin no more” versus having your cake (“I’m cheating with your spouse!”) and eating it too (“I demand forgiveness!”). One of the dozens of OW my ex-husband slept with called me crying and texted me and outright *demanded* that I forgive her. Of course, she explained she was demanding forgiveness for MY sake, because didn’t I know that Jesus couldn’t forgive ME for MY sins unless I forgave her?! I laughed so hard that I cried. It occurred to me that she was a wack job and they deserved each other. I truly didn’t feel Jesus required me to forgive someone who was pregnant with my then-husband’s baby, living with him in MY home, and living entirely off my dime. I contemplated it and thought, ‘That’s not really being sorry’.

      I pretend they don’t exist, except in this Parallel Universe of Disordered & Sick People–a universe that I take drastic measures to avoid. The truth is that I feel nothing for either of them over two years after the divorce papers have been signed. That’s my way of “forgiving”.

      As a Christian, it’s our responsibility not to let hatred or unrighteous anger at another person eat away at us or drive us away from God. It’s NOT our job (I liked the earlier comment “It’s above my pay scale”) to bestow forgiveness, eternal or otherwise–that’s between them and God.

      • Good one. In my universe there are no cheaters. I will drop people out of my circle of life if I see or hear of it. If any of my kids did it, I would not stop loving them I would call them out and not speak to them until they did the right thing. No excuses none. I raised them better than their pos dad ever could.

      • “As a Christian, it’s our responsibility not to let hatred or unrighteous anger at another person eat away at us or drive us away from God. It’s NOT our job (I liked the earlier comment “It’s above my pay scale”) to bestow forgiveness, eternal or otherwise–that’s between them and God.”

        This is exactly how I see it. I have to let go of bitterness and anger to move forward with my life. To me, forgiveness means that I let thoughts of revenge go and leave that up to God or the Universe to deal with.

    • Perfect, quick response DM! Conniered, below is a more elaborate response (in case you need it) to those smug, sanctimonious religious folks that may cross your path in the future. It isn’t just Christians that play the you-must-forgive-no-matter-what card.

      “Unconditional forgiveness is canceling a debt to all those who intentionally offend us, whether or not they own up to what they have done. Offering forgiveness without repentance, however, does not follow the biblical model of forgiveness (Luke 17:3,4).” – Questions.org

      Fixing a steady gaze at the person while delivering the information helps to let them know they’ve out-of-line (and, as stated above, ignorant).

    • Amen and amen…..to all the above. I actually had my husband’s Whore tell me that God forgives ALL sin and she knows she sinned but she’s forgiven and we can all move on with our lives. **church lady voice** Well isn’t that special??
      Move on…..I think the whore meant Move INTO….as in my house…using my kitchen stuff…sleeping on my sheets…. yep….she’s all forgiven and accepted by his family and my one daughter so I guess that makes it all OK….

      Fuck that….
      Fuck……..that…

      And I am a Christian….and I do follow the Divorce Minister….I do read my Bible and I know what Jesus says about forgiveness. I’m pretty sure as he hung up on that cross and said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”….he didn’t mean they were not acting out of their own decisions. They knew….they decided…they plotted. I think what they “didn’t know” was the depths of what they did and the affect it would have…..it wasnt just about their political standing….or religious leadership….. it was bigger than that….shit was about to get real….and they had no idea how real….
      Sorry….my street jail preaching comes out.

      Forgive….. I will not forgive that whore or my husband. I have a Savior that understands my hurt and pain….if he can’t accept me because I refuse to forgive him….then that’s between me and God. Then everything I believe is bullshit.
      I hope it isnt. But….things have happened to shake my belief.

      You have to have a contrite heart…..a heart that mourns for what you’ve done. Those two bitches that railroaded me don’t have one ounce of that……

      Let’s not forget…..God is a god of justice….and sites people…..Sodom and Gomorrah. …Lot and his Wife???

      Forgive…..I’ll forgive when my husband is truly sorry and asks for my forgiveness…..until then….
      Fuck them

  • “Jane, forgiving the whore just isn’t a very high priority for me right now. Resisting the temptation to strangle the fucking bitch and set her hair on fire is taking up my energy and focus right now. I need to stay out of jail for the sake of my kids, so that forgiveness shit will just have to wait.”

    • ^^^Love this!

      I got this same line from my daughter’s shrink who thought if the “women could meet and talk” we’d all accept OW now that she’s living with STBX. Really….. not going to happen and since my kids are grown, there’s no reason we need to meet each other. If my kids want to meet her and they ask me to do the same, then I would consider it but I’d have lots to say that she won’t ever want to here!

    • This was my response as well. My cheater wife asked why I can’t find it in my heart to forgive her.

      Darlin’… Consider yourself lucky I haven’t burned your perfect page 16 Pottery Barn catalog house down to the ground.

    • Jane…..stay out of jail…..trust me….it’s not a good place to be. It is NOT Orange is the New Black…..it sucks….and those assholes aren’t worth it. I can say that…because I spent 10 months there…..not all my fault…I was set up by my husband….but still…..

      I also dreamt of setting the whores hair on fire….as I had her duck taped to a pole with her eyes duck taped open….as I waved lighter fluid in front of her…. yea….arson is a felony….so is murder….10 months was enough for me.

  • I am not religious, but isn’t forgiveness reserved for people who acknowledge their wrongdoing? Doesn’t sound like OW believes she needs forgiveness, so why should she receive it? And why is it any of Jane’s business whether or not you decide to forgive…anyone? Sounds to me that she stuck her nose precisely where it did not belong.

    To me, this whole forgiveness thing is yet another way to make us chumps feel bad about ourselves. OW in my situation is a classic Jesus cheater, who is constantly telling everyone that she “isn’t perfect, just forgiven.” Barf. One of her friends tried that crap on me and I was more than happy to inform her that I would never forgive a person that doesn’t think she did anything wrong in the first place!

    I have absolutely no need or desire to remove a single ounce of responsibility from OW for her conduct. If that makes me a bitter bitch, so be it. There are some things that are simply unforgivable. Knowingly breaking up a family is one of them.

  • I had my mom, ask to see a picture of the OW. When she did, her comment,” awe she’s cute.” And a friend say, “she’s a real cutie.” They were just ignorant and trying to figure out why my H would cheat on me. That’s how most people are, they blame the chump. I can’t say I haven’t thought similarly in the past before I got chumped. The thing is, I would have never said it to their face, but alas behind their back, I probably did. (It’s always a comparative thing about looks or actions that we as women mostly do) This is why, when you are harmed by others judgements or rude comments you should try with all our might, to speak up. We as chumps, need to change the blame game away from us. That insult to me was 3 yrs ago and it still hurts. They never knew it hurt me, but I wish I would have spoken up like you did. Kudos! My mom and friend are the ones I choose to forgive, because they are part of my life, the OW is lucky I didn’t go and key her car.

    • Not trying to be ugly, living my life, but if my daughter (when she grows up) shows me a picture of a whore who cheated with her husband, I will not say the slut is “cute.”. That’s just plain ridiculous. I would probably ” forgive” her being my mother but I would be on high alert around her. But a friend?? No damn way. Is that really what a Friend would say???

    • Fucking Switzerlanding arseholes – the both of them. Who in their right mind calls someone who actively fucked you over “cute”!???

  • “I am not a doormat. I don’t forgive people who who fuck me over, think they did nothing wrong, and don’t even want my forgiveness. I know my worth. Too bad you don’t.”

  • I’d say “I think I need to forgive you first for thinking you have a right or any invitation to offer advice on something to which you have no clue”.

  • “and you need to forgive her.”

    Uh, no. You don’t “NEED” to forgive her. You said exactly the right thing.

    My mom, like others have commented, thinks I’m too hard on the OW. Over and over I’ve told her that of course I blame my cheater ex more, but she had no business coming in to our lives and simply having her way and she’s a horrible person for doing so.

    My mom can’t get it, which is mystifying to me since she’s been cheated on a few times herself.

    Some people just don’t get it!

  • Here’s my take on this as a fellow Christian:

    The Bible actually says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” (Luke 17:3) There are many, many verses about forgiveness, but there’s nothing that says you have to forgive someone who is actively sinning against you and does not believe s/he did anything wrong. Luke 17:3 says it right there: rebuke for the one who sins, forgiveness for the one who repents. There are passages about loving your enemies, but I don’t think that’s the same thing as forgiveness. So, Jane wasn’t just butting in on a subject she has no right to butt in on; her theology of forgiveness is just wrong.

    An adulterous woman who doesn’t believe she did anything wrong doesn’t need forgiveness, she needs rebuke so that she can come to a place of understanding that what she did was wrong and repent.

    However, this doesn’t mean we should keep contacting the OW to rebuke her and try to call her to repentance, especially if she has expressed a desire for no-contact. Jesus also told his disciples, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14) When an OW hardens her heart against God’s truth, just leave her to her sin and leave the care of her soul to someone else.

    • And additionally, as a fellow Christian, I have learned that brother/sister is not simply ‘another human’ or a neighbour, it is a fellow Christian!!!
      Therefore a person who knowingly and continuously hurts you and sins against you, and does not acknowledge or repent of their sin, is not and cannot be a ‘sister’ or a ‘brother’!!! No matter what they claim. They are not a new creation and do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them to be moved. Learned from a fantastic Christian web which helps victim of domestic violence, cheaters, and all flavours of abusers, ” A cry for Justice” by Pastor Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts. No, my ‘religious’ abuser is certainly not my ‘brother’ in Christ. How duped I was!!! …How I wish I realized this so much sooner trying to ‘save’ my ‘marriage’. The Lord says check the fruits!!! Not what they say. Many Christians are duped by Wolves in Sheep’s clothing sitting in the pews. Jesus cheater has a huge advantage with a Jesus chump. As we can be double chumpy, and they are certainly double snakey. I will be sure to teach my two daughters well. They are in more danger than a non christian chump in a way.

      • My thoughts are that you can’t “forgive” character flaws anyway. That is what the person is, like a liar. Any person can tell a lie, and be remorseful for it. But Liars make it a way of life, it is not only an action, it is their state of being.

    • “…shake the dust off your feet.”

      Awesome Rarity, that is what we all are trying to do. It’ll be Tuesday and we will all have dustless feet.

    • I think the problem with our society is that we aren’t supposed to rebuke anyone. We’re not supposed to judge; we’re just supposed to be fountains of unending understanding because the cheaters/liars/thieves probably had bad lives and didn’t get ponies for their birthdays or something, so we can’t judge them for acting out now. Maybe if our culture valued responsibility and loyalty more, there would be more rebuking of cheaters (and less cheating).

      I have seen parents defend their children when the children are caught cheating on a test or assignment, so I have to wonder if a portion of the population was raised to think that there are certain types of cheating and stealing that are okay. As long as you don’t rob a bank, you can steal other people’s information (like plagiarizing an essay). As long as you don’t cheat on your taxes, it’s okay to cheat in other ways, like on your spouse (my ex to a tee– Mr. Scrupulous Accountant at tax time who had no problem with signing up for Ashley Madison and paying that cesspool of a site for years).

      I am all for rebuking. I just wish that more people were.

  • You answered her much better than I would have. I probably would have just looked at her…tongue tied.CL as always has a brilliant response. Remember Miss Manners? She always knew what to do in all situations. She probably would have looked at Jane coldly and changed the subject.Or asked “Do you know this from experience?”

        • By far this is the best reply. I hope, hope, hope I can get all CL on the next assclown who says some apologist ignorant shit to me.

          “Do you know this from experience?”

          Perfect

        • When people say idiotic, insensitive and hurtful things to me, I usually reply with “are you trying to be rude or does it just come naturally?” OR “You DO realize what a terrible, shitty thing that is to say or insinuate? But in the case you didn’t, I’d like to give you a few moments to rephrase.” Then I’m just – crickets.

          Minimizers trying to make their environment go back to “normal” or more comfortable for them. They don’t think about your feelings as much as their own. I don’t know if people making these forgiveness demands or suggestions is simply based on how they think it may alter/affect their own little orbit or if they’re all really cheaters. I think it’s possible some people are completely unnerved by the profound changes that occur when there’s a divorce. They should be pissed at the fucking cheater for that big fat ripple in the pond. It affects the betrayed the most and then works its way out to the people who are sort of at the edges. I’ve found those people at the “edges” are often more supportive because they are NOT so directly affected.

          But, no matter. My Jesus cheater insists he has every right to expect forgiveness and that because he IS sorry that it’s also not at all wrong for him to demand that I stop swearing because it offends him. Still? Really?

          Gah!!!!! We go in circles. He thinks a lifelong series of EAs (i doubt) isn’t THAT bad and certainly NOT adultery (hear his indignation?). I mean “just think of all the things I DIDN’T do that most people associate with REAL cheaters.”

          Chump Nation – I just got nothing for that. I mean how do you respond to some fuckass cheater wanting to outline or list all the things he says he DIDN’T do? Is he just lying because he thinks he’s got me stuck here unless I can PROVE there were any PAs? Wtf? Clearly not sorry Bc he’s basically saying he really didn’t even DO anything. So what is it exactly I MUST FORGIVE? Sheesh! He can’t have it both ways – he calls me “an unforgiving colossal bitch.” And we start all over because then I say “What exactly is IT that you are haughtily demanding I forgive YOU for then?”

          Bang. My. Head. On. Wall.

          • I hear you. My husband claimed it was all just a game, just one woman, but the more I investigated, the more I found and realized I just didn’t know this person that, frankly, disgusted me. And after over a year of my suffering and his making me feel worse instead of better, instead of repentance, I got, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” After moving out, he was back to, “I never cheated on you physically.” And I believe you, because you’re not a lying cheaterpants?

            I also got that I’m not a good Christian because I didn’t forgive him, even though he apologized. (“Sorry, then,” after being prompted.) The marriage counselor at my church told me, after hearing everything (from me–he wouldn’t go after all), that it sounded pretty hopeless. He also thought that I had no proof of his cheating, and that it sounded more like a sex addiction. Yeah…no. My husband regularly abandoned me and our children to hang out with other people for years. He had ample opportunity, and men who aren’t definitely trying to cheat don’t have the conversations I saw, or join certain social media sites if they’re not actively trying to cheat.

            I’ll try to save you the head-banging experience if I can. Your husband is a cheater, and unrepentant about it. He lied to you and gave attention that he promised to give only to you to other women. His word that it was only EA is worthless. Kick him to the curb, go no contact. He will only mess with your head more over time if you let him. Everything about you that is precious he is stomping underfoot, pearls to swine. Humility and repentance deserve forgiveness, and he’s not showing them to you. Denial and minimizing is to keep you from the moral high ground, so that you will accept worse treatment than you deserve. Admit to yourself that he doesn’t love you or respect you–trust that he sucks!

          • Here is the thing regarding “EA’s”. These are designed to give a cheater all the pre-sex thrills and titillations…the emotional, mental, and physical sexual “build up” w/o being outed as “actually” cheating. These people are in fact, getting themselves “ready” for sex…but then, they take it on home to YOU for “finishing themselves off”…sort of like using Porn to get aroused first w/o masturbating…but carrying all those images into the bedroom as if they are “with” you. THAT is what I experienced over and over. My “innocent because I did not touch her” husband would get himself worked up into a lather with his contacts with other women, then make haste to our bedroom that same day to act out his fantasy USING MY BODY. But that’s not cheating right…I mean, not “technically”…. right?

            So given THAT scenario, WHEN was sex ever really about “me”???? I could not be assured that he wanted me or was acting out his lust for someone else. This is like worshiping at the altar of BAAL and then when the frenzy was over, making haste to put the meat sacrifice on the altar of God. See, BAAL gets the primary excitation “work up”…but the actual chunk of meat gets flipped up onto God’s altar for a showing of “faithfulness”.

            No thanks…kicked to the curb.

            • Sweetz – “So given THAT scenario, WHEN was sex ever really about “me”???? I could not be assured that he wanted me or was acting out his lust for someone else. This is like worshiping at the altar of BAAL and then when the frenzy was over, making haste to put the meat sacrifice on the altar of God. See, BAAL gets the primary excitation “work up”…but the actual chunk of meat gets flipped up onto God’s altar for a showing of “faithfulness”.”

              I’m not sure who the alter of BAAL is but it seems like a frenzied statue somewhere. Gotta have lust and sex and more lust….

              And, I’m not sure about the meat sacrifice either. But, the ‘meat’ I had only wanted his meat tenderized 3x/wk. I think I gave a lot to the Alter.

              May the the Alter of Whore get his lousy sex, is all I can say.

              Meh 🙂

  • “Jane” is an insensitive bitch with zero appreciation for what you have gone through and are going through. I am VERY impressed with how you handled your son when your heart must have been sinking that OW is buying him off, and you were able to not let him know it.
    You are much further along than many can imagine being, and maybe you would not want to choose to be in “Jane’s” company again any time soon (unless you have a zingy come back in mind before you go).
    Agree with CL that it sound like she is a Cheater herself, or at least a soulless Narc who can’t feel real emotion.
    Have to say I had no idea how much this hurts though until going through it. Thought people although devastated just walk away when they are treated so badly. But when there are years of life, kids, and shared futures, well, it is more pain than anyone can imagine.

    • Yep. I can never truly find the words to really get to the root of it all. To be able to express the pain and anger and how it rears it’s ugly head from time to time. I now live with known “triggers” to the pain and anger….Thanksgiving and Christmas are biggies.

      • Dear Conniered; You will find by reading the archives that Cheaters delight in ruining any and every Holiday they can. Kid you not, this is what I heard from my Cheater:
        He told me he found himself attracted to her & wanted her “around the 4th of July.”
        He started screwing her “around Labor Day weekend.”
        She had a Birthday the “day before mine.” (so couldn’t even read a horoscope without thinking of her)
        Not that I am a big horoscope fan-but WTF? Was this necessary?
        He admitted to me about the Cheating over Thanksgiving weekend which of course ruined Thanksgiving for a few years & Christmas too.
        He lied about when it was saying it was years ago (it was current) and decided to tell me in an ugly, angry way on Memorial Day Weekend she was still in his life but would not tell me who!
        Then he decide to tell me who it REALLY was- current HO-WORKER on the 4TH OF JULY!
        Can this really be just a mistake?
        Each time like another dagger in the heart!
        I think they feel very powerful devastating you and your world. It is eviscerating.
        I felt like asking him, you don’t want to ruin Easter too?
        The next year my Mom died on Valentine’s Day, and no I am not kidding!

          • Do something mega-fun on each of them so that your new memory outweighs the old. Drink champagne, go paddle-surfing, ride a roller coaster. I’ve made an attempt to do that with most of the places I associate with X; went to London last summer (where X and I had spent many vacations), even wore my wedding gown to the opera (it was a non-traditional one–pale yellow, beaded evening dress so I didn’t look like Cinderella at the opera!). X robbed me of a quarter-decade of my life; I refuse to let him rob me of anything else.

        • Officially cancelling all 2016 holidays for you! You pick whatever days you want to celebrate whatever the hell you want, and throw in some extra mental health days too.

          • Thank you Tempest & Arlo! Want new Chumps to know that this is one of the Top Picks in the Cheaters Playbook to devastate you! At the time, I could not believe someone would be so cruel, now I see it as part of the Cheater Script, I wish I would have caught on faster and not been well, such a Chump!
            Thanks for your support, you guys are the best.

        • Regina, that’s terrible, but isn’t it so damn convenient that everything revolves around a holiday or birthday? Wow what a coincidence??? These f*cks are always willing to tell you the “truth” about what they have been doing, but only if they can hurt you badly with it. They suck but like the others have said, take back your holidays, change the days that you celebrate and if you possibly can, just think about what a sucky little toddler your stupid ex is to do this to you and say f*ck him.

          • Sucky little toddler! LOL!
            Just the months would be more than enough info without ruining my memories of most Holidays and even the Birthday wasn’t safe! Every time I would start to make a recovery I would be brought to my knees again. Had been such a strong person before spending years with him, as am sure most of us were. It is amazing how one can be dismantled with relative ease by these monsters.
            When he did tell me, he would yell at me viciously and always over the phone.
            All that could be found was RIC BS.
            Thank you CL and fellow Chumps for your humor, understanding and support!

  • When people say stupid shit like that to me, about either forgiving Saddam or his AP, I respond, “Maybe, Someday”. It gives them literally nowhere to go. If they persist that you must do it NOW, LIKE TODAY, you just say, “Maybe, someday, that will happen”, and if they persist, they look like the belligerent asshole.

    There is a weird phenomenon in our society today, I think driven by social media, where EVERYBODY feels the need to chime in “me, too”! on any scenario of life, even if they’ve never experienced it. I think this woman giving you advice to forgive the OW is a derivative of that phenomenon.

    CL had a great column, I think before Thanksgiving, where in the comments we talked about the phenomenon and I was telling everyone that I have a friend who lost his 6 year old son in the Sandy Hook shooting, and everyone tells him stupid shit like, “you need to forgive the shooter, so that you can move on and heal!” It’s literally insanity, for someone who’s never lost a child to horrific gun violence, to offer up “their opinion” on how someone should heal and/or move on from an event so horrific, very few people on the planet can relate. Assholes will continue to exist, I fear.

    Hang in there, you’re doing great. And it’s awesome that your sis and brother-in-law ate on your side.

    • “you need to forgive the shooter, so that you can move on and heal!”

      I’d say, “Oh really? When did you lose a child to an insane gunman? Tell me how you’re all healed up. I’m all ears.”

      • I guess I’ve gotten a bit less tactful in my old age. When someone comes up with an asinine statement like that to me, I have been known to say…When you have walked a mile in my shoes, then you will be qualified to offer an opinion on whether or not I should forgive. If they decide to push it, I tell them to keep their opinion to themselves.

        Doesn’t earn me many brownie points, but, frankly, I really don’t give a rip. Stupid statements like that are just verbal ignorance and intolerance.

        Not my circus, not my monkeys.

        • Tact is for the most part not useful when people lack empathy or see themselves as “knowing” what is right for others. And your reply is certainly civil; it’s just not weak and conciliatory.

    • What an insensitive shit to tell someone who has lost a child to a gunman that he/she should forgive the gun man. Not sure I would have enough self control to live through that. Now all I can image is the scene in “Fargo” with the woodchipper.

  • Yeah, that whole forgiveness thing. I don’t owe it to any person who has wronged me and I certainly don’t owe it to the Narc man who trampled my heart (who minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day made any number of decisions big and small to destroy me both personally and financially, the truths I have learned still make me angry, and I am six years out) and I certainly don’t owe it to a fuckall stranger who possesses bad morals. Not my job to figure out why she screwed my husband. I get to choose who I have in my life. There is no such thing as healthily relating to toxic people and I JUST DON’T CHOOSE TO anymore. In little kid terms I would no longer choose to play nice with the school yard bully than I would cultivate any friendship with OW (or POS ex) and it’s in my best interests NOT to. Who. doesn’t. fucking. get. this!?!?!?

    • Also too healing is about forgiving myself, from wasting my one precious life with a guy who certainly did not recognize my worth and who treated me like shit. I still hung on thinking he’d change. That he would recognize how good he had it, that our life together was beautiful. Nope. Cheaters are a whole other story. The ex who said to me as he was walking out, “Every thing about my life is GOOD, except for you.”

      • Whoa, your ex, what a piece of work! Any person that would come out with something that cruel needs to be out of your life. Good luck to his next victim.

      • I agree Drew. I am too battling with forgiving myself for not trusting my instincts 29 years ago and then again after dday when I decided to stay and do the pick me polka for three years. Finally I need to forgive myself for not understanding my worth.

        Oh and your ex is a total douche nozzle! What a total narc, asshole!!! So glad you got away from that piece of shit!

        • Drew and Cheaterssuck: I hope this will help. I kept every text, every email, every piece of correspondence that X send me pre- and post-D-day (why? because I am going to skewer him in a novel). As I started to re-read some of them, I forgave myself because these cheaters are GOOD–at charm, at deception, at weaseling out of consequences. They have a lot of practice, and many seasoned FBI agents wouldn’t be able to detect that they were lying. Honest folks like chumps are no match for that level of deception. We need to let ourselves off the hook.

          • Cheater=Wiley coyote with unlimited credit at Acme Products (probably with YOUR credit card)
            Chump=Elmer Fudd; which way did he go, which way did he go?
            I know most Chumps here are well spoken and gifted writers as well as intelligent people to be sure. But it is easy to be outsmarted when your opponent is always up to something.

            • Speaking of Elmer Fudd, check out how I put part of the sentence in my name slot. Silly Wabbit1
              Now without Cheater, west and wewaxation at wast!

  • I got completely fed up with the whole “be the bigger person” ages ago. Yeah, people being the bigger person after they’ve been screwed over only works out for the bad guys. Bad guys can do anything they want and then wait for onlookers to shake their fingers at the victim and demand that they be the bigger person. Meanwhile, the bad guys get away with everything, unchecked.

    Well, fuck that shit! Hell, as a North Carolinian, I’m still considering alienation of affection and criminal conversation suits against some of my STBX husband’s paramours. I don’t even care about winning, just about exposing the whores. I mean, since getting a married man to fuck you is proof of your desirability (you know, since you’re so irresistible that married men will risk everything just for a piece of you), you should be proud to show the world how impressively irresistible you are, right?

    I wish all states had those laws still on the books.

    • Lastinline, I too am in North Carolina and have contemplated this option. Everything I read or hear about it says it’s too costly, the burden of proof is too high, blah, blah, blah. Do you know how much it would cost just to initially file the case?

      • Fortunately, I have the means to pursue something like that, so I haven’t yet discussed the cost of it. What I DO know is that I have so very much proof of it. We’re taking emails, texts, nude pics and an admission from my STBX and one of the women herself through texts.

        Fun fact: Both alienation of affection and criminal conversation are civil torts, which means they can’t even discharge it in a bankruptcy.

        From what I’ve read, you can sue for both, but you’ll only get a judgment amount for one, whichever is higher. Another thing to keep in mind is that criminal conversation = outright sex; alienation of affection doesn’t necessarily mean that. You could technically sue anyone for that one whether it was sexual or not. You just have to prove that they did something that caused your spouse to alienate from you. It could even be a meddling mother in law because it doesn’t require sex the way criminal conversation does.

    • Me too LastinLine and oaktree, North Carolina and here. I wanted to file the criminal conversation against the OW but it’s hard to find a lawyer willing to do so. They find it frivolous apparently. Too many cheaters and they’d clog up the court system. I think it’s also a symptom of society’s demoralization.

      • I am in NC also and my lawyer and I discussed it. My response, “What am I going to get out of her? A pickup truck and a horse trailer?” BTW MY pick up truck and horse trailer is MUCH nicer than hers!

        • Also from NC, yep, I wish I could have outed her by naming and proving the adultery. I had the evidence, however, my now xh whore was a poor thing from Thailand. Not going to get much from nothing.

  • I just tell smug people that I don’t have to do anything. I say it with a nice big smile on my face. So they know I’m really saying, Fuck you, asshole.”

    • There is always the good old southern shorthand ….”Well, bless your heart.” …also code for “fuck you.”

  • Conniered, I don’t think there are easy answers here but I have zero patience for people who think you “need’ to forgive. I am not sure why the anger you are entitled to and they have little understanding of makes them uncomfortable.

    I will add that not only are you entitled to this natural anger, the power and momentum of it is going to propel you forward out of this shit situation, so someone who wants to see that taken from you just wants you to curl up and die. It is unfathomable. “Jane” was wishing you the worst in the most careless way.

    I will also add that going through this infidelity experience has made me realize forgiveness does not have to ever happen. Believe me, I would love it if it did, but the party who injures you must either ask for it or be worthy of it, otherwise it is synthetic. My ex may never properly ask for it or fully deserve it, and that’s fine. I have things to do.

    • I dunno, X asked me for forgiveness after he supremely apologized to me in front of 4 attorneys at court. It sure sounded genuine. But, I’m sorry, not sorry, I still can’t forgive him and doubt I ever will. No skin off my nose.

  • Oh, and I forgot to add, you’re still pretty fresh and raw from the trauma of your divorce, so, you’re handling the interactions with your EH and his OW in a very mature, adult way. It’s great to be positive and upbeat with your son. He worries about you, too, while he’s with his dad. Your child WILL start to see their deficiencies, in time.

    I just celebrated the 1 year anniversary of my divorce 2 weeks ago. Saddam has been living with the OW for 1.5 years. And in that time, she has grown haggard looking, old and beaten down. She’s 51, but could pass for 65, about 300 pounds now, with bags so high on her eyes they could pass for bookshelves!! I just laugh, as she’s reaping what she sowed and is enduring the effects of living with The Toxic Disordered.

      • I believe this is true in my case. My ex-husband is now engaged to his Schmoopie. He’s currently in non-compliance with the divorce decree, as he has failed to refinance the house in his own name. I suspect that this is because Schmoopie is very needy. He has to buy her stuff, take her on expensive vacations, and thus, instead of thinking that he needs to watch his credit so he can refinance the house, he’s overextended and tanked his credit so that he cannot do so.

        For what it’s worth, he sees this situation as Obama’s fault. Really.

        • KB-hope you don’t mind me asking but is the refinancing thing because he’ll need the money to buy you out or is to just get the mortgage in his name?

          If it’s the latter he can simply file a quit claim deed to get the house and the mortgage in solely his name. You do it through the bank and there is a fee associated with it (ours was $500.00). It might be worth it and less aggravation!

        • One caviat-Where I live when we went through the quitclaim deed process, we also obtained a release of my name from the mortgage. Sometimes that does require a refinance but in our case it did not.

  • Why do I see so many people tying themselves into knots trying to do what they think God wants them to do? I’m not religious at all, but in my mind, God wants me happy. God doesn’t want me to fuck other people over. God wants me to NOT do something that would make me sick to my stomach like, forgive a person who royally fucked me over.

    Like the others have said here, there is nothing wrong with telling an idiot to can it. I heard the same crap and still occasionally do in regards to my X and his hole. I can remember my neighbor across the street, a religious dolt, offering up the following response when I told him my X didn’t live in my house anymore because he left to be with his mistress . . . “Oh but you forgive him right?” I said “Nope. Not really.” That’s the last time I spoke to that moron.

    What I should have said was, “No Bob, I don’t forgive him, nor the whore he rode off with. And guess what, God don’t a fuck. I’m pretty sure about that. I’m a speck who loved another speck. I think there’s a lot more pressing things going on in the world for God to care about. And Bob, stop looking at my tits. God doesn’t dig that.”

    You forgive who YOU want to forgive. You’re not on anyone else’s time-table to forgive, nor are you subject to what other people consider right and wrong in God’s eyes. I hate that shit. To them I say, you let ME worry about my relationship with God. You worry about yours.

    P.S. She’s not being nice to your son because she’s a fantastic person. She’s playing the awesome step-mom role. Watch that unfurl after a few years.

    • YES! They aren’t nice to the kids because they are being motherly, it’s because they HAVE to be “wifely”. There is a huge difference.

    • One of the goofiest things someone at church said to me after my ex abandoned me right after my son got married and both kids had moved out was “if you’re lonely, just watch a little more TV.”

      Isn’t that the funniest? I couldn’t even be mad at her because it was so moronic. Lose your family after 32 years? Just watch a little more TV!

        • Um…isn’t the ‘churchy’ thing to say is…If you’re lonely, how about you come over for coffee and a piece of pie? Not even churchy. Just decent. Weird comment – I suppose she’d rather watch soaps than her own life.

      • Such an odd but revealing comment. So many people want to bypass a lot of the hard work of living–recovering from loss and trauma, becoming a person who is happy and productive. So we eat and watch TV.

  • Whore juice is non repentant, she feels entitled to everything she wants and needs no matter who it hurts. Asswipe showed interest and she connived him( him willing of course) And forced the issues by hurting me deliberately. The first time he choked her unconscious and she begged forgiveness for making him do it. Wtf! Second time she hurt me directly he beat her and she begged forgiveness again. Two sick fucks me thinks. He never laid a hand on me never even raised a hand in anger. In a short two months they knew each other he hadn’t moved out yet he injured her twice. Since then she tells him what he wants to hear, she feels badly about the breakup, she’s so sorry for me, yada, yada, lip service. I will never forgive either one of them ever, they are not sorry who they hurt they don’t care. I don’t forgive anyone who sets out to deliberately fuck me over and then says sorry, not sorry! I don’t have too and I won’t. All most of them want by forgiveness is to feel better about themselves and ease their guilt. She apologized to my kids for her behavior me nothing. I wouldn’t listen to her anyway. Nice kind people do not fuck other peoples spouses. End of sentence. Period. Morally bankrupt pieces of shit people do. My kids told her to stick it, they don’t want to hear her lowlife immoral bs. They only see them occasionally to see their dad and they are getting sick of his father of the year behavior. Mostly he ignores them especially the girl. It is not my job to make either one better feel. No business of mine anymore. And why would I forgive some whore who willingly slept with a married man and pushed and pushed to help destroy our marriage. Not a bad person oh yes she is! Forgive my ass, I’m working on forgiving myself. Fuck them, I wish them the worst. She’s had three husbands so far who’ve cheated on her and left her wait til Asswipe does it to her he’s cheating on her now.

      • Wow, kar marie – that’s strange how he’s turned on her physically and never harmed you once. They’re not on drugs or something? And, she apologizes?? Bizarre!

        And, curious how you know all this….

        • They are both into recreational drugs for sex and really heavy bondage sex. I don’t mind a little kinky but beatings, ah no. He has spit stuff out and told my daughter stuff. I used it for ammunition to help my head and heart walk farther away. These assholes are in their 50s acting like stupid teenagers. Recreational drugs? Seriously? My kid told him you put your hands on mom she’d kill hm. Told her dad you beat up that whore I don’t care. Almost killed the bitch choking her and she begs for forgiveness! Some stuff I needed to know to walk the other way. He has cheated on her many times and he will continue to do so. I will be so glad when I’m hours away from this madness. Whore juice is sicker in the head than he is.

          • Thanks for your input, kar marie. Sweet Jesus. He’s in his 50’s, can finally dominate a woman completely and into recreational drugs? Haven’t we all moved on and gotten mature? Beating involved in kinky sex reminds me of why I only read 3 pages of 50 Shades. Sick. and, it can get sicker. Just like porn. They crave more. More beatings? Shit if I know. I didn’t explore it and don’t care to.
            But, with drugs and bdsm that is violent, I sure hope no kids are over there.

            I mean…. :choking: somebody is fun sex?

            Fuck it.

            Again, how do you know these details. I’m very curious.

            Signed – thought I was pretty sleuthy-

            🙂

            • I’m really sorry, just re-reading back on your post and this is stuff YOUR daughter has been told. WTF?? Why is she exposed to any of this? Pallease, get her out of that situation. Far TMI for any kid, no matter what her age.

            • The choking part was anger for ow hurting me me and the first servere beating also anger for hurting me. Those were not done for sex. But the two of them are both sick, into the sick sick sex. The recreational drugs enhance the sex cause of his ed. He blurted some things out and he told one of my kids. That’s how I know. And he’s bad with the computer and left things opens. Pictures of many woman he’s had sick sex with and about thirty or so more bondage and sex hook up sites he’s on and does not use condoms. I wish I didn’t know he was capable of these things but I’m glad I do. This is not the guy I married or so I thought but definitely who he truly is and I had no clue. Thank the universe I’m divorced and will move soon and never have to see this demented creature again.

  • Forgiveness is what we do for ourselves. I doubt you or most chumps will ever get an apology. D-day for me is going on 3 yrs and OW is still acting smug and high and mighty. Some days I forgive her and douche bag cheater. Other days I don’t. But I won’t ever forgive them because they deserve it, I’ll do it for my own peace of mind and when I’m ready. Forgiveness cannot be rushed. It must be sincere and from a place of healing. People who preach auto forgiveness have never been utterly betrayed. For the rest of us we know we do it for us and our children and only when ready. It’s also a daily choice. Don’t feel bad if you need to be angry longer, it’s your right.

    • Not forgiving OW/X has had zero impact on my peace of mind, nor do I view it necessary for my healing. If it is something you view as necessary, by all means pursue it. As for me, it has no importance to my well being or that of my kids, who are doing just fine.

    • I’m not a big believer in forgiveness, people that treat you badly are just not worthy of forgiveness. The majority of them would not give a rat’s behind whether you forgive or not, some would just shrug and say, see I’m not a bad person, he/she forgave me and use it to benefit their nice guy facade. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I find persons that forgive or make nice with their cheaters or abusers, rather desperate and annoying. So many say that well, children are involved, blah, blah blah. I’m all for being civil and polite in a situation where you HAVE to be in their company or children are involved but making nice is not setting a good example for your kids and the cheater or abuser just thinks (correctly in some cases) that you just want them back and are still playing the pick me dance. I am a big believer in moving on with your life and become totally apathetic to the perpetrators and their actions. I think sometimes that can be confused with forgiveness.

    • Yup, I would feel even more oppressed by X than I already do if I were to forgive him. I feel morally superior to him, and that suits me just fine.

      • I have to say when I was explaining to my husband that trying to break up another man’s family and interfere with his relationship with his children was just plain wrong — not matter how he felt about me — that I felt morally superior. At the time my husband looked like he wanted to kill me. It was so unnerving. I’d always loved his eyes, but there was evil in them that day. I’ll never forget it.

  • I think you did a fantastic job Conniered. I probably would have told her in excruciating detail exactly what it was I would be forgiving. I’m pretty sure that would have shut her right down. She’d be too busy trying to forgive me for making her ears bleed. 😀

    • I would have told her in no way was my forgiving anyone for that kind of behavior any of her fucking business and she can go fuck herself and you are not my fucking friend any longer And obviously you must be a cheater yourself or you would not say such a thing. Stupid bitch!

  • “The only sort of person who squirms around chumps and demands chumps unilaterally forgive cheaters, are cheaters themselves.”

    This is so true! I always thought it strange when my cheater-ass would say something like “you shouldn´t judge other people´s marriages like that…you never know what reasons they had” when I was upset about two male colleagues of his cheating on their wives whom I knew because we all had babies of the same age and met once a week for a baby exercise group. At that time, I was very angry at those idiots but relieved that my then husband was not also cheating on me….(or so I thought). Now I understand perfectly why he excused them and thought that I should too. He even gave me the reasons : one of the women was “frigid” and the other had a “bad temperament.” according to his first hand information….

    Of course, a few years later when I was able to discuss this with the ex-wives, the “frigid” one said: “how attractive do you find an alcoholic husband who you have to rescue from a bar when you are pregnant or with a baby?” and the “bad temperament” told me that she was always suspecting her husband was on to something when he would come back home in the am with the excuse of study-groups with colleagues while she was home alone struggling with a new baby who was often sick!

    Forgive these assholes? No way!

  • In my case, no one ever asked for forgiveness for poaching my husband or screwing a low life behind my back! So I don’t feel obligated to offer forgiveness! I’m with Divorce Minister, I always thought that repentance should come first! These fools really believe they have done nothing wrong so what’s to forgive? To Hell with them!

    • My xh is not only unrepentant, but as he graciously informed me that God approved what he was doing as he was only correcting the biggest mistake of his life. He also told me that God has already forgiven him and that it was meant to be because she is his soulmate.

      My now xh while still living together said he couldn’t wait required one year separation for divorce because he had to marry her now. Delusional fucks thought the world was ending on the Mayan Dec.21 date and he wanted to fly over to Thailand and die with her.

      The divorce has been over 1 1/2 yrs now, he still hasn’t married his soul mate, lol Recently a friend informed me that the whore is heartbroken because he told her he is still interested in other women. The pitiful whore says that will all just have to stop when they get married.

      My friend casually reminded her it didn’t stop when he was married before, and she since she knows, what makes her think he would stop for her? hahaha

  • I don’t put much value in forgiveness. Acceptance. I accept what my ex and his whore did. They made choices that changed my life and that of my children. I accept that because of their poor choices my life has a new path. And really……..I thank them for that. They caused pain to my children and forever changed how my girls view the world. Because of this, I was fortunate enough to have deep conversations with my young adult girls and talk about how they should expect to be treated by others! My relationship with my daughters is better than ever! They consider me strong, smart and loving! Their father and whore…….NOT SO MUCH!

    Forgiveness is overrated. And anyone who tries to tell me how to heal can suck it! I’ve done pretty good on my own. I am ALMOST to Tuesday!

  • First of all, who is she to assume you haven’t forgiven her? AND who is she to tell you how to run your conscience? AND thirdly, No you do not NEED to forgive her. Forgiveness is wayyyy overrated IMHO. I’ve earnestly prayed and looked for my ability to forgive to NO avail. So I quit. Just like trying to firm up my triceps, nothing worked 🙂

    I think the best answer would have been to laugh in her face and change the subject to something like, Hey How About those Chicago Cubs???!!! Or better yet simply staring her in the eye for a protracted second as if to say, without really verbalizing it, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!

    Everyone’s an expert on other people’s psyche and she, with her unSOLICITED advice, was invalidating your pain. It makes people feel better about themselves. And yes maybe she’s having an affair too and just feels guilty or more probably entitled.

    • This is good. Who says that C hasn’t forgiven. Every person is different and will “forgive” differently. No where that I can remember in the Bible does it say “forgive and forget.”

      I read this somewhere and copied it cause it has helped me. “Forgiveness involves not holding a sin against a person any longer, but forgiveness is different from trust. It is wise to take precautions, and sometimes the dynamics of a relationship will have to change. Being cautious doesn’t mean we haven’t forgiven. It simply means we are not God and we cannot see that person’s heart.”

  • May I play devil’s advocate here?

    I am a staunch atheist. All this *god* talk makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork. Nevertheless, forgiveness transcends religion, and so it is important to discuss it.

    Let’s assume, arguendo, that cheater and OW/OM have a “come-to-Jesus/Allah/Yahweh/Krishna/Buddha/XYZ moment.” They subsequently honestly repent, and they ask for forgiveness. They ask their god, your god, your children, your family, their family, and you for forgiveness.

    What then?

    • I think the answer is “meh.”

      One way a repentant OW/cheating ex could convey their remorse is by respecting my No Contact.

      As was said earlier — “above my pay grade.”

      I would be suspicious of anyone who disrespected my NC boundary and put me in the awkward position of conferring forgiveness on them on the spot. (Now? Right this minute? I hadn’t really thought about you in ages… )

      I suppose it’s a good problem to have — I just think (from experience) these sorts of displays of verbal “remorse” are impression management. I’d rather judge someone’s sorry by how they behave in a divorce, if the settlement is fair, if they’re decent to their children, maintain their obligations, are generous when scheduling, and don’t bad mouth me.

      Those things demonstrate SORRY.

      Demanding my forgiveness tells me it’s still all about YOU.

      • In my view, if they are worthy of forgiveness (meaning truly repentant), they will respect whatever reasonable request you have.

        If you’re truly sorry about what you’ve done, then fine, I might be able to forgive you. But that doesn’t mean I want you in my life or that I owe you my time.

        Make any unwanted demands on my time, and you’ll be proving that you aren’t actually sorry. Them’s the brakes.

      • I have a friend who’s ex ran off with his 30 year old secretary and destroyed their family. For years she thought hearing him say he was sorry would help her heal. Sure enough, one day he shows up on her door and tells her he’s sorry and she didn’t deserve what he did to her. He said he was trying to be a better person in his “new life.” Within a couple of days the “apology” wore off as she considered that he was probably just saying those things because he wanted something. She didn’t trust that it was sincere. That helped me let go of longing for an apology from my ex.

      • Ian

        I would give both of them a big fuck you. The only thing I accept is the fact they are both selfish assholes. Who wants a group of selfish assholes lining up at your door?

        Boundaries are the road blocks to firgiveness. Here’s my line Jane. You crossed it done. I chose not to associate with selfish assholes. Gone. It’s that simple. I’ve raised my bar high. No assholes allowed

    • It’s not enough to simply repent. Jesus said, “God AND SIN NO MORE”. Action is required for true repentance.

    • Fair question.

      For me, repentance isn’t just a bunch of words said in the right order or incantations repeated the requisite number of times. That never achieves anything at all except putting the offender in a good place where they feel entitled and ready to have the gall to ask for ANYTHING from the person they wronged, particularly forgiveness.

      When words have caused damage, then words are good enough to use in repentance. But when actions have done the damage, words are worthless. They don’t count. Least of all regarding affairs, which have solid foundations sunk deep in 20 metric tonnes of deceptive words generated for the express purpose of fucking over spouses/partners. There aren’t enough words in any language to fill the chasm created by the wrongdoing. That’s why they call it wrongDOING. When you’ve been wronged by a burglary, the damage has been caused by a set of actions. The offender doesn’t get off by saying sorry. The repentant actions that un-do the damage include recompense for you and jail time for the offender. When you’ve been wronged by an affair, are there any repentant actions that could atone for it? Not sure. Just not sure.

      • HopeandGloria, this is brilliant. You’ve put your finger on why “apologies” don’t work. They can’t make the wounded person whole. In your burglary example, the burglar can pay back his victim. But if he stole a treasured family heirloom and sold it, all the money in the world can’t fix it. And of course, the victim must grapple with the feelings of violation as well as the material loss or damage.

    • Ian–it’s YOUR choice to forgive and under what circumstances. (Just tellin’ ya though–you ain’t NEVER going to get a heartfelt apology & remorse from your cheater.)

      • Nope never gonna get a heartfelt apology, never gonna happen because cheaters feel entitled to what they want and us sorry chumps were just in their way. Most likely the pos they left us for will eventually get in the way too.

        • Oh – but mine was plenty remorseful and asking forgiveness during the settlement of Spousal Support. The mediator was ~good~. And, it got me to settle otherwise, we would have gone to a judge – I didn’t want to take my chances because the settlement was ‘fair’.

    • Ian, I guess in that situation, if there were years of behaviour indicating a genuine and permanent change, I might well say “I forgive you”.

      But to be honest, I don’t really understand what people mean by forgiveness. What more does it connote than acceptance, not confronting the person, and thinking about them as little as possible? Am I supposed to feel a warm rush of liking when I encounter them? Or view their past actions as not having been heinous? Or want to reconcile? Because none of those things are under my conscious control, and frankly, I don’t think they’re possible within the current space/time continuum.

      Is forgiveness just saying the words and trying not to be rude in future? Because that’s possible. Viewing the ex as a decent human being, however, is like asking me to not notice that a vase has been smashed and glued back together. It may be beautiful, but I can’t UNKNOW the damage.

    • Does anybody anywhere know of an actual, proven, demonstrably remorseful, repentant, reformed cheater? A real live unicorn? Do they exist? I’m really asking…

      • One person on this site (that I know of) did get a real apology and admission that it was his fault from the cheater (that person themselves can relate the tale). ONE. Out of how many thousand of us?

        • My ex has evaporated from my life, have no idea what he’s doing and don’t want to know. I used to daydream about being on my deathbed and him coming to tell me he was sorry, but I don’t think it’ll ever happen. He has his reasons to justify what he did and he believes them (my fault). I don’t believe he’s introspective enough to see what he did and apologize for it.

          Once I pointed out that I’d apologized and apologized to him for all the shortcomings he felt I had, but he’d never apologized to me. He yelled “I did too!” and that was the end of the discussion. It was a lie said so emphatically there was no more discussion. That’s the way discussions typically went between us.

          • My children have strict orders that he is not allowed to see me if I’m dying. He will not be allowed to be at my funeral. It will be about image control.

            • I hope that my life will not end with my abuser in sight! I want to die surrounded by those who truly care, not the ones who are acting loving for their own benefit.

      • Given that cheating involves deceit and lying, a ‘reformed cheater’ is pretty much an oxymoron.
        I think the only time that it would work is if a person was an unknowing OM/OW because the cheater lied to that person saying they were single (I dealt with this shit once before in my life, where someone claimed they were single, when it turns out they were not. Fortunately, it was only a matter of weeks before I found out, and his girlfriend found out as well. Turfed the fucker as soon as I found out)

    • If my cheater came to me with a truly remorseful apology, acknowledging that he had injured me, I would forgive him. What I know though is that he is so self-absorbed any apology would be about him – what he doesn’t have anymore now that I’m gone, how the new woman didn’t treat him right, she doesn’t help him , his life is shitty, so he is sorry. Yes, sorry for himself just like he has always been. To get a real true repentance from my ex would require a personality transplant so extreme that it would *have* to be God’s work. And that honestly would make me very happy to know that shitty people can turn into real humans. I would love to forgive him under those conditions. But I am not holding my breath.

    • Then you look to see if there is restitution included with their asking for forgiveness. If their is no action toward restitution there is no real remorse. Actions and words go hand in hand. Speaking from your teeth out means shit without restitution.

  • I struggled with the forgiveness issue for a while, though I’m not religious, and none of my friends tried to insist that I forgive my ex. If anything, my friends had more hatred for him than I did. (I love my friends).

    In the years after D-Day, when I was still suffering and overwhelmed with righteous anger and hurt, I feared that those feelings would always be there. I worried that I would always be this angry, miserable person that I did not like. Maybe I needed to forgive them and move forward, or else remain stuck in this mad state for the rest of my days.

    They didn’t deserve my forgiveness, and I didn’t ever bother to give it. I just moved on with my life, went no contact, and put my energy into positive things like writing and meeting new people. Time passed, and the pain grew more distant.

    I don’t hate my ex or the OW. I don’t forgive them, either. I have no strong feelings about them one way or the other, except maybe a distant tinge of disgust. Meh is the state of grace that I was looking for, and it didn’t require me to forgive anyone but myself.

    • Hooray! It’s good to read this. I’m sick of being angry. I do believe that getting away from STBX will allow me the necessary distance to grow past the anger, in due time. I’m happy it worked that way for you.

      • 300lbslighter-Getting away and going full no contact (for those of us lucky enough to either have adult children or didn’t breed with a fuckwit) or going as much no contact as humanly possible when raising minor children also helps a great deal!

        I am in the first lucky group: Adult Children. I have not spoken to the ex in 2 years, have not texted him in two years and our last email exchange took place close to a year ago-all business related to either the divorce settlement or our kids. You will get past the anger I promise you!

        I too am at the point where I don’t have strong feelings about the ex or his AP turned wife. I’m keeping my eye towards the future and I can almost see Meh. I don’t think I’m there quite yet but I’m closer than ever. You will be too.

        • 300lbslighter, Like cheaterssuck said, you will get there even when you cannot imagine you it right now. No contact works incredibly well. With no contact, you will see your STBX exactly as he is.

          CS, off topic, we’re having a meet-up this Friday. Hope to see you there.

  • Well, Ian, I only control myself so I can’t answer for God, other people, etc. They are free to do whatever they want. But I don’t feel the need to forgive that person, under any circumstances. I’m not in charge of their salvation, only mine and my forgiveness has no impact on that.

    I’ll answer to God for my unforgiveness at the time necessary, if and when it comes. It is still not as bad as lying and committing adultery, both of which have their own commandment.

  • In my views, offering forgiveness when the recipient of the forgiveness is not remorseful and/or has not changed their ways essentially means you have decided to condone what they have done. In some cases, this might be okay. For some things, this would be a crazy thing to do. “You murdered my child and say you would do it again; at first I hated you, but after thinking about it I’m okay with it now and forgive you.” This is a bit different from, “You stole an apple from me, but you are starving and in light of this I forgive you, so long as you don’t do it again.”

    Cheating falls far closer to the first category. To forgive a cheater that is not remorseful, you have to condone and rationalize the original act. There’s no realistic rationalization beyond, “I’m an entitled asshole with no willpower to keep my base urges in check, even at a potential loss to my future well-being and those I profess to love.”

    True remorse can at times be hard to suss out, but when it is real, there’s an acceptance of wrongdoing. At this point, forgiving the perpetrator changes to an acceptance of their remorse. They know they did wrong, and they may never be able to forgive that debt, but they’re doing what they can and are guilty about their actions. So you forgive the debt for them, acknowledging their efforts to make amends.

    Thus, if someone tells you to forgive an unrepentant cheater, ask them if they’re okay with you cheating with their spouse. Because they’re asking you forgive the act of cheating, not the cheater.

  • As far as I’m concerned, the only responsibility I had to ANYONE after my ex blew apart our lives and marriage was to my son. It was also my responsibility to restore my life and move on. I took care of both of those responsibilities to the best of my abilities. I never had any responsibility to the OW for forgiveness or anything else, and any responsibilities I once had towards my ex ended the moment the judge signed the divorce papers.

    I don’t believe in forgiveness towards the unrepentant. I DO believe in shrugging that shit off, however, and ceasing to waste time and energy in thinking about a cheater from my past. Forgiveness requires the party who did the injuring to acknowledge that injury and ASK to be forgiven, then no longer engage in the injuring behavior. Even God requires this, so why should a mere mortal be held to a lesser standard?

    • No, no, I meant a mere mortal should not be held to a HIGHER standard than God Himself. Wish there was an edit button on WordPress.

  • I’m still reading all your comments but I wanted to chime in before I have to get back to work.

    NO ONE has asked me to forgive them. Duh.

    And funny, CL, Jane has not been a saint. I don’t know own the details but I do believe she has cheated so you really nailed that one!! It never occurred to me that her own guilt guided her smug comment. And it was delivered that way.

    One thing g that I have been grappling with lately in all aspects of my life is the need to hear apologies from people when they hurt me. I mean, my husband betrayed me. I didn’t even get acknowledgment of his wrongdoing. Disordered dude I dated for 4 months up until early broke up with me saying he didn’t like mybson and questioned my parenting skills as his mother. No apology for clearly stabbing me in the heart with his words. Fighting with my disordered mom, never an apology. Ever. I’m sick and tired of it. And I rebuke these people. Including Jane. And other 2 points CL for reading between the lines because Hell Nof she hadn’t apologized for her insensitivity. I am not holding my breath. However, she has shown her true colors and it’s putting my sister in the position of feeling the need to confront her. She is her BFF. Or at least used to be.

    Apologies are so much moresearch than admitting wrongdoing. It says “I care about you”, “I value you and my relationship with you”, ” I want things between us to be right”. It’s being vulnerable. Open ingredients your heart and letting a person see inside. Anyone who can’t do that is no longer welcome in my life. Period.

    Thanks for all the support y’all. Chump Nation rocks!!!

    • The fact that a person doesn’t apologize or request forgiveness or try to make amends for their behavior tells me EVERYTHING I need to know about them. And it’s on them, not me.

    • conniered, very interesting that this Jane has a past like that. One couple my ex and I had been very close to decided to be very neutral about the infidelity and get uncomfortable when I express my (sanely stated) anger. I have since discovered the husband had cheated at one point.

      Like many of you, I have found my real friends after this incident.

    • “It never occurred to me that her own guilt guided her smug comment.”

      Connieried, I doubt she feels much guild. Replace “guilt” with “sense of entitlement” and you’re probably closer to the mark. She wants you to treat cheating as a venial sin so that she can be assured that her own cheating is “no big deal.” I’d guess she feels entitled to as much.

  • My ex went to his grave without my forgiveness, and I’m okay with that. He wasted too many years of my life. He cheated on me, lied to me, and stole from me. He harassed me and my employers until I lost my job. He broke into my home to take what he didn’t get in the divorce. He caused lifelong injuries to my cat. And he did it all without remorse. For me, forgiving that kind of shittiness would feel too much like agreeing that he was entitled to behave as atrociously as he did. Forgiveness is optional. Accountability is not.

            • Tempest, it really helps if they are alcoholics or drug addicts, especially when they are around 50 or older, at least that’s my experience. Although I have a really creepy ex who is almost 60, and still kicking. Probably still lying and whoring, too.

              • I really thought mine was just in midlife crisis. No, it had been a pattern for years I had not yet discovered while building a career and helping him build his. When I was no longer there to support his image, and the new replacement appliance didn’t know the rules, his life fell apart quickly. He died a slow and horrible death, at his own hand. We’re talking about a person who was secretly anorexic, addicted to tanning, and alcohol and cocaine (even when it went out of fashion), and needed constant adoration. At some point the George Hamilton style tanning scored him skin cancer and the treatment scored him a side effect that meant he couldn’t walk. And the prescription opiate addiction lost him his prestigious positions at two universities and his spot at the National Academy of Sciences and, and, and. But the whore student came before the fallout and left before most of it. But not before the amazing defamation suit by her former boyfriend/visiting professor who lost his job because my ex sent a heat seeking email to everyone on every list accusing the competition of being so many bad things.

  • conniered,

    First of all, good for you for going out to dinner, for being able to be what you call the “fifth wheel,” for having the grace and the courage to be single again when so many of your/our peers are paired up. I used to feel so conspicuous when I was out without a “plus one” or a friend, but I don’t want to take just anybody to weddings and family events. So I go alone, as my beloved favorite aunt did. That great lady was twice widowed but traveled the world and supported herself and others until the day she died at 92. She was tough, funny and beautiful to her last day. We are worthy. Period. We don’t need to line up in pairs as if marching to the Ark. I go alone to movies, ball games, restaurants, the gym, yoga, work functions, family celebrations, etc. At this moment, I am seeing a nice man, but I don’t need him as an escort or an accessory, the human equivalent of a nice purse or diamond earrings. So you rock, conniered.

    Your letter brought Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” to mind. Now, I like a lot of what Brown has to say in her most well-known books, although she so does NOT get it about narcissists. But I digress. Brown quotes Teddy Roosevelt on what it means to “dare greatly”: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;who strives valiantly;who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;but who does actually strive to do the deeds;who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    Being a recovering chump is a daily exercise in daring greatly, to getting “in the arena” and going after our dreams, to getting our hands dirty and making mistakes (etc.) But “[it] is not the critic who counts.” It’s the person in the arena. Brown completes this idea by talking about from whom she is willing to accept feedback: ““I only accept and pay attention to feedback from people who are also in the arena. If you’re occasionally getting your butt kicked as you respond, and if you’re also figuring out how to stay open to feedback without getting pummeled by insults, I’m more likely to pay attention to your thought about my work. If, on the other hand, you’re not helping, contributing, or wrestling with your own gremlins, I’m not at all interested in your commentary.” The Chumps here have splendid idea about how to respond to such as Jane, but here’s another: “Unless you are wrestling with the new realities my son and I face, I am not interested in your feedback. But let me set you straight on forgiveness; it doesn’t apply to people too morally bankrupt to know they’ve wronged another person.”

    Being chumped gives us brand new insight into people we thought were friends. At times, peoples’ utter lack of empathy leaves me breathless. But if we make ourselves vulnerable enough to share the pain and struggle in our lives, and the response is some form of judgment (because what she said was judging you for not forgiving the OW), then we know to never, ever trust that person with our pain or our struggle. If that dinner was a test, you passed, your sister and bro-in-law passed and Jane not only failed the test but the course. I still remember a very close friend of mine saying (3 months after DDay, “get over it, already.” I still see her once in a while. She’s fun to see a movie with. But that’s it.

    • I want to hug you so hard right now LovedaJackass. I understand what you are saying and I am taking it to heart.

      Janes was judging me wasn’t she?

      If I am not willing to be the 5th wheel from time to time I miss out and I don’t want to miss out! I am single! Of my own choosing. And I am at peace with it.

      I did grow closer to my sister and bro-in-law after this incident. They had righteous indignation FOR me. That’s love. When they are just mere observers of my pain and anger and then the dusting myself off again, they are there for me. Fighting next to me. Hoping that I win at life. Yep. They are keepers and I love them

      • It’s awesome that you have someone like that for you. It makes getting through all this s*** a little easier.

      • conniered, she was indeed judging you. One big thing that the cheater experience taught me was to NEVER tell other people what they “ought” to do. It’s not helpful. When people want my input, they’ll ask. 🙂

    • Excellent response. I would probably have to write it down on a cheat sheet and peek at it when dealing with forgiveness hypocrites.

    • “Unless you are wrestling with the new realities my son and I face, I am not interested in your feedback. But let me set you straight on forgiveness; it doesn’t apply to people too morally bankrupt to know they’ve wronged another person.”

      This is brilliant, LaJ!

  • “(Consequently, Chump Lady doesn’t get invited to too many dinner parties.)”

    Ha ha! Chump Lady is officially invited to ALL of my dinner parties! (Tracy — and all of CN — is, too.)

    I’m actually sort of waiting for this forgiveness bullshit to come up in the near future, too. Asshat is now a born-again Catholic, thanks to the loving guidance of SkankWhore. (Eye roll.)

    • Oh goodness… if these born again “catholics” ( little c, cause they don’t get Catholicism at all) are actually trying to be Catholic then they should have asked for forgiveness, made restitution to you, yesterday, not the near future. There really is not anything worse in religion, than “people” that don’t understand what their religion consists of. Gives us Catholics a bad name

  • conniered, your response was excellent, IMO, and you owe no apology for your authentically, justified position. We say “I’m sorry” too much.

    Jane has been triggered, I suspect, otherwise I see no reason for her unsolicited advice. Cheaters insist on making the point that they have done nothing wrong, and I suspect she has something on her books that troubles her, either consciously or non-consciously.

    The insistence, by these unusual ones, that a suffering person behave the way they insist, is forced co-dependence. It is ‘make nice so I don’t feel uncomfortable’. My promise to myself is to address it directly, unapologetically, as a teaching about the path of suffering. THIS IS GRIEF. Do not advise me how to grieve.

    As I checked in at a group the other day, I bragged that I was 117 days NC. I was so proud. And this white-haired woman said, “You don’t need that anymore. Stop counting.” Good thing I did not reply to her!!!!!!! But I will speak to her privately and request that she not tell me how I ought to experience my grief, as I have not advised or criticized her.

    • Virago, you are so right that telling the suffering how to behave and what to feel is “forced codependence.” I have never heard of that term, but it’s a dandy. I love the idea about responding to such things as teaching moments. We have, in American culture at least, largely forgotten how to grieve and we learn at our peril the price of avoiding that grief. Great, great post.

  • I know several people who were blindsided this way. The general consensus is “Fuck you”. The ball is then in their court.

  • Just wanted to chime in…I just love this type of a response, “do you know this from experience?” A response like that or responses like that usually come from someone towards Meh.

    Conniered, get back to and stay in Meh. You will find as time goes by and when you run into more Jane’s/John’s out there, (and you will) I am certain that you will also have witty responses like that. You will make your allies at the table high-five you at the same time shutting up Jane’s pie-hole!

  • I agree with everyone. But I must add that this is a good example of how people who have not experienced the uniquely excruciating and unique form of the pain of infidelity simply Do Not Get It. My friends and family mean well (though none have exhorted me to “forgive”) but I realize again and again that until and unless you have lived through this, you will remain blissfully ignorant. So I have stopped complaining to them and save it for my therapist. “Forgive them” in my case manifests as nicely-worded variations of “get over it.” And I sure am working toward that, but no: the damage is so very deep and the pain so very profound. As far as “forgiveness”? Fuck that. I want them to suffer and suffer badly. I say that in the most Christlike way possible.

    • That reminded me of when I used to pray every night and morning that he would die. That was not very Christian like. Now I pray he lives a long suffering shit life of misery his actions and selfishness brought him through dishonest living. He earned it.

    • Heck, I watched my own sister go through it but didn’t really understand until it happened to me! That’s why I can relate to people saying dumb, unhelpful things. I remember back when I was clueless. I called and apologized to my sister and told her I had no idea of the depth of pain she was in when it happened to her.

  • Seriously, this is my favorite subject in the arena of cheaterdom and recovery as a betrayed spouse. There is nothing wrong with growing bored of the subject and simply moving on. Forgiveness is NOT a gift we give to ourselves, it’s a gift we give to the guilty. This modern forgiveness tripe is just that, tripe. There’s no responsibility, there’s no recompense, there’s no amends, there’s simply no justification. Most people who demand forgiveness for a third party don’t understand what they are asking or are simply cut from the same clothe as the cheater.

    My ex is not a good person. She’s not decent, she’s not ethical, and she uses people to extremes. I’m supposed to give that person an opening to walk around telling people we are “okay” with each other, when she simply doesn’t care that her actions were hurtful and devastating, um…NO.

    If she were at some point clearly and honestly repentant, and could enumerate all her faults and darkness she laid bare on me and her children and family members, without a shred of blame or finger pointing, I would think about it for 5 or 6 years and perhaps forgive. But I have no trust, no faith, no indication that the person she is now is a person worthy of the gift of my forgiveness.

    Have I moved on? You bet!!! And I’m happy, and my life is going well, and getting better. It’s not perfect, but it’s improving, 2+ years after a divorce. But yet there are even now people who insist the only way my life will be perfect is if I blubber and hug and forgive my witch ex wife. That’s just silly.

    I’ve come to my own peace and solitude. I had a friend once tell me “you forgive the safe people and those who aren’t safe you just accept the fact that you got out of there alive. But to tell them you forgive them will only further embolden them to act the way they did to begin with.” That’s the TRUTH about this forgive at all costs mentality, there’s zero responsibility for the offender, and there’s only you admitting you’re a doormat and they can continue to act irresponsibly. That’s what the Jane’s of the world want. To continue to see good people beat down by bad people because it makes JANE happy, NOT you.

    I said above you should walk away from Jane. There are standards we should hold for ourselves. Being cheated on forces you to reevaluate your boundaries. One of my boundaries is the control for my world is mine and mine alone. People who give unsolicited advice aren’t welcomed where I live. I don’t like the know it all’s and I won’t accept their opinion when I didn’t ask for it. And guess what? I don’t need correcting. I’m an adult, and I’m getting way too old to waste my time on ignorance. Let Jane be ignorant. You don’t need that complication in your life.

    • Great response! I have forgiven myself for not forgiving her. How’s that? I really never plan to speak to her or see her again except at events that it can’t be avoided. Kids weddings, grandchild’s birth, etc And even then us speaking is not going to happen. . My goal is to reach the point I just don’t give a sh** about her or anything to do with her. Working on getting there and CL is a big reason i’ve made so much progress in so little time.

    • “That’s the TRUTH about this forgive at all costs mentality, there’s zero responsibility for the offender, and there’s only you admitting you’re a doormat and they can continue to act irresponsibly. That’s what the Jane’s of the world want. To continue to see good people beat down by bad people because it makes JANE happy, NOT you.”

      Well said, Scott. The ‘age of entitlement’ is part and parcel of this, too. Its all about arseholes getting their way at all costs.

  • “Forgiveness is NOT a gift we give to ourselves, it’s a gift we give to the guilty.”

    A therapist I saw briefly gave me a little drawing of two worms dangling on a hook, and it said something about having to forgive before you can get off the hook yourself. I have stopped seeing her, it didn’t help.

    I have read numerous books and protocols on forgiveness. I have tried them all. You have to literally twist your feelings, thoughts, and emotions around more than an Amish pretzel, and then try to maintain that “positive” thought at the end (it wasn’t personal, it happens to other people, these are unenforceable rules, this has freed me up to live a better life, hey where’s my happy place? etc etc).

    Hell yes, I get that if I am not angry at my ex then I would feel better…but I wouldn’t need to be angry at him if I didn’t have such a feeling of injustice….and the injustice would not be so overwhelming if he hadn’t cheated on me and led a double life with family friends and co workers for 15-plus years, and then abandoned me….and abandoned our children….without a backward glance….and married one of his group sex partners….and continues to think he’s fabulous….and she continues to think she’s awesome…..

    So I simply put, I could not maintain forgiveness, it was not authentic, he/she/they did not ask for it, they did not care, they still are not sorry, they never stopped their “sinning.”

    I hate to quote Nietzsche, but didn’t he say something about forgiveness being for the weak who have made it a virtue because they had no other choice anyhow? Sadly, or maybe not so sadly as I am still righteously pissed at my ex deep down, that is what I have come to believe.

    • I’ve posted this before–when I was harumphing about my therapist’s saying, “Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself,” my sister said, “No, revenge is.” I love her.

      • And I was told living better was the best revenge.
        What therapist miss here is the cost of being betrayed. Yes, I can feel indifferent knowing he will lose his healt insurance when I change jobs or remarry. Why are we held up to a higher standard? The impact of cheating comes with consequences. They thought it was a game. I’m all in. Consequences like losing his families love and respect are to be expected. Chumps don’t have to roll over and continue to listen to the Janes or therapists who want forced firgiveness to cleanse our souls through forgiving abuse. Fuck that shit. Use anger to propell yourself in getting what you deserve in the aftermath. It’s amazing when they get a taste of feeling off balance when we stand up to get our power and control back.

          • I agree. Honestly, I have to say that I would feel a WHOLE lot better if I knew that karma had seriously bit my ex in the ass. If I really think of what would get rid of my fury at this point, and even allow me some semblance of forgiveness, it would be if that ever happened (and it probably won’t and even if it does I won’t know it).

      • Tempest – you darling! (And you Datdamwuf) – we got that thread going for Irish – Hurrah! Now how do we get the word out – not everyone goes into the forums (I know I don’t always have the time), but unless I’m feeling brain-dead I do try to read CL’s main post every day – and mostly, everyone’s comments on the main page.

        Sorry for hijacking your post Conniered – but it’s great news that I almost missed!

        • Thanks, Jayne, for starting the hijack! I’m going to try & catch the early comments tomorrow, but if anyone is reading this now–there is a thread in forums (Private: General) that one of our members (Irish) needs help with co-pay for heart treatment. Even small contributions will get us toward the goal.

    • I think some essentially decent people may be uncomfortable with people who can sit with their pain while it’s helpful to do that and imagine that “not forgiving” keeps the chump stuck. I’ve come to think that the most important thing is to work my way through things as they come up. I’m about 97% Meh but a close relative of the MOW in my situation is now someone I see every day in the workplace. So now I’m working through that daily reminder. Soon that will be a nothing burger too.

    • ‘A therapist I saw briefly gave me a little drawing of two worms dangling on a hook, and it said something about having to forgive before you can get off the hook yourself’.

      … ROFL 😀 Did the drawing have a little speech bubble with the worm looking at the hook and saying (in a teeny, teeny, tiny voice) ‘I forgive you’ … and did the hook miraculously dissolve into a puddle of redemption allowing the worm to wriggle away to live a full and happy wormy life (with no massive fatal wound through it’s middle)? And what happened to her pal – was she stuck on the other HARD undissolved, unforgiven hook? … Was the story of nasty unforgiving Wormy scheduled for Therapy for The Hard of Thinking Part 2, next week? Was that therapist on crack or something? Hope you quoted Nietzsche at her – even if it did make you feel like taking a brain bath!

  • About a week after I discovered the cheating and he walked out I got a text from his cousin who is more like a brother to him and was to me too. I can’t count the number of times he’s stayed over at our house and I’d cook a nice meal and we’d all have a good time. I was also pretty much his mother’s nurse also while she’s at the Assisted Living facility near us. Took her to all of her Dr.’s appts, filled her meds, etc. But I loved her, always will. But…his comment to me was, “He DOES love you! And he is hurting, we’re all human and make mistakes. I hope you won’t make this into a revenge divorce.” ( he knew by then that I had placed a protection order on him…yeah putting bruises on your wife and leaving the house in a rage with a loaded gun will do that ) That first week I was still in the numb phase and barely even functioning so my anger phase hadn’t hit yet. All I could say at the time was “if he loved me he wouldn’t have done this to me.”

    But let him say that to me now? My response would be much different and my words would be more colorful to say the least.

    • Helovesme….

      Ahhh but cheating is not a mistake. And you are right in that people who cheat on you absolutely do NOT love you! Not only do the cheaters not love chumps or respect them, they don’t even like them very much. Hell I’m not even sure that cheaters are physically able to hurt so it’s possible they really aren’t human. They’re not capable of human emotions anyway.

      WTF is a revenge divorce? Is that even a thing? I’m sure in the cheater’s eye that’s where you ask for your fair share of the marital assets. They literally all share one brain (cell)

      • Yeah…I’m pretty sure “revenge divorce” is only a term used in the cheater’s dictionary. He keeps trying to tell me “just remember, I’ve already lost everything”. And the all to familiar, “you want to punish me through the court and give all the money to the attorney’s?? Because at the end of the day they’ll be nothing left for either of us.” I told him if he could just refrain from his porn, stripper and hooker addiction for awhile and focus on providing me a settlement so that I could move on then there won’t be an attorney fees to worry about. *crickets*

            • “Own” being the operative term. They think they own their spouse and children. They own their life. It’s all up to them to decide what anyone gets but them.

        • In a situation like that, you’re probably better off giving the lawyers the money, just so he doesn’t get it. Sorta a variant of “If I can’t have it, noone can!”

  • “You must forgive” can be another “F” bomb after being a victim of intimate partner abuse. I am sorry it came from friendly fire..

    My life long study of forgiveness and my own experiences have changed after the worst kind of betrayal, by the person I trusted most in the world. But not in the direction voiced by most of the posts today.

    I see anger as a fuel to protect me. It is a fast-acting source of energy I may use to: FLEE (i.e., No Contact, divorce); FIGHT (good lawyer/good settlement, tell truth about the horrors of infidelity); or FREEZE (PTSD numbness for initial survival). My anger gets in the way of my joy when I hold onto it instead of using it to protect me.

    This is related to forgiveness, for me, because when I hold onto anger, my heart has less room for joy and love, especially God’s love, which is my main source of life. My heart actually felt “hardened” when I was stuck in hating XH. But when I spiritually forgave, after a long time of sitting beneath my crucifix, weeping, I felt my heart break free — and open.

    I discovered that spiritual forgiveness is about me and my heart. It has NOTHING to do with XH or OW.

    I do NOT condone, approve of, or accept infidelity. Never did, never will. I do not like XH or OW, never will. I do hate the evil they perpetrated on me and my family. But now that I know they are dangerous and carry evil, I avoid them. When I think about running into them somewhere, I want to vomit; I imagine permanently altering their faces with acid or something. Grrrrr. So I gratefully rely on my Inner Tiger to protect me from them, when needed, now. And at the very same time, I can spiritually forgive them. This leaves more space in my own heart for love. And that is good for me.

    For me, my abusers do not need to have remorse or repent in order for me to set my heart free. Their heart – their redemption- are between them and God. My view of forgiveness also means that a relationship does not have to resume for the forgiveness to take place. Resuming a relationship with someone who abused me would require their real remorse, radical change in pro social and trustworthy behaviors at the very least. And over time.

    I cringe when a victim is told to forgive a perpetrator. Even if the person genuinely believes the “forgiveness mandate” will help the hurting victim heal. For me, stories about forgiveness teach me more. Like the Rwandan genocide survivor who forgave the man who killed her family – after months of constant prayer.

    It seems like there is a lot of confusion about forgiveness. Or maybe there are different “kinds”. I just know that I hope all our chumpy hearts continue to heal and to love. Otherwise the OW/OM “won” more than a cheater.

    • Right. If by forgiveness people mean- I accept that they aren’t my problem and I don’t have to carry the weight of the anger I had… Sure. I can get behind that. It’s not going to change your wariness and attention to how they are involved in your life. In that way it means- I get to meh, I don’t have to think about them. Then shit yeh, sign me up. Will I giggle when the fall in a vat of poop? Hella yes

    • I think there is a huge difference between eventually letting go of anger vs. forgiving an unrepentant cheater. No one wants to be eaten up with constant anger; eventually most of us will see the anger wane and even forget about our betrayal for large swathes of time.

      That’s a long way from forgiveness, which can be either a pardon (e.g., “forgive a debt”) or absolution. It’s not just a question of semantics; it’s an emotional issue. I haven’t “forgiven” a boyfriend from 30 years ago who was a shit for most of the relationship and who broke things off in an ugly way. Does he occupy my thought processes more than 60 seconds a year? No. Did disgust at him prevent me from going on to live a fulfilling life? No. Am I still emotionally angry? Would I initiate a conversation with him if I saw him on the street? No. I just don’t care anymore, but I maintain a cognitive evaluation that he is a shit. That’s where I am headed with cheater-X. But forgiveness, in any common sense of the word? No.

      • My experiences of anger at cheater, and forgiveness in my heart, are related but independent. orthogonal in a sense. More to your point Tempest, I can still have a cognitive evaluation of my XH as a shit…and experience forgiveness in my heart.

        I am healing not because I no longer feel healthy anger at times, I do. this is natural and necessary. and I have not reconciled with an “I forgive you” spoken to cheater XH. But my heart finally started healing through much prayer and a decision to forgive. all this involved intimate conversations with God – NOT with cheater.

        I respect each chump’s individual healing process. this is mine. though we share many traumatic experiences, sometimes eerily similar, each of us actually had different cheaters. so our paths will differ at times.

        but Chump Lady is the trail head. and leaving the cheater is true north.

        • my orthogonal comparison works better here by stating that anger and forgiveness intersect but are independent.

          btw, thanks for your steady contributions to CN, Tempest. it’s been a while since I have been on. a mighty heartforce, you are <3

          • Thanks, Chumpette–glad to see you back!

            If it’s important to a chump to forgive the cheater (in any sense of the word), either for religious or personal reasons, I’m in full support. What I don’t like is when other people invalidate us and tell us how to navigate our pain, or attempt to inflict their values on us.

    • Zamperini was an amazing person; however, it’s important to bear in mind that he was dealing with people in an army that was at war with the army in which he served. It was clear they were enemies from the outset, and each side had an obligation to treat the other as adversary, to the point of death if possible.

      That’s very different from our situation with cheating spouses. They represent themselves to be on our side, our most sacred ally in all things.Most cultures conclude that it is easier to forgive an enemy for what he does to his opponent on the field of battle than a comrade who betrays his own. After all, prisoners of war are usually held for a period and then returned to their homes. Traitors and spies are in most cultures summarily executed.

      • Nomar,

        Excellent distinction. This was friendly fire. Treason is punishable by death.

        Nomar, will you be my BFF? Haha.

        May I say for the record, that the Chump Nation are some seriously erudite and well-spoken people. I am always struck by the high level of discourse I find here. As such, they were fools to cheat on us!

      • Good point, nomar. Mostly I was interested in how Zamperini was able to forgive when he felt his sense of dignity and self-worth return.

      • Yes. Warriors know who the enemy is and have a good idea of what to expect. Intimate betrayal with lies and manipulation is very different.

  • Conniered, who the heck asked her opinion? I’m sure she meant well (or not), but don’t you just hate it when anyone offers unsolicited advice?

    Early on, I felt I had to forgive the ex. Somehow, the OWife was always totally irrelevant to me, so I hardly ever think of her. I know forgiveness is a process and I don’t stress about it. Nor do I even think about it, or make it some sort of goal. I used to. Exercising self-care is far more important to me nowadays. That means reminding myself that ex is irrelevant and not to waste my precious energy on him. I then move on to do or think of something that adds value to my life.

  • Conniered – Jane was stupid, ignorant, insensitive, unkind, nasty and plain mean. You dealt with her really well (as you did with your phonecall). I agree with everyone, she had no business even commenting. I’d certainly be reviewing her status as ‘friend’. An acquaintance, well ok – ‘friend’? Nope. Particularly as there doesn’t appear to have been any acknowledgement of how her words had hurt you.

    I guess sometimes the only way people can understand is to have to go through it. Whether she is actually a cheater, I wouldn’t know – some people are just sanctimonious pricks without a clue. She is at least one of them.

  • I wanted to add that Divorce Minister posted something regarding forgiveness on his blog not too long ago. He mentioned the scripture regarding those who sin against you and do not repent; rebuke them. But if they do repent then forgive them. But he also made a valid point that even when we get to Meh (and we all will) we may be able to forgive. Not telling the Cheaters and their partners but it’s more done in our communication with God. He will know our hearts. And even when we are able to do that, its not a FEELING. It’s a decision we make. It’s a willful act on our part. So there may come a time when we will get angry all over again. Feel the pain all over again. Cry all over again. And the process of forgiving, just like grieving, will have to begin again. He made the very valid point that forgiveness is a PROCESS. And we may have to choose to forgive (anyone) over and over and over again. And that is ok. It’s normal. And it’s human.

    • C, with a cheater forgiveness has to be fluid. Think about it, your very idiotic “friend” thinks that you are just forgiving the cheating. What happened that precipitated the cheating? Did the two cheaters just happen to be naked and he fell into her vajayjay? No way, your SO had to find the skank, they then had to have some conversation to figure out if they were both in, they had to lie to you, they had to gaslight you, if you ever had a notion that something was going on, they had to blameshift on to you, because they are Splendid and must have a “reason” to go looking for strange. Then if the strange is just a little bit on the up and up, they needed to be wooed before dropping their panties/shorts in the broom closet. Those are a lot of separate things that you have to forgive. And yay with a cheater/narc you won’t have any of these things done in one sitting, oh no, many years, sometimes decades will pass before you even become aware of it. That is what you have to “forgive”, and exactly where should you start? Are you supposed to have some kind of blank check of forgivness, that you must fill in at any given time, when and if the cheaters decide to do something “nice” like making rock candy?????? No remorse from these f*wits, just chumpy forgiveness is all that’s needed to make things right. WTF!!!!

      • While my H was alive, I forgave him for what I knew he did. When he died and I found photos of OW in my house, I had a big “Come to Jesus” moment on my knees in tears forgiving him again. MONTHS later I found more. I got mad and offered no forgiveness. Later I found out about even more treachery and I got pissed as shit. There was a time when I was ready to offer FULL amnesty..I just wanted the truth. He never gave me the truth, he was a lying, cheating , mean, blameshifting coward.

        So DeeL, you are right there can be so much to forgive we dont even know where to start and Im not going to.

  • Beautifully stated conniered

    The Pope called for a special year of Mercy (which just started) and I have a hidden quiet goal to maybe have some mercy to offer deadhusband by the end of the year, but for now Im still disgusted and mad. Im still reeling from having so recently learned that my 26 yr marriage was a poisoned well from the beginning. I was all wrapped up in it this morning and I went to Mass and the images of H1.0 in my head were replaced with images of H2.0…and that felt like a peaceful gift.

    As for the OWs…I don’t think I will forgive them as much as I intend to simply dismiss them to Meh Island. They dont / wont matter so forgiving them is moot.

    As for the forgiveness trolls…fuck them.

    • Unicornomore, I too am looking forward to the year of mercy. I hope that I can use it to get to a better state of meh.

  • I have found that if anyone really puts me on the spot with a totally unexpected remark like that, my instinctive response now is very simple.

    “Why?”

    Then you can sit back and let them dig the hole as big as they like. And when they’re done, you usually have had time to think a bit.

    But I think your response was the right one, and if you think it was rude, I wish I lived in your family, because my family would have seen your response as very polite and controlled, compared to the kind of stuff we usually say to fuckwits.

  • As an aside, I have found forgiveness very therapeutic, but it has to be unilateral (I will not be retraumatised by anyone, thank you) and ongoing, eg. Seventy times seven …

    It can and does set you free, but people get there at different speeds.

  • For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the whole “forgiveness” thing regarding cheating spouses and their OWhores: Fuck that.

    That’s between them and the Lord (To quote my idol on Empire “Cookie”) … God is God, and I am not God. I just worry about myself and hold myself accountable for my actions, not theirs.

  • Off topic. Yesterday was s year since stbx left. We had a huge blow out. After a friend said to me that we may trigger around times if trauma. I wondered if that was what happened. I had been very good all day. Does anyone else trigger around their d day or when their relationship ends?

    • @Mandie101:

      YES!!!!

      I have been dealing with an on-coming “trigger” that will be the end of this week: The 3rd Saturday of January last year, my now ex- left the house on that Saturday at 2PM saying he was “going for a drive” – he didn’t text, call; I spent the night calling, texting, leaving him voicemails — all not responded. The next day, 18 hours after he left, I called his parents and within minutes of his mom calling he was on the way home PISSED at me for calling them- of course he had nothing to say about where he had been or who had been with… total suck ass, shit-sandwich eating night for sure…SO glad those days (that wasn’t the first, and I don’t think the last of those kind of nights, but that was the worst one for sure) are over!!!!

      This past Thanksgiving was actually what would have been our 12th Anniversary, so the week leading up to Thanksgiving was “low” for me, but it ended up being the BEST Thanksgiving in years for me and my family!!!!. Christmas, New Years’, were actually pretty damn good without him- I thought I’d feel some kind of sadness or loss feelings, but I didn’t. But this weekend? Yeah, I feel it…

      There will be other “triggers” on certain days, I’m sure, but I got through the others, I will get through the rest. 🙂

      • I get u. I was surprised that it triggered anything. I have been so good. Christmas was great. I can’t believe that a date could subconsciously trigger me. Oh well. Yes. Gets better. Now I can. Say I believe is psychic energy.

  • “Are you serious”
    Then
    “No, really, are you being serious?”
    Then
    “Are you fucking daft – wait, don’t answer that – your diatribe already answered that question. Have you ever been cheated on yourself and had to deal with the fuckwittery from a mentally ill OW trying to play happy families with my son? No? Then SHUT THE FUCK UP about ‘forgiveness’. You have NO CONCEPT WHATSOEVER of how sick that is.”
    Then I’d turn to her husband later and say privately “I’d watch out for her – the most common people to spout this garbage are cheaters themselves”. Then give him the link to CL.

    Would this bitch ask you to forgive a rapist for raping you, a murderer for killing one of your loved ones, a terrorist for doing the same, a boss at work bullying you? Its all the same shit – and yet people get all judgey and assign blame to chumps when it comes to cheating.

    Forgiveness is something to be earned. Not given out like icecreams on sunny days. If she’s religious (though she sounds like she’s using the Bible through her sanctiminous bullshit) theres a verse that says about forgiving only if the person repents. Given that the OW hasn’t repented (read: she would have never done that shit in the first place) she’s not earned said forgiveness. And she never will deserve forgiveness.
    Being religious is not a fucking ‘get out of jail free’ card for spouting absolute crap or being a shitty person. Jane needs to go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, etc. (PS: I agree she sounds like a cheater, spouting that bullshit, too). And no longer be her friend, even for civility’s sake. Fuck her.

    • Smart Pastor…he’s onto something there. He knows that it does take time and distance. It took me ten years and total NC before I could “see” my ex in the light of being a really messed up person and managed to feel sorry for him instead of hating him. I still hated what he did/does…but at a safe distance. I gave him over to God just like I give myself over to God. I am at peace…I do not need revenge or justice anymore…I let go of that blanket. God has validated who I am and that was enough for me to find my joy. But, it was a long journey and no one should throw you into the pool and then tell you how to swim. I started with just one toe in the water.

      • That’s just what I want to do, too. It took me years and years to forgive my first husband, and what he did to me took place over less than 3 years. I don’t know where he is, never got child support for our son, but I don’t care about him anymore, I’m not afraid of him anymore, and I started praying for him about 4 years ago. I had finally got to forgiveness of my current husband for what he’d done over 15 years, and then he ramped up his cheating behavior and I found out about it. I wanted to forgive him, but all of his behavior made me feel like I unforgave him for the past, and hated him for not stepping up to fix what he’d done–just expected me to forgive and forget, and accept from him even less than he gave me before (my fault, according to him, since I was no longer nice to be around–since I was either sad, or angry at him for breaking his promises to change). So now I just want to get to that level of feeling forgiveness…feeling sorry for him because he was too stupid to appreciate what he had, and having to live with the knowledge of what kind of person he has been. Not mad if something good happens to him, and not to me; Not waiting for the karma bus to run him over. And so I keep praying for him: that he’ll become what God wants him to be, since that is the only sincere prayer I can muster.

  • With a cheater, about how many times a day do you have to forgive? Their f*ckupedness means several, sometimes tons of times a day. They will never repent, there will always be something that crops up unexpectedly that we are “supposed” to forgive at any given time, with any given, random conversation with a “mutual friend”, with a hidden Switzerland friend, with a co-worker that saw your x somewhere, the list can go on and on. This “forgiving” stuff is hard, especially when you are set out with the task of forgiving the 7 times 70 thing and you find out that you have probably forgiven many more times than that.

  • OK, warning: Trigger on the forgiveness thing.
    X was never physical with me until he started getting meaner and meaner and I was trying to find the family checkbook to pay bills. For some reason, he hid that from me?
    Then he got tough with little ole me and physically thew me out of our home office.
    I cudda, shudda, wudda wished I called the cops for DV right then and there.
    I landed on my knees, he slammed the door and never once asked me if I was okay.
    (I hurt my back, as it turned out)
    So, I forgive you. I anoint you. If I call the cops for DV it will affect his job.

    The next time I could have had him arrested was when he came and stole a ton of valuable property from the marital home (in one hour flat).
    I could have had the cops arrest him on this way to his motorhome.
    But, no. I ‘forgive you’. (again, it would have affected his job greatly if caught and arrested)

    He made SO many stupid moves at the end.

    And, like in No Country For Old Men, I just once wish I had that cattle prod.
    Would you hold still please, Sir?

  • Two quick reading recommendations on this topic:

    1) How Can I Forgive You? – this one breaks down forgiveness into stages, with the final stage being what most people consider “real” forgiveness (and like Jane, they skip the important earlier stages/phases). Importantly, the author makes a compelling argument that the final stage is impossible without the betrayer making their own efforts to seek forgiveness from the betrayed. I know I’m like a broken record with this book on these comments, but I think a link to it ought to be given to every Jane out there whenever they show up with their unsolicited forgiveness feedback, because it shows that they quite literally don’t know what they’re talking about on the subject!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060009314/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0060009314&linkCode=as2&tag=1win-20&linkId=W2OE4URWDYW33Y6M

    2) Several people here have pointed out that self-compassion is more important than forgiveness for the betrayed, because it then leads to self-forgiveness for having put up with the abuse of cheating. I also agree. Great book on how to do self-compassion in a positive way is The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593859759/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1593859759&linkCode=as2&tag=1win-20&linkId=NO2744USCNJVABK5

    In a nutshell, it preaches mindfulness meditation. 🙂 Well, there is more to it than that, and it’s worth a read.

  • So this is when I am glad I am an atheist , I forgive who deserves and earns it, not because some vicar/preacher/omni presence tells me to. Earn my forgiveness then you get it, the OW in my case could give a…. So no, I will not forgive someone who doesn’t actually think she has done anything wrong. I feel no guilt, and apparently neither does she. However, Ex is eaten up with it, a match made in heaven. I
    am sitting back as he shrivels before my eyes. Karma comes in many forms. Stop, breathe, observe, wise words

  • CL, I can see why you wouldn’t be included in future dinners if you came back with a reply like that; however, you might be invited back just for the entertainment value! It’s possible that Jane ‘could’ be a former repentant cheater, or she just could be naive in her approach. I have forgiven my ex for his cheating against me. I forgave him for my own sake. I forgave him because I was being eaten alive from the inside with bitterness, and it was manifesting in ugliness, swearing, hatefulness, sleeplessness, and people just didn’t like being around me. Heck! I didn’t like being around me. So I had to REALLY research what ‘forgiveness’ really means. Forgiveness means “not seeking vengeance”. Believe me! That’s a hard one. And I can see myself still NOT forgiving as I yet again tell my story to someone else in the hopes that it screws up his oh-so-wonderful life. (So I guess I haven’t truly forgiven him. Bummer. I guess I’ll have to go to confession.) It turned out that for me to pull myself out of my self-pitying and wallowing muck, I had to follow what the Good Lord wants us to do. I had to forgive. However, I don’t recall EVER reading in the bible where you forgive and “FORGET”. And though you forgive, you never have to put yourself in a position to be abused (in any manner) again. You can just move on (which is what I have done.) Nor does forgiveness mean that you can’t be angry anymore. Shoot! Sometimes I am still quite livid! That man made me doubt myself! What an absolute pig! In the long run I can actually thank him that he gave me a biblical reason to call it quits. I’m much better off these days not having an adulterer for a husband. However, I don’t feel the need to forgive his skank because it really was my ex-husband that was the person that betrayed me. She is just a skank. If it
    wasn’t her, it would have been another skank. He was the one that gave his vows to me, not her. He was the one that did not keep his vows to me. So one response to Jane would have been, “No I don’t. She didn’t do anything to me. She’s just a skank. If it wasn’t her, it would have been a different skank.” Jane probably wouldn’t know how to reply. As for forgiveness, it does not mean that you only give it if the cheater is repentant. Nope! My ex-pos husband has absolutely no remorse whatsoever. A repentant sinner makes amends. They don’t just say, “I’m a sinner, God forgives me, so should you.” Plain and simple, forgiveness means not seeking vengence and letting it go for your own sake. Not for the sake of the cheater. So Jane could be a former repentant cheater. Jane could be a guilty cheater trying to be absolved for her sin vicariously, or she can just be misinformed on who actually needs to be forgiven. I believe that EVENTUALLY Conniered needs to forgive her husband (if like me), she is holding ugliness in her heart, because by forgiving she can free herself. If that’s not the case, then she may not need to forgive. But if she finds she does need to forgive, that’s an eventual thing and she will do it in her own good time. It took me QUITE a bit of time to reach forgiveness for my ex-POS husband. (And I guess I’m still working on it.) However, forgiving the OW isn’t a requirement. And…, shucks, I actually prayed for my ex-POS husband and his skank, but I only did it to fulfill the requirement. Now it’s up to God, and if God wants to forgive them, then so be it. I need to just worry about me.

    • AmazonChump – I really related to your message tonight. This whole forgiveness forgetfulness thing is a bit of a delimma, when it comes down to words and describing how you feel. I think it’s hard.
      I feel bad for the spouse who didn’t get the remorse OR an apology – especially during court negotiations.
      I feel bad for the spouse who wanted the other to file first. (don’t get that)
      I feel bad for the spouse who went through terrific horrible treatment during their affairs (and we all experienced that), especially when they had no idea what was going on. (me – for 3 yrs w/bff).

      I agree with Amazon – I don’t think about the harlot at all.
      He was the one invested in this POS and lost everything – a lot more than she had to lose.
      She’s not worth an ounce of my time.
      I didn’t forgive her – I just decided to cut her out of my brain.

      I am thankful I have hit my Meh, and, it was actually many Saturdays in a row.
      1.5 yrs from divorce and 2 since we split.

      I’ve realized that, although I never thought I’d forgive him (which he asked me for), I just decided he wasn’t worth thinking about anymore. THAT took me a very long time.

      After reading CL for over 2 yrs, it got me here faster than I ever thought possible.

      So, have I forgiven?
      I actually don’t CARE!

      I guess that means…..forgiveness to forget about him.

  • Dear Conniered,
    First of all kudos to you, for moving forward in a rational adult way.

    Now, you mention anger. IMO is OK to be angry if you’ve been cheated on. This sort of righteous. anger is good. It energises you, it gives you the energy to deal with the situation. ( I don’t mean going round and punching the AP on the nose, but it keeps you moving forward) You can use it productively. It was what kept me going during those awful days after DD.

    I don’t think your friend “Jane” IS your friend. Forgiveness is a personal choice. It’s none of her business and she should butt out.

    She is either incredibly insensitive or she has a hidden agenda. Personally I would review my friendship with her. Friends are supposed to have your back, not stab you in it.

    You gave her a smart reply, good for you !

  • This is a sore issue with me. The whole forgiveness thing being shoved down your throat. I think it is a form of abuse personally. Suddenly the victim becomes the ‘bad one’ because they haven’t ‘forgiven’. Suddenly that is a greater ‘sin’ than the actual sin that was committed against the victim. In fact it is treated like it is the ‘unforgivable sin’ in the ultimate act of irony!

    News flash: Jesus Christ the Son of God said: “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and IF he REPENT, forgive him.” Luke 17:3

    Case closed.

    It is another form of evil to force someone to forgive an unrepentant person. Do NOT feel ashamed that you cannot or will not forgive in that case. God agrees with you!

    Forgiveness is not what it is made out to be. It is an act that requires TWO parties. The person sinned against and the person who sinned. It cannot take place otherwise and it always requires repentance from the sinner.

    “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: EVEN AS Christ forgave you, SO ALSO do ye.” Colossians 3:13. Think about this. How does God forgive us? God only forgives us when we repent of our sins. Do we (and I am referring the forgiveness police here of which I do not think there are many on this blog, but just in case some are reading), think we are holier than God Himself, by forgiving someone who is not even repentant?

    Jesus also very clearly and simply outlays what forgiveness is and out it works in the book of Matthew.(Matt 18: 15-17). He says if at the end of the process, the person that has sinned against you still has not repented, to treat them as the pagans or tax collectors.

    • I totally agree. I am very well versed in Scripture and this is my understanding regarding the landscape for doling out forgiveness as well. The “IF” is a biggie because we know that cheaters or sinners often play around with seemingly being remorseful and
      “confessing”…but the proof is in the fruit. I’d say that it takes several YEARS to get the proof that the person has indeed changed…aka…that they have the Spirit moving alive and well within them. That is why I figured that a nice separation for 5 years or so would net the PROOF that he is genuine or not. This means that he has to stop being a predator and stop looking for different forms of excitement. He has to be totally content with having ONE woman and living a quiet and peaceful life. Time will tell.

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