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Do You Have to Forgive a Cheater?

Betrayed people get caught up a lot on the notion of forgiveness. Taking the high road. Turning the other cheek. Being the bigger person. Let’s face it, after you’ve been cheated on — it’s all a big shit sandwich.

Generally, you only have to eat that particular “I forgive you” shit sandwich if you reconcile with your cheater, and those people tend not to be the readers of Chump Lady.

The rest of us wonder post-infidelity — how do I let go? And if I let go, does that mean I am some how condoning what the cheater did? Did I let them get away with it? Even if I get my happily ever after, does the cheater get to feel smug in the knowledge that what they did to me, to my kids, to my family — Wasn’t That Bad? 

If I don’t forgive them, does that mean I’m still hung up on them? Will I be an object of ridicule — one of those pathetic souls who prattles on incessantly to their match.com dates about their evil ex? Does not forgiving make me a bad Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian? Would it be better for my children if I forgave their other parent?

Chump Lady has chewed on the forgiveness conundrum and concluded:

1. It is perfectly okay not to forgive. I think you can move on with your life, not let the injustice consume you, and still not forgive a cheater. A reason for not forgiving is maintaining vigilance. Cheaters dupe you so completely, you may not trust yourself being around them — to not get sucked back into their alternative reality of lies and spin. Remembering — oh that’s right, I remember what you did to me and I don’t FORGIVE you for it — can be a way to feel safe. Shields up!

Generally forgiveness requires some participation from the offending party in acknowledging that they harmed you. Most of us never get this, and those that do are often not that impressed. A thin veneer of “sorry” cannot shellac that shit.  Why should you hold yourself to the higher plane of forgiveness in the absence of remorse? Like the song above says, God may forgive you, but I don’t.

2. If you’re capable of forgiving, it might only possible from a great distance. If you can find it within yourself to not harbor ill will toward the cheater, I think that can only be achieved with a lot of time and distance from the infidelity. Eventually your new life crowds out your old life and the pain fades, and your new life improves, and it gets harder to work yourself into much of a lather about what the cheater did, or is still doing. I think it is much harder (if not impossible) to achieve a blissful state of “meh” if you have to live with or still interact with the cheater. That means at some level you’re still invested and vulnerable. Scabbed over wounds can break open. But if the person is a non-entity, I think it’s easier to reach that higher plane of forgiveness. I’m several years out, forgiving my ex would be like forgiving my horrible 9th grade algebra teacher. Algebra doesn’t have a lot of relevance in my life right now…  so consider yourself forgiven, Mr. Cieliski.

3. Consider redefining forgiveness. Maybe it’s enough that you didn’t kill them. Maybe indifference is the best you can do and that IS forgiveness. I like this take on forgiveness from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.

However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person too.

But the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offence.

Whether or not the cheater acknowledges the offense, by all means UNCHAIN yourself from victimhood. I like how Archbishop Tutu includes righteous hate and anger with forgiveness. That is the shadow side of love — you feel the injustice deeply because you loved deeply. But you do not have to let the pain consume you, and letting it go is for you. It is self interest AND forgiveness. I like that. I don’t hold out a lot of hope that letting go will make the cheater a “better person.” But who knows? It’s not your problem after you leave them.

This column ran previously.

 

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  • I like to think of it as making the wrongs God’s problem. Without repentance–a humble, turning from this wicked behavior–I don’t see much hope for the cheater. They will one day be held accountable. BUT we can make that God’s prerogative and move on with our lives.

    • We all have enough on our plates being the sane parent, grown up, and holding all the pieces they left behind together. I will gladly turn it over to God. Besides, I spent YEARS trying to get him to feel remorse and empathy for the harm he was causing even before he left or I found out about the infidelity. It is not my job.

      I am simply trying to get to point of acceptance of who he really is and letting my anger and feeling of injustice go. For me, that will be my version of forgiveness. That probably won’t happen until I get through this ugly divorce, but that is my goal.

      • Hadn’t thought of that- you have to be able to accept who they are before you can even think about forgiveness- that damn mask, it falls off and they try to put it right back on.

      • Well said GetMeFree. This is exactly how I feel. My cheater has moved on with his life and could care less if I forgive him or not, so why should I dwell on “forgiving” him. I am more focused on taking care of myself and that entails letting the anger go and not let the injustice of this whole shit sandwich make me a bitter person. My heart is slowly catching up to my head in realizing, AND BELIEVING, who he really is…a cheating, lying piece of shit, not the decent family man I projected onto him.

        Slowly I am shutting down the conversation/battle in my head of when did it start, how many have there been, did I cause him to turn into a cheater, and all the other noise that could justify my choice of investing my love and trust in him. I made a bad choice…he sucks at being a husband.

        It seems like forgiving him would be another chumpy move on my part. Another concession that I give to him. I’ve done enough for him. I just want to be in a place where I don’t think of him at all.

        (I sound slightly bitter. LOL)

        • McFeisty, if your x is like mine, he probably projected that good decent family man image on himself. Then he kept you so busy toting and fetching that you had no chance to question if it was true or not.

          • You may be on to something Anita. He did constantly say what a decent guy he way and what a good person he was. Just more bull shit out of his mouth…

            • Mcfiesty, x in my marriage continuously talked about what a good guy he was. The thing is, if he ever did anything for me, you can damn well bet he’d never let you forget it. He helped me with a couple of household things he did when we were dating, and yes, he brought them up to me as a reason/excuse/whatever for him to cheat on me. He also didn’t have previous serious relationships because “women don’t want Good Guys”. No, they someone know you aren’t one, that is all.

              • Somehow, not someone, i know.

                He also never, never, never acted inappropriately toward other women around me. No flirting, staring, comments, nothing. Not even women on TV.

                He did, however, make nasty comments about people on TV, and in real life, behind their backs. If someone is unattractive, or overweight, or “inferior” in some way, he will comment on it, or make a joke about them. That’s about the only real indictor of his nasty inner self he let slip. I know the whore, who’s also a nasty bitch passing as a human, and she does the same thing.

            • Mine consistently gave lectures on what a good guy he is, “a man of integrity,”
              He’d be appalled at the dishonesty of someone going back for a second sample at one of the sample kiosks at Costco.
              It clearly states only one sample per customer. I was brainwashed. It was easy for me to dismiss my red flag moments or something he said didn’t add up, I was married to Mr. Integrity.
              X was convincing at portraying himself as the loyal, family man. He was not a family man and evidently not loyal. X was however full of shit

            • Oh my gawd. So many parallels. My ex was the same. FF Lt who made himself out to be this stellar, moral hero who ended up being nothing of the sort. Everyone was as blindsided as I was when his cheating came to light. Imagine living in a small town where everyone thinks your husband is such a great guy and trying to recover socially when no one wants to address the elephant in the room. He keeps all his buddies because the FD is just one big frat house. They’ll tell you it’s a family…

              • My ex used to go on about how insulted he was that someone had lied to him. It was surreal listening to the diatribe when u knew he did the same and worse. I’m not sure if it was a case of him trying to be convincing or if he really did believe his own lies. Oh well, now I don’t give a shit – I have to forgive myself for believing he would never lie to me….

        • I don’t think my STBX gives a damn whether I forgive him or not. He’s told me he knows I’ll always hate him. He only cares that I get on with my life so it can help him in his relationship with Daughter.

          He asked his shrink “what happens if she ever gets over it?” And the shrinks response is that it will make it very difficult to rebuild a relationship with her.

          He has two standard BS lines that he tells himself to make him feel better.

          > “I was a terrible husband but a good dad.” (No, a good dad doesn’t cheat the family out of an authentic life.)
          > I may have done a lot of bad things, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. (Evil behavior comes from bad people. Mistakes happen to good people.)

          What a fuckwad. I can’t wait to see what kind of old man you become. That is if you don’t die from a heart attack. And if you do, could you do it now, before the divorce is final? And just so you know… the life insurance policy will pay out for sucide.

          As you can see, I’m not bitter either.

        • I can definitely relate. At this stage of my breakup (3 months since DDay) I am so angry and bitter, that I can’t sleep, there is so much nervous energy inside of me with no outlet. He has moved on and is living outright with his pregnant OW and I am left to hold all the pieces together for our 2 children. What’s more he has basically adopted the OW’s child and she’s getting more from him than his own kids. I don’t know how to let this anger go.

      • You cant forgive someone who hasn’t shown remorse in the first place! Thats not even a conversation. I think thats what the catholics call limbo and let god be the judge.

    • Yes, too often forgiveness is used as power to achieve an end that has nothing to do with forgiveness—something to use whether you are giving or receiving it. In my experience therapists often reinforce this by trying to weasel it out of victims to excuse others. But actually, when we offer it, it’s saying “I lay down my power” to use the leverage I have in this situation. And when receiving it, it is also laying down the excuse that no one has given you another chance. At the same time, my instinct is that victims of abuse should not lay down any power as long as they remain in range of an abuser. It’s not like there’s an expiry date for offering it. No one “deserves” it. It is always a gift no matter when it is received. It is not an entitlement.

      • Well said Diane Strickland! Agree 100% and you nailed the “therapist” trying to make excuses to convince the “if you forgive, you will feel better”. My experience has been the same and I’m calling BULLSH!T! There’s no excuse for manipulating, lying, stealing, cheating and POS!

        CL and Chump Nation has been more therapeutic! I laughed for two hours last night reading all the stories about what they did with STBX’s stuff.

    • I agree 100%, we should let judgement be the Father’s business.
      In the meantime we have to try and move on with our lives and do the best we can, to be the best we can ….

  • Love this. The idea seems to be that one forgives (in the more limited sense above) for one’s own benefit, to not live a life consumed by justified anger and hatred. Perhaps moving on is a better description than forgiveness, in that sense. ‘You did me wrong, and I’m removing you from my life, and I will not consumed by thoughts of you and what you did.’

    In a very real sense, this is the best form of meh. It does not require altruism to someone who hurt you deeply, and allows you to move forward into the real world, smarter, wiser, and perhaps a little sadder, but ready to build or rebuild your life.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

      • Agree 100%. Part of the issue here is the definition of the word forgiveness. And part of the power of this blog post is that it shows chumps that the target doesn’t have to be a religious level of forgiveness, where the sin is wiped away, completely forgotten and completely absolved, as if it didn’t happen.

        The target can simply be that the chump will accept that what happened has happened, the cheater demonstrated that they are not worthy of the chump’s love, and the chump will move on in life without the cheater, without giving love to the cheater, and most importantly, while letting go of the anger and hatred they may have for the cheater. Being angry with the cheater, hating the cheater, is just keeping the relationship with the cheater going, but with a different context (hate instead of love).

        Meh forgiveness is about letting go of that (hate) relationship, about moving on, unencumbered with the baggage of betrayal (but not forgetting that it happened). And that is a most powerful message, the idea that the chump can move on and be happy without giving the cheater absolution.
        Any chump that can get there is indeed very mighty.

        Hugs. Strength. Peace.
        aeronaut

        • We are human. There is no way that we could ever forgive with complete absolution and that the sin will be wiped away as if it never happened. Ask anyone who chose to forgive a cheater and reconcile. That memory and pain will never go away completely.

          True forgiveness in that sense is only for God to do. Once we stop thinking that we need to forgive to that degree, we may be able to achieve a human forgiveness easier. And you described it perfectly, aeronaut.

        • Exactly Aeronaut! Being locked in anger, resentment, bitterness is just another relationship with the cheater. Letting go of all emotions attached to the cheater is what I so desperately want. To look at him, or think of him, and feel nothing is what I seek. And when I say feel nothing, I mean just that. Nothing positive, nothing negative…just meh.

      • “Meh” will be as close as I ever get to forgiveness. It will mean “you don’t matter to me anymore” which means I will have healed enough to move on. I look forward to that Tuesday. I just hope it happens sooner, rather than later. For my daughter, as well as for me.

        Daughter told me I was having a pity party on a recent trigger day. I told her I was better than last year and that I’ll be better next year. Her response was that she’s only around for the next theee years and that she’s looking for weeks, not months or years. She misses the joyful mom and hates seeing me in so much pain and anguish. And she can be so incredibly brutal. I imagine she feels there’s no room for her pain or at least I’m not able to be there for her in that capacity. I still cry easily and it shuts her down.

        I will NEVER forgive him for what he’s done to her. She is an only child (he didn’t want a second) and he is her only male role model.

        He’s convinced himself that he didn’t betray her. He cheated on me, not her. And he continues his relationship with AP, knowing full well that Daughter won’t accept her into her life. Daughter feels like he’s chosen AP over her. So hurtful. So sad.

        • So sorry, Giddy Eagle. I think it’s common cheater logic to convince themselves they didn’t cheat on their children. My ex said the same. But they did. They cheated on everyone they lied to, but especially us chumps and our kids.

        • Giddy Eagle – for what it is worth, I realized that I had a right to grieve on my own timeline – BUT – I could control when I needed to express it. In the beginning, my son saw much of it, but at a certain point I realized it was freaking him out and he needed me to be “OK”… his world just blew up… he needed me to put on my oxygen mask and then help him get his on.

          I learned how to cry and feel my pain in places where he didn’t have to see it (the shower, my car, public restrooms, movie theaters when he was on visitation). You are the adult and they need you to be the sane one.

          Hang in there – you’ve got this.

        • Mine still claims he will always put the kids first. If that were true, he never would have strayed and busted up our family the way he did. He would not choose to take her to fun events instead of his kids, and he wouldn’t be planning the day when he can put them in the awkward position of having to warm up to her if they want to have a relationship with him.

      • THIS!
        “I think “meh” is forgiveness”

        Also, I forgave myself for picking/staying with that a*hole for years.
        Now that he’s passed away, I don’t really have to think about it anymore.

  • Short answer: No. 😉

    Longer answer: there are many levels.stages of what we culturally call forgiveness, and it’s unlikely that a cheater will ever have the self-awareness to participate in the highest levels of full forgiveness. The book “How Can I Forgive You?” goes into this in some detail, and I would recommend it to my fellow CN members: http://amzn.to/2twF1Yy

    • Yes, I like her concept of cheap forgiveness…when you forgive the person to protect the relationship…kind of like what a lot of us on this site have done. Like CL, she helps validate that underlying feeling that what they do to us is unforgivable and doesn’t deserve a “forgive and forget”. Before the discovery of the cheating and the drugs I was ALWAYS forgiving behavior that now, as a truly reformed chump I would never tolerate…just the general under the radar selfishness and abuse that these disordered folks “live in” on a daily basis with their partners/children/victims.
      I have no probelm working towards forgiving myself but my main goal is getting over the righteous anger that still bubbles up after one year out. Forgiving someone who cannot even fathom that they did anything wrong is a pure waste of time.

      • … Forgiving someone who cannot even fathom that they did anything wrong is a pure waste of time…

        This. This is totally where I am at.

        • +1

          I can’t forgive when it’s still going on.

          Hardest for me is having to watch X torment our kids with his lies and self-righteousness. Two of them are on to his tactics and have found a way to proceed with caution with a relationship from a distance. He’s “text dad” and on holidays, “photo op for social media dad.”

          Our oldest son is on the autism spectrum and cannot reconcile his need for a father’s love with his father’s abominable actions of deceit and disappointment. He is Charlie Brown, always running at full speed to kick Lucy’s football.

          No wonder why he’s in his second rehab.

          • Exactly- forgiving when it is still going on!

            Can you forgive your atacker when he is still attacking?

            I do not see how you can forgive someone who isn’t sorry nor repentant.

            For now, I walk away as much as possible (no contact). And leave the rest to God.

            If he can’t get the message, I will shake the dust off and move on.

            • I think it is impossible to get there when still in the midst of a high conflict divorce, especially when they are actively trying to hide assets or income and refuse to even attempt to settle honestly. Add in the crap they do to our kids and it just means that the process of acceptance and letting go of the anger will take even longer.

              That isn’t necessary bad though. As CL said, it may be needed to stay vigilant. As long as your end goal is to get there eventually.

              • Yah, GetMeFree, I’m in the same boat my friend in the midst of a high-conflict divorce that drags on. My goal is to be as calm as possible to get to the end of the divorce. Also, I’m trusting God that He is in control, and that it is part of His bigger plan. (Maybe something good will come of this, that I do not at this time know of.)

              • It has been 7 years and he just Won’t. Let. Go. He is all the time pulling stunts even though the divorce was settled and he married Howorker.

                In my situation it is a continual D-day because he is always pulling stunts.

                His latest, alienating the boys. It will take years before I get to “Meh” with that.

              • I am in the high-conflict divorce phase, trying very hard to build a life, but the ongoing divorce, hiding assets, not paying support, depositions and court hearings is a soul-sucking, energy-sucking 3 headed BEAST!! It seems to be getting worse, 2 1/2 years out, not better. Trying to stay calm and care less and less, but forgiveness? That’s above my pay grade. Handing that over to the God department. I’ll focus on ‘meh’.
                <3 Thank you CL & CN!!

            • That is a whole other way of looking at this label…ie you must be bitter and twisted not to forgive….as the poster says if you are still under attack; with holding financial support for kids, blaming you that kids arent talking to him; letting you drive around in an unregistered vehicle. ..on and on… you are not even in a position to forgive because the list of misdemeanors keeps growing. Its like bringing a rap sheet to trial…the prosecution isnt going to bring the perpetrator to trial until they have all the wrongdoings investigated and picked up . The difference is our criminals havent been stopped in their tracks yet !!

        • For me. To forgive when they have no remorse, is a total waste of time. That’s where “meh” comes in.

          • “No remorse.” Bingo!

            DD#2 — first thing out of his mouth after “we have to get a divorce” is “I deserve to be happy.” Yes, poor you, who has been lying, cheating and deceiving me for 20 years deserves to be happy. Good luck with that.

            • Same here. 20+ years of lying, cheating and deceiving me with tons of “friends”, but he wasn’t “happy.” Well, I guess he was NEVER happy, because he was doing it since before we got married! Amen! Good luck with that, cheater!

              • Exactly – so let’s forgive them for taking all that unhappiness and mindfuckery with them when the go… how will we ever live without it?! LOL… that’s the best bit… they think they’ve WON (as does the OW/OM)… they didn’t… they just took the cheater off your hands 🙂

            • Martha and Giddy Eagle,

              What in the world do these OW have that we Chumps don’t have?
              Well, all I know is that whatever it is we don’t want IT as IT lacks integrity, kindness, truth, loyalty, actually IT lacks all good virtues, all good human character traits.
              Put simply, IT stinks and he can have IT.
              Meanwhile, beautiful ladies, love your precious children, gather them in your arms, march on in the CN Band. Leave them behind like the tiny little specs of dirt that they are. Tiny tiny specs in your rear view mirror.
              ( I am so sorry you have to co-parent with them, poor children)

              ((((((Hugs)))))

              • Forgot to add regarding “I deserve to be happy”

                Yea, cheaters deserve to be something, but it ain’t happy.

                Not to worry, as my dear Mother used to say, ” What goes around, comes around”
                Dear Mom, every day I see small signs of this, some days big gigantic signs! Yep, they are there and more are coming……..

                Martha and Giddy Eagle, when it comes to our precious children we grow girl balls and we are fierce in our love and our desire to protect them.

                ?Don’t mess with MOTHERS!?

        • Right there with you. It will be a year at the end of August since he told me, but said it was over. LIES. He moved her and her 3 kids in with him. Actually, her HUSBAND helped move her in withmy now ex husband.

          And man, is he EVER bitching about the smell of smoke. He has the audacity to be pissed that I call his Precious the Magic Golden Pussy and Twatwaffle and good old fashioned Whore. He’s in the process of slapping me with a restraining order because apparently those are considered “lewd and lascivious” across communication devices.

          We have 3 kids together, one who is passed, and a 7 and a 9 year old. I so resent his making me a single parent again. (I’ve already raised 5 children to adulthood from my first marriage.)

          But this post very much resonates with me today.

          • Sunflower– my ex was huffing and puffing about taking out a restraining order too. I guess he took offense to me calling it the way I see it, that’s she’s a bar fly with no conscience, no values and is it in for the money. What other explanation is there for marrying someone old enough to be her father. His daughter and her new stepmom are the same age. Maybe they can plan play dates.
            I think everyone’s is entitled to an opinion. My opinion of her won’t change by slapping a restraining order on me. Why is he so bothered by what I think? Could it be that I’m too close to the truth?

            • Exactly right. I think what pushed it over the edge was when he told me he lets Golden Magic read all my texts to him. I went into overdrive and made it known that ex thinks anyone over 18 is fair game. GM has a 15 year old daughter, so when I texted her a message on his phone, I said that while she was 10 years younger, her daughter will be 18 in 3 years and that GM will do for now until her daughter comes of age.

              Some people just get so touchy about the truth….

          • Guessing her husband was helping her pack her bags to move her into another man’s house. Now she’s HIS problem haha! 🙂

            • They deserve each other.

              I just wish she would stop braiding my girls’ hair and acting like she wants to be friends with them and trying to make their gigantic ball of lying suck the stuff of a forced together family.

              That part is sheer bullshit.

          • Sunflower, I had a restraining order against me too for the same thing. I like you were onto the truth! I had way over a year to piece together over 20 years of my life and with the help of a close friend that was “in the know”, I had my ex almost completely figured out. I know I still don’t know the whole truth and I don’t care to. I know enough to know that my ex is a lying, cheating piece shit who has lied and cheated on me from the beginning. My ex didn’t like hearing the truth about himself, his whore that he left me for and a few other whore’s that are his “friends.” It was worth it to me to have a restraining order to tell him that was onto him. I don’t regret one single word. 20+ years of pretty much eating shit sandwiches and I think I deserved to tell him what I thought and knew about him!

      • ” Forgiving someone who cannot even fathom that they did anything wrong is a pure waste of time…”

        And I will add that from my understanding of the Bible, God doesn’t forgive us unless we repent and turn away from our sins. Why in the world am I asked to do something that even God Himself doesn’t do? Am I reading something wrong? I don’t think I am. I told my ex-lying-pastor this and he couldn’t respond back to what I said. The ex-pastor is all about “love” and “no judgement.” Hence, my ex pathological lying, serial cheating and adulterous husband the narc got tp keep the church because they “don’t judge” and “only love.” Good luck with that when you stand before God someday.

        My ex will never ever ask me to forgive him as he hasn’t done anything wrong in his own eyes. He’s masterfully covered up everything with his charm and the mask that he wears almost all of the time. But like I told him at least 100 times, “God has seen it all!” And I’m relying on God for justice in the end as the justice I would like to deal out will land me in jail and I don’t want that and him and his whore and his harem and all his flying monkeys are not worth one minute of my life in jail. So God will deal with all of them someday!

        I will not forgive him unless he comes to me and is truly repentant and that will never happen. For years and years he said he was sorry for the things that he did to me. I even saw some tears. And he always said he’d “spend the rest of his life making it up to me.” He never did ANYTHING to make it up to me. Not even some flowers or a dinner out. NOTHING.

        So my goal is to get to ‘meh.’ and that will be my level of forgiveness and I’m doing for myself and not the cheater. I think that is a MIGHTY goal to have and I plan I getting there. No one besides chumps seem to understand how difficult this is to do, especially when you’ve been dealing with a narc for over 20 years. He “sold me a dream and delivered me a nightmare.”

        I’m busy tonight and won’t be able to read everyone’s posts today, but I’m looking forward to coming back to this post this weekend. I love you, Chumps! 🙂

  • I have to disagree with you on this one Chumplady. The only time I’ve disagreed. I don’t think forgiveness requires reconciliation in the least. As you say, that may never come. But forgiveness means not seeking retribution. And for me, it meant forgiving myself for allowing such a turd in my life. It’s not an emotion. In fact, I’ve told my sons that I never want to hear anything about their dad unless it’s bad. I still have Lorena Bobbitt thoughts, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to go over to his (or his skank’s house) and spray-paint ugly words all over the garage door. I sometimes wish his kidney stones cause permanent impairment and definitely put a kink in his sex life. I still have angry thoughts. But as I said, forgiveness for me means that I don’t seek retribution. That’s God’s prerogative. And who am I? I’m a sinner too (though I didn’t commit adultery) and I’m asking for God’s mercy. If I’m asking God to withhold mercy on my skanky ex, but to be merciful to me, then I’m not much better than he. Like you, I also have a favorite quote (from Nelson Mandela): “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

    Concerning forgiveness, this helped me understand why I was still angry even though I forgave:
    Forgiveness is not:
    •    A feeling
    •    Letting the other person off the hook
    •    Forgetting the wounds he/she caused you
    •    Blindly trusting him or her again (that may be very irresponsible!)
    •    Feeling friendly toward the person
    •    Thinking that you have to be “friends” again (it may not be possible)
    •    Having to dismiss restitution that should be paid
    Forgiveness is:
    •    An act of the will
    Choosing to detach from revenge
    •    Trusting that God will bring perfect justice in His time (and His way)
    •    Knowing it’s okay not to like someone but to still love him/her
    •    Still being able to kindly set and enforce healthy boundaries with the person
    •    Seeing the other person as deserving of kindness, even if you don’t like him/her
    •    Focusing less on your rights and more on your responsibility to forgive
    •    Obedience to God’s command

    • I don’t think you understand my argument. I reject revenge, and I think that is meh.

      I do think, if you are going to reconcile, you are putting yourself in a position of having to work on forgiving your cheater, in an active sense. Daily. Whether or not that person is working towards repentance or recompense.

      The point of my site is to offer an alternative to reconciliation — get away from that clusterfuck.

      • Chump Lady – and once you get away from the clusterfuck, you realize that you can breathe easier
        Forgive – hell no. Revenge – no. Does his miserable life put a smile on my face – YES.

          • So glad that I found all of you! My life went crazy three months ago when I found out that my “wonderful” husband had been having affairs for the last 23 years of our 40 year marriage. An upstanding and admired person in our community who had been having sex in our office and in my home and in our vacation home with women who were friends and/or who worked for us! ! Now he is seeking mental health treatment and of course God in order to win me back. He wants me to give him another chance…no way! Divorce is final and this blog is helping me learn how to move forward. Thank you all so much! Btw I never saw this coming, not a clue. Haven’t found anyone else who knew either. The women stayed devoted to him even after the affair was over. I have confronted everyone of them. No blackmail, etc. crazy times!!

            • Eva, welcome! This board is a blessing, no matter what phase of your nightmare you find it. Stay close to CL and know that Chump Nation has your back and is cheering you onto to peace of mind and a better life. I am Sorry you needed us, but glad you are here.

            • Given your story, this is the place to be, for sure. Welcome!

              It is absolutely mind-blowing to find out the life you’ve had is a facade. I’m about 16 months into my journey and I still can’t wrap my head around it. Mine blew up 6 months before my 25th anniversary.

              A couple of suggestions — when you read something that immediately resonates with you, save it. This is a WordPress site and it’s difficult to search for a specific reply or comment. I usually read from my phone, so I cut it and send it to a note. Here’s my favorite so far: “You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over-analyzing a situation, trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” Tupac Shakur

              I am at the place where I don’t want him but seem to be paralyzed moving forward. Honestly I’m suffering from PTSD. There was a good discussion last week about forgiveness and what stuck with me is forgiving myself for being duped. I want to beat myself up for trusting a narcissist, for falling victim to his game. I am trying to reframe my pain about the marriage being a lie to recognizing that the man was a lie. He wasn’t the man I thought he was and he certainly wasn’t the man he pretends to be.

              Good luck. Be fierce, but be gentle with yourself.

        • Yeah, knowing he’s still the most cheap, arrogant, pissy, narrow-minded, miserable man on the planet with Twatsky the Wonder Work Whore is the most unintended gift he could ever have given me! 🙂

    • Amazonchump, the forgiveness you described sounds a bit like meh with a sprinkle of leaving it to God. Christian chumps have a hard time with this because frankly we don’t delve deep enough into the Bible and what it says about traitors and betrayal and what the natural law provides as consequences for sin. Check divorce minister on a Christian perspective.
      You say you still harbour hurtful thoughts and want news only of the bad in his life. How is this a better alternative that approximates forgiveness?
      You are right God’s mercy is for all. Take it for yourself. Let the cheater work out his salvation for himself.
      There is no forgiveness without remorse repentance and restitution.
      Most of us tried forgiveness for the cheater at least once, except it really was just a rug sweep as the cheaters did not uphold their end. It takes two for the magic of forgiveness to work.

      • You’re right. Sometimes I wonder if I truly have ‘forgiven’ him when I only want to hear about him if he experiences something bad. I’m making the distinction between wanting to hear about him only if it’s bad, vice wishing bad things on him. To me there’s a difference though it may just be subtle. Wishing bad things on someone is almost like casting a spell. Whereas the first recourse (only hearing bad things about him) is leaving it all in God’s hands. (Karma.) I may be justifying my own bad behavior, but I don’t think I’ve crossed the line because I don’t seek vengeance on him. I’m still a bit of a head case. I was married to him 26 years when I found out about his skank (of 11 years.) I played the pick-me dance, pleaded, begged on my knees, and forgave him. Four years later I found out he had been back with his skank for at least a year. I will never see remorse or repentance from him, but I don’t think that’s what is needed before I forgive him. As far as he is concerned, he believes he’s entitled to do whatever he wants to do, so I’d be waiting till I turned blue in the face waiting for reconciliation. But forgiveness for him on my part is about not seeking vengeance. I believe that having turmoil and angst when I think about him doesn’t mean that I have yet to forgive him. Those are just emotions. The second type of forgiving that I had to do was to forgive myself for allowing myself to be susceptible to such a pig. I’m far from the head trip I used to be, but probably still have a bit to go. I believe I’ve reached ‘meh’. But just because I wouldn’t feel (too much) remorse if I heard karma bite him in the butt, doesn’t necessarily mean that I haven’t forgiven him.

    • My gut instinct flares up at the “knowing it’s okay not to like someone but to still love him/her”. To me, that sounds mealy mouthed. That sounds like asking to be chumped over and over again. I understand that “love” in this context does not mean warm, fuzzy feelings. But I don’t think forgiving someone means you need to have good will toward them. Given the sheer anount of damage our abusers caused to our families and ourselves – given what my appallingly blind and unkind ex did to me! – Meh seems like Mount Everest. Lofty and seemingly impossible to reach. Meh is much kinder than Reptile deserves.

      • A couple months ago, the bible reading in church was about forgiveness and loving your neighbor as yourself. In his homily, the priest pointed out that there are several meanings of love. We are not called to love everyone the same.

        The priest said that for someone who has betrayed or hurt us deeply and is not remorseful, that love and forgiveness could mean simply not wishing harm on them or revenge. I believe that is the same as the “Meh” we all achieve for here.

        • I don’t forgive my X for destroying our family, his betrayal, cruelty or his relentless pursuit to destroy me or alienating our son from me. I never will forgive him.
          Do I wish him harm, karma or revenge? Absolutely.
          I have given X enough of myself.
          X made choices to purposely hurt and destroy me and the family I valued and loved dearly.
          I’m not giving him forgiveness, not a chance.

          My life will go on, without forgiving X.

      • Yes, I was confused by that. How can you love someone you don’t like? Liking someone requires trusting and respecting them. Love requires the same even more so. I might like someone who I don’t love but I can’t see ever loving someone I don’t like. That doesn’t seem possible. At this stage in my life, anyone who I don’t trust and respect is relegated to a mere acquaintance and will get a bare minimum of interaction from me.

        • Really, that You can love somebody you don’t like business is a loser. It’s usually lust based, I think. Why bother with someone you don’t like!?

        • Well, I love my adult son but don’t really like his choices or his version of the truth these days.

          Does that count?

          • No!! Children are exempt from the You have to like them to love them rule.

            You probably won’t like them a lot, and vice versa. Cause what’s best for them is usually not what they want.

        • I cannot help but still ‘love’ my ex. And yes, he’s a self-righteous non-remorseful dick. However, I still love him. Maybe I love the man I thought he was. Maybe I love just the good times. There were a lot of good times. Maybe I love him when he was a decent man. He was a good provider, and except for being a lousy example of a husband, he was a good father. I’m of the opinion that not everything you love is good for you. Not alcohol, not chocolate, not potato chips… My ex is NOT good for me, but I still love him and I will not allow that dick to cross my boundaries again.

  • Chumps need only to forgive themselves. Anything beyond that to a cheater, Switzerland friends&family, enablers -IMO- is simply acceptance. You accept that this happened to you. You accept that the abuse, abuser and enablers are part of your history and you push beyond it becoming emotionally and physically a healthier person.

    • I agree completely. I have accepted what happened to me and I have created a new life for myself. I have absolutely no need to forgive X, because the entire concept of forgiveness is, for me, tied up in a religious doctrine that I do no believe. Why is my forgiveness necessary? It would change absolutely nothing and I refuse to pretend to feel something I don’t.

      Now, I don’t go around plotting revenge, nor do I (any longer) obsess about what X did. It just doesn’t matter in my day to day life. I have reached the state of calm indifference and I am perfectly content with my state of meh. Anything more gives X too much importance in my life.

    • Anita & Violet: Yes, we need to forgive ourselves. Hell, I beat myself up better than anyone ever could. How I figured it out was that I accepted what happened, as awful and horrid as it was. Forgive? I don’t know. I got caught up on that if I forgave him, it meant what he did to all of us was ok, which it will never be. I look at my two kids from that marriage and have decided I just paid a hefty price for them cuz if going back in time meant not having them, I would do it again. He once yelled at me, “you need to treat me with respect”… I laughed out loud in his face and said, “Are you kidding me??? I will NEVER respect you. What you did will NEVER be ok.” That was the end of that. He realized it was pointless to even try to get me to forgive his sorry ass.

  • Im 52 and I have a general goal of forgiving him by the time I’m like 80. I don’t want to expend the energy needed to hate so I settle now for chronic low level distain.

    He was mad at me for 26 years for 1) no reason or 2) guilt or 3) rampant selfishness …he’s been dead for almost 5 years, so I still have 19 years on account.

    • Nice!

      “He was mad at me for 26 years for 1) no reason or 2) guilt or 3) rampant selfishness …”

      • I suspect 4) All of the above, even if no reason and reasons are logical contradictions.

        Peace.
        aeronaut

    • I’m only 33 and I expect it will take till 80 to get over it too. And only if he’s been dead since like tomorrow or maybe next week at the latest.

      • NO, Shelby. Do NOT permit the fucktard to take 50 yrs from you.

        Grieve your loss but never let the assholes steal anything else from your life. They don’t get to have you. You get to have you.

      • Shelby…no no no. My mother said while standing over me, sobbing on the floor, hey, don’t you dare give that son of a bitch your happiness. If you do, he’s won! Is he worth that???? Are you going to let that selfish son of a bitch win????

        I heard that. I heard nothing else, but I heard that.

        Yes, we work through it, but don’t ever give him your future. fucktards for sure.

    • What is my goal, for say, next year? I don’t know for sure, but I think it involves being a badass.

    • “Chronic low level disdain” is perfect. As long as the Edgar Suit doesn’t hurt my kids, I just maintain my Meh-state of CLLD and life is good. If I see the Karma Bus cresting his horizon I get the giggles but other than that, he gets nothing from me and can do nothing to me.

      FWIW, it isn’t forgiveness but in a weird way I’m grateful he was a lying, stealing, cheating fucktard because the life I gained for myself after I lost a cheater is so much better than the one I would have had if we were still together. Even without the cheating, etc. he wasn’t a quality human being and I’m better off with him out of my life.

      • If I felt only chronic low level disdain for the Traitor and the Whore, I would call that forgiveness and would consider myself well settled in a mansion in Meh!

        That would also qualify as love for them IMO: I would no longer wish them a slow and painful death stuck with each other.

        • Oh no Kiwi, I disagree that CLLD equals love. When I think of the Edgar Suit, it’s with a slight shudder of disdain but I hardly think of him at all. When I love someone they occupy a good deal of real estate in my thoughts.

    • hahahah Unicornomore! Hilarious! On account, like the one dumbass had on you! God they are unreal.

    • “chronic low level distain” – that made me laugh out loud. This is one of the reasons why I keep coming back here – the ability to joke about our pain.

      • “The ability to joke about our pain”
        THIS,

        Sister and Brother Chumps of CN
        ( there is strength in our smiles )

        ?

        • This “chronic low level distain” is a great goal! I think I could live with that for now. Seems attainable, as long as it allows for the occasional spike up to “acute disdain”… and hopefully a shorter recovery time back down to “chronic”. CN, you crack me up!!

  • I’m reminded of the final battle in the movie Labyrinth- what defeats the villain? Not magic, not a sword, but looking him dead in the eye and saying “You have no power over me.”

    • That is my Great Unfinishedness…to never have the chance (on this earth in real flesh and blood) to look at him and say “You have no power over me. I am DONE with you!!” Yes, I do it screaming to the skies or his grave stone, but I wish I could have come to my senses in time to say it to his face.

      • unicornomore,

        Perhaps your cheater knew in his heart these things you wanted to say,
        ( I think he had to know),
        But you didn’t get the chance to say them because it was in your character, your being, to be there for him, to care for him, in his final difficult time on earth.
        In his heart of hearts he had to know what words you really wanted to say, but instead you focused on helping him leave this world in the best way possible under the sad circumstances.

        Unicornomore, you are a very special, unique person.
        He knew he had no power over you. He knew you were done with him. You just did it with class!
        ❤️

        • Unicornnomore it is more important that you know he has no power over you than he know it!

          My cheater is still alive and I think of things all the time that I would love to say to him to let him know he has no power and his actions are disordered. I stop myself, because I know I would be wasting my time as he is disordered and wouldn’t get it.

          I think we have to be content with just knowing we know the truth. No easy task!

          • My fears (for a while) manifested in my dreams…I dreamed that he was alive and I had already made the leap from “Pick me dancing” to “Chronic Low Level Distain” and in my dreams I was trying to figure out what the hell to do.

            Im annoyed that in my dreams I dont tell him that I know he was a big cheater and to GTFO.

        • Peacekeeper,
          He really did take his worst secrets to the grave…from what I have pieced together, when he was young and handsome, he got a lot of offers. I think he was rather careful of which offers he went for because never did a crazed OW stalk us…I wonder now how close we came to that.

          Looking back with “Red Flag Glasses” I now see a LOT of stuff that I never saw before.

          I think my deadcheater did a LOT of awful things that created a closet full of skeletons. I did not suspect him AT ALL…I really thought the best of him. I hypothesize that he realized well into our marriage that he really screwed the pooch.

          From what he said , I think there was a time when he convinced himself that I had affairs too (and that we had an “agreement”…uh, no) but when the affair with Susan of Seattle blew up and he said “well you did too” I corrected him that I hadnt had ANY affairs.

          So we were wreckonciled but he had a string of OWs a mile long, eny of which could have blown his story to Kingdom Come …Dee from Boston almost did , but I was too stupid to see the flags.

          He might have known that had I learned of the many affairs, I would have gone postal. So he lived a very compartmentalized life of a long term liar.

          About a year before he died, I looked at him typing at his computer and thought “he looks like a person with a huge, dark secret”, but I never imagined it was what I (3 years ) later learned it was.

          • unicornomore,
            He was certainly a master at the cheating game. I am so sorry.
            I understand why you shout to the sky, shout at his tomb stone. No wonder you have such anger and want him to know you are so done with him.
            I wish CN could all shout together with you, real loud so he gets the message.
            At least we all understand your pain.
            Sometimes that’s all we can do in life, is stand beside our friend and say we care.
            Love to you unicornomore.
            ❤️

            • Awww thanks…

              I love the image of people all over the world yelling out at some specific Greenwich Mean Time “Major Cheaterpants, you were a mean asshole!”

              We would have to do the same for Beachgirl’s X

        • True. I believe the very fact that they continue to act with hostility towards us is proof of their unexpressed shame over what they did. Denying what they did is their only way to protect their ego.

      • Unicornnomore, we are in the same boat of dead cheaters club so we have an unfinishedness that can only be reconciled in our own heads. The last time I saw deadcheater I just walked away but a part of me so wishes I had the presence of mind to look him in the eye and tell him his spell over me was irrevocably broken, but I didn’t, and now that he’s dead I can only scream it to the skies and wonder if he hears it from the beyond. I’m not sure I will ever “forgive” him but I am trying to make peace with myself for allowing myself to be abused for as long as I did. It’s a work in progress.

    • Yes!!! “You have no power over me!” I’ve had the chance to say similar but also show by my actions and it kills him!

  • I don’t think I will ever forgive him for what he did to our family. But I’ve attained a lovely level of indifference toward him, which for me feels like what MEH must be ??

  • We have redefined forgiveness – for most people it means “What you did was OK – I’m not going to hold you accountable.” NOT. Forgiveness is laying aside YOUR anger and hatred – not letting them off the hook. I think that forgiveness and grace have been totally corrupted in our culture – from what they actually are – probably by the RIC in part. (I forgive them – i’m not mad at them anymore…but redefining forgiveness is wrong….) A person is perfectly capable of forgiving – without ever speaking to the other person again…

    • ^ This. We can only control how we behave, and how much time we devote to a thing. We can’t control what they do. If, long-term, we decide to let go of pure hatred or some desire for revenge, so much the better for us. Doesn’t mean we *ever* let go of the part of us that became wiser and more vigilant through this experience.

      Great article today, CL!

    • Yes, I’m reminded of HoustonDad’s comments to his adult kids about their mother’s infidelity. Something along the lines of ‘I forgive her, but I can’t remain married to her.’ This kind of forgiveness is not absolution, it is about moving on.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.
      aeronaut

    • This sounds kind of like the adage “forgive, but don’t forget”, which is, I think, the type of forgiveness that is being advocated here…and a definition I could live with.

    • I too feel as though we have redefined the word in the wrong way and to our detriment.

      I think part of my inability to forgive comes from this modern day version of forgiveness equaling act like it never happened.

    • I re-state something similar each time this point arises.

      When a financier “forgives” a debt, he simply stops pursuing payment. The borrower will always owe the agreed sum plus massive interest. The financier may never extend credit to the borrower again, even if the borrower appears later to have changed and even if the borrower later attempts to pay the unpaid debt plus the massive interest that has accrued.

      The financier doesn’t have to harbor feelings about the debt. He only has to decide whether the risk is worth the credit. It is entirely the financier’s decision.

      I extended the ex credit. He was a bad risk. He left owing. The interest is higher than his currency can pay. I don’t even want him to pay it. I have ended the contract with a forever dangling balance due and I will never extend him credit again.

      That’s what forgiveness is to me, my “meh”, and holding the sole power to define the term based on my own internal policies is the key to my freedom. The contract is severed, forever, because *I* say so. No more negotiating, no more attempts at collection, no more options. Moving on.

  • “But the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offence.”

    A big part of the reason I will very likely never forgive the Kunty Kibbler is because of her words in the immediate aftermath, and her behavior during the 10 months post blow-up, when we were still living together.

    She gave the cursory verbal apology a few times (“I’m sorry you were hurt, as opposed to “I’m sorry I hurt you”), but immediately began spinning the “we decided to get divorced” narrative to me and I’m sure to anyone else who would listen. Also, the “Unless you’re perfect, you don’t get to judge me for one mistake” redirection. I would not expect much else from someone who needs to manage impressions.

    But would someone who truly acknowledged the offence (s)he committed:
    — reveal the impending divorce to our daughters when I was out of the house less than 24 hours after the blow up? (then call me to come home to do damage control?)
    — start hooking up with new people 10 days after that?
    — habitually staying out late 1/2 times a week and lie about where she was going and what she was doing?
    — verbally berate me for spending so much time at home and attending to our daughters after their world was blown apart? (“It’s not healthy for a grown man to be spending so much time with his daughters, they’re not supposed to be your best friends…”)
    — start dictating what the outcome of the divorce was going to be (“I want 60/40 custody, but I’ll work with you because I don’t want you living in a shithole when you leave the house…”)
    — get a divorce tattoo and show it off to our daughters?
    — leave items belonging to, or given to her by, her newest affair partner, and wear a t-shirt with his name on it around the house for our daughters to see?
    — and too many other things to go into here?

    This behavior is a giant middle finger to me and to the life we built over 20 years. I have no forgiveness in me for someone this disordered. I wouldn’t accept it from a friend, family or co-worker, and certainly will not accept it from someone solely because she happens to be the mother of my children. And I’m fine with that.

    • Man, you by far have the most fucked up X out of us all. Mine was bad, but is nothing in comparison to yours. Forgiveness is not killing that slunt. I don’t think I could have endured the BS without taking a knife to her! Glad you made it out! Now rebuild a life for you and leave that behind forever!

      • UXWorld…..yeah, that’s pretty fucked up.
        I feel this way as well.
        I owe NOTHING to the person that had 5 affairs over our 20 year marriage.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that told me he had his grandmother to our house for dinner one night that I was away. He left the dishes for me to do the next day, turns out it was an AP.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that lied to the faces of his adult children when asked directly if he was an adulterer and if he was seeing someone when he asked for the divorce and for how long.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that lied in two years of marriage counseling where he dumped it all on me.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that made me feel mentally unstable,completely unsure of myself, and crazy.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that fucked a girl from my office when I was 4 months pregnant and had been engaged 2 weeks.
        I owe NOTHING to the guy that fought with me every Thanksgiving, Xmas, and on his birthday so he could storm out and leave to see a mistress.
        I do owe it to myself to continue to grow, to get better, to be thankful I’m away from that, to be my best self, and to forgive myself for the mistakes. Him? He’s not my problem anymore….so fuck him. He’s not sorry, and even if he genuinely was, I’ve been lied to so many times I wouldn’t believe it. There’s nothing to invest in his remorse, he’s just done too much to me.
        There is truth in the part where your new life eclipses the old and you are so busy building the new you that you don’t have room for any of that. I guess that’s my forgiveness. I didn’t forget or forgive, I just removed that from my life.

        • Sorry, uxworld, that you thought you were married to an actual human at one time, instead of a whore masquerading itself as a human. KK is the worst..

      • UX,

        >>>get a divorce tattoo and show it off to our daughters?<<<

        A divorce tattoo? What in the world does that even look like?

        What did your kids think of that?

        My mom was a cheater who chumped my dad. Even she wouldn't do that. She was more about impression management than shock value.

        KK is certainly a cheater and a half.

        Looking back, do you wonder what attracted you to her in the first place?

        Looking back, did you see signs of her bad character that you missed or ignored years ago?

        • Skinwalker — the tattoo covers her back right shoulder, an empty birdcage (door ajar) hanging from a cluster of tree branches. It’s a pretty ‘in your face’ symbolic representation of her take on things — no explanation needed there. I have no idea the degree to which my daughters ‘get it’ but the fact that she came home, called the girls to the kitchen and started showing it off — with me standing right there — did more than enough to cement her shittiness.

          ‘Yes’ to ignoring or dismissing the signs of bad character over the years; ‘No’ to wondering what attracted me to her in the first place. But just because I don’t wonder about it doesn’t mean I don’t recognize it. Taking that inventory and doing some serious reflection on the whys and wherefores is a big part of my personal healing.

    • UX, you can forgive yourself for letting a person like that into your life. No need to forgive yourself for salvaging your kids. I won’t ever forgive the Fucktard who gave so little and took so much. But he does not matter anymore. And he was mowed down by the karma bus he gassed up, so I am free to live well, and he is molding six feet under somewhere. I don’t care where. The best revenge is to organize your life the way you like, and to live it well. And to show your daughters that they don’t have to be whores like their mother. My Dad was my primary parent. Mom was around, but couldn’t be bothered with the four children she bore, so Dad took both roles. Three guesses which parent died alone and which went surrounded by family? Last I heard from Mom was a letter demanding that I help her with her next husband who needed Alzheimer’s support. I reminded her of the time I tried to attend my Senior Prom and she said she’d call the police if I showed up; it was Her Night With Her Friends. She was not a Senior at my High School, but a teacher. I was a Senior but had been off at college for the year in a Senior residency program. I missed my friends. I believed the threat and stayed home, and cried. I did not help her later when she demanded it. She could bite me forever. I guess my point is that kids remember selfish behavior. An assholian Mom is a gift that keeps giving. Be the steadfast Dad and all will be well.

    • UX, that line stands out for me, too. When there’s no remorse, in my opinion, there’s no forgiveness bc that is an interpersonal process these folks aren’t capable of. We know the difference between a manipulative apology and a real one. Remorse is not the same as transitory, fickle regret that is motivated by a person’s own self-interest. To me, acceptance, or Meh, is all I’m after post-cheater. Forgiveness is a world away and I can live with that…

  • I was blessed to be in a graduate course about qualities of a good leader when my 3rd DDay hit. One thing we focused on was forgiveness. Growing up, I was taught to forgive and forget and Xhole used that against me.

    In the class, we learned forgiveness is not seeking revenge. It’s not reconciling. It’s not letting someone off the hook that can’t even admit they did something wrong. It’s letting it go so it doesn’t consume you but still holding them accountable. They don’t get to hurt you anymore and you don’t have to be a doormat.

    You commit murder, you go to jail, even if the victim’s family forgives you.

    You cheat, you lose your marriage life. Simple.

    I don’t need to bash him in the head. The life we built together is gone. I am happy now and I don’t need him to apologize or make it up to me. I only need him gone from my life. I wish him well. I wish me better.

    • That’s forgiveness: “It’s letting it go so it doesn’t consume you but still holding them accountable.”

    • “It’s letting it go so it doesn’t consume you but still holding them accountable. They don’t get to hurt you anymore and you don’t have to be a doormat.”

      Beautiful. Two sentences that say what I spent three paragraphs trying to spell out. This, +1000.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.
      aeronaut

  • Mr. Sparkles narrative to the newest GF (the OW left him after she found out he was cheating on her!)… is that I’m still “bitter and angry” over the divorce and that is why we don’t speak.

    And you know what, forgiveness isn’t going to change that narrative. Or the narrative that he didn’t meet hookers in hotels; troll Craiglist and respond to 20-30 ads a night; hide money from me and our family; abandon us AFTER we offered forgiveness (and that silly thing called reconciliation.)

    Here is what I forgive, lest I become bitter and angry as I’m already accused:

    – I forgive myself for staying after the first D-day
    – I forgive myself for ignoring the red flags and marrying the fuckwit
    – I forgive myself for procreating with a narcissist (I love my son)
    – I forgive myself for needing to set boundaries which causes others to call me a bitch (Yes, Mr. Sparkles – I’m speaking about you)
    – I forgive myself for spackling
    – I forgive myself for enabling
    – I forgive myself for EVERYTHING

    Mr. Sparkles can go fuck himself. And I don’t say that with any anger or malice. I just don’t care.

    Just saying.

    • Honestly I think forgiving myself is harder than anything, including just moving on with my life post Narkles the Clown.
      Fuck him, he’s no longer part of my world.
      But, me, I have to live with me and my decisions every day.

  • My old husband gave me a lecture on post cheating etiquette and wrapped it up with a weird Shakespearean sounding monologue that had the words “it’s what ADULTS do” . Meaning that I should just be happy with the five minutes of crying and raging time he gave me and that should be enough. Now it’s time to pull up my big girl pants, dust off and forgive!
    For the first few months I gave an oscar worthy performance so I didn’t look like a bitter bunny to my kids- then I heard the OW didn’t like how chummy I was with my ex (her hard won prize) so I went a little colder. Then I started feeling some of the repressed righteous anger I’d stuffed in a bin, and I looked more like the rage fueled ex wife the mistress wanted to see. Then they got to band together and mutually complain about the unforgiving horrible me , who just couldn’t move on, let go, and just live her life.
    I didn’t forgive, or at least I don’t think I did. I just faded away, and lived my own life. They kick up dust and try to rile me up whenever they need some drama to focus on, but I don’t respond because I’m usually busy, or at Disneyworld with the kids in a thrill ride. Then they get sad, and say forgiveness is important, and that I should fly home from vacation to discuss it, in a new therapy session, with ALL of us, because we should be engaging with each other?
    What in the ever loving fuck?
    Forgiveness pushers. The worst.

    • Ugh no….
      I love your post,
      “Forgiveness pushers”
      This is an individual feeling one has or doesn’t have, matters not, whatever a person feels matters, that’s all there is to it. Not someone else’s plans or emotions.

      You are “busy at Disneyworld with the kids in a thrill ride”

      In my eyes YOU are mighty.
      Ride on girl!
      ?

    • That’s a great phrase for these folks. It makes me think about the problem with the transgressor insisting on forgiveness, essentially wanting to dictate the terms of all of the consequences, including how the victims feel. Imagine someone murders your love one and then stands up in court and says that you MUST forgive him. We would think that criminal is delusional. Forgiveness comes from the person who has been wronged, in whatever form it takes. Sadly, too often it comes in the “get out of jail free form,” without consequences. But the perpetrator can’t INSIST on it.

      The other thing that occurs to me is how cheaters are, as usual, never willing to give what they insist on getting. Think of how many times we chumps pick-me dance and say we’re sorry when we haven’t done anything wrong in the first place. A key sign of an unrepentant “sinner” is the habitual lack of reciprocity. If you haven’t been on the receiving end of genuine forgiveness from the cheater when you’ve made a mistake (not the faux forgiveness for something you haven’t done but are being punished for) then the cheater has no business asking for anything in the first place.

      And of course, there’s that little matter of the need for remorse and reparations. What has the cheater done to repair the damage? Child support and spousal support that is adequate to keep the family financially secure? Prompt and courteous response to your needs, your questions, and your legal filings? Kind treatment? Financial transparency? In the case of cheaters who desire reconciliation, that would mean not one word about “being unhappy for a long time” or “you didn’t pay attention to me” or “when will you be over this?”

      How sorry is someone who continues to victimize you?

      • Yes. I remember sitting in counseling listening to him bitch that he could not forgive me going to study. I said but yet you want me to forgive you for cheating? Of course I was already done but listening to his stream of consciousness was interesting.
        They never forgive us. They blame us for everything. They try to make us pay for God knows what. But we chumps need to forgive? Feck off!

      • My STBX will send texts to the kids saying he is sorry and that he hopes they can forgive him. Then…
        – He shows up at son’s soccer game with OW before he even has a conversation with him about her
        – He signs a lease with OW knowing the kids don’t want to spend time with her (they are teenagers)
        – He claims he doesn’t have enough money for gas to help drive them to practices/games just days after he buys himself a $3,300 puppy
        – He refuses to help pay for anything beyond child support (like sports, savings for college, etc) but then buys himself a brand new SUV

        Not only do I have to figure out how to let go myself, but I have to help my kids deal with this crap, too.

  • The closest I can get to forgiveness–and maybe this isn’t even forgiveness in the traditional sense–is pity for my XW. She is textbook BPD, a result of (unless she was born this way) a truly awful childhood: incest-molestation, abandonment by her father and subsequent father-figures, MIA mother… Just terrible.

    I believe that these forces “conspired” to emotionally stunt her; she is truly a child in an adult’s body. I feel terribly sorry for that person as a little girl. Now, I do NOT exculpate the adult who made the choice (over and over) to hurt me and our children. But I am able to find in my heart sympathy for the pain in her early life and anger at the adults who hurt her as a child. I guess maybe I’m still “chumping myself.” But it’s helped me get past the most destructive anger that was consuming ME.

    • You are not chumping yourself for having sympathy for someone who was so greatly harmed. I rather admire your ability to see her pain while preventing further pain to yourself. Moving past the destructive anger is mighty indeed.

    • I agree – I don’t think you are chumping yourself. The reality of your XW’s life is the truth and you are wisely making it a part of the equation on how you move on. And you figured out how to best heal yourself. I have a different situation, but we all need to respect each other’s unique one.

    • David, I too am dealing with an X who had a crappy childhood (lived in fear of his narc father, passive mother didn’t defend the kids)…lots of things he was only finding out more about as we went along in our marriage. I am getting to the point, when I’m past the anger (some days vary), of feeling sorry for him. But you’re right — it’s him as the child, not as the adult man who had all of the power to make better decisions for himself and the family he chose and then didn’t. I don’t think it makes you a chump to make that distinction.

      • Which takes me to my beef with the ‘children are resilient ‘line. If they were there would be no screwed up adults. Yet all of us trace our patterns of behavior to childhood and family dynamics. I teach and I practise law on the side. I see you much moral decay. Yes we own our actions as adults. How many of us are now owning for the first time that the shitty relationships we tolerated were as a result of not ‘out own adult decisions ‘ but in large part because of childhood programming? Now we know differently and are determined to address it. I believe that there is a damage so deep in some persons that it cannot be undone and that leads them down one path and one path only… Hence why our cheaters all seem to have the same MO.

      • Thank you. I suppose my version of “forgiving her” is for myself. The anger was just eating me alive. But she did so many things that hurt me that cannot be attributed to an abusive childhood. Or at least it strains credulity. Lies, for example, about me: that I was abusive, controlling, that she was unhappy. It simply wasn’t true. We had–I thought—a happy marriage and family. And her many statements–even during her double-life–were testaments to it, to say nothing of the many notes, cards and letters telling me she was so happy and I was such a wonderful husband and father. So I suppose both can be true: she can be very disordered from an abusive childhood AND follow the same old entitled, selfish Cheater Script.

    • I haven’t come to a point of forgiving my XH or don’t think I ever will. The deceit and disrespect, the way I was thrown away, the way I was undervalued, the way he denied our history, the way he robbed my memories, and stole our future. I can’t forgive him the things he did by his own “Free will” and he believes God already forgave him so it’s all okay.

      The closest I’ve come is to “forgive” him is for being mentally messed up, for not knowing true mature love, for not having empathetic understanding, and not being capable of living authentically. Honestly, sometimes I pity him for I know I wouldn’t want to live an empty existence.

      I’ve done bad things and good things, I’ve made unwise choices and questionable decisions, I’ve failed in some ways and succeeded in others. Yet I’ve always been “real”, and though the painful experiences are unbearable at times, it makes me appreciate the good experiences more so. Life is not easy, Life is not fair, Life isn’t forever.

    • David you’re not chumping yourself.
      I sympathise with the little boy the Traitor was and even understand that this little boy can still pull the strings of the adult.
      But I won’t absolve him of responsibility for his choices as an adult.
      And nothing excuses the calculated viciousness applied to me in the years we were together. I don’t believe an adult has no control over himself to the extent that he has to do these things and in case he can’t help doing some of them, that he can’t make amends.

  • Yeah, no.

    I have no need to forgive somebody who has been permanently and completely excised from my life. I’ll never see him or speak to him again. There’s no peace to be made over the betrayal that involves him any more.

  • Think about forgiveness in monetary terms. We can forgive only with enough emotional currency saved up. And that emotional currency won’t get wasted on the cheater. It gets to fill our broken hearts.

    • I think that’s a great image. Spend the emotional currency where it counts. The Xs can think whatever they want about it (chances are they will anyway).

  • On Dday, skankboy wrote “I’m soooooo sorry,” on my chalkboard in the kitchen. It meant nothing to me. I do not purposely strain to the point of rupturing vessels in my eyes trying to forgive him. I don’t wish him ill, nor do I wish him well. For me, that is forgiveness.

    • “I don’t wish him ill, nor do I wish him well.” Sound like mehness at its best. Trying to get past the not wishing him ill part…

  • Actions have consequences. Run a red light, get a ticket. Leave milk out, it spoils. The consequences of treating people like shit, is they hate you, leave you and wish you have trouble in your life.(karma ?). He’s been dead a year, we were married 42, I will be dead before I forgive. I do get a lot of joy living my life alone, spending the life insurance.

  • It is the forgiving myself bit that I struggle with. I despise my ex-H but I don’t feel vengeful. I’m saddled with having to deal with him for another few years, as our children are still that & he acts badly towards them, not to mention the ongoing struggle of extracting maintenance for them!

    The thought of him ever agreeing he was at fault, is so ludicrous that it is pointless thinking that I could give him forgiveness because he couldn’t give a flying fuck for my forgiveness. So whatever I’m going for will be along the lines of Archbishop Tutu.

    What I find so hard to believe is that I was such a chump, so taken in & so deceived. I wish I had been more outraged and angry when it all happened. However, there is therapy for all that – which I’m doing. It is like picking scabs, but I’m still doing it!

    So, some degree of meh but not completely.

  • If cheaters really valued forgiveness that much, they would behave in a forgivable way. Forgiveness is yet another thing to which they feel entitled without investing any effort. I am prepared to forgive my ex as soon as he decides that forgiveness is important enough for him to earn. If he doesn’t care enough to do that, why should I?

  • The underlying problem is that our justice system doesn’t punish the offending cheater– and legally prevents us from exacting our own revenge. If it were any other crime we could move on in the knowledge that the offender has been judged, done their time, society in general sees their crime as wrong, and it now a matter of public record. The lack of real justice for cheaters leaves us all in a difficult emotional place. It’s not the cheater who has harmed us but society as a whole that condones the behavior and turns a blind eye to it.We cling to the hope of eventual natural or divine consequences. We are forever in a bind because if we move on in our own lives, we feel that any hope of real justice disappears.

      • You’re right Chomping, society is so sick it is okay with infidelity. And porn.

        Yah, and we think justice may never happen.

        One thing that someone said here is: we mistakenly project our good qualities on to them and think that when they have a good life, that we would love, that they are in nirvana, like we would be. NOT. They still have their stinking poop interior to live with. Miserable. Remember how being around him was like a drain on your spirit?

    • This so much! My stbx still begs for reconciliation, but cannot answer one simple question – “What should be your consequence?” His face goes blank and his eyes start to water and the dramatics start, and still no answer. For over a year I have that same question and he still cannot answer it. Because honestly, there is no consequence apart from losing the relationship.
      Anything else requires that I give him a ‘freebie’, that I say it was okay. I honestly believe that if no price is paid, there is only a guarantee that it will happen again.

      • Here are some consequences:

        A post-nup

        All material assets in your name

        Full disclosure, with a counsellor trained in this work

        Willing to answer questions from friends and family

        Reimburse you for legal expenses, medical bills, and money he spent on the cheating activities

        • Yup.
          I actually ended up getting all of those things:
          Post nup that includes generous alimony and child support – prepared by his lawyer.
          All assets put in my name.
          Full disclosure, with a professional polygraph
          Confessed to my mother and his parents all of his activities
          Reimburse for all legal expenses and double the money he spent on all cheating activities

          The problem was – I had to come up with all of those things (except for his confessing, which felt more like image management). He will do anything that I tell him to, but I dislike having to direct his ‘remorse’.

    • Yes! This is exactly the way I feel. We have so many laws to try and protect people (from themselves and others), yet infidelity is illegal in only a few states, and in those states, require court proceedings outside of marriage dissolution.

      Our laws set the tone for acceptable behavior, and by dismissing infidelity as a moral issue, as opposed to a legal issue, society is being conditioned to accept infidelity as unimportant and irrelevant to divorce. The government has no problem in other areas of personal choice, telling people what they should do, but let’s just leave infidelity out of the equation, as if spouses and children are simply collateral damage of a moral issue.

      (Disclaimer; these statements neither indicate support nor dispute, they are simply a vehicle with which to make a point)

      – seatbelt laws – to protect myself, others and insurance companies from large payouts.
      – suicide … to protect people from themselves
      – abortion
      – drug use – protect people from themselves, protect people from crime, protect the economy from untaxed drug money, etc.
      – same sex marriage – seems that’s a moral issue, not a government issue, but a law had to be passed to protect people’s rights.
      – smoking laws: protect others from second hand smoke.

      The list goes on and on! Laws that are laws to protect the interests of those who might be harmed from the personal choices of someone else, yet infidelity has been taken off that list, because hey, “it’s not the governments job to get involved, right!” The emotional damage of that injustice is just as hard to swallow as the injustice of knowing they walk away with no consequences for their specific behavior. Hey, divorce is divorce, everyone’s subject to the same process, so might as well cheat and get off free right.

      Infuriating!

      • This exactly. In other civil cases, the victim can be given a monetary award for the emotional damage caused. In divorce, even though it is a legal contract where one party did not act in good faith AND behaved in such a way to cause monetary loss and emotional damage, there is no fault and these things should not even be brought up. Our legal system helps perpetuate the problem.

        And I would even go so far as to say that to bring them up means you are risking pissing off the judge and setting yourself up for an unfavourable judgement.

      • The majority of politicians get to where they are because they have the personality type that we often find in cheaters. They are self-important risk takers who overestimate themselves and think they are above the law and social responsibility. Why would someone like that pass infidelity laws that will only come around to bite them and their cronies? They gain nothing and stand to lose substantially when their wife discovers he’s screwing the campaign manager or the intern.

  • #WhatHeDoesNoLongerAffectsMyHappiness

    He cried and said he never wanted to hurt me and he made poor choices. RIGHT. Well, you married your little twit you are her problem now. 🙂

  • “You can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator.”

    In the aftermath of the shitstorm I have much resentment as many chumps likely share. The Limited made unilateral decisions impacting my entire life. Yet in truth I thrived in the chaos in other ways because it was my normal.

    Letting go of the resentment comes in setting up boundaries. Sounds simple if one was raised with adult who were role models. The boundaries aren’t just for the perpeTRATOR, they need to be extended to all others.

    Forgiving him was pure ignorance on my part. Now I lean on having expectations from others. This includes my adult children who were raised in a household where acceptance overrode personal boundaries.

    Letting go of anger and hatred is part of the healing process.

  • How do you forgive a person who damages her children? I wasn’t the Chump but I witnessed the absolute destruction of my brother’s family by a woman who just walked away. Watching a person you love sobbing so hard he could not talk. I don’t get forgiveness. I do get moving on and leaving the cheaters in the dust and never seeing them again, if possible. Meh is not giving a rat’s ass what they are doing, where they are, who they are with. Meh is moving past the anguish to being completely indifferent to them.

  • ChumpLady, thank you so much!!!

    So rich with humor and wisdom. I have to cut and paste these gems, because I am in learning mode, and I have to get it right!

    First, that meme — oh my goodness!!! — so hilarious! And so right on! Thanks a million! God has so richly blessed with a humorous take on the evil blight infidelity puts on our whole culture.

    Next, all of the article for wisdom and assistance to chumps, but I love this line: “God may forgive you, but I don’t.”

    I feel empowered. I can meet the day, laughing makes me feel mighty, gives me strength.

    God bless you!! I really hope this blog, the articles, your book, spreads worldwide. I am friends with women from all over the world, all walks of life, many religions, and none of these women can stand a husband who is a lying, cheating bastard. None.

  • I chumpy me forgave three times over 30 years fourth time no. Ive gotten out of the forgiving business to anyone who hurts me and isnt forth coming with since remorse. How can asswipe be sorry if he keeps on bad behavior over and over again. Nope its a sorry not sorry. After about a year after dday i became indifferent to the pod and my slow healing process started. I dont wish him dead that for me is enough. I also dont wish him a good happy relationship or life full of caring and love and trust because hes incapable of giving in return. He simply doesnt deserve it hes fucked over every woman hes every cared about. So for me indifference is meh and im about three quarters there. Fuck him you get a good as you give.

  • I’m no expert on forgiveness (obviously), but I do know forgiveness as I’ve understood it for the majority of my life, is not something I’m capable of, or even willing to even try at this point.

    Here are the conclusions I’ve come to…

    I am not god, I do not pretend to be god, and so it is not MY job to forgive fuckwit for his repeated infidelity – that’s gods job, I’m staying out of it.

    I do not like fuckwit because he has a character issue. The repeated infidelity was simply the catalyst that helped me see who he truely is, so really, I am grateful that he cheated; otherwise I might very well still be jumping through hoops to try and please him. So really, the flavor of forgiveness that is peddled by society, is essentially asking me to forgive him for being who he is. I don’t think his existence requires forgiveness, knowing who he is is enough.

    Let’s be honest, anger makes other people uncomfortable. Forgiveness is peddled as being for you, but really it is a social convention designed to make other people not feel uncomfortable. After spending 18 years trying to please a fuckwit, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not my job to please anyone else. If they don’t want to hear it, that’s fine, I’ll respect that, but I am not going to “pretend” I like someone who I dislike.

    I think unfairness and injustice have a very strong correlation to unforgiveness. All of my pondering the concept of fairness (way too long to write here) has lead me to this simplified version of those conclusions; fairness is a flawed concept. Basically it is impossible to achieve complete fairness in a flawed world. Someone is required to “give up” something to balance the fairness scale. We are taught from a young age this “giving up” is something all people should do
    To achieve fairness and make the world a better place. The problem is, there are takers who do not contribute to the fairness scale, they hoard the offerings of the givers, and put themselves in the up position. Essentially, if we don’t believe in fairness, that shit sandwich is a little easier to swallow. It also makes us a little less Altruistic. Hey, maybe it’s labeled “bitter, unforgiving, selfish, or whatever, but the expectation that I have a shit sandwich shoved down my throat and declare “thank you sir, may I have another” … no thanks! I guess I’ll just be seen as bitter. ?‍♀️

    So to me, forgiveness is really just accepting the world as it is, people as they are and circumstances that we can’t control. Just chuck it in the fuck-it bucket and call it a day!

    • Got a brain, love to your post. Like you, I think the concept of forgivesness has been totally misconstrued. I think the person benefitted is the wrong doer, not the forgiver. It’s purpose is to give a second chance to reflect on what they did and correct it. I don’t see much of that going on. So the emphasis should be on the wrong doer and not the wronged party who “won’t forgive”.

      • The wrongdoers in this case can’t even forgive the Chumps for being good, loyal, responsible partners. They hat this so much that they cheat, demean us, ridicule us when talking about us with their APs. I heard it all on the VAR. If it was just sticking his dick somewhere else it would be almost nothing. They hate us, no matter what they claim otherwise. They can’t forgive us for being real humans who care.

    • So well said on all points, Got-a-brain. I feel like part of the anger toward X that I’m holding onto has to do with the unfairness of all of it on the larger scale — that people like him exist and do this kind of thing every day. I don’t have to lower my standards or change my values, but I can see the world for what it is and accept that people like him exist. I don’t have to like it, but I don’t want to blind myself to how things are either. Some people call me a pessimist, but I prefer to think of it as lowering my expectations so I can be pleasantly surprised when something goes the way it should.

  • I can honestly say that I would probably never be able to provide what most people consider “forgiveness”. To me, it feels like forgiveness means saying that on some level, it was okay. This is especially true for cheating, because it isn’t just one act. Cheating requires a number of different acts of betrayal – lying, deception, gas lightening, putting the unsuspecting spouse in harms ways with the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. It isn’t just one thing that was done, it was a number of different things that were done, over a period of time.
    I am in the camp of people that says the lying actually hurt worse than the sleeping with a prostitute. I am still not sure how someone does something like that, then just slips into bed as if nothing happened. Our marriage actually would have been easy to save if he had slept with a prostitute, then felt so horribly disgusted by the entire thing he walked in the door, fell to the floor, confessed it all, and immediately sought out mental health counseling. He didn’t do that. He didn’t go through the antics of pleading for forgiveness until he got caught. Even if he never did it again, he was willing to take that act to his grave as if he deserved to have this transgression.

    I am still not ready to say that hurting me, betraying me, humiliating me, and even betraying our children is forgivable. I wonder why people push forgiveness for cheating, but don’t push forgiveness for things like hitting. So, risking my life by having sex with potentially disease riddled sex workers is forgivable, but slapping me across the face means not forgivable? Why are either of those things forgivable? They both have the exact same result for ‘me’. They both required him to belittle me and minimize me and even to have enough hate for me that it was okay to hurt me to get what he wanted.

    I am not actively seeking revenge, but ‘forgiveness’ is a big no from me. What he did broke me in two and it has taken over a year to even get my head above water enough to look in the mirror. The emotional distress I went through clearly affected our children, I can see it in their eyes. They saw me hurting and it hurt them. I never cried in front of them and we tried not to argue in front of them (although we sometimes failed), but my kids know me – and they know something was very, very wrong. It wasn’t until I recently began to dig myself out of the well of despair that I have even seen their eyes start to finally shine again. So, it wasn’t just a year plus of hell for me, but for the kids as well. No, that is not forgivable.

    • Cool breeze out,
      I am so sorry for all the hurt you went thru and when you write of your innocent children’s sadness, what they did have to witness, that is the hardest part.
      When my DDay happened, I was in early trimester pregnancy, my little girl was only three. I hid it from everyone, everyone. I posted another time that I recently looked at a picture of the three of us shortly after DDay and I cannot believe the sadness in my eyes. No one else saw that. I cannot believe that. We can keep words buried and not utter them, but our eyes, they tell the true story.
      I am so happy that you see new life, a shine, in your children’s eyes.
      I send love and understanding to you and your precious children.

  • Cheaters don’t want forgiveness. If they did, their behavior would change. For example, if you hurt someone’s feelings (inadvertent or not) and you ask for forgiveness, the idea is that you won’t be careless with that person again.

    What cheaters want is a “get out of jail free” card. No consequences plus a clear field to carry on as they have been doing. Even the ones who seems to stop seeing the AP want the forgiveness before they’ve done anything to earn it. That’s why I say, separation is the first step with these jackasses. Get away, go no contact, get your own mind clear of them so you can see clear-eyed what you’ve been living with. Meanwhile, they can demonstrate their remorse or lack of it.

    Bishop Tutu’s definition of forgiveness is actually a road map to recovery after D-Day: the “belief that you can come out the other side a better person.” That requires moving beyond what happened to you, while still acknowledging that is happened and that it was devastating. And it’s a good approach to all of the challenges in life, to let go of what you can’t change and work to make yourself better and stronger for the experience.

    • Laj, Great point about cheaters not wanting forgiveness. (And duh, because they never take the blame for anything)

  • When cheaters ask for forgiveness, don’t you all get suspicious?

    They always aim at something, so I WON’T let him know if I will ever forgive him!
    I won’t even tell our common friends or family members.
    What I do want him to know is that I don’t think about him.
    I have deleted all memories of him: they were all lies.
    He can see I’m moving on with my life.
    What I do want him to know is that, as long as he’s miles away from me, I’m fine. I’m working hard, I’m providing on my own for the children, for my house and for having a good life (especially holidays without him around are much better). He can see it, he’s asking our neighbors and relatives.
    Forgiveness for cheaters means: that you still care or…that they can start all over again until you find out or….that you should bless his whore(s) acknowledging a certified chumped inferiority.
    On the other side unforgiveness is a way of the cheaters depicting themselves as sanctified seekers of peace with noble intentions and the cheated partner as a raging, bitter, blind little person. So the unforgiving chumps are the unhealthy ones in the cheater’s narration as the incipit of an effective smear campaign. Common people generally don’t believe our pain.

    • Yes, my cheater has never asked for forgiveness and his only apology was to my daughter saying I am sorry for the pain I caused you and your siblings but it was all mom’s fault.

      Can you really forgive that?

    • I like your idea of not saying that you’re forgiving him, if/when you choose to do it. Letting them know only seems like more kibbles for them. I prefer the idea of forgiveness being on your terms, for yourself, as many posters have already mentioned.

  • Hmmm… forgiveness for the Cheater. Hadn’t really given that much thought as ANYONE who knows me and what happened, including my adult stepchildren, would even think to ask me to forgive that fuckwit.

    BUT, that is not to say that I haven’t been working on forgiveness around this whole mess anyway.

    Here is what I’m working on right now:

    – Forgiving myself for staying for 4 d-days in the name of “staying for the kids”… he left anyway

    – Forgiving myself for ignoring SO MANY red flags when we dated and marrying him

    – Forgiving myself for thinking I had any responsibility in his choosing to fuck people he met on Craigslist or Adult Friend Finder or a kajillion other sex sites.

    – Forgiving myself for trying to negotiate a divorce settlement and offer him $$ when I had a pre-nup that protected me. (Don’t worry, I woke up and filed with the pre-nup and won.)

    – Forgiving myself for hanging on by a thread for the whole first year and not realizing sooner how mighty I was and how much I was loved by the people around me.

    – Forgiving myself for thinking he was now somehow happier with the OW (or the now new GF), when we all know HE SUCKS.

    – Forgiving myself for setting so many boundaries with Mr. Sparkles that I earned the moniker “Bitch”.

    – Forgiving myself for still feeling melancholy when I see him at my son’s drop-off and wishing he wasn’t a pathological lying bisexual cheating whore.

    – Forgiving myself for thinking that HE is all that I deserve in this life and that I’ll never meet another man.

    – Forgiving myself for thinking that I’m somehow screwing up at this “sane parent” job when, in fact, my kid is thriving.

    SO – forgiveness for Mr. Sparkles, not high on my priority list right now. Maybe some day, somewhere down the road, but I’m hoping I get to MEH first.

  • As a Christian, the forgiveness thing is what I have struggled with the most. And forgiveness when they have moved on with the affair partner and you have children together….probably the hardest thing I may have to do in this life. And he tanked my credit and I got stuck with all the marital debt and he got a clean slate and in the divorce, so it’s difficult to let go of the anger. But I push on, as one day it will all be over. And even my lawyer said to me, “Despite this, 5 years from now you will STILL be in better position from him as he has decided to live the life of a leach and not invest in himself as you have done”.

    So I work on not letting the anger consume me and continue to plan a new life for me and my kids. There are not too many ways I can get back at him at this point as I have taken the high road, but as my Dad reminds me all the time “What you sow is what you reap”. I’ll let God take care of that…..

  • First, every chump needs to throw societies definition of forgiveness in the sewer. It’s BS and the sewer is where it belongs. Cheating is seen as a lesser offense than say rape, molestation, robbery, murder and child abuse. Cheating isn’t held in that regard of abuse and harm. But it is. They just love to downplay it because they haven’t experienced it and believe they never will. Plus, we chumps did something to cause it because they are excellent spouses and theirs would never cheat. So, I say screw them all. Many will experience at some point and then they will get to play in the game.
    Forgiveness is not killing them or the affair partner. And that’s it. Nothing more or less. I personally chose not to seek vengeance. I just want to be indifferent towards X but it’s hard when she still screws over her own daughters. So, I just eliminate her as much as possible from my life. Having kids with these fucked up POS’s makes impossible to move on completely.

    • I like this LostNTx… forgiveness is letting them live.

      Truly.

      Because if you do – really, no contact/gray rock do – you will enjoy the peace that comes from witnessing their continued inability to be decent human beings. Let them live their miserable lives… let us go live ours in peace without them.

  • Everyone’s journey is different! For me no I have not and will probably never forgive! If I ever do forgive it will be For ME and if I never forgive it will be for ME! The only thing I will forgive is myself for not forgiving coming from a religious view. So sick and tired of the therapeutic community saying you HAVE to forgive in order to move on. For ME NOT forgiving has been empowering!!

    • Michele – absolutely! Same here. Not forgiving feels empowering to me too! It shows that I have grown, I am more important than he is.

    • Yeah when I get all the forgiveness peer pressure from someone just trying to be helpful about how we’re supposed to forgive others as God forgives us…. I tell them I hope God forgives me for not being able to forgive my xh.

      When I’m feeling ambushed as if my not forgiving my xh is worst that his infidelity…. then I ask them if they think God is going to forgive Satan?

      If I’m discussing forgiveness with someone who’s being respectful and sympathetic I’ll mention that God forgives, but God also remembers and God judges.

      • I’ve forgiven people before but it has always back fired . Truth is, unless it’s accidental, then the person’s conduct is just who they are. So my forgiveness is tantamount to overlooking their character flaws and their sorry is a sorry for the mutual inconvenience but I’ll be doing it again. Cheaters are never sorry so what are we forgiving.
        I doubt God is going to hold it against me cause I didn’t turn the other cheek. The Bible cautioned about casting pearls before swine. That is what I did.
        It was the misguided forgiveness principle that saw me delay in picking up my pearls.

        • You are so, so right, Mandie 101. Every single time I forgave x (as well as anyone who wronged me) he just got bolder and bolder in his whoring and mistreatment of me. Every single chance he had to do the right thing he ignored, and the wrong thing, he did.

          It’s not a mistake, it’s not a midlife crisis, or an affair fog, or depression, or the million things they and Ric try to pass it off as. It is shitty behavior by a shitty person of low character. Period

        • Michele, I would have referred the cheaters to the Ten Commandments, especially Thou shall not commit adultery.

          • Yes! But as we all know (Jesus cheaters) as mine were use religion for convenience, and justification that all can be forgiven.. they plead to god for their sins and NOT the human on earth who they hurt most. The most common quote ( as was thrown at me) thou shalt not judge!!! BLAH , BLAH… they are all nuts!!! Oh by the way they feel if there was no intercorse just other stuff it’s not really adultery ! Bill Clinton logic!!???

  • No, I do not forgive the cheater. Instead I forgave myself for having fallen for his lies time and again.

  • Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing.

    I don’t think anyone is owed forgiveness. Amazing how the offending party feels “entitled” to it.
    Even if offender is forgiven, I don’t think it necessarily means that the relationship has to continue. If the injured party does decide to continue the relationship, I don’t think it means that offender doesn’t get boundaries or that things go on as they always have “as if it never happened”. That’s what many of these assholes seem to want…”as if it never happened”. Sounds like denial to me. Fuck that. Their actions changed my universe. Theirs can change, too. Fair is fair.

    Bascially, you get these assholes who transgress and then think they are owed something. Nope, once someone transgresses/aggresses against the another person, it’s out of their hands. I don’t think the transgressor/aggressor gets to have any say or control in how another person feels or what they do in response. And I suspect that trying to control another person is at the heart of what demanding forgiveness is about . Fuck that.

  • Over the weekend, I found out my ex has become engaged to his whore. I’m not really that surprised as he’s following the narcissistic playbook of securing his new supply. It just shows me that all the crap he said about “doing his own thing” and wanting to be free was a bunch of bullshit. It hurts that he’s engaged to his whore – she’s the poster child for white trash – but I know the truth. He doesn’t love her – he’s not capable of love. They’re using each other.

    My ex-douchebag has told my daughter and me that he hopes someday we can forgive him for what he’s done. Well, when he continues to treat us both like shit, doesn’t try and make amends through his actions (for example, he wants our daughter to go out to the house he shares with his whore and doesn’t understand why she REFUSES), I don’t know that I want to forgive him. I want to just put him completely in my past and not think of him anymore!

    I’m so tired of crying over this man. I don’t want to cry over him anymore. Don’t want to FEEL anything for him anymore. I just want him out of my head and out of my life.

    • I am so sorry, Keepin’ Calm. Know that they deserve each other and every inevitable problem that will follow. I recently also discovered some evidence that leads me to think that my X — the guy who is supposedly working on himself — is securing a new supply also. Like you, I was not at all surprised, but it still fucked with my head. I don’t even know if he started before or after we were divorced (evidence points toward before), but I technically shouldn’t even care. And yet for some reason I do. Not as much about him as the lies that continue to ooze out from the direction of his new life (“lie”-fe). Not sure how it will affect my daughter, and she’s not old enough to say if anything is happening. I said under no circumstances is he to be having any of his “comfort animals” around her while she’s with him, to save it for all of the free time I’ve afforded him, but I know I have just as much control over that as I do over the weather. I think putting them in the past and forgetting about them (as much as we can with kids involved) is a sort of forgiveness…and it’s as much as they’re going to get or deserve. Still working on it myself. I suspect it will take a while.

      • That’s what I hate – that it fucks with my head. I *know* I’m better off without him and do not ever want him back, so why should I care? But I do. And I guess I need to allow myself to feel the hurt and anger and disappointment instead of stuffing it. And I agree that putting them in the past and forgetting about them and their pitiful life is a sort of forgiveness.

        I am incredibly glad that my daughter is old enough where she can choose whether or not she wants to be around him. Right now she wants nothing to do with him – has even told him that she’s not her father because the dad she knew never would have done this to us. I’m proud of her for standing up for herself.

        I’ll get through this like I got through the rest. It’s definitely a shit sandwich, though.

        • It’s a great thing that your daughter isn’t afraid or ashamed to tell him what’s she thinks of him and the crap he’s trying to pull on you and her. You have testimony through her that he’s wrong, no matter what kind of sparkles he wants to slap on the turd of his poor life choices.

          • ChumpOnIt, you’re so right. I’m very proud of my daughter for expressing her anger to her dad. What he doesn’t get is that he not only cheated on me, he cheated on her, too! She has every right in the world to be angry at him! And I’m not going to help him fix this relationship with her. That’s all on him.

        • Here’s the thing… his pathology is hard-wired. Normal people can’t just roll from one relationship into another (let alone marry)… without first doing the introspective “work” to understand where they failed/where they succeeded/what they can do different the next time. These fuckwits just reach across the bar and grab the next bowl of nuts. The hard part is accepting that they only saw you as the next best thing – not the best thing. And, the pathology is that they will continue to do this to the next one and the one after that and so on… trust me… Mr. Sparkles has a 3-4 years cycle.

          You’ll get stronger and your daughter will see that and become a strong woman. The OW, now fiance, well – she better get a discount card at her Gynecologist for STDs.

          • ICanSeeTheMehComing, you’re so right. He is hardwired this way. In fact, the first time we got divorced (yes, I took that son of a bitch back because I thought he had changed! What a chump I was), he had a girlfriend before the divorce was even final. This is his pattern. But last time (2009), I didn’t know about no contact, about not feeding him kibbles, etc., and so it was this whole pick-me dance for a long time. He dropped that girl because he knew he still had a chance with me. Now, I think he understands that there is NO WAY I’m taking him back and that’s why he’s settling for the whore. He can tell me he “loves” her and all that crap, but I won’t ever believe it.

            He still tries to hook me, though, which is exactly what he did last time. It’s his pattern. No contact has been a lifesaver. I just need to stick to it.

            If I could just get my HEART to understand all this, it would be a helluva lot easier.

            I don’t anticipate if they actually do get married (we have a state law that says you have to wait to get married until six months after the divorce is final) that it will last long. It will technically be his fourth (since we married twice). I can’t see HOW it will last based on a foundation of lies and betrayal and a woman who saw nothing wrong with going after a married man. I really hope she cheats on him. That’s the karma I want. But above all? I don’t want to CARE.

    • Keepin calm –

      I can totally see how that engagement would make you feel. Normal people see that cheater x is a complete fool off chasing rainbows yet he sees himself as this fabulous guy who has found twu luv and you and daughter should be happy for him because he is happy and that is all that matters.
      Biggest shit sandwich ever.

      Live up to your name, be the sane parent and know the karma bus is comin’ his way.

      Hugs!

      • Thanks, Feelingit. Everyone I’ve told about his engagement has just been sort of, “What the HELL?” And of course, he didn’t tell me. I got brave on Saturday to see if I could look at the whore’s social media (ex deleted his FB for some reason…) without having a panic attack. And that’s when I found out. He is so dysfunctional. Can’t be alone. Fucker.

  • Personally, the forgiveness I need to work on is forgiving myself.

    I couldn’t care less about forgiving him, but I am still struggling with forgiving myself for not seeing the red flags sooner, not taking action sooner and for marrying him in the first place. I am still learning to forgive myself for not valuing myself enough to find someone who truly loved and supported me. And I’m still trying to forgive myself for giving my daughter a horrible father who is a pathological liar, incapable of loving anyone.

    I started reading “A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memior of Marriage and Betrayal” this weekend. I had to take so many breather breaks. Reading that, combined with some recent events has made me realize that I more than likely was cheated on the entire marraige. And I questioned things in the beginning. But I was told not to worry and I let them go…inside though, they still bothered me. I didn’t stand up for myself. Time and time again, I didn’t stand up for myself and then I actually started to believe that I was the problem. Even now, 6 months after Dday, I still have thoughts of “What is I had reacted this way instead” or “Maybe I could have been better” and then I get mad at myself all over again, because I know nothing I would have done would have changed anything.

    I need to work on forgiving myself, because right now I am ashamed that this is my life and angry that I dealt with the stress for too long, which could have possible contributed to my cancer. I’m angry at myself for wasting 11 years on my STBX, good precancer years. I’m angry at myself for playing into the angry wife sterotype and letting him manipulate me into questioning myself even more.

    Forgivness for him? Eff it. I need to work on forgiving me.

    • I totally get this. I ignored SO MANY red flags when I married my ex-douchebag. Heck, he proposed to me a WEEK after we met! Who does that??? At the time, I was 24, basking in the glow of being treated like a princess (what I now know was “love bombing”) and thought I’d finally found a man who would love me forever. More red flags showed up before we got married. So, so many red flags. But I ignored them. ME! Who prides myself on being a strong, independent woman!

      I finished “A Beautiful, Terrible Thing” in two days. I couldn’t stop reading it. I recognized myself in so much of her story. And like you, I’m pretty sure my ex-douchebag cheated on me throughout the marriage, too. I look back and can’t believe I fell for his elaborate stories – the same type of stories that Marco gives Jen in the book. He was gaslighting me. Over and over again.

      I think we both have to remember that we wanted to make our marriages work, that we believed in marriage, that we were good people who didn’t want to just “give up.” We wanted to believe the best of our husbands, that they wouldn’t hurt us and cause us all this pain, that they wouldn’t betray us like this. We TRUSTED them. To have that trust violated hurts.

      I’ve had to learn that I need to forgive myself, too. It’s going to take awhile, but we’ll BOTH get there. Be kind to yourself right now. You need to conserve your energy for YOU right now.

      • ” We wanted to believe the best of our husbands, that they wouldn’t hurt us and cause us all this pain, that they wouldn’t betray us like this. We TRUSTED them. To have that trust violated hurts.”

        So true and yet my turd of a STBX actually told me I broke his heart because I didn’t believe in him and that’s why he cheated.

        So basically, I didn’t believe in his lies anymore. He had GOBS of trust when he didn’t deserve it and then I started seeing the truth and it hurt his poor wittle feelings. Ugh.

        • Your STBX is a fuckwit of the highest caliber. He only said that to hurt you and inflict more emotional pain on you. Remember, he had a CHOICE to cheat. I actually think my resentment and hostility toward my ex was starting to come out because I was so tired of being gaslighted, being lied to, being ignored, etc. I tried to help that man for YEARS to overcome his crappy past and to boost his self-esteem. But he’s a narcissist. I saw two sides to him, but toward the end, it was only one side – an evil bastard.

          • Agreed. I was full of anger and resentment because I was tired of the lies, the gaslighting and being ignored as well. Of course that played right into his narrative of me. He tells all of his new friends (because all of his old ones don’t want anything to do with him) that I was controlling, didn’t let him have any fun and criticized him constantly. Since he’s left I’ve realized that HE was criticizing ME all of the time. Everything he has complained about is a projection of things he did.

            I am learning to pay more attention to his actions instead of his words. Right now that includes leaving me during cancer treatment and only wanting EOW with his daughter. I know that he is a terrible person, but I am still working on forgiving myself to becoming involved with this terrible person, especially when I saw a red flag before the wedding and ALMOST called it off. Then again, I wouldn’t have my daughter if I did. Such an emotional mindfuck.

            • Exactly. I wouldn’t have my daughter if I wouldn’t have married the douchebag-ex, either. And she is an amazing, beautiful, wonderful blessing.

            • I could have written that first paragraph, Cancer Chump. It is sometimes unreal to read these posts and discover that these people exist beyond our own cheater, but it is nice to know that we are not alone as we go through this. Thank God for CL and Cn.

  • I think much of the confusion surrounding forgiveness and Meh comes down to North American culture’s shame of, fear of – and profound misunderstanding of – anger. (I’m a white Canadian woman. We break out in hives when someone gets angry. We say sorry while we’re telling someone off! Or so goes the stereotype. But yes, I have said sorry in the middle of a blistering tirade of justified fury!)

    ChumpLady addresses this in her excellent post, “In Defence of Anger”. Don’t forget that our character disordered abusers know how to use our healthy and justified anger against us. Those reptiles say and do heinous things with reptilian calm. When we react with normal, healthy, and human anger and distress, they act appalled at the “scene” we are creating. There is much eye-rolling and derisive smirking on their part, as they smugly mutter how nice it would be if we could all “act like adults”. Acting like an adult does not mean pretending nothing happened – that props up the Nice Person image those reptiles work so diligently to portray. Acting like an adult means acknowledging anger – it’s a signal that something is wrong, that a boundary is being crossed, that something needs to change NOW. Long story short, anger is an essential rocket booster on the way to Mount Meh. As CL has said.

    • Yes, this! Exactly! My ex kept saying I needed to get a reign on my anger. Uh, NO. Your choices have consequences and one of them is igniting a deep angry fire in my gut. My ex is so clueless. He thinks I should just accept what he did and move on and be friends with him. Same thing with our daughter. Jackass.

      • My now xh once told me after BD ( in my admittedly terrible meltdown where I cursed him to hell and called him horrible names for the first time ever in our twenty years) that I really needed to get some anger management help! I told him I didn’t need anger management therapy, I just needed to get rid of what was making me angry, HIM. WTF? We’d never had a fight in all that time and maybe 5 serious disagreements in those years that were settled like adults. I took that as a huge insult that he was trying to make it out like I had lost control and was mentally unstable. (truthfully as I’ve written before that was the case with perspective to my normal personality I was acting a little crazy.)Like ChumpLady says who the hell was he to try psychoanalyze the way I was reacting compared to the why his actions caused me to react in the first damn place. Obviously how I was handling his betrayal was the problem, not his betrayal because he was all calm and certain of his decision to leave for his soulmate. Now I wish instead of crying, dancing, praying, hoping after BD that I would have just said F-you, get the F-out, stay the F-away from me. That would have been the Proper way to react and handle it.

      • X was briefly “afraid” of me (or talked to his counselor, who made him think that maybe he shoulD be afraid of me) because I too had a less than stellar reaction once it all hit home. Screamed at him, name calling, and all of that — a few times. On one notable occasion, as I was putting away Christmas ornaments, I became so shaking mad at passing all of these now ruined memories through my fingers that I took our “first house” ornament (lovingly given to us by my parents, who took him into our family and loved him like a son) and crushed it down on the table as he was eating lunch. He came back later from his counselor and acted with what looked like over-dramatized fear of me, slinking up the stairs, placing some weighted box in of his bedroom. It made me laugh out loud. I told him there was nothing to be afraid of — like I would actually do anything, honestly. Of course, in my head, I was thinking: YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF ME, ASSHOLE. But in practice, I am not that kind of person. Lucky him.

        • I should note that my cheater is of the timid forest creature variety. And a very sad, sad sausage. It’s a mindfuck, particularly when they tell you that maybe you have anger problems because of how badly you react to this colossal turd of news. Like spritwoman, I just needed to get rid of what was making me angry — HIM.

        • spiritwoman and ChumpOnIt, oh, I hear you, sisters! I had an epic showdown with my ex when he came home the day after I found out about the affair. I was not proud of what I did, but yes, I called him names, called the whore names, let out all my anger. Even punched him. Tried to kick him in the balls but he moved just in time. I threw a glass at him and told him I hated him. It felt SOOOO good to get it all out.

  • I went to a state where pot is legal. In a comfy hotel room, I ate too many Rice Krispie edibles laces with THC.

    I was so stoned, I understood the analogy. I could not move. I was a rock statute. But my mind! My mind was racing and flying over glaciers and oceans. I was holding up hurts and pain from my past and looking at them from all angles, like a Rubic’s Cube. Detached, but with an amazing feeling of wonderment and awe. I had solved the puzzle!

    For a about thirty unreal minutes, I absolutely forgave the cheater. I saw him as a lost idiot, scrambling for cheap pleasures and fumbling in the dark, like a lost sheep.

    It was a tremendous relief…..like an anchor was off my heart. This must be stressed. It was one of the liberating feelings I have ever had. I was thrilled to be liberated from my hatred of him. For a few hours, this gentle peace remained. I felt enlightened and happy. I wanted to go forward with this light heart, this heart that did not plot dark acts of revenge.

    Today, I hate him viciously. I wish upon him the agony of 10,000 torture sessions. I will never forgive him. I actively hope for his misery. I plot his demise. I am not proud of this. I want to stop. But, he is footloose and fancy free- he has no concern for my welfare.

    This is why marriage counselors and therapists want to give people MDMA in couple’s therapy, also a psychotropic. It is a chemically induced euphoria that is false. It is tricking your brain into accepting someone as blameless who would hurt you, again and again, until you were a pile of crumbs in the corner.

    In the cold light of day, sober and clear- I see him for what he is. I have no pity. No empathy. No forgiveness. I am his enemy- until I draw my last breath. I want to reach Meh- but how do you have apathy about someone who intentionally crushed you under his boot, then walked away without a glance….???

    • “No forgiveness. I am his enemy- until I draw my last breath.”

      This. The amount of adrenaline I feel when he is around is breathtaking, literally. It almost takes my breath away.

      I will never be able to shake the knowledge that he is out to harm us. I don’t want to. I can’t. He is out to harm us.

      Turdd recently “attacked” my daughter. He wrote “Amy” on his chest in Sharpie marker (he is 42). When she inquired about it, they were chatting on Skype, he covered up and said he had nothing on his chest and asked what she was talking about it. He has done the same thing with smoking and drinking but this “Amy” on his chest hit her hard. She didn’t tell me for weeks? Months? “It was awhile ago” she says with a look I know all too well…from my own reflection. I had dropped my guard and became too comfortable with our enemy. Lesson learned but my daughter paid the price.

    • Forgiveness while on drugs makes sense. You want to let go, to let go of all the hatred and feel okay again. But it is a false reality. I feel it, even when I’m just riding the high of a good day (that everything is fine), but so many other days I just feel the seething hatred (and these are not just the bad days, the normal days contain bits of this too). By every definition, what he did to me was the act of an enemy. How can someone be my enemy and be raising a daughter with me? I want to forgive in the sense that he won’t matter anymore, but by extension does that mean what he did and what he does doesn’t matter either? There are so many incongruities in my life now, it seems that I will just have to live with that making sense somehow.

  • Here! Here!

    Nice explanation of our healthy and justified anger and their reptilian calm. Who knew humans could be so cold-blooded?! No one, but us chumps now know.

  • I wish I could post one of my favorite memes here, but the message to it is simple:

    I am neither Jesus nor do I have Alzheimer’s.

    Another quote I have savored over the years comes from one of my youth pastors from long ago:

    He is God, and I am not.

    Those being said, I consider myself a good, Christian-faith-based-yet-spiritual person. I embrace all faiths as long as they are on the “good” side of the Force. I struggle daily with that moment when it’s all good in my soul with exh#2/The Evil One. Two years later, I’m well-past my Tuesday, but not quite at MEH. I’d say I’m 99.99999% there, but still have more anger than peace about it

    All the good that has come into my life since he left— reuniting with family, reconnecting with old friends, enjoying life again, getting healthy, etc. he will gladly take credit for. He did say once when I was texting my sister in front of him, “Well, there’s another good thing that’s come out of me leaving.”

    Forgiveness? Nah, I’d rather be ambivalent towards him and rejoice in my better life.

    • Sadly, in my many attempts to “fix” myself so Reptile could finally love me, I received advice and re-framing techniques from well-meaning pastors who had nary a clue about abuse dynamics. Cover it over! Pretty it up! Well, maybe you SHOULD try harder!
      Imagine my relief when I stumbled across Ps. 4:4: “BE ANGRY, and sin not; commune with your own heart on your bed, and be silent.”

      Now, wait just a second. Before you (quite properly!) jump down my throat about the last part of the verse meaning putting up with abuse – these words do not mean for us to jam that shit sandwich between our jaws and gag ourselves. The word translated into “anger” means something like “allow yourself to feel the rage that is so strong it makes you tremble”. ” . . . and sin not” means don’t jump up and shoot your abuser. Don’t act on those Lorena Bobbitt fantasies that will endanger your best interests. Of course you want to hurt them back; they don’t have the necessary circuitry to begin to fathom the hurt they have so willingly inflicted upon us. As for “commune with your own heart on your bed, and be silent”: communing with your own heart brings in ChumpLady’s golden questions. Ask yourself what YOU want. Is this acceptable to you? What are your dealbreakers? Being silent means to take action on the decisions you have made while communing with yourself, keeping your best interests in mind. Take those actions without running them by your abuser. Take those actions that keep your best interests, and those of your children, foremost. Be silent to your abuser. Shut that reptile out of the equation.

      To me, this seems like real-world, healthy advice that is for the healing of soul and body. Before my current place of refuge, I had to endure too many pastors and churches who were more concerned with image management than with the well-being of their people. (“If you’re not smiling, it’s because you’re not praying enough!” type of ethos.) ChumpLady’s classic post, “Jesus Cheaters”, deals with faith-camouflaged abuse and hypocrisy.

  • Frankly, I can’t even play with redefining forgiveness. I have to leave the whole forgiveness to its own corner and accept that I don’t have to forgive at all. I refuse to be his prisoner or a prisoner of the high road. I’m looking at forget. I want to forget. Give me my money and let me go away. Let me put all of this behind me. At first I wanted him dead, but now his life insurance won’t cover how many years of alimony it looks like I may be getting. Just give me the money and let me take my children and move on. That’s the best I can dabble in the meaning of forgiveness.

    • I feel the same. I just want to be done with him but it is slow going with him fighting everything because he wants control.

      Last night I was talking to an old friend who moved to the opposite side of the country and found out she was a chump a few months before me. We are different but both were married to narc cheaters. She took the path of continuing to take care of her x and helping him through the divorce and beyond.

      She still describes him ignoring boundaries and entering her house and telling her what to do. Now, he has a new job and will be moving to another city far away. She is still helping him search for a new house. I am speechless.

      I would be way to angry for this. The only thing I can say is it serves her well financially as he makes a lot of money and he seems to be very generous to her and their 3 adult children. Although I suspect that is part of his image management.

      Call me hardheaded, but the money just wouldn’t quell my anger. I can’t be bought on this principle. What he did sucks and I can’t just say oh well. My friend says she is depressed now and she is drinking a lot. I think it is better to be angry than depressed. I have told her to check out chump lady. She says she has but I guess it didn’t speak to her like it has to me.

      • Money doesn’t quell anger but it helps me move away. And it helps with feeling he isn’t getting his way totally, because he doesn’t want to give any money. For 20 years he never gave me money. He always had to be the one to buy everything including groceries. So when I get some money I will feel victorious. But, it’s been no contact 100% so there is no way I would be helping him find a house or anything like that. And I want the money in writing, wage garnishment, spelled out down to how many weeks and what happens if he dies or loses his job, etc. Because, he can truly die in a fire.

        • UnFlownKite,
          All those years he never gave you money!
          ( that makes me spit fire)
          Well, now he will have to give you money!
          Every cent he gives you will just kill him, cent by cent!
          Hmmm, just sayin!

  • After D-day 1, I prematurely forgave him for a 9 year affair with a MOW. That’s how much I wanted it all to go away. Said the words, didn’t mean them in my heart and knew it.

    By now, after additional peripheral discoveries and another OW, I am simply exhausted and have realized (finally and thank you God for my friends!) that it’s on him. I’ve started to be detached. Have I forgiven him? No. Is it important to me that he’s forgiven? No. Is it my responsibility to forgive him? No.

    I am not sweeping his behavior under the rug of feigned forgiveness. I just don’t care anymore. Most of the time when I hear from him (basically NC but it’s not the purified version yet), I just look at his note and think “don’t bother”. It’s time for me to move on. It is what it is, what’s done is done. Pick up the pieces and restructure.

    My life is changed because of him. He fades into an insignificant shadow most days, now – his progressive unimportance in my present life renders my forgiving him inconsequential.

    It’s not meh yet. But I think I can get there without forgiving him.

  • I have had the words “I’m sorry” said to me but as CL says sorry is as sorry does and he has not shown me he is sorry in his actions. He was more sorry he had to give up his cake and choose me or OW. He knew he had one chance and I wasn’t going to beg him or let him have us both. He choose the path that I call being a cowards and he calleds tru luv. He just doesn’t want consequences because in his family they like to rug sweep a lot. No one faces up to anything or faces consequences, as a result the cycle continues. I am going to try my hardest to put a stop to that cycle by being the sane parent and hope that is enough.

  • Forgiveness is a tough concept–each person defines the parameters somewhat differently. By my definition, I haven’t forgiven my ex wife, and I likely never will. As others have said, perhaps if she showed some effort toward wanting to be forgiven, that would help. But she hasn’t–in fact, her actions since I left her only solidified my view that she is not worth my forgiveness.

    I’ve spoken about it with my family, and NONE of them expect me to forgive my ex.

    And yet, I’ve dated women who do expect it. They apparently believe that my forgiving my ex will somehow change me into someone I’m not: that I’ll suddenly be different, have less rigid views on relationships and morality, automatically be totally trusting and carefree in all ways.

    But I’ve told them that’s not me anymore…if it ever was to begin with. I work on myself, and I have “gotten over it,” but that doesn’t entail forgiveness, and it doesn’t change my defined boundaries. I’m not crazy or demanding. I’ve just been through a harsh experience that taught me just how important it is to have these things defined. If you don’t like it, then date someone else.

    • Standing applause to you! We need to define what our values are and quit paying attention to other opinions. They are opinions! Especially us chumps. We seem to take extra shit because we believe in doing what’s right for others. I’m totally where you are. You want my trust? EARN IT! I will never give it away freely again. Same with every other item they wanted. If you want those things from me, you will earn them through actions. Don’t just ask me to change and open myself up to abuse again. Been there and done that!

    • JC, I really think you’re on to something. Those women who want to hear that you have “forgiven” your ex are intimidated by your boundaries. Maybe they are afraid they will come up short. Good! You are inspiring respect. Lots of people wouldn’t know respect if it came up and bit them in the arse. (I am still learning!) You are letting them know, right out front, that your good regard comes with conditions, as all healthy adult love should.

    • If your boundaries drive people away, then they’re doing their job. Good job continuing to stick to them. I know it hasn’t been easy.

  • I’m a reader of the blog. Read the book. Listened to the advice. I still feel stuck, even though I know what he did was wrong and that what I should do is move on.

    I don’t condone the behavior, but I guess my actions and the fact that I still spend time with him send the message that I do. Sometimes I just feel like I’m treading water.

    When we started speaking again I told him that I wasn’t going to offer him forgiveness unless he earned it. He expressed that he’d be embarrassed to see my family and friends because they knew what he did. I asked, “well don’t you think you deserve to be embarrassed?” He responded, “yeah, I guess I do.” I see him making steps (albeit tiny ones) to be better, but we’re both dating other people and we’re both jealous when we know the other person is on a date with someone else.

    I just feel like we’re both treading water, and if we take the leap to hold each other’s hand at this point we will both go under. I know what to do (leave, go no-contact, be strong, get to meh) but I can’t for the life of me DO IT. I’ve had meaningful long-term relationships in the past, but this is the first person that when I think of my life without them, I feel legitimately scared. I don’t want to feel this way because I know deep down that I care much more for him than he cares for me.

    • Huge red flag- you should not feel jealousy in a loving relationship!

      No contact is not optional with these cheaters, it is a must. They walk right past the boundary lines without a thought.

  • I think NOT forgiving is self righteous, personally. That’s not to say that we would be capable of as shitty an act as cheating, but come on. We’ve all done wrong. We have all done shitty things. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the person didn’t commit a heinous act or that there’s an excuse for it. Forgiveness is about us letting go of the bitterness, and bitterness undealt with is like a cancer. It doesn’t destroy them, it destroys YOU slowly. And haven’t they already done enough damage? Would you want them to have the power to keep destroying you for the rest of your life, long after they have gone? Im not saying it’s easy, and it may take years. I haven’t got there yet. But I’m aware of the effects that the bitterness has on me, and they are extremely bad effects. One day I will forgive. Not forget. Not dish out more chances. Not live on false hopes of change in their character. No. But forgive, yes, I strive towards that. For my sake.

    • You have redefined forgiveness. That’s exactly what Chump Lady recommended. Calling people’s refusal to forgive as self-righteous is dismissive and condescending. Victims do what they have to do at their own time. You don’t know if not forgiving is eating someone away inside. Indifference can be achieved without forgiveness, and indifference does not eat one away inside.

    • Self Righteous? We have all done wrongs? Wow- that’s super triggering and downright OFF the books offensive.

      Sorry- but my “wrongs” with the Freak are things like this: (thinking really hard)

      Not letting him get high in my house with illegal drugs or drunk out of his mind?
      Admonishing him to stop playing rough with a dog that was already frightened?
      Not cooking him enough crab cakes? Because picking out crab meat is a blast.
      Asking him to stop flirting with women in front of me?
      Spoon feeding him when he was sick in bed?
      Bringing him more TP when he had stomach problems when the bathroom reeked?
      Not letting him drive my car like a lunatic?
      Handling all the bills and problems?

      I am not being self righteous. I am being fucking honest. I treated this Freak with love and kindness, right down to helping him with his nasty dandruff.

      HIS WRONGS?

      Having sex with prostitutes?
      Giving prostitutes my phone number?
      Selling my belongings?
      Having an affair behind my back and laughing at me with the whore?
      Letting a whore send me horrible emails, ridiculing my appearance?
      Exposing me to STDs?
      Then Ghosting me?

      Sorry, Hannah- you can go suck an egg. It is not self righteous. You are comparing sharks to bricks.

      If you want to forgive your cheater, that is your thing. But don’t you DARE say that any us are morally inferior to you because we don’t want to have a forgiveness kiss and cuddle with a rattlesnake….self righteous? Woman- you forget yourself.

      • Tell me about it. My husband gave all of our personal details to his whore. She used it to try and get a restraining order against me. When I saw all the info on the request, I said to myself, how does she know my birth date, my height, weight, eye color, address, phone number? Because he gave it to her. He doesn’t know her from Adam. Yet he paved the path to let some dangerous woman have access to our lives, to our daughter’s life, to my grandchildren lives? If she is willing to cheat with a married man, she may be crazy enough to try and enter our house. I cannot bother to forgive him for opening us up to danger.

        • Unflownkite, I feel the same way about the personal information. I talked to the bitch one time after I knew she was the cocheat, and bitch knew a lot about me, our child, and my situation. He always claimed that they never talked about me, trying to pass her off as an “,innocent” in this , not the calculating crazy whore she is. How do I know she’s crazy? When I spoke with her, she acted like I was the interloper, called me a bunch of names, and threatened me. He still communicated with Crazy Bitch after that. That’s when I knew I was done. Losers deserve each other.

          • It will be her turn one day, then what. Homewreckers’ self-esteem have to be so low. But I can’t bother to feel sorry for them since they come after the wives so viciously.

      • Preach it katie! Well said. The only one i forgive is me. Fuck the pods they dont deserve forgiveness!

  • I went away for the weekend with a good friend of mine. Our families have vacationed together between both of my Ddays 12 years apart.

    She came to me a few years ago after her husband was caught with a young subordinate and when he tried to end it, she cried rape. Security was at work and ready to escort him out. He saved the texts and all this crazy chic’s threats or he would have been fired and jailed. He used the victim card and she has stayed with him. He never had any intention of getting caught nor leaving his family. She hasn’t worked in years and really is just afraid to leave. She has carved out her own life and he works all the time. I don’t judge her. She’s found her ‘meh’ and forgiveness for her is tolerating him enough to lead her own life.

    She spent the weekend listening to me vent about how my ex left AGAIN for the twu wuvs. He deserted us 12 years ago then begged back. Our kids were 4 and 2 years old. My son cried constantly and letting him come back was for the kids in my mind. Of course this was a huge mistake. Fast forward and he leaves again for a twenty something assistant coach at our kids’ school. How embarassing for your wife and teenagers. What a loser.

    I knew it was over immediately. I knew I had to grieve what I thought my future would be and find a way to move on. Find normalcy for myself and my kids. But what a shit sandwich. I was really hurt, angry, humiliated, all of the emotions you would expect. But mostly I was just done. I had no more to give as I had given my all. He is a bottomless pit of need. Need for attention and validation. Can’t wipe his ass without needing someone there to tell him what a great job he has done with it.

    I have gone as No Contact as I can with him since we have kids. I ignore most of his texts. Even when he was in the hospital recently and was afraid his cancer had returned. As my friend and I chatted, I realize now I do actually feel sorry for the sad sausage. But not sorry enough to respond to him or consider being ‘friends’ with him like he thought would happen. I must admit as a chump I sometimes feel guilty about it, but my friend really helped by saying he should have thought about that before he treated you this way again.

    Forgiveness for me is not ‘pressing charges’ against the criminal that stole 20 years of my life by now claiming he was miserable. I don’t bad mouth him to the kids, but they see him for what he is. My daughter didn’t speak to him for months. Now she spends the obligatory amount of time with him but dreads it. I was busy at work one day and asked if her dad could pick her up (it was during the end of time he had her!) and she said ‘mom, can you do it? I’ll have to feed the bear”. She went on to explain if he picked her up, he’d force her to spend more time with him and she didn’t want to do it.

    Forgiveness is moving on and not holding a grudge. I don’t wish him misery. I don’t wish him anything. He’s just someone that I used to know.

    • MJB,
      You tried so hard. There was nothing more possible on your part. No regrets there. His sad loss.
      Cheaters not only suck in the cheating category. Their other character traits are usually lacking. Anyone who makes an initial choice to hurt the partner who truly loved them fails in so many other areas as well. Their parenting skills usually suck. When they cheat not only their partner is absent from their mind, but also their innocent precious children.
      Throughout the rest of their lives, whether a couple stays together or not, the children suffer.
      My cheater was not there so many of the times my two daughters and I needed him. We got used to holding it together, supporting each other in all life’s ups and downs. We were the only ones, us three, that we knew we could count on.
      Nearly three weeks ago my eldest daughter suddenly, tragically lost her husband, they have young children. I and her sister have been with her as much as possible. She can smile, let go, she can grieve with us. Not so for cheater dad. He says buckle up, not emotionally supportive. He does not possess that ability. So sad, but we survive. We are used to holding each other up throughout whatever happens in life.
      Your daughter is a brave, strong young lady, just like her Mom.
      I understand your pain and I wish you both happy days ahead.

      • Thank you Peacekeeper for your support and kind words. I’m sorry for your and your family’s loss. How devastating for your daughter and her children. She is lucky to have you in her life to support her.

        I hear a story like this and think she’s deserving in her grief and loss. She had a real marriage, the kids had a real father, this is a true trajedy.

        You are so right in that these cheaters have lousy parenting skills. I know my kids are going to have to learn to deal with their father, set boundaries as I’m not their intermediary anymore between them and him.

        My son saw it early. He used to ask me what was wrong with dad. Dad is never satisfied with anything. Angry all the time and never supportive.

        Ugh, I’m so glad my home is the peaceful retreat for all of us now!

  • After about 15,000 Ethics Violations against me, I told Cheater x I did not plan to forgive him. Ever. I still don’t.

    If there are repercussions for this when I die and hopefully go to heaven, that’s a choice I’m making. I will take it up with God then. Till that time I don’t have to answer to any other human about that choice.

    I have done lots of forgiving in my time, to cheater x and others. Unless the other person is remorseful and doesn’t do the same things again, I always feel revictimized. Even if I forgave x one million times, it would not change a thing. He is still a lying cheating whoremonger. I don’t control that, he does.

  • I don’t feel forgiveness, just the “I don’t want to do him harm,” that CL talks about. I don’t particularly wish my X ill will of any kind either. I’m pretty far out from DDay for that, but I will say that no matter where he goes, dysfunction and turmoil is sure to follow. I didn’t divorce until 3 years after DDay and I tried and tried and tried to show my X what a good life could be and how to treat others well. What happened instead is that I ended up playing mommy and accommodating more and more of his dysfunctional behaviors. The time came when all I had the energy left for was throwing my hands up in the air.

    I completely agree that meh is impossible to achieve while staying married to the dysfunction. I think I came close still married to the X 3 years out from DDay, but until the day after he left, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Once gone, I’ve not mourned the relationship for one moment. The clouds parted and EVERYTHING is so much better. There is not a single thing that I miss about him. Not caring about what they do or how they end up is its own kind of forgiveness. “Have a good life, I’m just glad you’re out of mine” is my byline these days.

  • I strive for meh, not forgiveness. So much anger now though that it seems Tuesday won’t come for a long time. Too many years of my life wasted. I am PISSED.

    Forgiveness doesn’t even enter into the picture. I don’t see any need to forgive when there’s no remorse.

    I AM capable of seeing him as pathetic (in moments when I’m not as angry), so I guess I do have some compassion for him. I realize that he’s mentally ill. Seeing him as an empty vessel, a so-called “person” who lies and mirrors so much that “there’s no there there” – I think it’s pathetic to go through life with no deeply held values or a moral compass to give you direction. He wafts and shape-shifts. (I know this now, after seeing some of the texts to the other women – he goes on and on about how much he is into THEIR interests.)

    He’s hollow. And I can feel pity for a man-child who has no concept of being a grown-up; he’s doomed to be mentally 2 years old for his whole life. But since he’s technically an adult according to the number of years he has lived, he is responsible for my pain and my shattered dreams. And he doesn’t seem a bit sorry. So I’m not a bit inclined to forgive.

    I do want to NOT give a rat’s ass about him, though. Come on, MEH!

  • The whole concept of forgiveness is something I’m really struggling with. I don’t hate him now (though I don’t like him / have any respect for him), I have accepted what has happened and I’m not interested in revenge (I can’t say I wish him blissfully happy, but I don’t wish him any harm either). I’m not at “meh” yet, but I feel I’m at least on the road now.

    But is that forgiveness? He showed NO remorse, blamed me for everything, and put me through months of emotional / mental abuse. I’m also aware he lied about me behind my back, and humiliated me on Facebook – he went out of his way to hurt me. I’ve said nothing on social media and though, yes, I have told my friends and some of my work colleagues the truth about what happened, it’s all been factual. People keep commenting how patient and fair I’ve been!

    I will never forget what he did, but I’m glad he is out of my life, and I don’t miss him at all – my life is so much better. Maybe the day I reach “meh” is the best I can do, and that’s good enough for me.

  • This is what I get hung up on sometimes: how do I let go? And if I let go, does that mean I am some how condoning what the cheater did? Did I let them get away with it? Even if I get my happily ever after, does the cheater get to feel smug in the knowledge that what they did to me, to my kids, to my family — Wasn’t That Bad?

    Because it still drives me crazy – him thinking he’s a good guy who just “made a mistake” and that I’m the unreasonable one for not “being over it already” and how come I can’t just “be happy for him”. With him still telling the kids that he “cares about their mom” and he’ll “always be there for her”, which is just BS since he most definitely was NOT “there for me” after DDay when he was living with me and throwing the affair in my face with such disdain. He’d literally say “I’m in a RELATIONSHIP” and “we’re intimate”. OMG, you’re married to me! For 15 years!

    Ok, I’m feeling pretty far from “meh” today, and am not sure how to get there with the fairly frequent interactions since we have two young kids. But maybe after the divorce is done (I’m just getting started down that path)…

    To me, “meh” feels like indifference. Not forgiveness.

    I’m with you guys on the “how do you forgive someone who doesn’t show remorse?”

    • This is definitely a big ole shit sandwich for you and your kids. It’s only with no contact and lots of time that I started to see through all of this and think clearly. He has not left you dangling in the wind and pick me dancing since he has thrown it in your face. Although this doesn’t feel like a blessing initially, I do think it helps you see your path a little clearer.

      Ultimately for kids, his actions will speak louder than his words. I’m not sure how old your children are, but my teenagers see my shit hole for what he is. I think we can only tell our kids the basics and be matter of fact about it. They can fill in the holes.

      My ex said he was taking care of me and the kids by being ‘generous’ during the divorce. Now I see he was trying to keep his former life intact in case he and schmoopie didn’t work out. He has tried to contact me, but he has seen it was a one way ticket–exit only. And now he’s not so pleasant.

  • I owe him nothing. Emotionally abused for 20+ years to physical abuse (1X), 2 days (10 yrs apart), to behaving like I should “just get over it already”. And now he still thinks he can tell me what to do. You should take the dog to the vet. How about you take the fucking dog to vet. Oh, you haven’t seen them but 3 times in over a year. Yep, left me that responsibility along with our adult children. I make half of what he makes and he “gives” me $400 a month- to cover health insurance. We were never married. $400 a month and the guy makes $100K- FUCKER!!!!! I wish he would stop texting me like we are friends and stop telling me what I should be doing with animals, kids, house etc… LEAVE ME ALONE… Oh and the latest is he thinks it’s OK to bring his fur lady OW to our kid’s college grad party! WHAT-HUH…You guys have to get along at some point he says. I said I will never get along with someone who fucked my boyfriend. Fucking ENTITLED Freaks!!!!!

  • I found it ironic today that Chump Lady posted this today. I just got back from lunch with a friend. We got on the topic of religion and a controversial topic which I won’t go into. But the basics of what I told her was “While it is not a decision I would ever make I think everyone has a choice. In the end we will all answer to God for our own actions”. As I was saying this I thought to myself…..why don’t I feel this way about the POSH (Piece of Shit Husband) that cheated on me and walked out on me and my two week daughter? I would never cheat because it is against my morals and beliefs in marriage. If I don’t try to convince others that their decisions are wrong because I know they will have to answer God, why have I been so hell bent on convincing him of his wrong doings!

    I think this is forgiveness. Giving it to God. Knowing its not my responsibility to show him how to behave morally or proving to him that what he did was wrong or getting him to admit that he broke our family. Ultimately forgiveness is for ourselves. The only forgiveness anyone needs at the end of our days on earth is from the Heavenly Father. And I feel fairly certain that if the POSH won’t confess to me what he did wrong and still continues with flat outright lies that he isn’t repenting and asking God for forgiveness.

  • If someone ever suggests that I forgive, I might just tell them ” I forgive you for suggesting that I should forgive the Traitor and his Whore”, and smile then walk away, probably for good.

  • I’m not interested in forgiveness. But am all about forgetness. Just working on builying such a wonderful life that I forget … what’s his name?

  • It’s been 6 years and I’m almost to the point where I understand as much as possible about what happened. I don’t wish him ill, but I don’t wish him blessings. Mostly I just want to stay away from him. Not sure how long that will be possible since we now have grandchildren and our kids are pushing for us to do more things together so they don’t have to go from one house to another. I’m not sure I could stay meh with my ex around, but maybe so. It’s hard to know without having seen him but a couple of times in the past 6 years. The last time I had to interact with him over an agreement to refinance property that he was supposed to do in 2012. Once again he drug it out and lied to me by saying it was “in the works.” Once again I had to be the one to enlist people to push him to do what he had agreed to do. He’s not a person I trust to follow through on anything.

    So I don’t seek revenge, but I don’t seek reconciliation. I let him go and I give him a wide berth.

  • So, here’s the thing. I forgive myself. Not him. Not his actions. Not WHO he is. I forgive myself for choosing someone who so thoroughly and completely blew up our life together. I was a loving wife and clueless about the lie we were living, until it began to fall apart. I will never forgive him for the legacy he left our family with. The children he abandoned and who continue to struggle with the reality that is their Dad now. The financial shenanigans and the crap human being he continues to choose to be. On the flip side we have grown. We are a stronger family without him. We prioritize. We eliminate toxic people. We find joy in simply spending time together.

  • We have learned about the importance of declutter. One trick, is to hold an item in your hand and ask yourself; “Does this bring me joy?”
    A better way is saying “does this bring me joy or is there some positive attachment for me?” IF so, place it back, if not, 86 it, you know the round file, or the hefty hangout.

    Once you have some distance from emotional trauma, by that is that YOU feel that you are stronger and you’d rather reach “meh” faster, take those repeating feelings, suss them out into categories and really find the root of where those feelings come from.

    Once you at the prime emotions or feelings…. try the same as with the house clutter. Hold them up to scrutiny, one by one. Ask yourself “Is this useful to me? Does this have a positive attachment for me at this time?” I feel that negative emotions like anger and fear can be a VERY positive force and have a time and a place for you. The question is, do they benefit you or your kids?

    Once you have identified the not helpful to feelings, emotions or thoughts, you can work on removing them to the 86 bin.

    Stating it better, forget the concept of “forgive”, what the heck does that mean, anyway. A better way forward is to accept each roadblock as you run into them and let go of the emotions that hinder you.

  • I suspect that the young bride Sarah Cummins of Indianapolis,who called off her wedding last week and opened up the reception to the homeless, decided not to forgive her fiance ! Good for her !

  • I have many past relationships (including friendships) where I have not forgiven the person for their bad behaviour. I am ok with that. They no longer influence my life but when they are called to mind, I feel nothing but contempt for them. They deserve that contempt – they EARNED it through their actions. If they earn my forgiveness then they will get it. So far no takers!

    However, I deserve the love and forgiveness I give myself for being entangled with them at one point. I am ok with lavishing the love and forgiveness on myself because I do deserve it. I work hard to put the bad situation behind me each and every day so I am the one that is deserving of my forgiveness and love. Not the person who chose to wrong me and hurt me.

  • Sorry to interrupt with an old ‘broadcast’ but I just came across this little gem from 2 yrs ago while my marriage was failing. But, it did seem to fit here somewhere. Convo between my then-husband and myself:

    SheChump: “If you had just one ounce of regret for the horrible things you have put me through (think black lace panties) and carrying on an elicit affair while we were married, and could just once apologize for that, it would go a long way to getting me over this hump of anger I cannot wait to shed.

    But, maybe you have no remorse or regret, I dunno.”

    JohnnyX: “I believe I have apologized.

    If not please know I am very sorry for what has happened, and have been praying every night for your anger to go away.

    Not for me, but for you. As I know I said earlier, anger will eat you up from the inside out. I in no way want that for you.
    Quite the opposite.
    FWIW have been praying for forgiveness too. I am reading “Alter your Life” by Emmet Fox. It is helping greatly.”

    My summation this many years later is, the ass didn’t have a clue that he did something really wrong.
    He thought he was totally entitled to it, seemed proud he had this red-headed younger mistress – UNTIL, the shit hit the fan and his life completely changed……NOT for the good. He better keep praying.

  • I’ve come to understand forgiveness as “I do not wish to see harm come to you as punishment or justice for what you did to me. That doesn’t mean I trust you, or will ever want to be in an intimate relationship with you ever again.”

    I actually had dreams, on two occasions, where Nowdeadserialcheaterwife came back from the dead, and the overwhelming emotion was one of vaguely confused worry at the bureacratic headaches it was going to cause. “We liquidated all your bank accounts. I gave away your clothes. Am I going to have to give back the SS survivor benefits Sicily has? That’s her college money!Also I don’t want to be married to you anymore, the house is in just my name now, and you’re not living here. Go home.” Etc. No passion, no anger, just mildly confused worry about the logistics.

  • This one is helpful to me as I have struggled with this. I don’t want to be the angry and bitter ex wife forever as that eould make me forever the victim. On the other hand I don’t ever want to be seen as condoning what he did because it was so wrong. No matter how great my life turns out, I don’t want him or anybody else to imagine that his actions were somehow justified or “for the best”. I fully intend to go on to live an awesome rest of my life but I refuse to give him any credit for that and I see mo reason why I should ever wish him happiness.

  • Let’s see, someone that has destroyed their own innocent children, brought embarrassment and humiliation to people that gave unconditional love, robbed their family of their trust and security during which time believes teaching/showing first hand examples of how to lie, steal, cheat, manipulate and abuse- so criminal they DO NOT DESERVE one damn thing!

    They do DESERVE to lose their children and pay a life time of child and spousal support!

  • Every single consequence and repercussion, including my lack of forgiveness to him, is something that the imbecile I WAS married to CHOSE for himself. Every single contact that he had with the whore he was pursuing from the first second to the last second was wrong. Every single text, email, or phone call he made to it for e from this tramp was wrong. Every single lie, direct or by omission, concerning this tramp was wrong. Every penny he spent taking this tramp to restaurants, or buying her “trinkets”, or anything was wrong. Every nasty hurtful thing he said or did to me while fucking this tramp was wrong. I detest that prick, and if not forgiving this shit makes me self righteous, so be it. Still better than being a whoremonger, I’d say.

  • Ive forgiven myself for staying way longer than I should have. He never changed when he said “sorry” so I never took it serious to do so. Forgiveness in his book was more like FORGETTING. I will never forget what shit he put me through with his double life for 31 years. I don’t really care anymore, I got rid of him, I quit listening to people instantly tell me to FORGIVE him or it would ruin me. huh?! I am a believer in God and I sent him back to HIM without apology. Jesus cheaters may have one notch higher on the chain of fuckupedness. My x used to tell me that God knew his struggles and He forgave him no matter what, Really, I didn’t know you could also abuse grace, forgiveness, your faithful spouse, your friends, family children. Recently I spoke to him at our sons baby shower, (first time in over a year) I asked him what he told people had happened to our marriage. He boldly told me ” I tell them the truth, YOU LOCKED ME OUT”.
    So no this isn’t someone seeking forgiveness. WTF I locked him out after he moved out and was relocated to another state without my knowledge. The LIES……… omg, it was a death sentence being married to such a POS. BTW he has never asked me or our grown children for forgiveness bc in his mind he’s done nothing wrong. I do not wake up everyday and say ____ I forgive you for fucking our life up. Why?

  • I said I forgave him much too quickly and all I got out of it was an “I forgive you too.” I knew then that I didn’t mean it fully and he didn’t understand what I was trying to forgive him for. The last thing I want to do is remain bitter for the rest of my life. I’ve let go of so much resentment and guilt from other life situations and now it feels like I’m back in the mire because of this.

  • I never understood the societal pressure on forgiveness. I mean, when you’re abused, you owe it to yourself to get to a point where your life isn’t restricted by the aftermath of the abuse. And that’s the end of it. The rest is noise.

    Whenever I get crap from people preaching to me that I need to forgive, my response is “why?” They never, ever, ever have an answer.

    And I NEVER justify or defend that stance. From my perspective, it’s up to those pushing their agenda on to me to defend their position.

  • It’s a moot point in my opinion.

    By necessity, Forgiving requires there to be a person/persons that need forgiveness.

    When talking about cheaters we’re referring to a bunch of beings that have no soul, no character, nothing concrete and consistent to them. So the idea of forgiving them is akin to forgiving a character in a movie. They don’t actually exist to forgive.

    My cheater ex played a certain role for me – mirrored back to me what I wanted him to be, but none of it was real. Just fake and scripted by the undead in him. I know he played a different role to the wife before me and is currently playing a different role again to the chick he’s with now. He isn’t real. He’s just a series of personas that fit with the supply he’s with.

    Therefore the thing/person I was with doesn’t even exist anymore, long gone, curtains dropped and credits rolled on that character the moment he left the building. As a consequence there is nobody to forgive.

    That’s how I look at it anyway.

  • Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and IF he repent, forgive him.
    Luke 17:3

    Jesus Christ said, IF, IF, IF and yet so many christians try and shove forgiveness down our throats. Suddenly it not the wicked adultery that was done to you that matters, or that the adulterer be held accountable, no all of a sudden (from the get go) these phony christians LOVE to turn you into the supposed evild doer by hyper focussing on your duty to forgive, that is the greater sin to them. But Jesus Christ HIMSELF, never said we have to forgive anyone unless they repent. Love our enemies, yes, but not forgive an unrepentant person. Forgiveness means the slate is wiped totally clean as if it never happened…you CANNOT do that with an unrepentant person who does not think they did any wrong, or know they did and don’t care. Any kind of relationship with someone like that is dangerous. Thats why Jesus said if someone does not repent, to treat them like the Publicans and Tax Collecters…ie avoid them, have nothing to do with them, do not count them your friend. Whereas loving our enemies is simply doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, in other words, if it in your power to do a good deed to them then do it (anonymously if needed), don’t seek your own revenege – Vengenangce is mine saith the Lord, and dont live in hate…just trust God to do perfect justice in His perfect time.

  • Accept the fact you don’t have to forgive the cheating lying stealing piece of sh@t!

    Give yourself the forgiveness as you have already given the cheater too much!

  • For me, it’s definitely not necessary to forgive a cheating partner. You have gone through all sorts of pain because of that person. It really depends on you if you are capable of forgiving.

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