He Cheated 8 Years Ago: How Do I Really Forgive My Husband?
Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I have been with my husband for 17 years. I’m 30 years old and we have four boys together and a child on the way.
During our time together, my husband has cheated on me and I forgave him (at least I thought). He cheated 8 years ago and almost had a child with another woman. I found out while I was pregnant with our fourth child. Since then I have not been able to move forward with him sexually. I have not told him that I have been faking.
The way in which you view your situation will determine how you cope with it.
We are having another child together and he is a good man. He just made a huge mistake. I haven’t told him how I feel because I am scared of losing him again. Do I need fixing or what? How Do I Really Forgive My Husband and Move Forward?
Dear Confused Wife,
Therapists like myself help people develop new coping skills, adapt to change, and grow from adversity. I make this statement to help you understand that there is no such thing as “fixing” people. However, based on the fact that you are still holding on to the pain of betrayal and being dishonest with your husband, you should seek professional counseling.
The only way to really forgive your husband is to forgive yourself. The feelings of disappointment and betrayal are internal factors that are influenced or caused by external factors. You have to learn how to monitor your internal thoughts and emotions. This is extremely important because the way in which you view your situation will determine how you cope with it. The energy that you put into feeling unhappy must be redirected and changed to reflect the life that you would rather have with your husband.
I believe that forgiveness is not only about moving forward, but is also about moving up. When you forgive yourself you become a better you. The adulterous memories will resurface occasionally and it is in these moments where you have to focus on what you have. Do not deny yourself the opportunity to grow by holding on to the past. If you look forward, you cannot get stuck in the past.
Lastly, remember that forgiveness is not a secular skill that we embrace and practice well. Forgiveness is complex to us, but is really simple if we place God in the center of our lives. Forgiveness is a spiritual skill that flourishes when God is present. As you place God in the center of your life and marriage, practicing forgiveness will get easier.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.
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