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How do you learn to forgive?

2 years ago, after my husband returned from a 1 yrs. deployment to Iraq, he came home with PTSD and severe anxiety and depression, which is to be expected especially since he was in a combat arms unit and was constantly in direct fire fights. We were totally happy as a family and a couple before he went to Iraq. I found out a few mos. after he came home that he had been carrying on an online affair with a chick from his past who had always been obsessed with him, plus he was signed up with about 15 different sex and dating sites. I found all kinds of emails and chats between him and other women. He swears he's never had sex with any other woman but me; however, his emails were always very sexual in nature. We have been trying to overcome this for 2 yrs. now and we've had a baby since then also. I want to be happy again, but I don't trust him. I love him, but I just can't seem to forgive him. I have never hurt him & never could

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 6:57 PM on Jan. 7, 2010 in Relationships

Answers (6)
  • I wanted to add, that after he promised me 2 yrs. ago when I found out about his online affairs, that he'd never do this to me again, I found out a few mos. ago that he was looking up women on Craigslist and he was a member of another adult site, then a couple weeks ago, I found out that the chick from his past, who he cut ties with 2 yrs. ago, contacted him in December '09 and that they exchanged a few emails, then he found out that she was the woman who had been stalking me on Myspace and tracking us and our family for the past 2 yrs. He said that was the drawing line, and that he cut communication with her at that point because he realized just how crazy she was. I am constantly hacking his email accts., Myspace, and Facebook...just trying to find anything that will prove to me that he's either faithful to me or that he's still carrying on with online affairs. I feel like I'm going crazy. I don't know what to do.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:01 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

  • You don't learn to forgive; forgiveness is a choice. And forgiveness and restoration of a relationship are two entirely different things. You caught your husband doing something he should never have done. Then he lied to you about having given it up. You should choose to forgive him, which means more or less you don't want God to strike him dead or have some other kind of harm come to him, so that he can suffer the way you have. For any kind of restoration to take place, he has to admit to you that what he did was wrong, say he is sorry for the hurt he has caused you, ask for your forgiveness, and promise that he will never do it again. Until he does those things, you will never be able to get past his indiscretions. Even though he never had physical relations with these women, you know he lusted after them in his heart, which is the same thing. I would tell him exactly what I've told you and ask if he's willing.
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 7:10 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

  • Thank you, NannyB. Your advice is sound and makes sense. You are right, I do need to talk to him, but when I try to talk to him about this, he says he feels persecuted and that it bothers him to talk about it. He says that he is embarrassed and doesn't want to talk about it. He gets mad. I think he's getting mad at himself and thinks if he just evades it all together, it will go away, but it weighs down on my heart on a daily basis. I NEED to talk about it. I WANT to talk about it. If I don't talk about it, and if he never comes forth about why he did it and how he feels about it, I'm never going to overcome the anger, sadness, and betrayal that I constantly feel for him now.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:17 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

  • Don't trust him , he will do it again & is probably still doing it.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:27 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

  • Nanny B worded it very well.

    You might want to also consider the possibility of him being a porn or sex addict (up to 15 sites sounds pretty addict level to me), and gain a better understanding of what it takes to heal that sort of addiction.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:52 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

  • Yes, I agree with Anon 9:52 p.m. and NannyB. I was the one that brought up the idea of sex addiction to my husband, and at first, he blew it off and ignored me, but after this last time of this happening and him getting caught, he admitted that he does think he has a problem or even an addiction. He was too embarrassed to bring it up to his female counselor (who he sees for his PTSD), so he asked me if I would come with him to his appt. and talk to her about it or help him to talk about it with her. I went, but I pretty much talked the whole session. His counselor listened. He was embarrassed and didn't even want to look at me or the counselor. He did admit to her that he thinks he has a problem. She said that they'll be talking about this further in the next appts. She also suggested that I get into my own individualized counseling and that we get back into marriage counseling, which we both agreed to.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:57 PM on Jan. 7, 2010

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