How Long Will It Take Me To Forgive My Husband For His Affair? Is There Anything That I Can Do To Hurry It Along?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are still very raw after their husband’s affair. They want for things to feel better as soon as is possible. And I’m sure that every one can understand this. This is a pain unlike any that many folks have ever felt. It hurts to your core. Every day, when you wake up, you’re just hoping that you don’t have to repeat the process over and over again.

So, you start to wonder what is going to make this better. And then perhaps you start reading about forgiveness or you see a talk show about it. So, you start to wonder if perhaps forgiveness could help you to more forward, but the very thought of it seems so far away and impossible. You wonder if this can ever happen for you. And if so, when?

I might hear a comment like: “my husband had an affair about four months ago. It still feels so very raw. I still hurt so much. It seems that day after day passes and things just don’t feel that different. A friend of mine said that she thinks that it would help me to let go if I could forgive my husband. I potentially agree with this. But every time I try to even think about forgiving him, then I just freeze up. And I wonder if perhaps I’m not ready because the anger is still there. The confusion is still there. But I do believe that if I could swing it, then it could help me. My husband and I are having our ten year anniversary in about six months. I’m wondering if it is too much to ask for me to be able to forgive him by then. How long does it generally take forgive and is there anything that I can do in order to forgive more quickly?”

I know that some women will tell you that they forgave almost immediately. I respect and admire this. I truly do. But I do not think that this would have been possible for me. In order for me to be able to forgive, I needed to see, and to really and truly believe, that my husband was completely remorseful and completely rehabilitated. I also needed time to strengthen myself. All of this took the passage of days. It did not and could not happen immediately. Plus, because of my own process, I came to believe that forgiveness should not be the sole goal and it should not be rushed. I will tell you why below.

Why Forgiveness Shouldn’t Be The End Goal: I think that there is a real misconception that once you forgive, you are able to just pick up your marriage where you left off and ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. I don’t think that this is very probable. Why do I say this? Because if all you had to do was to forgive, then every one would try it. But, it takes much more than forgiveness, in my experience. You have to uncover what went wrong. You will both need to work to pick up the pieces. You will both need time to heal. And you have to move past the anger and the awkwardness. This can’t happen until your husband proves that he is worthy of all of this effort. And that takes time.

But, f you convince yourself that all you need to do is forgive and then you’re all in the clear, then it really does create unrealistic expectations. Plus, if you forgive without making your spouse earn it, he will think that he is in the clear without needing to do the work to make this right again. Don’t get me wrong. In my experience, forgiveness does help. It truly does. But it usually comes because OVER TIME, you can see your spouse’s progress and sincerity.

How Can You Speed The Process Along: Believe me when I say that I understand wanting to feel better. And I think that the sooner that true healing happens, the sooner forgiveness happens. For me, forgiveness came in a very unexpected moment on a very normal day. I was watching my husband with my children and my parents. He was being considerate and kind. And it was in that moment when I realized that I forgave him because we had come through this and because he had proven that he was sincere. I don’t think that this could have happened without the passage of time though. I don’t think that I could have forgiven before I knew, for sure, that it was really going to be OK.

And I believe that is the key. I think that it is easier to forgive when you can genuinely see some light at the end of the tunnel. Forgiveness is easier when you regain your strength and you realize that you are going to be OK no matter what. Then, you’re able to set all of this aside because you realize that it is only holding you back and that you truly don’t need it anymore. But this type of realization often only occurs once you have healed.

So I think that the way to speed up forgiveness is to try to speed up healing. And I think that part of this is giving yourself permission to do what you need to do to turn the corner. If you need counseling, get it – even if you need to go alone at first. If you need to work on your self esteem, give yourself permission to invest in yourself. Care for yourself like you would your child or your best friend. Because healing, to me, should be the real goal. I find that forgiveness will often follow.  And I also think that six months could be a realistic time frame if you’re very progressive about your healing.

As I alluded to, forgiveness took a while for me.  Because I wasn’t willing to even consider it before I saw true effort from my husband and before I healed.  If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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