By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are so frustrated that their spouse will not accept their apology for cheating or having an affair. It seems that no matter what they do or say, their spouse is determined to hang on to their anger and resentment.
I heard from a wife who said: “last year, I made the worst mistake of my life. I had a fling at a class reunion that my husband could not attend. And then after the fling, I kept in contact with the guy and had a couple of more encounters with him. I honestly don’t know why I did this. I think that my self esteem was at a low point and this guy made me feel good about myself. But once I realized how much harm I was doing, I broke it off and I told my husband the truth. I practically fell to his feet and begged for his forgiveness. I have offered to go to counseling or to do anything else that he might require. But he continuously says that not only does he not forgive me, but he has no plans whatsoever to forgive me in the future. I am so upset about this. We have two little girls who are going to miss their daddy. Why won’t he just accept my apology so that we can move on?” I’ll try to answer these questions in the following article.
Understand Why He May Hesitate To Forgive: I do understand why you feel that you want, need, and even deserve forgiveness. But, as a wife who has been cheated on, I can tell ou that there are many reasons that one would hesitate to offer forgiveness.
The first is that they just may not be ready. I can tell you from experience that before you are ready to forgive, you need to see a whole lot of remorse and a whole lot of rehabilitation. Sometimes this takes counseling and other times, it doesn’t. But it certainly doesn’t always happen quickly. And when you push for forgiveness before they feel that you have earned it, this can create resentment that makes them even more reluctant to forgive.
Also they may feel that forgiving you is a form of condoning the affair or of letting you get off very easy or virtually scot-free. Of course, it’s your job to show them over time that you are sincere enough that their doubts are unfounded. But understand that there is bound to be some reluctance. You have to understand how badly you have hurt them. You have to understand that they do have a right to their anger and to their reluctance. But, you may have more control than you think. Below, I’ll go over some things that spouses often look for before they will offer forgiveness.
Things You Will Want To Show Your Spouse Before They Feel Safe And Justified In Forgiveness: Understand that your spouse is probably watching everything that you do extremely closely. They want to be believe that you are so sorry for your actions. They want to know that you fully understand why you have cheated and have fixed whatever problem existed so that there is assurance that you will not cheat again. They want to see that you have actively done everything in your power to become trustworthy. Nothing out of your mouth should be untrue. Even little white lies meant to spare pain are absolutely unacceptable. Also, they are looking to see if the relationship is repairable. They want to be assured that you still love and are attracted to them.
In short, they need to know that you aren’t just seeking forgiveness for your own gain without any concern about what they need from you. You must make it extremely obvious that your first concern is them, their healing, and their recovery. You don’t want to ask anything of them before you give everything you have of yourself. In other words, you must earn that forgiveness and I have to tell you that sometimes, this is no easy task. But if you are patient, are concerned mostly with your spouse rather than yourself, and set it up that you deserve forgiveness, then stay the course.
So to answer the question posed, there are various reasons that your spouse isn’t ready to offer forgiveness. They may not be ready yet. They may still not find your excuses or your reasoning as valid. They might not have seen enough remorse or sorrow. Or, they may believe that you are more concerned about alleviating your own guilt rather than helping them heal. But to overcome these things, you can learn to be extremely trustworthy and accountable. And you can place your focus on providing what your spouse needs in order to heal. Because to be very honest I can tell you from experience that once you begin to heal and feel some relief from the shock and the sadness, then it is much easier to forgive.
I did eventually forgive my husband after his affair, but he eventually gave me everything that I needed to feel safe in order to heal. We are still married today and I feel that our marriage is quite strong. I don’t worry about him cheating again. If it helps, you can read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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