Infidelity and forgiveness
I have been married for 17 years and two months ago cheated on my wife. My wife knows about it she has actually been amazing about it all. We are still together and are closer now than ever before. She has forgiven me for what I did however I am struggling to forgive myself. Every post on dealing with moving on says you must forgive yourself but I’m finding it so hard. I hate what I’ve done, I keep looking back thinking why did I do this when everything I ever wanted was already there with me. How can my wife forgive me but I can’t. My psychologist seems to think I’m dealing with it ok but I’m constantly thinking about what I did and it stirs up so much emotion. I have cut all ties with the person I cheated with, my wife and I are so close now it’s unbelievably great but I’m still in pain internally for what I did. How do I move on from doing such a stupid thing?
Welcome to the forums and thank you for being here. I'm really glad to see that you're still with your wife and getting some great support - and also with your psychologist.
I think to try and go from hating yourself to what you've done to forgiving yourself from what you've done is a big leap. To me it feels like diving from the highest board when you're not used to swimming. It's a massive ask, especially seeing that what you've done has given you so much shame and regret.
I wonder if perhaps for now you could try and work on acceptance rather than forgiveness? While I imagine this still might be hard, I feel like it's more doable. Being able to sit with that pain even though it's awful is a step. Trying to let go of those judgements to yourself is another step. Even if you were able to try and just notice those thoughts from a more mindful perspective when these emotions are all stirred up...
Your human and you made a mistake. I think it’s important to keep things in perspective and remember that you had a momentary lapse in judgement in an otherwise happy and uneventful 17 years of marriage. Rather than turn away from the marriage and towards someone else, you are trying to rectify the situation by turning inwards to your marriage and cutting contact with this other person. Yes, you are beating yourself up over it, but that shows to me that you are a decent person with a conscience who has learnt from their mistake and is unlikely to do something similar again in future. In time you will learn to forgive yourself and move past this.
Romantic Thief, Juliet, have given you supportive and helpful suggestions.
I have an issue in my life from many years ago that I can't forgive myself but mainly because I have not been forgiven. That's me. I have sort of accepted I did what I knew at the time and know I wont do and haver done the same thing again.
I think if you give yourself time to accept what you have learnt about yourself.
agree with Juliet you are having trouble as you have a conscience and are a decent person. 2 months is not a long time so that it may take time.
Thanks for being honest and sharing your story as others reading your post will be helped by realising they are not alone.
I'm sorry to hear you are still feeling this way and that the passing of time has not helped in making you feel better. You say your wife was understanding and has forgiven you, yet you can't seem to forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes, it's part of being human. It's what we do after that matters and it sounds like you did everything you could to make up for it. I know this is easy to say and a lot more difficult to do though I would advise you to stop dwelling and thinking about the past. It happened, it's over, it's in the past. Try not to think so much about what you did wrong and the feelings you are having because of this, and focus more on what you can do better - become a better person by learning from your mistake and being the person you want to be in every moment in the way you interact with your wife and others.
Show yourself the kindness and compassion that you would show others if they had made the same mistake.