There was a conversation on this site in one of the threads about what's "reasonable" for us to expect of our partners after discovering his affair(s). It was phrased something along the lines of "what's reasonable for me to be able to ask him to do."
I responded with something like this: when someone is asking for your forgiveness, then you get to set the terms of that.
But what I think I should have written was:
"He's asking you to forgive a choice he made, in which you weren't consulted, and that was a direct threat to you, your marriage, your family and your health. It's "reasonable" to expect you not to kill him. Anything else is on the table."
Or, as Steam puts it,
"My heartbreak, my rules."
I sometimes think that all our discussion on this site (damn, we're mature!) around boundaries, around acknowledging his pain, around learning to listen to each other, being curious rather than judgemental can eclipse this basic rule of rebuilding a marriage after betrayal: You get to set the terms of reconciliation. He's asking you to forgive something that is a brutal violation of the promise you made to each other. Why shouldn't you get to decide what you need in order to do that.
Do you need to read every single text that comes in? Do you need him to let you know where he is throughout the day? Do you need a GPS on his phone that you can monitor? Do you need proof that he's established No Contact with the OW? This isn't about setting up a police state, it IS about creating an atmosphere in which you begin to feel safe and in which you begin to rebuild trust.
Let's say it again: He's asking you to forgive him for lying to you, for being deceptive, for jeopardizing everything that matters to you and for jeopardizing your health.
If the price he has to pay is to feel like an errant 8-year-old for a few months, strikes me that he's getting off pretty easy.
Infidelity remains one of the most misunderstood issues in our culture. Nobody thinks it will affect them as profoundly as it does. It kicks us hard and leaves us for dead. And while the world blithely goes on with "well, if my husband ever cheated on me blah blah blah" or "maybe they just have an open marriage" or "I think she's a real nag to him", the rest of us are dealing with the real-life consequences of discovering that the one person in the world you thought would always have your back was, in fact, stabbing you in it.
Reasonable? Let's say it again, it's reasonable to expect you not to kill him. Everything else is on the table.
Your heartbreak, your rules.
Separating or Divorcing, Part 3 (Part 2 is FULL)
- Join the Club...and Share Your Story
- Books for the Betrayed
- Share Your Story: Finding Out, Part 4 (3 is full!!...
- Share Your Story: Multiple Affairs PART 2
- Stupid S#*t Cheaters Say
- Just found out? Share your story...
- Finding Out, Part 5 (Please post here. Part 4 is f...
- Feeling Stuck Part 20
- Feeling Stuck? Part 21
- Separating or Divorcing? Page 5
- Sex and intimacy after betrayal
- Share Your Story: Finding Out, Part 5 (4 is full!!...