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  1. #1

    The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    I have been dealing, tangentially, with a peculiar problem lately. Because all of my close friends and family are dealing with the same problem, I have decided to post it here, tangentially again, for the collective TAT wisdom to tackle it. Despite the frequent and verifiable streaks of lunacy that rampage our pages, I have found wisdom visits us with frequency (although it is not a permanent fixture).
    The question is: how do you forgive infidelity? How do you make amends for what has been done? This is not an easy to let pass offense (and I see it as an offense). And at the same time, how do you expect compensation and sincere repentance? A vow to never do it again, to me, does not cut it; it was what you were supposed to do in the first place. Compensation? What do you do? "Ok, you had your flirt, so I get a monopoly card to have an affair of my own". It seems very destructive, if seen that way.
    How do you forgive that (because to me there is no way you could forget)?

  2. #2

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Personally, infedility would be a dealbreaker for me.
    I don't deny myself bread. I have bread every day.

  3. #3

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    I have been dealing, tangentially, with a peculiar problem lately. Because all of my close friends and family are dealing with the same problem, I have decided to post it here, tangentially again, for the collective TAT wisdom to tackle it. Despite the frequent and verifiable streaks of lunacy that rampage our pages, I have found wisdom visits us with frequency (although it is not a permanent fixture).
    The question is: how do you forgive infidelity? How do you make amends for what has been done? This is not an easy to let pass offense (and I see it as an offense). And at the same time, how do you expect compensation and sincere repentance? A vow to never do it again, to me, does not cut it; it was what you were supposed to do in the first place. Compensation? What do you do? "Ok, you had your flirt, so I get a monopoly card to have an affair of my own". It seems very destructive, if seen that way.
    How do you forgive that (because to me there is no way you could forget)?
    Benjamin Franklin said:
    "Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never well mended."

    I think that trust within a couple is the same. One can put the pieces back together, but the cracks will always be there. How can you really trust the other again? How do you even know that they are truly sorry?

    I think wouldn't be able to live in peace.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  4. #4

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    I'm assuming these are long standing relationships. Anything less then a year and I'd call it an automatic dealbreaker. If you want to work through it... I guess my vote is seeing a couple's counselor who can help the two of you find out what kind of feelings and behaviors lead to the infidelity, and what needs to be done to prevent that from happening again and to rebuild the broken trust.

    If the other party isn't completely willing to jump through all the hoops, (and even if he/she is) then I would wonder if it might be self-destructive to continue with the relationship.

  5. #5
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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Forgiveness is possible. At least I believe so. But you never forget it. Nor should you. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." That probably sounds like trust has flown out the window. But I don't think so. To me, it means that you can trust someone, but at the same time, you have a responsibility to yourself to be more aware of what's happening in the relationship. It's basic self-protection, and both parties in a relationship should consider this philosophy regardless of whether infidelity has been an issue or not.

    But when you've been there, the hardest part is coming to the realization that the infidelity wasn't your fault, that the fact it happened does not mean that you are deficient in some way, and that it's not a problem you can fix. (Of course, these aren't true of all situations. Some people who get cheated on are genuine snakes.) Instead, a relationship challenge like infidelity actually harbors the potential to help one become significantly more self-aware, self-confident, and self-dependent--if you're willing to do the hard work and use the resources available to you to get there. Unfortunately, a lot of people get "stuck" in pity party mode or the blame mode--which is totally understandable--but negates forgiveness, healing, and future personal/relationship growth.

  6. #6

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Forgiveness is possible. At least I believe so. But you never forget it. Nor should you. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." That probably sounds like trust has flown out the window. But I don't think so. To me, it means that you can trust someone, but at the same time, you have a responsibility to yourself to be more aware of what's happening in the relationship. It's basic self-protection, and both parties in a relationship should consider this philosophy regardless of whether infidelity has been an issue or not.
    .
    But this is a stressing way of life. So if you don't go to the supermarket with her you'll be asking yourself is she really there? Your self-protection would lead me to paranoia.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Drop-shot View Post
    But this is a stressing way of life. So if you don't go to the supermarket with her you'll be asking yourself is she really there? Your self-protection would lead me to paranoia.
    Nah. It just means to be aware. A little bit of self-preservation is good. But if it gets out of hand, or become paranoia or a compulsion, then no, that's definitely not healthy.

  8. #8

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    This may be a bit simplistic, but I believe the person cheated upon, if he/she has made the decision to stay, has to make up in his/her own mind to let it go. You're right - amends cannot be made. Vows have already been broken. The cheater has asked forgiveness, and the cheated upon has to decide whether or not to forgive. Once that decision is made, he/she has to stick to it and not use it as a weapon EVER. If the cheated upon does not believe he/she can do that, then I don't think it will work.

    That said, I don't think the cheated upon should walk around with blinders on, but he/she cannot be paranoid and question everything. You have to be reasonable but smart. Forgiveness is a tricky thing, and I believe what I said above is true no matter the circumstances to be forgiven.

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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TennisAnyone74 View Post
    This may be a bit simplistic, but I believe the person cheated upon, if he/she has made the decision to stay, has to make up in his/her own mind to let it go. You're right - amends cannot be made. Vows have already been broken. The cheater has asked forgiveness, and the cheated upon has to decide whether or not to forgive. Once that decision is made, he/she has to stick to it and not use it as a weapon EVER. If the cheated upon does not believe he/she can do that, then I don't think it will work.

    That said, I don't think the cheated upon should walk around with blinders on, but he/she cannot be paranoid and question everything. You have to be reasonable but smart. Forgiveness is a tricky thing, and I believe what I said above is true no matter the circumstances to be forgiven.

    TA
    That's what I meant. Thanks for saying it in 7 words.

  10. #10
    Grand Slam Champion owendonovan's Avatar
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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Maybe you need to redefine your relationship.
    Open wide.

  11. #11

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    First of all, I would sincerely hope that no one here would tell anyone else what to do in such a situation. This is far too complex a situation for anyone to tell anyone else what to do. All we can share is our own experience and feelings, IMO.

    And I'll be blunt about a few things here. First of all, I think just about all of us at least very deep down have faced serious temptations. I know that I have. I've said it before- and maybe because I had a past with some, ahem variety- but, monogamy sometimes is a b**ch. And it's damned tough after 15 years.

    I also feel that a lot of people lie about all of this- including some who don't like about much of anything else, as far as I can tell. I've just had too many friends 'fess up with me about all of this (while acting pretty convincingly as if they were fully monagomous in all other areas of their lives)- and, back in the day at least, enough "monogamous" and married men hit on me- that I feel that, at least, many, many men "stray." Fact of life- whether you want to believe this or not.

    I've been around the block enough that I used to "joke" with friends, if you want to be sure about monogamy, you'd best become a lesbian. (Albeit, that doesn't work anymore, either.)

    In other words, concerning sex and sexuality, I stand by that there is a lot of lies and hypocrisy that go on.

    I should also state that I didn't suspect my past men of cheating on me- but, hell, the other relationships generally didn't last longer than 6 months at best- so, it ain't so tough to not cheat for such a short period of time.

    As God as my witness, so far, I have not cheated. To my knowledge, my man has not. But, do I know for certain? No. I don't have him under lock and key 24/7.

    For me ONLY- it would depend on the infidelity. For some, they feel that you're not even supposed to look at anyone else and/or have fantasies. In this case- then I would count as a "cheater." Our version of monogamy= OK to look, not to touch.

    After being with my man for 15 years, and having him be my heart and my dearest friend and my soulmate- would I leave him for a one night stand- or, horrors- two? No. (At least I sure as hell hope I wouldn't. ) (And, BTW, do I advertise this with him? HELL no- I'm not a glutton for punishment. He ain't gonna be told about this thread and this post anytime soon.) It took me awhile in my single days to get that sex most definitely does not always really mean intimacy.

    And, whatever I'd have to go through and we'd have to go through would be between him and me. I will go so far as to say that everyone's s**t stinks, and really stinks, in a relationship. One way I have of getting over any hurt is to be honest about my own crap. Which I have a lot more control over fixing. I feel extremely lucky to be with John- and, I can only wish for more folks to have genuine humility, and true knowledge of their own flaws. In any case, we have talked about how we would handle infidelity, and have our own rules, and I have to respect him and us enough to leave the rest of this private.

    I don't mean to suggest BTW that all of this wouldn't hurt like hell. But, I'd deal.

    Were the infidelity to involve intimacy, and for sure falling in love with someone else, THEN the 15 years for sure goes out the window. I'd be done. And would go through absolute hell- but, that would for sure be my line in the sand.

    I also think it's worth factoring in whatever else may be wrong in the relationship. My man doesn't abuse me in any way, doesn't yell, does a ton of nice things. However, if he fell short in other crucial areas- maybe his screwing around once or twice would push me over the edge more?

    I also want to share that, over-all, at my very best (which, granted, doesn't EXACTLY happen on a 24/7 basis), I don't feel that I'm in any kind of place where I feel that I have the right to "forgive" anyone. When I've been hurt by loved ones, as some may very well have seen on these pages, I rant, rave, snarl, cry, all of it. If a relationship is just too hurtful and/or toxic, and most especially if my sense of well being is at jeopardy, I ultimately have to walk away- which, thank God, hasn't happened all THAT often. 'Cause when I fully love someone, I love them completely- so, I would never walk away lightly. John sure as hell would have to f**k up pretty bad to get me to walk.

    AND let me add that, for all I know, in an actual situation, I'd find John screwing around with someone and dump his ass immediately. If I do so, please feel free to call me a hypocrite. I've learned that I can surprise myself in real situations- so, hypotheticals only get you so far. You don't TRULY know how you'll react in a situation until you're there. Life just gets messy sometimes.

    So, the way my spiritual beliefs go, I do not feel that any of us have the right, in the deepest sense, to "forgive" anyone- that's God's business for me. (I hope that makes sense?) All I can do is figure out how and if I can get through any pain and hurt that comes my way, to choose to remain in a relationship or not. (I'm nowhere near as advanced as what I call God.)

    Ultimately, ponchi, my thoughts and prayers go with you and this situation. And, THAT is perhaps what my post boils down to- or SHOULD boil down to. I truly hope that you can take whatever is useful for you with all of our blabbings, dump whatever doesn't work, and make any decisions that are right and best for you- and the same for your family and friends. For me, this has gotta be each person's call.

    So, I just wish you and your loved ones the very best during what must be a very trying time, ponchi.
    Last edited by nelslus; 04-29-2010 at 10:09 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Trust, but verify.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  13. #13
    Grand Slam Champion missinandre's Avatar
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    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Oh Ponchi! Infidelity is a hard thing to deal with. I told my husband before we got married .....there were only two things I couldn't live with. One is....if he cheated. The other was if he hit me.

    But...I've been married for 15 years and I'm finding there are harder things to deal with. I was re-evaluating this situation with my sister, who is newly married. It just kind of boils down to the way you feel inside. And right now, at this point in my marriage, I'd have to say.....if my husband fell in love with someone he was sleeping with...it's definitely bye bye. If he ...slipped and slept with a woman or had a one night stand....I don't know that I'd leave 15 years of marriage for that.

    For sure there would be things to work through. As a christian...the forgiveness would have to be heartfelt. Like TA said....you'd NEVER be able to use it as a weapon, never. And you'd never be able to ever humiliate him or throw it back in his face. The forgiveness would have to be complete and you can't use it for an excuse for your own bad behavior later on. And then.....like everything else, you just have to take it one day at a time.

    I guess....each person and each situation is unique in a way and so...each situation should be looked at .....in itself, not as a statistic. Always be sure of what is in your heart. Do you WANT to forgive/ be forgiven? CAN you forgive? Do you WANT / desire the relationship?

    Cheating hurts everyone. I'm sorry you have to deal with this Ponchi
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  14. #14

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    As I said, wisdom is no stranger to our pages.
    First, thanks for all the good wishes, but I am happy to report that there is no infidelity in my household. The GF and I are doing fine, which is the reason I called it “the not so hypothetical question”. It is not affecting me directly, only tangentially. I will leave the details there because, although we are covered with considerable anonymity, I don’t think the person affected would like the story to be in TAT.
    What I learned about faithfulness was taught to me long time ago. This story I can share.
    The woman I consider my FIRST GF was a wonderful girl. We shared a lot, but as the saying goes, I was young. Therefore, I had not made it past my enormous reserves of stupidity. I met another very wonderful girl, and I managed to turn everything a mess.
    My “official” GF found out, and we had a very simple, quick talk. I had done the one thing she was not going to let go easily. After a very civilized discussion, she gave me one of the best lessons in my life: It was over.
    To paraphrase largely, it went something like this: If she were to forgive me, how would I learn? At my age, how would I learn not to do anything like that again if she were to forgive me? Because the truth would be that I would have cheated on her AND GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT. No pain, therefore nothing to learn. I lost her, and she, rightly so, walked away from my life.
    To top THAT lesson, the other girl also left me. Now, my official GF was/is a wonderful woman (more on that to come). But this other girl, when I look back at my life, is perhaps the big one that got away. When I think of her, the happiness I felt with her made me dizzy. So, instead of being honest and break up with my GF BEFORE starting to go out with this other girl, I gambled and thought I could get away with it. I lost.
    Years later I ran into my GF. Older now, we went to a bar and acted out Paul Simon’s “Still crazy after all these years”. Had a great time, talked about our lives. In one of the few moments in my life of which I can be proud, I thanked her for the lesson. She was regal in her acceptance of my gratitude. We had a wonderful evening, and bumped into each other only once more. We are both doing fine.
    Thinking about infidelity, I have reached the conclusion that the real crime in such a scenario is the tacit, unspoken but unmistakable following statement: “You are not enough”. When a person cheats on you, that is what they are saying. “You are not enough”. Our sage Nelslus touched on the subject of temptation; indeed, it is out there, and for those that do not feel it, it is easy. The whole point of being faithful is to withstand the temptations.
    There is no glory to being true if you are never tested.

  15. #15

    Re: The perhaps not so hypothetical question thread

    Wow, ponchi. What a story. Good for your GF and good for you in understanding what a gift she gave you. And the simplicity of "You are not enough" gets to the heart of the matter in a way that's hard to miss.

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