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Forgiveness: It's Not For Anyone BUT You
By Susie and Otto Collins

Allison has been told by her friends, family and her therapist that she needs to forgive her husband for having an affair over a year ago...especially because she's said that she wants to save her

Allison is choosing to stay in this relationship with Jack, her husband, despite the fact that he cheated.

She is certain that Jack has ended the affair and she is relatively certain that he isn't going to make that mistake again.

But she is having a really difficult time letting go of what happened.

As much as she knows that she needs to forgive Jack so that they can move on and rebuild trust together, she keeps running up against the same wall of resentment, anger and fear.

She doesn't like to admit it, but forgiving Jack seems to her like letting him off too easy for all of the damage he caused.

Whether you have chosen to stay in your relationship after infidelity or to leave it, the subject of forgiveness has probably come up for you when you talk, think or listen to advice about

You might even agree that forgiveness is an essential step to releasing the past and moving on to the life you want...but actually doing it seems impossible.

There could still be too much pain and hurt leftover from the betrayal of your trust.

This resistance that you might feel about forgiving makes perfect sense.

After all, it's not ok to break an agreement such as monogamy or fidelity. The last thing you may want to do is to pretend as if this didn't happen.

Often, when a person finds him or herself resisting forgiving, it's primarily due to the understanding that person has of what it means to forgive.

If you can open up and possibly shift your conception of forgiveness, it may help you to actually do it.

What can forgiveness mean to you?
The first definition of "forgive" in the dictionary is: "to grant pardon for, absolve." This taps into a commonly-held understanding of forgiveness.

When a friend advises Allison to forgive Jack, it feels to her like that friend is asking her to give him a "free pass" or "wipe the
slate clean."

In other words, it seems like forgiving is something that Allison would do FOR Jack and that it would make his cheating okay.

A secondary definition, however, creates a different feel. That same dictionary also defines "forgive" as "to cease to feel resentment against."

According to this understanding, your forgiving does not involve judging the action acceptable or unacceptable; instead, it means that you are no longer carrying around the resentment, anger and upset that you may have initially felt.

This alternative meaning of forgiveness is something that you do for nobody else but for you.

After all, YOU are the one who suffers the most by holding onto the blame and hurt.

When you forgive, it is YOU who can benefit the most.

And what does this mean for your relationship?
While this alternative understanding of forgiveness is appealing to Allison, she feels a little selfish when she considers it.

After all, she does want to be in this marriage with Jack-- shouldn't she be more focused in on him and their marriage?

When you forgive the affair (or other betrayal of trust) because you are choosing to stop carrying around the heavy weight of anger and resentment, you are literally freeing yourself.

You are freeing yourself to live more fully in the present moment. 

This means that you can more fully engage with what's going on right now with your partner.

You are freeing yourself to be clearer about what you want.

This means that you can make requests and create agreements that will address those disconnecting habits that have driven a wedge between the two of you.

You are also freeing yourself to be more open.

This means that you can acknowledge the positive changes that your partner and you have made-- individually and as a couple.

You can find more reasons to appreciate what's going right in your relationship and move closer to your mate in the process of forgiving.



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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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