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mormonmomma

Forgiving myself

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Hello, I am new here. I've read a few threads here and feel like people here are mostly kind and non judgemental, which is what I need. 

My husband and I have been married 19 years. In the beginning it was a fairy tale romance like I'm sure so many are at first. But our marraige over the course of 15 years or so, slowly began to deteriorate. A big theme was I felt a lack of affection from him, and he thought I nagged too much.

But I wasn't aware of any major problems, until one day I found out he was involved in an emotional affair with a family friend, from church no less. I pretty much lost it. I was also 5 months pregnant which didn't help the raw emotions. My husband wasn't very apologetic for a while, insisting he never touched her, so technically he didn't do anything wrong.  I mean, he would sometimes aplogize, but my anger probably hindered a super sincere apology.  And there was some occasional communication between them for a while after which was like ripping a scab off over and over. It drove a huge wedge between us. He would tell me he didn't mean to fall in love with her, it just happened, but it was over and I needed to get over it.  Which made me furious beyond words. I was angry for several months but eventually accepted it, that it was behind us. FF a year and he was still telling me he wasn't sure of his feelings for me anymore since he realized with her what it was like to feel 'in love' again. I really wanted to punch him but mostly I got angry or cried. I had a new baby and hormones, etc... it sucked. But I put my energy into my little newborn. 

Well, as this drug on, I became more miserable. I lost all my baby weight and then some because I couldn't eat. I got very thin, to the point people went from compliments to concern. He told me because of how I treated him after his EA, he didn't know if he could love me again. I admit I was angry. I lashed out more than once. I wish I could've handled it better. 

Then I met with my life insurance agent one day. And for some reason I started telling him what was going on. I figured, not someone in my circle, but maybe I could finally have a listening ear. Turns out things weren't so great with his wife either which he readily admitted. Next thing I know we are texting and he was moving fast, telling me how beautiful I was, yadayadayada. I know. I should've known. I should've stopped. But the attention felt like a cold drink of water and I felt powerless to stop. Long story short, I didn't stop till it was too late. We didn't have intercourse, but we didn't stop very short of it either. It went on for a few months before I pulled my head out of my, you know. Then life sucked worse than before. 

I went to my bishop, told my husband, and my world got a whole lot darker.  I felt good ending things and coming clean. But obviously I was looking for love in the wrong places and it was awful telling my husband what I did. I felt like the scum of the earth.  Still struggling with those feelings of worthlessness and forgiving myself. I learned  the hard way how painful breaking the commandments is and would rather die than do something so stupid again. And, its scary how easily it happened because I am so 'not that kinda girl', only I was for a few months. 

Now, 2 years later, he's decided he wants to leave. He thought he could make it work for a while there, but had decided he needs to move on and, I guess like he says, he is fully justified since I committed adultery and he did not. 

I know I have no one to blame but myself, but I'm also pretty sure I never would have got into that mess if he hadn't gotten involved with someone else and told me he didn't love me anymore, etc etc. My concern is that maybe he's right and it is all my fault...i just don't know how anyone can love me again after what I did and that scares me immensely. So, I was hoping for some thoughts and perspective here.  How do you forgive yourself when you see the worst in yourself? I've never made any big mistakes in my life, then I go and do that. There aren't words for how awful I feel about it. But at the same time, I also have to figure out how to pick up and move on. And somehow I have to live wth what I did and still love myself. I just don't know how. Any one else here had to forgive themselves of something so major and how did you do it? 

Edited by mormonmomma

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The most important part of your whole post is that you went to the bishop and your husband.  I interpret this to mean you repented.

When you repent - really repent - the atonement washes your sins away, to the point that whatever sin you committed is no longer a part of you.  Sure, you made a big mistake and messed up, but by repenting, if you truly repented and truly applied the Savior's atonement to your life, then the adultery is no longer a part of who you are.  You really are not "that kind of girl", not anymore.  You are someone different.

The scriptures are full of examples of absolutely vile sinners who repented and became great men.  Alma, Alma the Younger, the Sons of Mosiah, Zeezrom, and Paul all come to mind.  They used the atonement properly, and it transformed them so fully it was like they began anew.  

A wise man once illustrated this to me like this: let's say someone did drugs, and then truly repented.  If they were later asked whether they had ever done drugs before, they could honestly answer "no" - the atonement is that effective.  I know my friend was saying this to try to illustrate a point, but I certainly think that it is something that is worth giving some thought to, the awesome power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

If you have truly repented and applied the atonement, you do not need to feel worthless.  You are no longer the same person as the person who committed adultery.

As far as ever being loved again?  I would advise to take things one step at a time.  I believe, in any situation we find ourselves in, even a situation where a spouse is leaving us due to some past sin, there is a right way to react, something the Lord wants us to do.  Perhaps it is staying in the Church, enduring, etc.  The Lord also gives us blessings at such times, particularly if we are trying to choose that right way.  It may seem to you right now, at this moment, that you will never be loved again, that this is the end.  However, even though things may look bad right now, if you keep on trying to choose the right way, who knows where things will lead and what future blessings the Lord will bless you with, including a second chance at being loved?  Have faith, have hope, and let the atonement work in your life, and I promise things will get better.

 

Edited by DoctorLemon

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10 hours ago, mormonmomma said:

I know I have no one to blame but myself, but I'm also pretty sure I never would have got into that mess if he hadn't gotten involved with someone else and told me he didn't love me anymore, etc etc. My concern is that maybe he's right and it is all my fault...i just don't know how anyone can love me again after what I did and that scares me immensely. So, I was hoping for some thoughts and perspective here.  How do you forgive yourself when you see the worst in yourself? I've never made any big mistakes in my life, then I go and do that. There aren't words for how awful I feel about it. But at the same time, I also have to figure out how to pick up and move on. And somehow I have to live wth what I did and still love myself. I just don't know how. Any one else here had to forgive themselves of something so major and how did you do it? 

The fact that you have not forgiven yourself tells me that you are not done with the repentance process. This is often the last and most difficult step for people to take when they have to repent of major sin.  The Lord loves you and Christ has paid the price for your sins.  The hard part is getting out of our own way and letting the Atonement work for us. If you hold on to this you will be hindering your spiritual progression.

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This is an outside-LDS story, but it makes the point well. A man serving time on TX death-row, yes for murder, is released, after serving many years. Having no where to go, he turns to the pastor who mentored him, showing up at the church door. The pastor took him in, actually hired him to work at the church, and continued mentoring him. Eventually, the man felt he had the call of God to ministry, and after about five-years of service and study, the pastor encouraged him to start a new church. He built the church up into the 1000s, and then handed off,  moved to Nashville, TN, and built up another--that he continues to pastor. This man is now well into his 60s, and his crime is 40+ years behind him. To this day, there is a website up that names and shames him, maintained by relatives of the one he killed. The site asks who this man thinks he is telling people about God when he killed their beloved. What if he had given in to false guilt and shame? What if he had not forgiven himself, as the LORD forgave him? How many souls would not have heard, received, and been strengthened in Heavenly Father's grace? I suppose he is like the Apostle Paul, who considered himself the chief of sinners, and yet was one of Jesus' greatest advocates. So, forgive yourself, so you are freed and equipped to serve.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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Thanks DoctorLemon. I appreciate the encouragement and scripture reminders. 

Yes, I agree omegaseamaster. The hard part is letting it go when my husband had so much anger towards me every day. Just when I start to feel better he will remind me again how awful whay I did was. Then I'm right back where I started... so it is hard. 

Edited by mormonmomma

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10 hours ago, mormonmomma said:

How do you forgive yourself when you see the worst in yourself?

By acknowledging that it's not me who does the forgiving: it's Christ.  Christ's knows the absolute worse in me (even more than I do), and for some seemingly crazy reason He but still loves me.  He is the all knowing Son of God -- my Lord and Savior.  If He holds up my chin and tell me "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more", then I have no choice but to accept my King's judgement and command.  

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12 hours ago, mormonmomma said:

I know I have no one to blame but myself, but I'm also pretty sure I never would have got into that mess if he hadn't gotten involved with someone else and told me he didn't love me anymore, etc etc. My concern is that maybe he's right and it is all my fault...i just don't know how anyone can love me again after what I did and that scares me immensely. So, I was hoping for some thoughts and perspective here.  How do you forgive yourself when you see the worst in yourself? I've never made any big mistakes in my life, then I go and do that. There aren't words for how awful I feel about it. But at the same time, I also have to figure out how to pick up and move on. And somehow I have to live wth what I did and still love myself. I just don't know how. Any one else here had to forgive themselves of something so major and how did you do it? 

You are analyzing.  MY OPINION is that part of the problem is that you are still blaming HIM for your actions.  STOP THAT.  YOU MADE the choices you did.  What he did was wrong.  However, justifying what YOU DID because he did something wrong is in NO WAY repenting for your actions.  You can be clear with the church, but if you really want to clear things out with yourself, stop blaming him for the actions that YOU CHOSE.  It sounds like you are still trying to make excuses and justify your actions.  My OPINION is that you need to stop blaming your husband for this.  Instead, you need to accept yourself and what you did.

There is no doubt that what your husband did is wrong.  It is a terrible choice and you should be commended for dealing with that.  It sounds as if he has or had a long road of repentance as well.  He acted upon his free agency and chose poorly. 

Luckily, he can repent.  The Lord knows that each of us makes mistakes and sins in this life.  His mercy is for all of us, and in many instances will simply forgive us when we ask to be forgiven.  In this it is harder for us and others to forgive than the Lord.  If your husband was truly sorry for what he did, it is possible the Lord forgave him very quickly.  On the otherhand, others may NOT have forgiven him as quickly as the Lord did.

This same idea applies to you.  The Lord can forgive you very quickly, and it is possible that he already has.

However, what it seems we lack at times is acceptance.  Instead of blaming your husband or not forgiving him, MOVE PAST THAT.  THEN...look at your own sin.  This is independent of your husband, it was something that you chose to do.  YOU MUST ACCEPT yourself and what you have done.  This may make you feel terrible.  OWN UP TO YOUR MISTAKE.  Realize that this choice was YOURS that you made, of your own free agency.  However, it is PART of you, and as such, is something that you need to accept as part of your past.  IT IS PART OF YOUR PAST but DOES NOT NEED TO DEFINE YOU.  It is something you can accept that you did in the past, and is part of your history, but is NOT part of what is going to determine how you act today.  Instead, you have changed and in changing, this has made you STRONGER.

Once you accept yourself, Accept the LORD.  As I said, the Lord can forgive very easily and very quickly.  Sometimes, we do not accept his forgiveness as easily or as quickly.  In this, it is NOT because we are not forgiven, but because we cannot believe he could be that forgiving.  Instead of rejecting his forgiveness...ACCEPT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART.  Once you are temple worthy again, KNOW that the LORD accepts you, that you are forgiven and that he LOVES YOU TREMENDOUSLY.  YOU NEED TO ACCEPT HIS LOVE.  In this, you can see yourself as being CLEAN again.  Your robes are washed clean and pure, and YOU are acceptable before the LORD.

To understand how easily the Lord forgives, read the New Testament.  In it are stories of those who have committed terrible sins, but are forgiven very quickly in the scriptures.  Pray about these stories of his love, to better realize that you are also just as easily forgiven by the Lord.  Then also pray that you can ACCEPT this love and forgiveness.

In this, you need to realize that YOU ARE LOVED.  You need to say, even out loud...I ACCEPT the Lord's forgiveness.  I accept his love.  I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, and that he loves me personally.  I accept his atonement into my life, and know that through this I can be saved in his kingdom above.

You have a loving Savior who wants you to accept his love and his forgiveness.  If you cannot accept it now, pray that you can, and keep on trying to stay strong in the faith.

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My wife is having an emotional affair with someone right now.  It has torn my heart in half.  She believes this other guy to be her Twin Flame.  And she no longer believes in the Gospel.

Our relationship had grown cold over the years.  We both let it happen.  And this is the result.  That was about a month ago that I found out.  She has not had any chat time with the guy since then, but has posted a couple of things to his face book account.  She says she still loves me, but the hurt is tremendous.

If she could just let go of this guy, things would be much better, but she still thinks he is her Twin Flame and that is not something easily set aside.   She thinks she is spiritually connected to this other guy.  But she says she wants to stay with me.   There is no way I can live with a third wheel in the marriage.  I am on a journey to improve myself physically, emotionally and spiritually this year.  At the end of the year, I will probably give her the choice, me or him.  I am hoping she will make the decision long before then, because every time she communicates with him, it shreds my heart over and over.  At the end of it, I'll either be a better person with a renewed love and friendship with my wife, or I will be a better person, but with a broken heart.  either way, I'll be a better person.

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@Lost Boy It's clearly wrong for your spouse to have a "twin flame." However, so long as she is not engaging in intimate talk, or betraying confidences between you and her, the better focus might be to end the coldness that has developed in your relationship. Without being abrupt, or dramatically out of character, start rekindling the romance. She says she loves you, and you wonder, because of the other person. Find ways small and big to show her how much you love her--to remind her of what you've had and can regain. And, no, it's not because you "owe her," or because it's your responsibility to prove something. It's just what husbands do. May Heavenly Father grant you encouragement as you labor towards an upward trajectory in your marriage.

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4 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

@Lost Boy It's clearly wrong for your spouse to have a "twin flame." However, so long as she is not engaging in intimate talk, or betraying confidences between you and her, the better focus might be to end the coldness that has developed in your relationship. Without being abrupt, or dramatically out of character, start rekindling the romance. She says she loves you, and you wonder, because of the other person. Find ways small and big to show her how much you love her--to remind her of what you've had and can regain. And, no, it's not because you "owe her," or because it's your responsibility to prove something. It's just what husbands do. May Heavenly Father grant you encouragement as you labor towards an upward trajectory in your marriage.

The whole Twin Flame thing was done behind my back for several months.  This has just torn my heart in two.   But I knew the day I first found out from her that I was half of the problem of the coldness of the relationship.  I spent the entire day formulating a plan to recreate myself.  It is a three point strategy.  1) physical.  I have gotten fat over the years and I am fully committed to getting back into shape.  That has gone well, but will be a long term commitment.   2) emotional.  I have committed to rekindling the romance.  And unfortunately a lot of what I do at this stage does feel a bit inorganic, but I figure I have to start somewhere.  3)  Spiritual.  I've been as flabby spiritually as I am physically.  I am recommitted to bringing myself closer to the Savoir and am taking the steps to make it happen.  

By the end of the Journey, I expect to be a much better person than I am today.  A much better husband and lover than I am today.

I am seeing positive results, but I anticipate some rough, rough waters along the way and just pray that at the end of the journey she and I will be madly in love and the Twin Flame will be kicked to the curb.   As of right now she has had very little correspondence with this person since our first discussion and I have been having positive results on all fronts, but I still have a very heavy heart and no longer sleep peacefully through the night.  

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Everything you are doing, and all that is happening, sounds so positive and right. Perhaps, just hearing that will be of some help. Don't give in to frustration and impatience. You keep going--because your direction is right and true.

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31 minutes ago, Lost Boy said:

I spent the entire day formulating a plan to recreate myself.  It is a three point strategy.  1) physical. 

2) emotional. 

3)  Spiritual.    

Kudos.  This sounds like a good comprehensive plan.  At the end of the day, whatever your wife does, whatever effort you put into the marriage, the only thing you ultimately control is you.  

God bless.

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19 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Kudos.  This sounds like a good comprehensive plan.  At the end of the day, whatever your wife does, whatever effort you put into the marriage, the only thing you ultimately control is you.  

God bless.

This is true.  I am an engineer by trade and am so use to relying on my intellect to solve whatever problem comes my way.  This is so far from that and I am so out of my depth here.  I figured all I can control is me.  And at the end of the day if that is not enough for her, it will break my heart more, but I know things will somehow work out.  I keep getting the same answer in my heart.  "Do what is right and know I the Lord am with thee"  I don't know what it means, but it does give me hope and has brought some peace to my heart.

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@mormonmomma. Hi there! Hugs! Sorry you are going through this!

i was inactive for decades. That’s a lot of sins! When I got back, I was sitting in sacrament service feeling really bad and I felt some tears coming. I heard a still small voice say to me ‘Enough of that! I want people who work, not people who cry’.

Does still feeling bad about the sin, mean that you have not yet repented? UTTER NONSENSE! 

Work on your relationship with God. How about a trip to the temple? If no recommend, how about working on the recommend? We are here for you! Praying for you!

Edited by Sunday21

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On 2/20/2018 at 12:19 AM, mormonmomma said:

I know I have no one to blame but myself, but I'm also pretty sure I never would have got into that mess if he hadn't gotten involved with someone else and told me he didn't love me anymore, etc etc. My concern is that maybe he's right and it is all my fault...i just don't know how anyone can love me again after what I did and that scares me immensely. So, I was hoping for some thoughts and perspective here.  How do you forgive yourself when you see the worst in yourself? I've never made any big mistakes in my life, then I go and do that. There aren't words for how awful I feel about it. But at the same time, I also have to figure out how to pick up and move on. And somehow I have to live wth what I did and still love myself. I just don't know how. Any one else here had to forgive themselves of something so major and how did you do it? 

I'm sorry for both your pain and your husband's.  I hope for both of you it eventually comes to a happy ending.

When you say "I know I have no one to blame but myself, but..." it sets off warning bells in my head.  You seem to understand that your actions were partly a result of the pain you felt, but did you stop to think that perhaps the same is true for what your husband did?  I bet he was in a state of emotional pain and it was a big factor in what he did, same as with you.  You may be thinking that you didn't treat him all that badly, but he may have a different story to tell.  If you didn't understand what he needed to feel happy and loved in your marriage it makes it less likely that  you provided it, and less able to realize his needs were not being met.  Men and women tend to have different needs in a marriage and if they don't communicate really well they can make life miserable for each other without meaning to.  Also, if you are going to put part of the blame on him for what he did, doesn't he get to do the same and put part of blame for his emotional affair on how you treated him? 

Either of you trying to shift blame onto the other is not going to help anyone though.  The only thing that is your fault are your choices,  the choices you made that helped shape your marriage before any of these things happened and the choices you made on how to deal with the marriage you helped create.  He is responsible for his choices in those areas too.  It isn't all your fault and it isn't all his fault either and assigning blame is unproductive.  You need to move forward from where you are and to do that you need to forgive him.  You can't be forgiven fully for what you did unless you fully forgive him.  I hope your experience makes it easier to do that.

In spite of it all, you can reach a point where you love yourself but it it requires you to change.  You need to become a different, better person, somebody who really would never do such a thing.  The person you are, who did it, has to 'die' in a sense and be replaced by the new you and that is a painful process as you are finding out.  That is what repentance and baptism are about, the old you 'dies' and is buried and the new you rises from the 'grave' to walk in a newness of life, free of the stain of sin.  When you become that person, you can love yourself for you are then, not for who you used to be back when you did those things.  Best of all the power of the atonement will take away the pain and shame.  You'll still remember what you did and regret it, but it won't distress you any longer. 

I wrote a series on my blog about applying the principles of repentance to heal a hurting marriage.  While that might not be in the realm of what's possible for you, I think it may help with repairing your relationship with God and with yourself.  It starts at:
http://latterday-marriage.blogspot.com/2017/09/healing-wounds-part-1-where-to-start.html

 

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I agree with those of you that have said I need to be careful about not blaming him for what I did. I should and do take full responsibility for the mistakes I made. And I need to completely shift my thinking to not blaming him at all for my actions. I appreciate that insight and feedback.  

@Lost Boy, I totally feel your pain there, that is what I went through. He continued contact with her even after I found out and each 'innocent interaction' was emotionally devestating to me though he would claim it was nothing and I was overreacting. If I can give advice from experience, I would try to always remain as rational as possible. Do not try to track her, it will only frustrate both of you. I became obsessed with tracking what my husband was doing on his phone, etc and all it served to do was anger us both.  The hard part is when a spouse is saying they don't love you anymore, or they found their 'soulmate' and its not you, we feel needy and want to turn to the one person who should best be able to comfort us, our spouse. But we can't, and that's when it gets really hard. I hope you have more strength than I did to forgive, forget and move past the pain to be the best version of yourself no matter the outcome. And it sounds like you are on the right track: ) And btw, that 'twin flame' and 'soulmate' crap is such a bunch of garbage. It's dopamine, and it wears off when there's dirty dishes and laundry piled up. Not that a marraige can't stay happy, I'm just saying you come back down to earth eventually.  Affair partners turn into lasting marriages less than 3% of the time, for so many obvious reasons. So I wouldn't worry too much about her 'twin flame'. Just be your best self and you'll probably win her back. 

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I’m sorry you’ve gone through so much and I can understand how you must feel and the inner cycle of guilt, shame etc etc. 

There are some amazing books about becoming present and living in the Now. I know it’s not LDS text but I believe there is truth and I see so much of what Christ was trying to teach in these books I read.

“Power of Now” was a starter for me to fund liberation from the past and future. The past has already happened and the future is made up  , only the present is reality. I believe the Lord wants us to live fully in the present. That means accepting where you are right now and loving the person you are right now. It doesn’t mean you can’t aim to shift your Pathway, but you are enough as you are right now  

As others have said, you can only control your actions. No one makes us do anything. Another great resource is the Bold New Mom podcast. Start with episode 3 and 87

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