I am 50 years old and I am guilty of having cheated on my wife. My problem now is how to help her to move on and forget the past. She said she has forgiven me, but has she forgotten? She told me that no matter how hard she tries there are events in our daily life that keep on reminding her and keeping her memory of my cheating alive.
Even reading everyday newspapers reminds her of my betrayal; much more seeing me everyday. She even tried to take her life to get rid of the memory, and wishes she could have amnesia just to forget the past.
I got hurt when she told me that her reason for staying in the relationship is the children. When I got sick, she took care of me but with a cold shoulder. I don’t feel any love from her. She’s doing it not as my wife, but as a good Christian helping someone in need of help.
I am deeply hurt—she’s no longer the loving wife I used to know. How can I help my wife move on and forget? How can I bring back her trust? Can’t she really forget?
What was it that Mahatma Gandhi said about guilt—“…that the human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience…?” And you’re asking how you can help your wife forget your betrayal of her? You mean—besides you dying?
You didn’t clarify when exactly this betrayal took place. If it only happened recently and there hasn’t been time enough to wash away the pain, it’s par for the course to have this lingering hurt in her gut, besides being solidly etched at the back of her mind. This, you concluded, is even aided by daily newspaper accounts of betrayals.
And why, pray tell, should you feel hurt by what you perceive as her coldness to you during your illness, when she already consented to nurse you back to health? Did you expect kisses and hugs from her? Why didn’t you ask for hospital confinement then?
You have some gall to expect warmth when she could have stuck a knife in your heart when you cheated on her! She could probably have even gone scot-free citing that legal loophole called “crime of passion!” Shouldn’t you instead be thanking the heavens for her valuable “good Christian” virtue?
Don’t hurl that guilt you’re drenched in at your suffering wife—and inflict a new round of blame-game on her. Be the grateful husband for a change and appreciate the acts of kindness she is laying down at your feet, however “coldly,” as you put it. She is doing her darndest to recover from the pain you’ve inflicted on her. She is most likely still tottering—bravely taking one little step at a time—to get on the road to normalcy.
You want change? Then start the change yourself! Allow her enough room to maneuver and fully believe that you’ve really changed back to that fellow she fell in love with centuries ago.
Be man enough to suffer a while! You’ve been the creep—and that takes a lifetime to forget.