Can a person forgive too soon?

Fairly soon after I discovered my husband’s affair, I made the decision to forgive him. He’s human, he makes mistakes. So many (both men and women) once discovered simply walk away and don’t look back. So when he said he wanted to stay together and make it work. He said he had ended the affair. He said he was sorry. So I took what he said at face value, decided to be the bigger person and offered forgiveness for past transgressions and tried to move forward positively.

Squarely thinking we would be working together at this reconciliation. It seemed like it was working, for a while. But everything just started not to feel right. I didn’t feel better, everything seemed to trigger me, and I was always feeling like shit. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to share those feelings with him. I was always told I’m over thinking it, or just get over it already. I thought maybe it was too soon to have forgiven him? But I did. I couldn’t just take it back. My thinking about it was I need us to be on the same page about this working together to put it behind us. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I thought it was the right thing to do. And in many ways I still do.

I forgave him also for myself. I thought if I just let it go, it would fade away, not bother me and I didn’t want to dwell on it. If he had been genuinely remorseful I think it could of worked. But here’s the thing:

it’s difficult to be in a place of forgiveness without taking enough time to process your feelings and emotions about all of it, even when they are remorseful. Especially when you don’t have all the information needed to understand the severity of it all. If husband had exhibited any of the behaviors of a truly remorseful spouse, and meant what he was telling me I think early forgiveness could of worked. We could of moved forward in a healthy way.

However being married to a narcissist, I should have realized that much of the conventional wisdom on healing and reconciliation after affairs, doesn’t really work/apply for us. As a matter of fact, most advice to spouses of a narcissist says to run as fast as humanly possible to get away from the harm that these people cause.

Despite the fact that a year has passed since d-day, I felt we were slipping further apart. All our interactions seem superficial and forced on his part (sometimes on mine too) and everyday I was feeling more and more resentment because I felt something was missing from this picture.

What was/is missing? A true heartfelt apology that shows his remorse. Not the excuses, and blaming and justifying type of (non)- apology that I received. But an apology that showed his understanding of the severity of the situation and what it has done to me. An apology that was focused on how his choices had caused me severe trauma and how he would help the healing of wounds inflicted by him. But that’s not what I got, no what I got was basically a non-apology camoflaouged as one. But I didn’t recognize it at the time.

I wish that I had been able to record those very few discussions that we DID have about the affair. That way I could go back and listen to what he actually said (now that my head is clearer). Because I now feel like there never was an apology just excuses and blaming. I understand no one likes to be confronted about mistakes they have made and many times they are upset and feel forced into apologizing. So instead they twist their apology to reflect their lack of responsibility. They will say things that sound like:

I’m sorry you feel that…

I’m sorry but…

I was just trying to help…

If I hurt you, I’m sorry…

If you think…

If I made a mistake…

Fill in any of the blanks and you’ll see an attempt to apologize without it really being their fault. A great apology includes an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY, and when it’s lacking, what they imply is they think they did nothing wrong. In my opinion no apology would have been better than his half-ass, piss poor excuse for an apology that he gave me.

“A cheater who refuses to acknowledge and address their failings is a cheater who expects you to accept them as the person they were on the day they decided to have the affair” Wayfarer

I realized at the moment I read this quote that he never apologized because he doesn’t feel that he has done anything wrong. Nope, not him true entitlement. He will never apologize to me. He doesn’t think he was wrong one single bit. He will take years of a not so great marriage and twist the story to fit his needs. He has re-written our history to fit his behavior, this has become his reality. Twisted as it may be it is now “his truth”.

In my situation by forgiving him too quickly several things happened: I had not worked through any of my emotions and feelings regarding his affair. I guess I was so glad that he hadn’t just walked out the door and never returned giving us a chance to make it through this. I thought it was his way of showing me he still wanted to try so I felt that I should show my willingness to work things out by offering forgiveness. I thought I had established a couple of boundaries and made sure I heard what he was saying about what I wasn’t giving that he needed. Believing he would be doing the same for me. And for a while it seemed like it was working.

And secondly, there really were no consequences for him. Not that him being a narcissist it would of really made a difference. I thought asking him to end the affair, him doing (saying) that he did was a consequence. It should be a given not thought of as a consequence. But you know I really wasn’t thinking clearly those first few weeks. Getting through a day without crying and a new discovery took everything I had. Oh that and trying to be a better wife. I thought that’s what he wanted. That’s what I heard when we had talked. Those few times that I was allowed to bring the subject up.

I would initiate a discussion about our circumstances (which he never wanted to do, but did so a couple of times reluctantly) and I would get these non-apologies, twisted blaming and projecting his bad behaviors back to me. Don’t get me wrong I’m no angel, I have done some pretty crappy things in this relationship as well (not infidelity). He is the one that is the emotional abuser but still cannot, will not, refuses to see that!! But I always have owned my mistakes, took responsibility for my actions or in-actions. Him, Hell I can’t think of a time that he didn’t think that I was responsible every thing wrong in our relationship. It is a classic example of projecting everything that he sees as wrong in our marriage as only coming from me. Unable to see any wrong doing on his part WHATSOEVER!!

So while I tried to forgive him I realize now I am holding a grudge against him. He has inflicted emotional abuse on me for a very long time and this affair is just coup d’grau for his sick little mind. Yes his perfectly charming, twisted emotional abuse, it eats you alive. I have zero trust in him. I know that he doesn’t follow through on things he says to me, even though the outcome is detrimental to him as well. (Like refinancing the house because we have a terrible interest rate, he just refuses to make it happen.) Doesn’t he realize that when he doesn’t keep his promises he is telling me he simply doesn’t care. I mean if he can’t or won’t change his mind why is being honest about it so bad.

Yes if he is using this past year as a way to make me leave this marriage (because he is a coward and won’t do it himself) then I’ll have to say he is doing a fine job of it. Because like the song by Lifehouse says:

Halfway Gone
I’m halfway gone

You were always hard to hold
So letting go aint easy
I’m hanging on you’re growing cold
While my mind is leaving

Talk, talk is cheap
Give me your word you can keep
‘Cause I’m halfway gone and I’m on my way
And I’m feeling, feelin, feelin this way
‘Cause your halfway in but don’t take too long
‘Cause I’m halfway gone, halfway gone

Do I know what I am going to do yet? No not yet, but I have hired the private investigator and before too long the truth will be set free. Then I have what I need to confront him, even though I don’t think it will make a difference. His eyes are shut, and I don’t think he wants to open them. Too bad he’s gonna loose a DAMN GOOD WOMAN!!


2 thoughts on “Can a person forgive too soon?

  1. Lisa says:

    You are a damn good woman and don’t ever forget that. It takes a lot more courage to stay and try to forgive than it does to walk away. Yet sometimes we have to realize that we will never be able to help them, never be “enough” for them. Both of us have devoted much of our life to men who really are not capable of loving us back.
    His apologies are always the same “I’m sorry “but” you didn’t want me and I got a little on the side”. I can’t get through to him that this is more like a slap in the face than an apology. He has fabricated lies about our marriage, simply to justify what he has done.
    I can remember, years ago, that I would tell him “Nothing ever seems to be quite enough for you, nothing makes you happy”.
    At that time I was still clueless about the narcissist hiding in him.
    Everything, and I do mean everything, that has ever gone wrong in his life, he has somehow blamed on me..
    It is a little past 1 year from D-day but I am feeling much like you describe.
    It’s all very confusing but I think it’s time for me to walk away and focus on healing myself. That is my struggle now. Either way I am proud to say that I have given this marriage all I have to give but I now realize that it was all in vain. It was never and never will be “enough” for him.
    I hate that you have gone through all of this. Please know that I appreciate your bravery and your blog. Sometimes it helps just to know that I’m not the only one married to an emotionally abusive cheater. I find it impossible to share my story with even my best friend. She knows he cheated but thats about all.


    • chely5150 says:

      Oh Lisa I’m so sorry that you have been through an experience much like mine. I understand your pain due to the confusion they purposely bring into our lives. Prior to my discovery of his affair, he would always tell me that “it’s all your fault” jokingly about so many things, both important or trivial. I would just laugh it off thinking he was teasing me, but I now realize he really did mean it all along. He thinks everything is my fault, BECAUSE he absolutely cannot see how he is abusive. I totally think he believes he’s a great catch (although growing older really bothers him) poor baby, should of walked and exercised with me all those years I did it by myself. I feel that he feels justified in his affair because he cannot see how he was abusive to me for SO SO LONG. But unable to leave I wasn’t meeting his emotional needs, which is his excuse. Just more hot air coming out his mouth. Funny thing is he won’t understand when I leave him, he will be surprised. I can hear him now “oh were getting along so good now, and your just going to give up on us, blah,blah,blah. Yeah right honey ’cause you’ve always treated me like a queen ESPECIALLY after I discovered your affair. I’m choking on those words right now. Nope, picked the wrong one because the red flags were all there early on but I didn’t understand about red flags> I knew something was off, but just chalked it up to everyone is different. Your so right about how it’s never enough for them – “the glass is half empty-ALWAYS in my NH’s opinion. We live a comfortable, middle class life. There are many who have more, but just as many who have less but he never could appreciate the good things we have/had. Nope, it’s always gloom and doom for him. Recently when i was using his tablet, I went to the history to see what he checks out, lots of car things but several articles about child stars who made it big, or much did the child actors make or abunch of stupid stuff that had to do with nothing, but all about the finer things that rich people have. Like $$ buys happiness, guess he still hasn’t figured that one out. I think we are on the same page about It’s so sad because I believe we could of been a dynamite team, if he had ever let me in. Yes, not us or anyone will ever be enough for them, but please don’t feel it all in vain, we all do the best we can with what we have at the moment. Yes a few of my years have been wasted but this last year after discovery I know that I tried. What I’ve come to learn is that I don’t give love in the language he understands (money/financial), and he doesn’t give love the way I need (emotional connection/intimacy) and while truthfully even if I did give in the way I think he wants ($$) it wouldn’t have EVER been enough. While it’s a moot point, because they are nar., I realize this last year was for me. To allow me to grow and be strong enough to try to walk away from it all. With my head held high knowing I gave it my all. Some people still will never understand. I have learned about red flags, about how to communicate, and show love so that it doesn’t slip away. I guess God thought it was a lesson I needed just in case I ever find myself in another relationship. (ABSOLUTELY NO MEN IN MY LIFE FOR AWHILE). I really did think that I could of saved this marriage, but alas there really was no marriage to save. We are the bigger person in our relationships, because we were genuine. But they will never understand, they will never see the world standing in our shoes. This I learned for sure.

      I’m so glad that you feel comfortable enough to comment, just being able to talk to someone who does understand is one of the best prescriptions for relief of pain I have found. For over a year only one friend that I could talk to some, but even she doesn’t know the whole picture. Just last week I told her some more of my concerns because I was trying to decide if I should tell my Mom or not. But she made me realize that I needed my family’s support behind me to give me enough strength to get through this. I only told my Mom (so far) the basic details. Should we for some reason stay married I don’t want her to have negative feelings towards him. Here I go again protecting him. But please come and share your thoughts and feelings anytime> It can be HELL to be alone and deal with this. I am here for you!! When the time is right you will share with those that you choose. It’s all about you- what feels right to you. Don’t ever forget that. He doesn’t deserve a loving faithful spouse, who cares that is for sure. Sending arms to hug you help take away the hurt!! Big hugs Lisa- hang in there!! Chely

      Liked by 1 person

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