Originally Posted by Vixtoria
Forgiveness. Still figuring this out, what it means, how to do it . . . forgiveness is NOT a clean slate. I dont' get that shit at all! We are all adults, let's be honest. As nice as it would be to have a clean slate at times in our life, you don't get one. You can't change what you've done, even if you feel badly about it so the idea that ANYONE is owed a clean slate is utter BS.
I never said anyone "owes" it to a cheater to wipe the slate clean. The person who was cheated on has to do what they feel is best, but if the goal is to preserve and heal the relationship, then wiping the slate clean is as much a benefit to the cheatee as it is to the cheater. Wiping the slate clean does not mean that the cheater does not need to make amends and rebuild trust. What you said about being transparent and proving yourself to not be lying anymore is also necessary.
However, so many people think that the onus of rebuilding a relationship after cheating is all on the cheater. Dirty, nasty, fucking cheater! Of course, it's a total breach of trust and a shitty thing to do, but the cheatee has a duty, too - to forgive. If they can't forgive, admit it, stop pretending you have forgiven, and work toward getting there.
What I meant when I say forgiving someone is starting over with a clean slate is this: the clean slate exists when the person who has been cheated on gives up the "need" to punish the cheater, and will not throw the transgression(s) back in their face. When you are forgiven a debt, it is as if the debt never happened, and you no longer owe the creditor money. If you go to jail for a crime, and are released after serving your time, they can't send you back for the same crime
and make you pay for it again. It is the same with any transgression. Once the cheater has made amends and the cheatee is ready to forgive, you cannot keep punishing and holding onto the hurt or neither of you will ever be able to move on and build a new relationship with each other. If you never truly forgive someone, they will never be able to "pay" enough for what they did, and essentially would be your hostage.
You ever have an argument with someone who suddenly brings up shit you did from way back when, to try and make you really feel bad because they're angry? The fact that they bring up old wounds means that there is still some forgiving to be done. A clean slate doesn't mean pretending it never happened - it means that after acknowledging the "crime," the work has been done to move on, and the parties are now living in the present and not dredging up the past as a way to feel vindicated for feeling angry, victimized, offended etc.
I think maybe I said it better in another thread, where Loving Radiance concurred:
Originally Posted by nycindie
I think this is key to being able to move on. The burden is not solely that of the transgressor who must make amends for whatever they did to break trust; the offended party must also be willing to fully forgive. And forgiveness means to wipe the slate clean as if it never happened and to let go of any suspicions, lingering doubts, or resentments. So, rebuilding trust is a challenging process for all parties, not just the one who fucked up. The transgressor can work vigilantly to regain trust for years, and again become a stellar partner who meets all the needs and expectations of their significant other(s), but if there is no forgiveness offered, it is all for nothing. You can't keep making someone pay for their "crime" over and over again. I don't think any relationship could survive that. All parties need to reach the point where they can leave it all behind them, and they all have work to do to get there.
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance
I think there is definitely a HUGE component in the fact that the person who was hurt MUST be willing to forgive in order for trust to be regained AND they can't be in retaliation or revenge mode either. For a long time, Maca was in retaliation "tit for tat" mode. He would intentionally do and say things intended to "repay" me for hurting him.
There is no healing for the relationship while that is going on. It really was a royal clusterfuck to say the least!
It was critical that I be true about making amends.
But there also came a point where I had to be willing to stand up and say
"ok, time's up, I'm not going to stop being the honest, open, transparent person I have become-but I am done being the doorpost you kick every time you feel anxsty or angry or hurt or whatever."
That forced him to stop and consider, he'd tried to get revenge, he'd vented all he could about the hurt, he'd annihilated my name in our social circles . . . Now, did he REALLY want to let bygones be bygones and try to build a functional future together; or move on apart.