If she keeps bringing it up... she hasn't forgiven you.
POLL RESULTS: By-gones won't stay gone: (12 comments)
POLL: By-gones won't stay gone
in Reader Questions by Guigar
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 12:00 AM
A reader writes... Q: I messed up and I cheated with a woman from the office. It was nearly two years ago. My wife forgave me. We got a little counseling at the church and stayed together. But now she won’t stop harping on it. Every time we have a fight, she brings it up. It’s really getting on my nerves. How can we move forward if she’s constantly looking back?
POLL: What can he do if his wife refuses to forgive and forget?
1767 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 04:47 AM (#59478)
In Response to JohnSmallBerries (#59476):
Yeah.... Only two years? If she only brings it up during arguments, you are probably getting off easy.
You cheated. How does she know you won't cheat again? There are no words to make something like this right. How can she trust anything you say to her after cheating on her?
Short answer: You can't. There is nothing you can do. No matter how much she has forgiven you, or more likely believes she has forgiven you, it will always be there in the back of her mind, wriggling tendrils of doubt into her thoughts.
Personally, I consider anyone who cheats on their spouse and doesn't get divorced lucky. I wasn't able to overlook that kind of transgression, myself.
Best of luck to the both of you.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 08:59 AM (#59480)
Women don't fight fair in arguments period. Think about it. Has she ever fought fair? Cheating on her just gave her another weapon to use against you.
Women are by far insecure creatures. Trust is uncharted territory to them. This is why women don't make friends easily with other women. And also why the women who don't learn to trust wind up with lots of pets (don't need to trust them, just feed them). Women feel safest when their insecure about something.
Your wife isn't bringing up your unfaithfulness to rebuild trust. She's doing it to reaffirm her insecurity while trying to project it upon you. Women don't get it. We don't get insecure that way; we get resentful.
Its time for you to do some real relationship evaluation. Make a list of the pros and cons of what your wife brings to the relationship - and then subtract all the chore related pros that mothers do for little kids. Then make a third column of the reasons why your wife became less of a priority that particular day when you cheated on her. Think about it for while. If she's still worth it to up, then man-up until she finds something more important to be insecure about. If not, pick up the anchor and ship yourself out.
In either case, its going to be a while before you're happy again. Again if the happiness you had during that one sexual encounter was worth more than whatever happiness you hope to have in the future with your wife, you may consider shipping out.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 09:32 AM (#59482)
In Response to TenTonGun (#59480):
TenTonGun gives pretty good advice if you're in your relationship purely for selfish reasons. If that's your motivation please skip the list of pros and cons and jump straight to the shipping out, for your wife's sake.
The observation that women are insecure is also correct, but foolishly ignors that insecurity is gender neutral. I doubt you chose the bed of another woman out of profound security & self-awareness. That's clear by your desire to repair the relationship with your wife. Her insecurity now is what happens when anyone makes themselves vulnerable in an intimate relationship and end up severely wounded by the person they trusted. No matter how hard she wants to trust you again, it will take time for you both to carefully build that back up, a long time.
I commend the courage you both are showing by working to repair the damage that's been done. Please keep working at it and keep getting help. You need to work through the affair to deal with the reason in happened in the first place. It's a marathon and on the other side is a relationship with your wife that's better and stronger than it was before. If you're both willing to keep working it WILL be worth it. I know.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 09:54 AM (#59483)
In Response to footerest (#59482):
I agree. The pain she's been put through is tremendous. I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot, you wouldn't just forget it. People just don't work that way. Whatever excuse you made, do you honestly think she's going to accept it and just let it go? It didn't "just happen". At some point, you may have felt guilt, and, since you went through with it, decided the risk was worth it. I'm sure she asked, "Is she prettier than me? Better in bed?Why did you do it?" I can also bet you said something along the lines of, "I don't know. I wasn't thinking. It just happened."
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 10:06 AM (#59484)
Two years isn't too long to still be angry over an affair if you're still together. Seeing you and Willie every day are reminders where you've been. If youre to stay together get serious counseling, especially on rules for fighting fairly.
Fight the current fight, not the past. Stay on topic.
Bringing up Bull Run at Appomattox doesn't address the current situation. (Assuming you're not unrepatriated CSA) if she's not willing to fight fair you should leave the battlefield.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 01:14 PM (#59485)
In Response to JohnSmallBerries (#59476):
I've talked to counselors about other situations where one spouse brings up past transgressions, and many times it's brought out that the (re)accusing spouse is actually feeling guilty about their own still-hidden secret. By bringing up your guilty past, they are actually saying to themselves, "What I did isn't so bad after all - my mate did a bad thing, so now I can feel like the score has been equaled." It doesn't necessarily mean your wife has been unfaithful, but she may be hiding something she feels guilty about, right or wrong, and is making herself feel better through transfer. Absolutely, more counseling is needed.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 01:31 PM (#59486)
Nothing personal, but I don't understand why you feel your wife would stop bringing up your cheating.
Personally, I still hear about where our son went to kindergarten (and he's finishing Grade 6). And yes, I am tired of hearing it.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 02:57 PM (#59487)
There's an old saying: men will never forgive, but they'll forget, while women will forgive, but never forget. If you want this relationship to continue, the only thing you can do is get counseling, both of you individually and as a couple. Two years is a long time, but it takes a lot of work to fix damaged relationships.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 04:03 PM (#59488)
She's not the only one that has to forget. If it still "gets on your nerves" it's because you haven't forgotten either. In my case, it took about 5 years for me to not get upset about her bringing it up. In the meantime, there was a lot of humble pie to eat. Eventually, you'll be able to look at her with a calm face and say "don't you have anything else to complain about?".
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 05:29 PM (#59489)
As much as some pop-psychologists want you to believe otherwise, Men and Women are wired fundamentally differently.
In General, men are better at compartmentalizing, and separating emotion from fact. (please note, I said in general) It's why you see more men than women in certain positions, even in the day of equality and opportunity for women. aside from some serious freaking clowns like Palin, how many women do you see seriously pursuing politics for instance? Or Lawyering? (please, no topic derailing)
There is also truth in the observations made above: She is dredging it up a.) because it works on you b.) despite counseling she has NOT worked through her own issues about it, and c.) she may indeed be afraid of YOUR finding something about by her, so it helps to keep you on edge about your own issues.
Two years is not a long time to forgive, but it certainly is a period of time long enough for her behavior to begin to change. If she is still haranguing you on a regular basis about the same thing, using the same words and attacks, you both need MORE and MORE EFFECTIVE therapy. And from someone you don't know who can be truly impartial and objective.
Church therapy is not that; it's honestly no different than talking to your neighbor or the old man down the street about things, and you should expect about the same level of results from it because it's still people in your own "community" who know you and have opinions pre-formed about you. An actual relationship counselor will have more, different, and better tools to provide both of you to resolve this problem, provided both of you are willing to listen and do the work.
if either you, or she, or both of you, are not ready to do that, you may as well call a lawyer now.
posted Friday, June 24, 2011 - 05:35 PM (#59490)
I don't have much in the way of aditional advice for this guy, but for all those other people who ever consider "cheating" on a spouse let this poor schmuck's current misery be a guide about why is a rotten idea in the first place. The 5-30 minutes of pleasure are never worth the lifetime of misery which tends to follow.
My best advice - learn to fantasize and masturbate instead of stepping out on a spouse. It comes with a whole ton less grief. If your spouse complains then you can tell them to go "f" themselves and call it even.
The Fine Print: The above comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
Hell, let's face it, we're not responsible for anything; including the things we say, do, or think. And if you sue us because you think we are? Well, we're not responsible for that either.