435/444 Healing from Infidelity: Evaluate the Mess
In Lewis Smedes book, The Art of Forgiving, he eventually gets to a process of forgiveness. Yesterday, we discussed thinking about the offense(s). The next step is to evaluate.
Remember this is to be a slowwww process in evaluating. It is my belief that we forgive wounds, though in general folks say I forgive so and so. There are multiple lies, sex, and other hurts that accompany an affair. A blanket statement avoids evaluating, avoids facing the depth of darkness.
Some of the questions he mentions below may not seem to apply overall to an affair, but they could apply to an individual occurance within that time frame. Was it an accident? Accident may be a bit strong but I did have to acknowledge that there were times Ann wanted out of the affair. Yet, she wasn't really sure how to get out. As a sexual abuse victim her ability to say 'no' had been diminished. Her voice had been silenced in some sense.
Yes, she was responsible for maintaining fidelity in our relationship on her part. But her ability to do so was compromised in ways neither of us understood at the time. It took much time and evaluation to eventually get to this understanding for me and her.
It also took time to get through the trauma of the revelation. In the beginning of our recovery I saw our entire relationship as lacking any love whatsoever. Not true. Skewed by pain. Time is one ingredient in a proper evaluation. As the months passed I could accurately recall our days in college. I used to love rainy days with Ann. I was thrilled when both my roommates went home for the weekend and we could spend time just us two. There was good.
Evaluate: Was it an accident? Misunderstanding? Or did he know what he was doing? Was it a lapse or has she made a career of lying to you? Did she merely annoy you, or did she truly wrong you?