Strug­gling with for­give­ness

The Washington Post Sunday - - TELEVISION - AMY DICK­IN­SON Amy’s col­umn ap­pears seven days a week at wash­ing­ton­­vice. Write to askamy@amy­dick­in­ or Amy Dick­in­son, Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, 16650 West­grove Dr., Suite 175, Ad­di­son, Tex. 75001. You can also fol­low her @ask­ingamy. ©2017 by

Dear Amy: My hus­band re­cently con­fessed to me that he was un­faith­ful four years ago. We had a great life, or so I thought. I was com­pletely dev­as­tated and con­tem­plated leav­ing him, but I was preg­nant with our fifth child. Now I see him mak­ing changes to live an hon­est life.

I am try­ing ev­ery day to for­give him.

The prob­lem is that he told his best friend about the af­fair at the time.

This friend, who is a pas­tor, stood up in our wed­ding and spent time with our fam­ily sev­eral times dur­ing the af­fair pe­riod.

He chose not to tell me, nor did he “force” my hus­band to con­fess to me.

We are peo­ple of faith, where for­give­ness is some­thing to live by, but I am hav­ing a hard time for­giv­ing this man for keep­ing my hus­band’s lie a se­cret.

This friend has apol­o­gized to me. He reached out to me soon af­ter my hus­band con­fessed.

I have ac­cepted his apol­ogy, but for­giv­ing him is harder.

I know the for­give­ness will even­tu­ally come, but I want noth­ing to do with this man for now.

We don’t live nearby, so it’s easy to avoid him, but I know that even­tu­ally my hus­band will want to see him. They are best friends.

Part of me wants to tell my hus­band not to see him any­more, but I know I can’t do that. I def­i­nitely don’t want to see him, talk to him or look at him.

Am I wrong for not want­ing to con­tinue a re­la­tion­ship with this friend? Can I ask my hus­band to limit con­tact with him?

Try­ing to For­give

Try­ing to For­give: I’d like for you to imag­ine the ex­tremely tough po­si­tion your hus­band put his friend in when he con­fessed his af­fair. Your hus­band might have lied to him: “I’m end­ing it now,” or told him, “I want to tell her my­self.” His friend might have de­cided that he would be most use­ful if he main­tained the friend­ship and didn’t in­ter­fere in the mar­riage. Or, he might have been afraid. He might have lacked courage. He might have made a mis­take.

He has apol­o­gized, and you ac­cepted his apol­ogy (good for both of you). If you have fur­ther ques­tions or state­ments you want to make to him, you should ex­press your­self, per­haps by let­ter. He may be more re­morse­ful than you re­al­ize.

Do not trans­fer re­spon­si­bil­ity for this af­fair from one man to the other. Most im­por­tant, be gen­tle with your­self and try to re­lease the bur­den of these re­la­tion­ships. Your faith coun­sels for­give­ness. For­give­ness can be most pow­er­ful and heal­ing when it is hard­est to achieve. Let time do its magic, and let for­give­ness lib­er­ate you.

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