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20 Dec 2002

Confess or not?
OK in eight years of marriage I now choose to cheat on my wife for a period of 3 months.
I have had the best eight years of my life. I am plagued by a bad conscience and I am constantly wanting to come clean. Problem 1. I know for a fact she will leave me given the magnitude of the betrayal (when she found out I masturbate it was traumatic for her to say the least).
2. It was with a man.
Given no. 2. (and yes I am sure of where I stand sexually, I am stupid yes, but sure). Can this relationship survive a secret kept to my grave?? I feel given time I will get over the fact that I have betrayed someone I claim to honour. And start to live up to my commitment and vows made.
Answer 378 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Simon
Thanks for the confession. Now say 6 Hale Mary's and take 6 condoms from the confession box!!!

1) What traumatised her about your masturbation??

2) Men having sex with men don't necessarily identify as homosexual.

Some things in life we never tell our spouses, might this be one of those moments. What would you gain by telling? What would you lose?
Did you have protected sex or have you put her at risk? If you ahve put her at risk, then it changes the whole scenario and then I feel you should tell and have a medical check up for both of you.

Lastly I want to give you a piece to read on forgiveness:

To forgive: is to absolve or pardon.

It is to open the clenched fist and let go of past hurts, resentment and anger, just as bankruptcy court forgives past debts, gives another chance to start fresh again.

Forgiveness does not excuse or encourage wrongs; does not forget or tolerate them; does not smother them. It faces the wrong, the hurt, the shock, the anger, the many other feelings, example: disappointment, broken promises, loss of trust, numbness, undeserved pain. Trust will have to be earned again with testing over time.

No one is born with an instinct to forgive. Forgiveness cannot be forced out of someone. One person may try to explain behaviour and request that forgiveness be granted. Most are raised with righteous indignation to seek “justice” or retaliation (getting even) or compensation for hurt / harm. The value of forgiveness can, however, be learned. “Forgiveness is love’s revolution against life’s unfairness”, said L.B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the hurts we don’t deserve. Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984. Small hurts can be dismissed. It is deep, personal, unfair betrayals that will be so distressing as to require forgiveness. He states forgiveness is difficult and may need to be done several times in small segments. If the hurt – hate cycle comes back to block the healing process of forgiveness, it is because the “hate – habit” may be so familiar and “delicious” that it feeds on itself, a painful memory forever. Always a decision must be made to “spit out” the hate – hurt core, which can get worse / bigger and even “infect” others, by telling the details over and over to seek “co – haters”.

Smedes mentions that some only find the path through forgiving the self and then others by praying for forgiveness for not forgiving! Smedes calls forgiveness a miracle that allows us to heal and hurt we didn’t deserve. This religious approach is reflected in the New Testament: (Lord’s Prayer) “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …”

Old Testament followers may differ and struggle more because their lifelong learning is “an eye for an eye” that may perpetuate feuds for centuries seeking debt repayment. The prayers of the annual Day of Atonement ritually seek personal forgiveness from God, yet they also offer options for the individual to forgive others who may have offended and so start a new.

Psychologically to prevent becoming a prisoner to ongoing vengeance – seeking or a hurt – hate “spin”, is through forgiveness. Forgiving is your choice to do in your private silent self. Forgiving can give you freedom, self – respect, self – healing, can let you wish the other well. Self – forgiveness is crucial. It needs 1) perspective of the past 2) letting go of the past. Forgiveness can energize you for a new creative beginning. It can be the ultimate act of love. It can be difficult and need many attempts … just start over again.

Solzhenitsyn is the Gulag Archipelago repeated a truism that the different between being a devil or a saint is a matter of degree. There’s good in the worst of us.

Why forgive? To free yourself from the “hurt/hate” cage that can own you. Forgiveness heals the forgiver.

How to forgive? By deciding to let go …. Open the clenched fist … even reach out to reconciliate.

Dr Mac
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