FORGIVE AND MOVE ON

Dale Archer, M.D. Wednesday, January 8, 2014 0
FORGIVE AND MOVE ON

Dr. Archer,

Two years ago, my husband left me for a woman he had been having an affair with for years behind my back. Now they are married. For our children’s sake, I have always invited him to events at our home, such as birthday parties, graduation parties, etc. 

I just asked my ex-husband to come over for our son’s birthday party, and he asked if his wife was also invited. I told him she was not welcome in my home. Am I wrong? Should I be expected to be gracious to this woman?

Kayla

 

Hi Kayla,

Here’s a question for you, before I answer yours: Assume that at some point down the road you have totally moved on, are happy with your life (maybe even remarried yourself), and have completely forgiven both your former husband and his new wife for their infidelity. How would you answer your own question then?

The important thing to understand here is that, yes, he deceived you and hurt you, and you are still holding on to anger about that — especially with respect to the other woman. But eventually, you have to let it go — not for him or for her, and not even for your children, but for you.

These negative thoughts represent emotional baggage that you constantly carry around with you, and if you’re not careful, that weight can eventually bring you down.

Remember: You are what you think. So, while it’s understandable that you may not be willing to accept the other woman into your house just yet, at some point you should forgive, forget and get busy living your own life. And the sooner the better for all concerned, including you and your kids.

This means eventually accepting your ex’s wife into your house with both grace and serenity. You will be surprised at the peace this will bring. Good Luck.

 

Dear Dr. Archer,

I need advice about my ex-girlfriend. We broke up four months ago after a two-year relationship because I was unfaithful. I still love her so much that I feel I can’t live without her. She won’t accept my calls, emails or texts. I’ve been going to all the places I know she hangs out to try to talk with her. She acts like I don’t exist, tells me to get lost and ignores me. But I feel if I keep trying, I’ll eventually win her back. I don’t believe in giving up. Please help me! What should I do next?

Darren

 

Hi Darren,

There is often a point of no return in a relationship which, once crossed, means that it’s lost forever — there’s no going back. This threshold differs in each and every situation, with each and every couple, so it’s hard to quantify. But, it certainly sounds like that’s the case here, and the odds are extremely slim that you can bring this relationship back to life.

However, the only chance you have is to do exactly the opposite of what you are doing now. Send her a letter, not an email or a text, but a handwritten letter. Tell her how sorry you are, and tell her that you still love her, but that you know she doesn’t feel the same way. Tell her what you want the most is for her to be happy (hopefully this is truly what you want the most), and you realize that you are not the one for her. Finally, tell her that you wish her the best and that you won’t bother her again.

Then leave her alone for six months — no contact whatsoever. During this time, reflect on the mistakes you made and the lessons you learned to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

After a full six months, give her a call and say you were thinking about her, and ask her if she would like to get a coffee — as friends. If she answers yes, then you must realize that you have to start all over again as friends and take it very, very slowly. If she says no, then you’re done and it’s over, forever.

The game of life deals out many lessons, and unfortunately the best ones are often extremely painful to bear. I wish you the best, but you must realize that even if this doesn’t work out, it may be setting the stage for a new and even more perfect relationship down the road. Good luck.

 

Dr. Dale Archer is a board certified psychiatrist who founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Southwest Louisiana.  He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN Headline News and other national TV programs, and is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Better than Normal. Visit him online at DrDaleArcher.com.