Please find some quotes from some other bloggers with a few of my comments in between….

From Divorce Minister 1 : Please also visit Chump lady as she responded to a survey on infidelity which she took and later on did not agree with. The author of Divorce Minister agrees with her and so do I.

Finally, I take issue with conflating forgiveness and reconciliation. They are not the same thing. Forgiveness is like getting to “meh.” The wrongness and my need to get my pound of flesh from my cheater et al. no longer controls me in forgiveness. Reconciliation is a different matter. It takes two to reconcile and only one to forgive. Such forgiveness would be needed to reconcile but it is a necessary and NOT sufficient condition. You still need the cheater to repent. Also, I would point out that reconciliation does not necessarily mean staying in the marriage. It means an end of animosity. If a cheater continues to sin against you, his/her actions makes that state next to impossible to achieve as they are acting at war with you still” (Pastor David). 

From Divorce Minister 2: about evil events will be upsetting for some. It will especially be upsetting for those who rather not face their own vulnerability to infidelity. Their own powerlessness. Also, it may be upsetting for those who know the perpetrator and would rather not deal with the reality that he/she committed such evil against the faithful partner”

“You cannot throw at a faithful spouse’s face that they are incapable of forgiving and want to remain bitter. “Labeling them as such says more about the labeller than the labeled. It speaks to someone who is unable to handle the reality of living in a world broken by evil” 

What is repentance?

Repentance, is not merely feeling sorry for the infidelity and all the lying. A person may feel deep remorse and guilt but these feelings are not repentance as it does not even scratch the surface. The cheater has to do the really hard work of change. Unfortunately, it is often the faithful spouse who confronts the cheater with the infidelity. That is already one huge job the faithful spouse did, and not the cheater……To confront a cheater often involves working through many feelings and doing detective work. Very often too the faithful spouse comes with a list of “to do’s or better, not to do’s” for the cheater… Again, the faithful spouse is doing the work…..

A faithful spouse who has been dropping hints while the cheater kept on lying and deceiving can never be truly sure that the cheater would have stopped with the dirty behaviour if they were not caught. Often when cheaters are asked questions they become defensive and more of an arsehole at home. They often show no interest in the spouse, the children and the home. They are selfishly absorbed with their extra-curriculae activities “all work related, and so busy that they need support and not to be attacked”. Having a snarky spouse gives them the false justification to keep up with the s… they are doing behind their spouse’s back.

You can imagine that if a cheater had the guts to come clean, to make amends and to do the work…the situation would look very differently….the faithful spouse in this scenario would observe the betrayer doing the work that is required to regain trust, which may lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. Just passively following-up with what has been set out in order not to lose spouse and kids is not repentance…Being a better parent and spouse is just doing the job you signed up for by getting married and by having children… is simply…not enough…..

What a faithful spouse NEEDS from a cheater who is genuinely remorseful is doing the work that is painful and humiliating and therefore PENANCE. It involves taking the INITIATIVE…not following up the work of the faithful spouse….the cheater has to take the initiative to break off the dirty relationship and to confess ALL… and to do ALL the work to demonstrate that the cheater is worthy to remain in the marriage.

It means, that the cheater confesses ALL with no justifications and omitting details, it means to break off ALL contact with the AP…NO exceptions….It means to breaking off with the AP in writing and including the faithful spouse in the process. It means that the cheater is showing in all aspects that the faithful spouse is their priority. It means that the cheater is showing the AP that they grieve for what they did to their faithful spouse and family. That they regret all they did and that they are devoted to their faithful spouse and family. The letter needs to end with emphasising to the AP that there will not be any contact ever. This is CLOSURE…..

Chump Lady

From all the things Chump Lady writes about remorse, I want to emphasise honesty and initiative. The initiative is DOING the WORK it is penance: The voluntary outward expression of repentance for having done wrong….and the cheater needs to take the initiative! It is not just shedding some tears (in private and/or public and the latter only if they have to) and some scanning of some reading material…it means spending time on the work that needs to be done to change.

Those who deceive and have done it for some time (and most fall into this category, I am not only talking about affairs) are pretty good at manipulation and covering their tracks. This means that the faithful spouse needs to be extra cautious when there is this “beautiful” change in the behaviour of the unfaithful spouse…after all, they are good liars and I am sure can “deliver a line” (talking of love is easy…they did that to their AP too).

Secondly, honesty: ALL HAS TO GO OUT….and I mean ALL!!!!  Often however, the cheater tries to save a part of their ego by twisting, justifying and “forgetting” some parts, or by hiding behind others (cowardly behaviours). A faithful spouse who has been the detective…sniffs out lies from miles away…if things do not add up, they are not letting it go…. I can come up with an enormous list of pathetic justifications…and lies….but others have done that already….Initiative and honesty… is crucial……

A faithful spouse must love their cheating partner a hell of a lot in order to do the work for them and remaining hopeful for real change…..but it does not last forever….Eventually they understand that openness, transparency, being humble and prioritising partner and children needs to be demonstrated in actions daily. In the absence of actions….get out and start afresh, as you are wasting time on a person who does not deserve you!

To all cheating spouses: GET IT…it is never too late to do the work….Be brave… room for cowards….if you can break your vows, you should also have the guts to DO THE WORK.


9 thoughts on “POST 35: TO REPENT = TO DO THE WORK!

  1. Excellent point. The faithful spouse initiates the work. Incredible. Those hurt are those the ones doing triple the work to help the unfaithful one get better and come back to the marriage. Sheesh. Talk about taking their vows seriously!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you…the couples who make it indeed need to review those marriage vows. A re-write might be needed as in the end the “fairy tale” marriage is a load of c……”honour and obey…forsaken all others…until death do us part…Pffft..”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth, today I heard a BBC report about the human tendency to seek revenge. Among other points, it mentioned that revenge can even be a motive for misguided people who unfairly and incorrectly blame God or the world for perceived injustices. That sounded familiar to me.

    Almost in passing, there was mention of restorative justice. It made me wonder whether I could learn something about how to atone for my sins by studying restorative justice. I just did some searches for material on restorative justice and infidelity. I didn’t find much.

    What do you think of restorative justice? Could it be used by unfaithful spouses like me? Or, is that not an appropriate application for the technique?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is not easy to find relevant articles on this subject. I had a search on Google Scholar and found a book edited by Michael H. Tonry: Why Punish? How much? A Reader on Punishment (2014). Oxford University Press.
      Chapter 24 has an article by R.A. Duff who addresses infidelity, but only briefly as one of the examples.
      The book is not available as an e-book but two related articles could be downloaded in PDF format. They are however, not very helpful as you and TL are already on this path and probably have done all that has been mentioned, but I can attach them to an email and forward them to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. Yes, I’ll look forward to reviewing the articles. But, it confirms my suspicion that not much has been written on applying restorative justice to infidelity. We are sort of making this up through trial and error.

        Liked by 1 person

          The link to the organisation has a lot of interesting resources that also go beyond “crime” to the community. It includes bullying at the workplace and at schools.
          I think that many of the concepts are either relevant or can be adapted. They key is to work together toward solutions and to include all who have been affected by the harm done.
          The reason I think the concept has not been applied to infidelity is that harm to the community is often not applicable as it would be in crime. The values, and actions to make things right are directly relevant.

          Liked by 1 person

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