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How Do I Forgive And Forget When My Husband Abandoned Me?

Question:

i am married for a year now. i have some health problems that incapacitate me temporarily. during one of my such times, my husband walked out on me, went home and left me alone. with nobody to care and help me. I felt horrible and am feeling worse ever since. my husband has asked forgiveness but i am unable to forgive. and the thought, his act keeps bothering and worrying me. i do not have peace of mind. due to which i often get irritated on stuff i should not thus leading to too many clashes between us. my husband too is unable to understand my state and asks me to just forget and live in the present where he is sorry and promises not to do the same ever again. he does try his best, but i am some how unable to believe in him. i fear he may do the same again and …… well, i really feel low. how do i calm myself and forgive him? how can i keep myself happy and at ease? please help me, i want to forgive and forget.

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Answer:

This is a trust issue, in essence. Your husband basically abandoned you temporarily when he left you for a time while you were sick. You cannot forgive him today, I think, because you no longer trust him to stay with you. Abandonment is a huge issue for many people, and I think it must be a terribly big issue for you.

Abandonment feels dangerous to many people, and it also makes many people feel like their self-esteem has been crushed. "If this person that I was depending upon can leave me, then what must I be worth? Not much", is how an abandoned person might think. The follow-on fears are often even worst than that: "I’ll be alone forever!", "I won’t be able to take care of myself, and I’ll die". Of course, in your weakened state where you really needed care, such fears must have loomed larger than life for you.

Because fear is such an uncomfortable state to live in, many people get creative with it and convert it into other emotions that are less painful. A favorite emotion that people convert fear into is anger. If you can feel angry at the person who has abandoned you, you feel less afraid over the issue of abandonment itself. In part this is because your attention becomes focused outward towards the target of your anger, rather than inwards where you stew about your pitiful state.

These days, anger also helps you to retain an illusion of control over your husband. You’re angry with him and he is feeling meek, and on good behavior, trying to get back into your good graces. If you were to suddenly forgive him, he might stop acting so nice and take you for granted again. Thus, you might be afraid to stop being angry at him, because then you’d lose your supposed advantage over him. This is a false advantage, however, because people in your husband’s situation do not stay meek for long. Ultimately, they find the lack of forgiveness to be frustrating and they become angry back at the person who was so angry with them and the whole situation gets worse rather than better.

Given the instability of your present angry "advantage" over your husband, I think that your best course of action is to do some soul searching now about what you ultimately want from your marriage. Ask yourself: Is your husband basically a good man who became overwhelmed with responsibilities and left temporarily on account of that overwhelm, or is he basically not such a good guy, but rather a more selfish type. Do you love this man and therefore choose him, or are you with him out of fear because you are afraid to be alone? No husband, no person you might be in a relationship with, is ever going to be a perfect partner. Even the best partners can become overwhelmed. You need to be able to forgive this sort of temporary human failing if it is followed by recognition of the error and sincere apology. If you can’t forgive under these circumstances, you end up "cutting off your nose to spite your face" (e.g., doing more damage by remaining angry than you would by forgiving). If the abandonment was malicious, however, or evidence of a variety of selfishness you cannot live with, then you need to recognize that too. You might not want to forgive such selfish abandonment, but you do want to let go of the anger you are carrying in any event. Anger is not good for your health, and it interferes with your ability to feel joy. If you’re married to a louse, you need to leave that louse, or at least come to terms with his lousiness so that it doesn’t affect you so deeply.

Making such decisions will take some courage, because you will have to face up to your fear of more abandonment, and your fear of making things worse by asserting yourself. However, I think remaining in the painful holding pattern you are presently in is a far worse option than facing your fears.

How to forgive when you are angry (assuming he is basically a good guy and this is the course you choose to pursue)? I think do make this happen, you need to learn how to empathize with your husband. Work to see yourself in his shoes, confronted with a needy wife and overwhelmed, and needing escape on a temporary basis so that he could gather himself back together. You will need to become more objective about yourself and how you must come across to other people. If you can practice this, forgiveness of your husband will become easier. Good luck!

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Comments
  • Bea

    I am also angry and resentful toward my husband for a different reason but a lot of what you say about the "angry advantage" rings true here too.

    And yet, even knowing the damage I am doing to our relationship is almost as harmful as the reason for my anger, I cannot seem to put it aside.

    Your advice clearly stated that one MUST put it aside - but how????

    Bea

  • Anonymous-1

    If my husband ever left me, I personally would never take him back. Like the old saying goes if he can leave her once, he will do it again. He odvious is a selfish person and does not deserve to be married. How could anyone do this to their wife and just be able to come running back whenever they feel like it. I mean this may sound harsh, but no one deserves to be treated like this. A man who abandons his wife, is no man at all.

  • Maddie

    After Confiding In And Trusting And Even Then Marring My Husband, He Begged Me To Have A Baby With Him...He Put me Through Complete Hell For The Whole Time I Was Pregnant, And Then The Day He Brought Me And Our Newborn Baby Girl Home From The Hospital...., He Said He Needed To Take A Ride To Clear His Head,.....Well....I Never Saw Him Again...That Was 11 Months Ago... What Do I Do??? I Just Have No Clue How To Deal With This....I've Tried Calling Him And He Has Blocked My Number....I Got Through To Him Once On The Phone On Our Anniversary And When He Heard My Voice He Hung Up.....

  • mary gerges

    well i think my life now is based on that anger advantage but till now i cant face the truth that me and my husband cant live together with that lie

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