Mea culpa doesn’t guarantee forgiveness [Ellie]

Question: Two years ago, after being married for three years, I cheated on my husband with my 16-year-old daughter’s biological dad. I felt I never had closure and am also a victim of domestic violence.

My husband was working a 24-hour shift. I ended up having my ex here that whole day and night. We fell asleep and awoke to my husband with a knife over us. It was another tragedy in my life.

Although we eventually reconciled, it took his family a long while, but now I feel I somewhat have his sister, brother, and mother back in my life. Yet, his father won’t forgive me. I’ve made attempts to go in person, ask for forgiveness, and admit my wrongdoings. He wants nothing to do with it or me. I wrote a letter just recently and put it in his mailbox. He hasn’t told any family member about it.

I wrote of having remorse for what I did, for the hurt I caused him, my husband and the others, and my gratitude for his son, whom I love and will never hurt again. And I said how I missed being with my father-in-law, that his son and I are happy together again and want to share that with him. I don’t know what to do next.

Remorseful

Answer: Live your intentions: So long as you and your husband stay close and committed, your father-in-law will eventually see that his fears — which are natural, under the circumstances — can be put to rest.

But that does not mean that he’ll forgive you. Nor should you badger him, your husband, or anyone else to try and achieve this. Remorse is about recognizing that you were wrong and hurt others; it doesn’t come with a guarantee of wiping the slate clean for those you hurt.

You’re very fortunate to have a loving, forgiving, husband and that matters most, along with your daughter’s forgiveness, which you haven’t mentioned. This episode and its aftermath surely affected her, too, so focus on her emotional well-being at least as much as on your own.

Question: My first love has come back to torment me through Facebook. He dropped me when we went to different universities, came back to me in my late-20s, but broke it off again and is pursuing me now though I’m married and have two kids.

He’s never married, has been a playboy all these years — still charming, attractive, and knows how to push my buttons. I love my husband and our life, yet the seductive nature of my ex is overwhelming me.

He wants me to meet him “just once” to prove to me that the wild spark is still there, that we’re “meant to be together.” I don’t want to hurt my husband or upset my kids’ lives, but I’m constantly thinking about this guy, remembering the passion, which has never been matched by my husband, who’s stable, loving, but mellow by comparison.

Should I get it out of my system with one mad night away together? Or how can I get him out of my mind?

Tortured

Answer: Read the letter above. Then delete this needy player from your Facebook. He wants to prove to himself that he can still hook you; it’s not so much about you.

One wild night can cost you everything you’ve created with your husband and kids. This guy’s next rejection of you — inevitable — will hurt even more than the last two, if you’ve destroyed your family for him.

TIP OF THE DAY

Forgiveness is gifted, not guaranteed.

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