Letting Go – Forgetting The Past

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    My husband and I are currently separated and trying to rebuild our relationship. Our relationship even before we got married was rocky, he was unfaithful and then after we got married he became verbally and physically abusive. Since our separation he has gotten help with his anger issues and shows true progress from his old habits. I;m finding it difficult to let go of the previous things he’s done to me so that we can move on and try to build a better relationship. I was wondering if anyone else has gone through the same thing and if so how did you get past all of the old memories and move forward?

    Staples 400

    Hello Jan. Are you in your husband also in marriage counseling? Do you both have a strong mentor in your life that can help you guys as you seek to rebuild your relationship?
    Getting over hurt and pain is very challenging. My wife and I are trying to stay together. I’ve been married for 14 years, have 4 kids and the last two years have been very rocky, mostly due to me 🙁
    You never really get over the old memories. As time progresses, they are more and more replaced by good memories and positive feelings of hope. The good stuff simply outweighs the bad stuff..
    The challenge here is that the bulk of the burden will be on you. Since you were the wronged party, the pace of the restoration will naturally be set by you. Rebuilding trust is very difficult and often times, we over-estimate our capacity to forgive and forget.
    Depending upon how long you’ve been in the relationship and what is at stake, its often times easier for the parties to give it up entirely vs working to make something that is horribly broken and FUBAR’d a viable relationship again.
    If you and your husband are serious, I suggest you enter into a new relationship (not the old one) with rules, boundaries and guide lines. Your husband needs to understand and anticipate that you are still recovering from the damage that he did. He will need to be extra patient, extra loving and extra careful. You also need to understand that HE IS TRYING HARD. If he brings you a cup of coffee in the morning or runs out to the store late at night to get you something to eat because you are hungry; those are efforts for you. Sometimes, the offended spouse in this kind of recovery is quick to list out everything that other spouse is doing wrong but omit the things that he/she is doing right or his or her efforts. There needs to be rules that govern what happens when someone is angry or frustrated. What should that person do? You need keywords that both of you will respect and honor. Finally, I think you both need to set a timetable. IF 3 months down the line, you find that you are very unhappy and things are simply not working, its ok to both admit that you tried. I don’t believe God intended for folks to stay married and unbearably unhappy for the rest of their lives for the sake of staying “married”.
    I sincerely hope this helps.


    Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate your help. We aren’t in counseling together right now, he sees a therapist individually and I will be starting sessions for myself soon. We have a one year old daughter together and have been together for five years, but many of those years were off and on. I feel like his expectations are somewhat unreasonable sometimes, he often gets frustrated that we aren’t in our ideal place of love and affection towards each other and often disregards whatever progress we make. I’m the one that’s always attempting to see the positive in the situation and pointing out the things that we’re doing well at. But sometimes he just gets in these bouts of thought and negativity, and starts complaining to me about everything and how he wishes I was back to my old self. Of course my response of frustration to his frustration doesn’t help but it happens almost on an everyday basis and I am overwhelmed with stress and it’s taking all of my energy. I just want to be happy and move forward with my life but I feel like our relationship is just keeping us in limbo.


    As someone who has experienced abuse and moved past it, I am concerned, especially given that you have a child. It’s great that you are going into therapy, it’s a must in such a situation. It is unrealistic for him to expect you to revert to a past relationship; you are right to be cautious. You are not responsible for anyone’s feelings or actions but your own. Do not try to fix him; you are not his therapist. Any further physical abuse should send you on your way; remember, it could be your child; at the least, you don’t need her growing up in that environment. Not that emotional/mental abuse is OK, it’s just harder to quantify. Keep in touch with those who will keep you grounded and honest; don’t allow yourself to be isolated.

    Staples 400

    Jan, expectations are everything and it can be very difficult to fix a broken relationship while living in it. This is why I said often times its easier for couples to part ways. You both need love, affection, intimacy, sex. Timing it so that both of you get it at the same time is challenging though. In addition, there is a lot of “faking it” until you make it, and most of the faking will probably need to be by you.
    You mention that you want to be happy and move forward with your life but your relationship is keeping you in limbo. It sounds like you’d rather have a future apart from your husband which is OK and understandable. A child is not a chain…


    Hi Januaryblossoms,
    First of all, thank you for your share, it can’t have been easy to talk about and it’s great you can express yourself openly.
    My concern in the first instance is for you. How are you feeling about everything that happened? How have you been looking after you? Without you being ok, everything that is important to you doesn’t work properly. If you are not ok it affects everything else. Do you feel safe? Secure and happy in yourself, regardless of everything else? After all if this relationship was to work, regardless of your partner, you need to be the best version of yourself to be a true participant in the new version of the relationship. Once this is established, once you have come to terms with what’s happened, you never forget the past, it becomes a lesson. His actions were not your choice but you did make choices which is why you were in that situation. Sometimes couples work best with a variation of a relationship that works for them; long distance, separate houses, even an open relationship. As different as these options may seem, to restart a relationship that hasn’t worked in the past, changes have to be made or the likely hood is mistakes could happen again.
    To get past what has happened I find it useful to find meaning in it. To move forward I need to recognise the lesson and believe me every relationship I have experience I can say has been a lesson. I know what I want now, who I want to share my time with and what I am prepared to give too. The main lesson in any difficult situation has been ‘What does this teach me’. Abuse teaches me I deserve better but this better has to 100% come from myself first. Unhappiness teaches me I have to find out what makes me happy first and give that to myself first too.
    Expectations are the thief of joy. If you expected your hairdresser to give you the perfect cut and style each time, it may be something you would like but can you see how unrealistic and unfair it would be to put that expectation on them. Do you expect the lady in the coffee shop to always say ‘have a nice day’, or it ruins the experience? Same in a relationship. If someone is expecting something from you that doesn’t come naturally, it breads resentment and tension. Normally you hope with a haircut that your hair will be cut as similar to how you request in a professional manner. Normally you may hope in a relationship for; trust, kindness, affection etc. What do you hope for in a relationship? What do you need as this wasn’t given in this relationship previously. Work out what you need and then work out if the other person knows this is what you need. Can they provide this, do you even want this from them?
    Other peoples choices, decision making and hopes are not in your control, yours are. 100% take care of yourself first. I hope this helps and you have peace in your life at this difficult time xx

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