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Parallax - Advice

December 10, 2001

Negative images

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My husband of six years cheated on me. I saw him coming out of the motel room and I was very upset. We split up for a few days, but I could not live without him. He asked me to forgive him and I have, but I still have the image of him coming out of the motel room and it upsets me every time I think about it. So my question is, how do I remove this hurtful image? I want desperately to remove it because I feel that I won't truly forgive him until I do. He said it was only one time and he was under the influence. What do I do? What should I believe? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Wounded,

Tough call. That is a grotesque image, and most unpleasant for you. I'm not sure if you'll ever rid yourself of that nice little picture. That said, you must decide here and now if you can trust him, and if he is truly sorry.

You will somehow have to ferret out an opinion from this morass. If you decide that you simply cannot trust him, then you have to move along. If you decide it was one stupid incident and you believe it will not happen again, then you need to find a way to trust again and move on.

I think it will take time, and you will continue to see that image for some time now. It's pretty awful. Take it day by day and don't try to move too fast.

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His view:

Dear Wounded,

This is all wrong…very wrong. He cheats, yet you're the one who desperately wants to get back to normal? Where is his contrition? Where is your happy hubby dropping down on all four to beg, beg, beg for mercy?

What were you doing near that motel? Did you suspect him and follow him or did you just happen to be passing by? I'm going to venture that you were out there trying to confirm a theory. Now that you have, you wish you hadn't. You wish you'd just stayed home and pretended life was on the up and up.

If you simply let him go without any retribution he will likely cheat again. Next time he's under the influence - or under her influence - he'll be more careful. He won't get caught a second time. And you'll have no 'husband gingerly exiting motel after his afternoon quickie' picture in your mind to get you angry enough to do something about it.

So don't try to erase that image from your mind. It will go away on its own once he convinces you (with your heavy-handed prodding) that it will never happen again.

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