I received an unexpected gift from reading your book "Surviving a Shark Attack (on Land)".
In the 5 years since my divorce, I have struggled with the "need" to forgive my ex-spouse for her betrayal of our marriage vows in order to move on. Even she (through my kids) has relayed the message to "forgive and forget," but I have just not felt OK about doing so.
Around my ex-spouse's 40th birthday and after 11 years of marriage and with 3 children, she decided she did not want to be married to me anymore...only she didn't mention this to me. She changed her behavior instead to act as if she were not married by staying out late with new friends, had a "emotional affair" and then after a year of this behavior blamed me for our marriage failing. I finally accepted I could not be married to someone who behaved this way, showed no remorse, took no responsibility, and made no effort to repair our marriage.
I recognize so much of my ex-spouse in your description of betrayers. How I did not see this before we signed our Ketubah, stood under the Chuppah and all during our marriage, is part of my learning and growth.
Reading your book has helped me understand that some betrayals are unforgivable and that I am not a bad person if I do not forgive. I am not stuck in “victimhood” and continue to derive great pleasure in my work as a physician helping others. It was that work along with a handful of true friends that helped me through the shock of betrayal and to heal and move on.
My focus is on the lives of our 3 children ages 13, 15, and 16. They love their mom and their dad and despite the overwhelming urge to be vengeful at times, I have not done so. My daughter has started asking me why I am not closer to her mom. At this time, I have decided to simply say, that "your mom and I are no longer friends, and I go out to dinner with friends". I do not feel my daughter is ready for any detail of why we are not friends. Someday, I expect that she will.
Thank you for writing and sharing your personal tale of betrayal. It has helped me to further heal and move on.
Please, please, retire only posthumously.