When I was 26, my world fell apart. I had just started graduate school and was travelling back and forth between Richmond, Virginia and Washington, DC because my wife was finishing graduate school in a different city. On one of those trips, I was doing laundry and found a note crumpled in the bottom of the dryer. It was addressed to my wife from one of her classmates: ‘We should leave at separate times. I’ll meet you at my place afterward.’
Although not confirmed until months later, my wife was having an affair. To me, it was a blow of monumental proportions. I felt betrayed, swindled, even mocked. Anger exploded in me and, over days and weeks, that anger settled into a simmering mess of bitterness, confusion and disbelief. We separated with no clear plan going forward.
Although this pain stabbed with an intensity I hadn’t felt before, I was certainly not alone. Many people experience similar hurts, and much worse, in their lives.
Being in relationships often means being offended, hurt or betrayed. As people, we often suffer injustices and relationship difficulties. One of the ways that humans have developed to deal with such pain is through forgiveness. But what is forgiveness and how does it work?
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