Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Forgive or Forget It?

Wordless Wednesday is below this post, but if you have a moment, please indulge me and join in the discussion here, I'd like to hear what you think.

Yesterday, while in the midst of not having much to say, I did manage to write and post a poem on my other blog, Creative Karina, in response to the prompts at Writer's Island. The prompts (because I incorporated two weeks worth of prompts) were The Promise and The Moment.

Below is the poem I posted.


Too late now,
one decision
and it falls apart
we all have moments
life defining events
you chose her
over me

The words you speak now
have no impact
it's too late

Did you think
telling me it didn't mean a thing
would make it any better?

You took a vow
promised me forever
and in an instant
you broke us

And you have the nerve to tell me
it didn't mean a thing?

It meant everything.

Copyright 2007 - Karina

So, one of the comments I received gave me some food for thought, and I decided it stirred up enough of a reaction within me that it was deserving of it's own post.

Paisley said: "i cannot imagine it could possibly have erased true love... it may have dimmed it or marred it,,, but if the love you had for him was true... you would still have it.. just my opinion of course... the poem itself was wonderful,, i just wonder about the validity of the societal sentiment....."

And this got me thinking...first of all, I should make it clear that although based loosely on past relationships, this poem is purely fictional, as is most of my poetry. My poetry has always come from a place deep inside me that I'm not always aware of, and sometimes I wonder if I'm expressing emotions from a former life, who knows? But that aside, this is actually not based on any one specific "break-up", it's just poetry.

That said, it doesn't change the power of the emotion I felt when writing it, and then, after reading that comment, when rereading it. Paisley makes a good point, if it were true love, would one "mistake", one "moment" erase the love? Can cheating ever be forgiven? Can a relationship be salvaged after such betrayal? That is, after all, the sentiment behind the poem.

As I read it; and for the record, since I'm never really sure where my poetry comes from, when I reread my pieces, a lot of times, I read them as an outsider, not really sure who it was that wrote those words; but, as I read it, I see someone who has reached the end of the road in what was already a turbulent relationship. I see exasperation, I see someone who is still very much in love with the "cheater", but no longer willing to be cheated out of receiving that same love in return. The last line "It meant everything" is what seals it for's not about the cheating, so much as it is about the lack of responsibility for how it affects the author.

That's the poem itself. What about what I think, about unfaithfulness and forgiveness? Do I believe a relationship can survive a "moment" of bad judgment? Perhaps. If it truly is a moment, a lapse, then maybe. But if that "moment" is an expression of a deeper issue, then I'm not so sure. Being who I am, there are few things I find more important in a relationship than trust and respect. To me, unfaithfulness is the ultimate disrespect, and obviously a huge trust issue. I have been cheated on before, and the relationship did not survive the indescretion, but the relationship had issues prior to the cheating, so it is not surprising that it did not survive it. Would I in the future be willing to forgive someone if they cheated? I don't know. Every ounce of my being says no. I'm a strong, independent woman who can manage just fine on her own, so the idea of staying with someone who has betrayed me is foreign to me. Why would I? But, I realize that every circumstance is different and there might be an occasion where I would forgive and forget, insted of just saying "forget it".

But that doesn't address the true root of why Paisley's comment stirred me so, which is this: Paisley said: "i cannot imagine it could possibly have erased true love". I agree wholeheartedly. I don't believe unfaithfulness can erase true love, but I also don't believe those were the emotions expressed in the poem (at least not for me, the beauty of poetry is that the reader takes from it what they will). But for me, this "end" was not about the end of love, it was about the end of the relationship. Because, as I'm certain I've said before in past posts, and as I say all the time when discussing a particular former relationship, unfortunately, sometimes, LOVE just isn't enough. You can love someone with all your heart, soul, being, and yet, you can still be all wrong for each other. I've lived this, so I know from where I'm speaking. Love, grand and beautiful as it is, is simply just not enough. There are many other factors involved in making a relationship work. Trust and respect are just two at the top of my list.

So, that's me, that's how I feel. What do you think? Can true love survive unfaithfulness? Can a relationship? Do you think you could forgive and forget? Does it depend on who the indescretion was with, or how long it had been going on for? Is it about the level of guilt and responsibility the offender expresses?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and I'll be back througout the day to respond to comments, so come back and check...I'd like to make this an "audience participation" post.

And Paisley, thank you for the inspiration. Where I had none yesterday, today it's returned, so thanks.


Anonymous said...

I understand now what my grandmother used to respond to one of my theories with "You're young Frances and your head is fresh."
I firmly believed that "love" was all you needed.
Now at 46 I can tell you "NOT"
My top three are Trust, Respect & Reliability.
Looking forward to checking back and reading what folks have to say about this one.
Much bloglove,

Anonymous said...

I have been in this situation unfortunately, but we pulled through and got on with life. yes it was difficult - it nearly killed me - but having a child with my husband meant that I would ALWAYS be tied to him, and the thought of him moving on from me tore me to pieces, so we stayed.

Now 2 years on and we are still as much, if not MORE in love with each other than ever before, partly because we know how close it came to us giving up on what we had.

Trust can be built up again, and to be honest, I think I maybe needed a wake up call that I would have to remember to make an effort for my OH as he does for me, it's only fair isn't it?

If you really are truely in love with someone and they are with you, I think it would be awful to throw it all away without at least trying to build the trust back into the relationship. This is what we did and it worked for us, but then again I guess it wouldn't work for everyone - it completely depends on how the 'situation' came about really...

Jill said...

i think poetry is something that is to be discussed in classrooms, not with the author, cause, like the author is involved, if you have to explain it every time, it will get really annoying.. i liked it, it was simple.

paisley said...

i learned a long time ago that humans are not monogamous beings... we can be forced into that box,, and on occasion it will take,, but for the most pat it ends up causing hurt and disappointment,, if not worse,, when we try to force ourselves or our mates into being something we just are not...

there are as frances mentioned many things that matter much more in the long run,, things that can last and naturally bless a union enhancing its natural beauty rather than stifling human nature...

now take all of that and roll it up in my 46 year old celibate self.. and see if that makes any sense at all..... maybe not,, but interesting thinking ....

Rebecca said...

I have to agree with a lot of what you said. If someone is cheating that shows there are deeper problems in the relationship in the first place. While it doesn't make the cheated stop loving the cheater, it is best for the cheated to walk away and move on to something better.

I still feel a strong love for 3 of my ex's - but if I were to ever see 2 of those dirty rats ever again I wouldn't think twice to tell them to go to hell. And they didn't even cheat on me. :-0

qualcosa di bello said...

first...i like the staccato words & how they express such a deep hurt...the poem is, well, a poetic expression of the sentiment in just the right amount of words!

the issue & the questions raised just boggle my mind. you speak what i felt when you said that cheating is the ultimate betrayal & every ounce of you says continuing in the relationship would be a "no"...that is gut, untried reaction too. seeing this type of thing happen in some folks around me has led me to think that the cheating is an expression of lots of other problems. can you cheat on your "true love"? my monogomous, faithful self says no way. but i can only say that for me. i do believe that type of betrayal in my most intimate relationship would, at the very least, lead to a very...very...very long time of myself in a protective shell. i am, of course, swayed in this by the fact that i have four children to consider in my marriage.

for the record...& after 20+ years of marriage~~~ i must say that i am a HUGE fan of frances' comment :)

Junebug said...

I think you cannot put conditions upon whether or not you are going to love someone or not. Like if you do this one thing I will not love you anymore. People are fallible and sometimes they do the best they can and still fail. Now as for trust and respect, you can put conditions on these because there must be a foundation to build upon with boundaries set. These can be broken and sometimes repaired with much effort. It's the effort that proves the true love or lack of it. Just my perspective....

Karina said...

Frances, Trust, Respect and Reliability...I second those, no question about it. Romance is nice in the movies, but in the real world, the other attributes are much more valuable.

Marylin, I think it's wonderful that you two were able to pull through what must have been a horrible situation, to be even more in love with each other now. This is why I said I believe it does depend on the circumastances and the individuals in question. I can never say I would NEVER forgive someone, but the circumstances would have to line up just right for it.

lilmouse, thanks, and I do agree with you about discussing it with the poet...this post wasn't so much about discussing the "poem" itself, as the issue of infedelity and forgiveness. The poem? That's really up for everyone's individual interpretation.

Paisley, I don't disagree with you that humans are not necessarily monogomous beings, in general anyway, but I also believe that if you MAKE a vow that you will be, then you owe your partner at least the respect to be honest if you realize you cannot be. But I too have been single for a long time, so I look at things from a different perspective than most as well.

frigga, ooh girl, I hear you. I could definitely say that I still love at least two of my exes, but at least with one of them I know I don't EVER want to be reunited with him again...the other one? Well, I don't know that I want to know whatever happened to him, but given the right circumstances, I'd give that one another shot (and for the record, no, that one never cheated).

qdb, thanks for the compliment on the poem, first of all. It was a "quickie", and it seems those are always my favorites, the ones I don't put any thought into. About your response to the "issues" raised...that's pretty much how I feel. Never say never, but boy, it would be hard.

junebug, you said "it's the effort that proves the true love or lack of it". I agree with this to a certain extent, and that would obviously have to be effort from both sides. But even with the effort, I think it also lies in what form the betrayal came in. The underlying issues that brought about the betrayal, and the responsibility the guilty party takes, upon revelation of the betrayal. You know?

I want to thank you all for your comments...this is the type of discussion that I could go on and on about for days...and you'll note I both agree and disagree with your different viewpoints. This is because I really feel this is one of those "case by case" situations. Only when you are the one in a situation such as this do you truly know what the best road to take is. It's very personal and individual. There is no wrong or right answer "in general", there is only what is wrong, or right, for you at that moment.

Anonymous said...

I saw this the other day and have just been letting it brew. My first thought was, of course, that there is no way that I could ever stay with someone that broke my trust so completely.

But then I started thinking that I knew all the answers about parenting before I ever had a child. I was going to be so much better than all those horrible parents I saw out in public. Well...having the reality of a child, I can understand all those parents my young and foolish self had been judging.

So...until I walk in the shoes (which better not ever happen!) I can't really say what I would do. I know what I would say NOW, but that's judging...

I guess this is pretty much a non-answer to the question, huh?

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