Eighteen years ago, my wife was unfaithful with someone who claimed to be my friend. But because I had also been unfaithful, I decided to forgive her. She has always been an excellent mother, and now is a wonderful grandmother for our two grandchildren.

Ever since then we’ve been very happy together, until two months ago when that guy, with whom she had been unfaithful, wrote to her on Facebook. She answered and they exchanged a few messages—nothing out of the ordinary—; but it made me feel like I was being stabbed in the heart, and now all the memories of her infidelity keep coming back to me…. She regrets the messages and says that she only answered him because she needed healing in her heart and needed to forgive, but since that day I can’t find any peace.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for overcoming a crisis in your relationship and for working out your differences! The fact that you have been happy for all these years is proof that marriage problems can be worked out when both spouses agree to forgive and forget. You have given a wonderful gift to your children by providing a stable home for them. You both should give yourselves credit for working things out for the entire family’s benefit.

You don’t mention how you knew about your wife’s recent Facebook messages, but it sounds like you have a healthy agreement to share your social media activity with one another. Fortunately, you are not like the unwise couples who keep their messages and posts hidden from one another. It is because your wife’s Facebook messages were not a secret from you that you were able to see for yourself that there was nothing out of the ordinary in those particular messages.

While we certainly agree that your wife should block the guy from being her Facebook friend, we agree with you that nothing out of the ordinary happened. A brief online exchange that you know about is certainly not enough to have taken away your peace and to have thrown you into a loop of constantly thinking about your wife’s infidelity.

Your current mental state is most likely a warning that something else is bothering you. We know by experience that aging, all by itself, can bring out many insecurities. Changes in our hormones can cause chemical imbalances in our brains. Or, in your case, it is possible that just thinking about future aging and retirement is leaving you unsettled. We strongly suggest that you seek professional counseling to help you work through this roadblock.

You forgave your wife long ago, erased what she did from the record, and then lived happily for all the years that followed. In doing that, you were following God’s example of forgiving and forgetting. For once we ask God’s forgiveness for our sins, He erases those sins from the record and never brings them up to us again. As our Heavenly Judge, He declares us “not guilty” and no longer holds us responsible for those sins. Follow God’s example and reclaim your happiness.

We wish you well,