When you are faced with betrayal, one of the hardest things to do is to forgive the other person. If your spouse has admitted to cheating, your natural reaction is to get angry, kick the person out of the house and talk to a lawyer. Regardless of whether you want to continue to work on the relationship or not, you need to forgive your cheating spouse not for his sake but for yours.
Here’s what you can do to forgive a cheating spouse.
- Acknowledge the hurt. Don’t try to move on from the relationship by being in denial of what happened. Stop making excuses. As the offended party, you have every right to feel angry. You must admit that you feel this way and understand that you have been wronged before you can work on forgiveness. For you to be able to forgive and let go of any anger, you have to acknowledge that it is there.
- Realize that you need to forgive for your own benefit. Forgiving someone who has wronged you seems very selfless. However, another component of forgiveness is that you are actually healing yourself by letting go of past hurts and anger caused by another person. You have to allow yourself to be happy and trust again, and this can only happen if you forgive not only your cheating spouse, but yourself as well. Most people blame themselves when a spouse cheats, for not seeing things more clearly or not seeing the signs soon enough. Stop berating yourself for the past in order to move on. When you forgive someone, you are actually doing yourself a favor. Do you really want all that negative feeling and thought cluttering your heart and spirit?
- Get help from a counselor. It’s very difficult to work on a relationship mired by guilt, betrayal, accusations and anger. You need help. Talk to your pastor or go see a marriage counselor or therapist who can arm you with the skills to get past the betrayal. Work with a counselor who can guide you through effective ways of dealing with your feelings in a healthy and constructive manner. It may take several months or years working with a counselor or therapist to get to a place of healing, but it can happen.
- Stop bringing up the past. If you both are willing to work on the relationship despite the infidelity, you both need to stop bringing up what happened before. Work through the problem no matter how long it takes, but once you have forgiven and resolved to move on, you cannot bring it up again. You can’t keep punishing your spouse if you want your marriage to survive.
- Pray. Regardless of your faith or religion, praying to a higher power can help you overcome the most severe of conditions, including the hurt of a betrayal. Ask your higher power to give you the strength to move on and forgive. You may also choose to meditate so that you can have clarity of thought and so you can see what you need to do to get to a place of healing.
It is possible to forgive a cheating spouse. Your love and strength of spirit will see you through. Even if you end up divorced, you must still forgive the other person for your own peace of mind. It may take a long time, but it can be done.