Forgiveness After Infidelity [quiz, video and worksheet]

How to Forgive a Cheating Husband or Cheating Wife woman looking over husbands shoulder while he is texting on his phone

What is Considered Cheating?

Infidelity, cheating on one’s partner, is very hurtful to the person betrayed.

Amongst some groups and businesses that profit from infidelity, cheating is justified or even encouraged. They promote the lie that cheating is okay and no one is hurt. However, it makes no difference what others say.

A cheating husband, cheating wife, or cheating partner injures many people. If you are a victim of a cheating husband, cheating wife, or cheating partner, you may want to believe that having been betrayed is easily forgiven and forgotten.

The truth is that infidelity is not easily forgiven or forgotten, the hurt doesn’t’ just go away.

Background on Infidelity

As human beings, we are hardwired for exclusivity (having just one partner). However, we are also hardwired to want friendship, romance, and sex with many people. Therefore we must exert our free will and make the right choice to avoid cheating on one’s partner.

This is similar to eating healthy foods. We naturally crave many foods that would make us sick. Nevertheless, we must assert our free will and select those foods that benefit our health. Just because something is available, it does not mean you should partake in it. The challenge is to choose what makes us healthy and happy. Refraining from ALL forms of infidelity is the right choice to keep us happy and healthy.

Are You a Victim of Infidelity?

When your partner’s philandering has violated your trust, your instincts take over, and you are devastated.

Your devastation includes destroyed trust and security, bouts of anger, deep sadness, and confusion.

Forgiving a cheating husband, cheating wife, or cheating partner is a monumental task. For some infidelity victims, forgiveness even seems impossible!

Each victim’s response to the knowledge of a cheating husband, cheating wife, cheating partner, cheating father, or cheating mother will be different.

If you want to forgive, there are things you can do to reconcile and eventually forgive. However, this can only happen when your cheating partner has ended the affair, is remorseful, has done the work to reconcile, and is committed to never cheating again in the future.

The 5 Tools outlined below will help you to soften your heart and eventually enable you to forgive your partner.

5 Tools to Help You Forgive After the Affair has Ended

Deeply consider these points until they become emotionally aware:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance (provided they are remorseful and don’t ever cheat again).
  2. I need to look at the big picture and realize that my cheating husband, wife, or partner is much more than just a ‘cheater.’ He or she has many fine qualities and has done many good things in his or her life. A person is more than a ‘mistake,’ no matter how big the mistake is.
  3. Remaining angry and hurt is a terrible burden. It makes me bitter and sucks out the joy in my life. I want to be free of this burden, and to forgive will liberate me.
  4. To remain angry, bitter, and mistrustful hurts everyone in our family — my partner, children, parents, extended family, and friends.
  5. For those of you who have a spiritual dimension in your lives:

    I believe everyone has a purpose in their life. True, my partner fell short of his or her responsibility to contribute to the family’s well-being by betraying me and others. Nonetheless, my response should not be to abandon my mission. Rather, I should be inspired to do more. After a reasonable period of grieving and healing, I should get on with my life and continue to do that which is meaningful to me and of value to others. My life has a higher purpose; it is not meant to be squandered in sadness, conflict, and regret.

Once you decide to forgive, do your best to carry out this decision. There are many tools and strategies to help you. Use the suggestions above, find a good therapist, find a spiritual activity that will raise you to a new level, or be creative and find something novel to do that contributes to forgiveness. For many whose trust was betrayed, forgiveness can and should be the first choice.

Proof you ‘have forgiven’ is confirmed when you recall the details of the betrayal, and at the same time, you do not have a strong emotional reaction.

Is the Time Right to Forgive Your Cheating Wife or Husband?

Learn what your partner needs to do to warrant being forgiven. Take the Should You Forgive a Cheating Partner Quiz today!

Get immediate professional help to overcome infidelity.

Hi, this is infidelity recovery specialist Abe Kass, MA RSW RMFT CCHT, and author of this article.

If you and your partner are having an infidelity crisis, I encourage you to get professional help from a skilled and caring practitioner.

You can also purchase my book below and get immediate professional guidance to assist you and your partner during this very dark moment in your relationship.

Professional relationship therapists can be found using the website for the American and Canadian Associations of Marriage and Family Therapy. In the USA go to AAMFT, in Canada go to OAMFT.

In my professional work as a couple and family therapist, I have worked with many couples who have had their lives shattered by infidelity; the trust, love, and innocence between them destroyed.

Fortunately, with the right effort most of these sincere couples have successfully repaired the infidelity damage, and so can you.

To help you along, I have developed a 7-Step Recovery Map to support your recovery journey.

This map is the primary subject in my groundbreaking book, Surviving Infidelity: A Couple’s Journey using the 7-Step Recovery Map.

Video: How to Forgive Infidelity?

Surviving infidelity requires great effort. The emotional trauma is overwhelming. However, effort alone is not sufficient to rebuild your life and your marriage. You need the ‘right’ effort to succeed.

The information in this video will target exactly what you need to do to successfully survive infidelity and then be able to forgive your cheating husband or cheating wife. This video will teach you the 7 Steps to Surviving Infidelity that when completed, make it possible to forgive a cheating husband or a cheating wife.

Play Video about professional marriage advice how do i forgive a cheating husband or a cheating wife

The 7 steps needed to forgive:

  1. All contact with the outside person must cease.
  2. Prove the cheating has stopped.
  3. Your partner recognizes how he or she has hurt you.
  4. Your partner who has cheated must take 100% responsibility for the affair.
  5. Make times to discuss the affair and your feelings.
  6. Work on having a “normal married life.”
  7. Build a healthy and happy marriage.

Infographic: Should you forgive a partner who cheated?

How to Forgive Infidelity in a Marriage or a Committed Relationship Worksheet

Let’s consider some of the tasks necessary to make it reasonable and easier for you to forgive. Write your responses to the following thoughts and questions:

Please note: If your partner is still cheating or shows no remorse for what he or she has done, then forgiveness under these circumstances would be misplaced and likely harmful. If sadly this is your situation, you need to focus on protecting yourself, not on granting forgiveness. Thus, you should skip this exercise.

Forgive Infidelity Worksheet for Couples

Describe briefly what is the event that caused you so much pain and that at this point you wish to forgive the offender — your partner — for his or her behavior.

What can the offender do to make it easier and more reasonable for you to forgive?

If you need to tell your partner what he or she can do to help you forgive, when will you do this?

If you choose to hold on to your grudge and anger, in what ways do you imagine you will suffer in the future?

If you choose to hold on to your grudge and anger, in what ways do you imagine your partner and your relationships will suffer in the future?

How would you be better off if you choose to forgive and you do so?

Describe a time in your life when you have forgiven somebody for having wronged you.

In your above example, what did you do forgive?

Regarding the situation you’re working on right now (the event(s) you described above), what do you need to do in order to forgive your partner for having hurt you?

After you have succeeded in forgiving your partner, what will you notice about yourself that is different?

After you have forgiven your partner, how do you think you will feel differently than you do now?

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abe kass

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!

abe kassProfessional Therapist Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT

Abe has helped thousands of individuals, couples, and families for twenty-five-plus years. When it comes to relationship expertise — Abe is the real deal and can be trusted!