When we raise the delicate question of extra-marital affairs, most people will wonder: “Can infidelity be forgiven?”
It’s a question on both the lips of the (potential) adulterer and the partner. The former wondering if the deed will ever be forgiven, and the later whether they will ever feel well again. Let’s get to understand why forgiveness after an affair comes so tricky.
Both answers have the same root. It’s the feeling of safety and trust that’s responsible for the pain when it’s broken. It’s the same feeling that will help potential forgiveness after infidelity.
What hurts when there’s infidelity in marriage (actual or “just” emotional) is the break of trust. We feel safe in our relationships. We intend to stay there until the end of our days. We consider it home. And when one of the spouses strays, it all disappears on a single second.
When you learn about the affair, it’s much more than the actual deed.
Your whole world collapses.
You lose the solid ground beneath your feet.
For those (and there are many) who went through this realization, it felt like their lives ended.
And after the initial shock, they start to wonder: “Can infidelity be forgiven?”
Why and how to forgive after infidelity?
So, we all know the problem with adultery is in the broken trust.
But what’s the other side of the coin? Forgiveness can only come to relationships where there was a strong foundation, to begin with. Or, when the same is built based on the new situation.
When a couple sees a marriage therapist with the questions of can infidelity be forgiven, and how to forgive infidelity in a relationship, the first thing that they need to work on is(re)building trust.
This time, the trust includes the ugliness too. Let’s face it – the marriage will never be built on a fairytale anymore. Nonetheless, it will be that much more real.
Infidelity and forgiveness don’t seem to go well together. Anyone who has experienced it will attest to the fact that forgiving infidelity may be one of the most difficult things imaginable. Yet, forgiving adultery means liberation. It’s the first step toward freedom for both. And the only possible route to staying in the relationship.
How to forgive infidelity in marriage for the cheated ones
We speak to the ones who were cheated on now. Once the initial shock and possible denial diminish, you’ll enter the bereavement stage. You need to mourn your lost relationship. It’s gone now. And it’s normal to feel depression, anger, sadness, jealousy, and a myriad of other emotions.
However, when that passes too, you’ll begin to wonder – can infidelity be forgiven? You’ll feel it in your bones that you need to forgive to be able to move on. Whether you chose to stay with the adulterer or to end the marriage and never come back – both include forgiveness.
So, how to ever do it? Forgiving after infidelity means that you’ll need to dig deep and find a way to accept. Accept yourself, accept reality, and, finally, accept your partner’s perspective. Start by acknowledging the possibility of them not being the ultimate villains. They were weak. They were troubled. They were – humans.
If you need help with getting there, consult a counselor or a psychotherapist. They will assist you in finding the path towards forgiving infidelity in marriage.
Can you forgive infidelity to yourself?
When we talk about extra-marital affairs, most of us will focus on the partner who was on the receiving end of this deed.
Nonetheless, the question: “Can infidelity be forgiven?” also includes self-forgiveness. Although the adulterer was the one having all the fun during the affair, that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel horrible as well.
Being the baddie in the situation comes with an immense amount ofself-loathing.
However, while trying to find answer to the question, “Can infidelity be forgiven?”, you are also supposed to heal and learn.
Don’t succumb to self-destructive behaviors. And don’t be inert. Use the experience to learn from it and become a better person. What would you do the next time differently?
To gain more insights into the question, “Can infidelity be forgiven?”, watch this video:
Can infidelity be forgiven? A final note
Can adultery be forgiven? Yes. Can you forgive yourself? Yes.
Will any of you ever forget that it happened? Not really.
But there’s a way to use it to build a new, firmer marriage. Marriage is about accepting the other and the shared life as it is. Truth is the ultimate basis for any valuable relationship.
After you have found the answer to the question, can infidelity be forgiven, take the blow of infidelity and build it into your new, indestructible marriage!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.