Forgiving a cheating spouse can be extremely difficult, and at times feel somewhat impossible.
Being cheated on can make you feel a bevy of different, destructive emotions including sadness, pessimism, anger, bitterness, and even rage.
It can make you feel: depressed, inadequate, sexually undesirable, unattractive, and like a failure.
Additionally, being cheated on can lead to many physical ailments like fatigue, lethargy, appetite loss or gain, insomnia, stomach pains, and headaches.
When you're suffering from any of these symptoms, it makes an attempt at forgiving a cheating spouse even more difficult.
Forgiving a cheating spouse may take time, it rarely happens overnight.
And yet, there are steps you can take to forgive a cheating spouse and find love, trust, and joy again.
Forgiving a Cheating Spouse: Get the Facts
When forgiving a cheating spouse, it can be important to get the facts surrounding the infidelity.
Choosing ignorance about the facts or even the details surrounding the cheating might seem like a good idea at first.
"I don't want to know the details," someone might say, "They're too painful."
And when the wound is fresh, that may be true.
However, in the future when you're struggling with forgiving a cheating spouse, you may end up wondering certain things.
Often the facts surrounding cheating seem unimportant.
But if not knowing will you make you wonder, doubt, and/or even obsess about the facts later, then get them out in the open now.
When making an attempt at forgiving a cheating spouse, you don't want lingering questions.
Get the facts, get them out in the open, so you can accept them and deal with them.
The truth will set you free.
When making an attempt at forgiving a cheating spouse, it's crucial that you empathize with them.
There's a difference between sympathy and empathy.
Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone.
Empathy is tougher. Empathy is when you actually put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine how they feel.
Empathy is necessary for true forgiveness.
Forgiving a cheating spouse begins with empathy.
Do your best to understand why they cheated.
What was going on in their lives mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically?
What were the circumstances that lead to their cheating?
It's important to note here- empathy doesn't mean you make excuses for them or try to justify the cheating.
Forgiving a cheating spouse means holding them responsible for their actions, while at the same time trying to understand why they made the choice to cheat.
We're all human, and we all make poor choices and mistakes sometimes.
Empathy is not about excusing cheating, it's about understanding how and why your spouse made a poor choice.
When forgiving a cheating spouse, it's important to make sure you don't accept an apology too soon, before you've actually forgiven them.
It's easy sometimes, especially when you love someone, to accept their apology too quickly.
What does it mean to accept an apology too quickly?
It means when someone apologizes, make sure you're ready to fully accept their apology and offer true forgiveness.
If you accept an apology too quickly, before you're ready, then you may end up making your spouse apologize over and over again for the same mistake.
When your spouse apologizes, it's okay to tell them, "I need more time."
In fact, you'll be helping your spouse and yourself in the long run.
Nothing breeds bitterness more and makes forgiveness more difficult than someone feeling like they need to apologize over and over again.
When forgiving a cheating spouse, make sure you're ready to genuinely accept their apology so both of you can begin to heal.
When forgiving a cheating spouse, it's important not to keep bringing up the infidelity.
Let's face it- when you argue it's tempting to bring up your spouse's past mistakes, failures, and poor choices.
Many couples keep a list of wrongs ready for an argument or fight.
When forgiving a cheating spouse, bringing up the past infidelity or the person they cheated with is like ripping a scab off a wound.
It will never heal.
True forgiveness requires no ammunition, no shots fired over past mistakes.
When forgiving a cheating spouse it's crucial to avoid any kind of verbal abuse, like name calling.
Words like cheater, slut, whore, and liar are harmful and toxic to any relationship, especially when forgiving a cheating spouse.
A vital part of forgiving a cheating spouse is making a commitment to yourself to not bring up or revisit the past.
You will avoid harming your spouse, and you will work towards cultivating true forgiveness.
Being cheated on makes you feel differently about yourself, but it may also make you feel differently about your spouse.
Forgiving a cheating spouse is often a struggle because you don't see them the same way that you used to.
Maybe you don't trust them as much, respect their judgment, or hold their character in as high esteem.
Maybe you don't find them as sexually attractive as before, or you wonder if they're still thinking about the person they cheated with.
For these reasons and many more, forgiving a cheating spouse can make it difficult to cherish them.
What does it mean to cherish your spouse?
It means reminding yourself of what you love about them, recalling what they've done for you and what you've done together.
It means focusing on their good qualities and how you find them unique from others.
And don't just think about these things- tell your spouse how much you cherish them.
Remind them of why you love them, instead of how they messed up.
When forgiving a cheating spouse, cherishing them also means showing them physical affection.
Actively cherishing your spouse will help the healing process between both of you.
Forgiving a cheating spouse is possible, with a positive commitment to cherishing both who they are, and what you have together.
As we've seen, forgiving a cheating spouse can be an extremely painful, difficult, and humbling experience.
True forgiveness and genuine healing are never easy, but never impossible.
If you have experienced cheating in your marriage or in your relationship and desire to offer your partner forgiveness, seek professional help.
A licensed professional counselor can be a much-needed support system for couples when forgiving a cheating spouse.
Forgiving a cheating spouse requires patience, faith, and love. There is hope.
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