How to Forgive a Cheating Husband or Cheating Wife

Everything You Need to Know About How to Forgive Your Partner Who Cheated

Relationship cheating cannot be compared to any other type of bad behavior (except emotional or physical abuse which is also very bad!). Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. It makes no difference what other people (even what some so-called 'professionals') will tell you — being betrayed by a cheating husband, wife or partner is not a minor relationship sin. And in spite of what perhaps 'you may want to believe,' being betrayed cannot easily be forgiven or forgotten.

surviving infidelity, cheating wife, cheating husbandAs human beings, we are hardwired for exclusivity (having just one partner), but we are also hardwired to want to have friendship, romance, and sex with many people — although this is not a good thing to do. We also like wealth, but that doesn't mean it is a good thing to rob a bank. When we want more money, and we consider the risks involved in stealing, such as injury, criminal charges, and incarceration, most intelligent people will not steal in order to get rich. We have free-will and intelligence to guide our behavior. The challenge is to make the right life choices. Refraining from all forms of infidelity is definitely a 'good choice.'

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When your trust has been violated by your partner's philandering, then your instincts take over and you are naturally devastated. This can be compared to the body running a high fever when under attack by harmful bacteria. To fend off an attack by this foreign invader, your body makes you sick in order to help you get better. This is why you get a fever. So too, in a marriage or committed relationship, you become emotionally ill when betrayed. In fact, the reason most people do not engage in infidelity is because they are mindful of how their husband, wife, or partner will react upon discovering that they have cheated.

If you have been betrayed, your devastation includes lack of trust, anger, and bewilderment directed at your cheating husband, wife, or partner. To forgive him or her is a monumental task. For some people, forgiveness is seemingly impossible! And the reason for this is that you have built-in instincts to react strongly, a protection mechanism. Just like your health is dependent on eliminating any harmful bacteria and your body makes you sick with a fever to achieve this, so too your relationship and family cannot survive when there is an elicit individual lurking in the background. In response to the knowledge of infidelity, each family member will react with an emotional explosions. Infidelity is always conducted in secrecy and covered over with lies by the perpetrator in the hope of not triggering 'emotional reactions' by family members.

Initially, your feeling of 'not to forgive,' the cheater is imposed upon you by your instincts and you can do nothing about it. However, when you and your partner engage in infidelity reconciliation activities, you can turn the corner and get to a place in your relationship where forgiveness becomes possible and even desirable.

If you want to forgive and can't, there are things you can do. You can influence your emotions by 'thinking differently' about what has happened and thereby remove the emotional blocks to forgiveness. The following thinking points will help you to soften your heart and eventually enable you to forgive your partner.

How to forgive after infidelity

Daily consider deeply these points until they become emotionally real:

  1. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance.
  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.
  3. To remain 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 — myself, my partner, our children, our parents, extended family, and friends.
  5. (For those of you who have a spiritual dimension in your lives) I believe everyone has the a purpose in their life to contribute to the well-being of others. True, my partner fell short of his or her responsibility to be a contributor of good by betraying me. Nonetheless, my response should not be to abandoned my mission. Rather, after a period of healing and grieving, I should get on with my life and continue to do that which is meaningful to me and to others. My life has a higher purpose; it is not meant to be squandered in sadness and regret.

Once you decide to forgive, do your best to carry out this decision. There are many tools to help you. Use the suggestions above, find a good therapist, find a spiritual activity that will raise you up to a new level, or be creative and find something novel to do that leads to forgiveness.

For many whose trust was betrayed,  forgiveness can and should be, a 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.

Should you forgive a cheating partner? Test 

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Necessary instructions to get the results of your , Should you forgive a cheating partner? test:



3. RETURN TO THIS PAGE (the back button on a mobile device / this tab on a computer) AND SCROLL DOWN TO LEARN THE MEANING OF YOUR RESULTS.

Should you forgive a cheating partner? Test Score... what it means to you... 

Hi, this is couple therapist Abe Kass, MA RSW RMFT.

Each question in this, Should you forgive a cheating partner? Test, identifies a particular attitude or behavior a cheating partner needs to redeem himself or herself. When you answered a question, "yes," that means your partner is taking the 'correct' approach to reconciling after an affair.

Ideally, everyone's partner cheating partner should score '241 points' or close to this number. This is a reasonable goal and achievable by a remorseful partner wanting to reconcile and contribute to the healing of their betrayed partner. 

The lower your score, the less the cheating partner is ready for honest infidelity reconciliation. The higher your score, the more prepared the cheating partner is to honestly reconcile with his or her betrayed partner.

If your partner is not showing the necessary attitude and behavior based on this test, Should you forgive a cheating partner?, it may be necessary to attend therapy with a qualified relationship specialist to help your errant partner understand how wrong infidelity is, what needs to be done to reconcile, and how to contribute to the healing of his or her injured partner.

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 show you the 7-steps to surviving infidelity that when completed, make it possible to "forgive" a cheating husband or a cheating wife.

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


Infographic: To Forgive or Not To Forgive a Partner That Cheated?

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Worksheet: How to Forgive Infidelity in a Marriage or in 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.

You may want to print this exercise for ease of use. Click the Print Friendly button above. From there you can also format this exercise into a PDF file or email it to a friend. Note: Printing from a computer works best.

Has your partner stopped doing what he or she has done in the past that has hurt you so much? (If the answer to this question is "no", and you are still being hurt, then there is nothing to forgive, and you need to consider how to protect yourself.) 


Forgiveness Self-Help Worksheet

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 succeeded in forgiving your partner, what will he or she notice about you 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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Click to learn more: When A Cheating Partner Blames!