How Do You Forgive A Cheater?

It’s a good question. The answer depends on the scenario and everyone has a different story. Can you forgive cheating? Sure you can but does forgiveness mean you stay together? Not necessarily. Some try and succeed, others try and fail; it depends on many variables. Was it a one time deal? Was it an affair of the heart that lasted months or even years? Was it a cyber affair?  Was it strictly an emotional affair? Every question may have the same answer for some and a different answer for others.

This is not something I feel qualified to answer for anyone because every situation is unique. This is what I will say though, marriage is a commitment and when we make vows to another person before our deity, it is a solemn promise for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. There are simply too many things a person must consider. Do you have children? How will this impact them? Is your spouse mentally ill or do they have a personality disorder? Was this a problem in your relationship that you thought would go away when you married? So, I would never callously suggest to anyone that they should walk away from that before trying all that they can to keep their promise

Now if it turns out you are married to a serial cheater and no matter what you do they keep cheating and you can’t live with it, then end it.  Some people try going the “open marriage” route because fidelity is not the most important thing in their situation. I don’t judge anyone, it’s not my place, you need to find out what will and will not work for you.

Forgiveness is something all of us are capable of giving and we should always strive to do so.  The most important aspect to forgiveness is that we stop punishing or looking to exact some form of payment for the wrongdoing. It is a PARDON.  In the case of cheating, that would be divorce or revenge cheating. Forgiveness does not mean you stop hurting or you cease talking about what happened. You have to talk about things so you can work through them.  Something you need to know and it’s not going to be easy to hear but…cheating is not really the problem in your relationship, it is a symptom.

That’s right, cheating is NOT THE PROBLEM. The problem is what lead to the cheating and if you are unwilling to look at your relationship to see what went wrong, where you may have made mistakes as well as your partner, nothing will change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s your fault you got cheated on. That decision and blame lies on the cheater. I am saying that there were problems that went unaddressed and got worse and lead someone to make a bad decision (or many bad decisions) and that’s where you have some blame.

The bottom line is this, many marriages can and do survive infidelity. Is yours one of them? Only you and your partner can know that but whatever the case, I hope you do your best to think through your problems and don’t make any rash or emotional decisions that you can’t undo.

I will end this by reminding you of my 10 Steps for a happy marriage. If you aren’t doing these, maybe it’s time you start?

The Big Girl’s Guide’s 10 steps to have a happy marriage:

1. No matter how angry/hurt you feel, never retaliate. It creates a cycle and cycles are hard to break. Rather than that, take time to think and address your hurt later, in a calm fashion.

2. Treat your spouse like fine china. You wouldn’t be careless with your best plates, you shouldn’t be careless with something even more precious. People break too.

3. Never do ANYTHING with expectation of a specific outcome. Mind reading isn’t a skill born from love.

4. Be truly forgiving of each other.

5. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. Bullshit. Love means saying your sorry, meaning your sorry and acting sorry over and over until the person you hurt believes you.

6. Never stop dating and wooing your spouse. Don’t be complacent, always show your love.

7. Love is the foundation of marriage. Any problem you have has one cause (lack of love) and one solution.. More love. Give your spouse MORE love, more intimacy, more ability to connect emotionally.

8. Sex. Yes, please and often! Don’t wait for bedtime. Send a sexy text, flirt with your spouse, use every interaction as an opportunity to let them know you want them.

9. Quality time. Acts of service. Words of affirmation. Gifts from the heart. Easy ways to show the person you love that you love them.

10. Always put your spouse’s needs above your own, they will eventually do the same…




6 thoughts on “How Do You Forgive A Cheater?

  1. great post which resonates on many levels. there *are* so many factors in every relationship – let alone the nuanced complexities that each person brings with them. Some known and many more unknown, until something, a catalyst if you will, brings it to the forefront. It’s for each person, and their partner/spouse/other to decide how they choose to work through the moment and what the end result may be. Thank you for posting!

    • Thanks. I’ve had people ask me what they should do and I can’t answer that. None of us can answer that for another person and even if we think we know what we would do…we don’t really until faced with that reality.

      I know couples who moved forward and built a stronger marriage after infidelity and I know couples who couldn’t. There is simply no one size fits all solution to something like this and I want people to know that whatever is best for them is the right answer.

  2. My friend your post sparked my interest as a guy standing on the other side of the fence. As much as I admire your mindset I have to disagree, respectfully of course, as I have been a faithful man and a cheating man at different times in my life. I also have enough close male confidants that I feel comfortable speaking for more than myself on this issue.

    Usually when a guy cheats it has little to do with the woman and everything to do with his himself. Meaning, the woman can be the most beautiful lady in town, with an excellent job, and a radiant personality. It doesn’t matter, until that man is internally on solid ground and no longer looking for outside stimulation to fill his voids, there is a volcano waiting to erupt, no pun intended!

    Many of us finish high school or college and live pretty mundane lives! Initially a girlfriend or spouse can stimulate us but more times than not this is only temporary. To counteract the disenchantment of everyday life, many men turn to the rush of new found romance/sex to charge-up the internal excitement meeter. But of course it fail miserably short of the mark because that interaction will eventually play out like the one they are “stepping-out” on. Other men are just highly charged sexually and are not at the point where they can realistically navigate their hormones. This is a foreign concept to many woman but I am being completely honest when I say that being over sexually stimulated is a very dangerous period for any individual.

    In the end there are signs in all guys if the woman are clued in and ready to acknowledge it. The first one is a man’s ability to wholeheartedly speak his mind in a cordial manner when with their significant other. Also, a willingness to turnover absolute transparency with even the finite details of their personal lives, without a constant push from the other side. Another clue a man is ready for a relationship is seeing that he is not harping on the small irrelevant aspects of you two, but is excepting of the other half and focused on the ebb and flow of your verbal and non-verbal communication. And lastly, a joint feeling that this union is NOT A CHORE OR CONSTANT STRUGGLE but something that just works!

    Well, I hope I did not offend you but I had to speak my mind as I’ve had beautiful relationships and disasters, but one thing I know is a man’s point of view.

    • Absolutely not offended in the least. I appreciate both your comment and your insight. This is a tough subject and we all have different views and realities. The more we talk about stuff the more likely we can help someone who may be in the shadows trying to figure out what to do.

      Thanks for your comment!

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