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…