So you found out your significant other cheated on you: Now what?
There are very few things that can cause incredibly painful feelings of betrayal and hurt as finding out your significant other cheated on you. You are suddenly drowning in conflicting emotions and so many questions. You feel despair, sadness, anger, emptiness, rage, and desperation. And the one person you trusted to never make you feel this way is the one person who is causing you all this pain.
Being cheated on completely sucks. But the moment you find out about the infidelity, you are bound to start a new path — towards forgiveness and healing. It may seem unimaginable and incomprehensible now, but down the line, in order to move on from this painful chapter, you have to be able to heal and forgive. This doesn’t automatically mean staying with your partner. These are just things you have to do for your own heart to be whole again.
Now, if you do feel like you still want to make it work with them and you believe what you have is worth saving, then you may wonder how to forgive someone for cheating and how to fix a relationship after cheating. There is no clear-cut way to do this, no one single set of rules. But here are a few things you may want to take to heart as you go on your journey of forgiveness and healing.
How To Forgive Someone For Cheating And Fix A Relationship After Cheating
4 Wrong Reasons To Forgive
Before you begin your journey of forgiveness and healing, you first have to ask yourself this: Am I doing this for the right reasons?
It’s important to know the answer to that question. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, then you’ll just find yourself feeling empty and unhappy for years after. To help you search within yourself, here are some of the wrong reasons to forgive:
- Forgiving them because of the amount of time you have been together.
If you find that you want to forgive because of how long you’ve been with that person, that’s what they call the “sunk cost” dilemma. Simply put, you do not want all those years, all that time that you’ve shared with that person to go to waste, so you would just rather stay with them instead of leaving him and your relationship behind.
- Forgiving them because you have cheated as well, or you have hurt them in some other way.
Now this one can certainly be a big influence in your deciding to forgive the one who cheated on you. But you have to remember that this should not be the driving factor nor should it be the only reason for forgiveness. An eye for an eye is not a healthy scenario in a relationship.
- Forgiving them because you two have children together.
You love your children more than anything in the world, and you would never, ever
want for them to have a broken family. But then again, if the alternative to that is
resentment and unhappiness between Mom and Dad, then is that really any better?
- Forgiving them because his social circle and your social circle are entwined.
You two have been together for quite a while and you’ve built a life together as a
couple, and with building and sharing a life together comes having your social circles
intertwine. You worry that if you two split up, that would force your friends to have to
pick sides — or even worse, you might lose them altogether. But truth is, that’s just a
risk you may have to take.
The Forgiveness Q&A
To forgive or not to forgive? That is the question. After asking yourself why you are
choosing forgiveness and finding that you are doing this for the right reasons, the
next important question to ask yourself is whether or not you should. Here are 10
essential questions to ask yourself:
- Have they apologized to you — and was it a sincere apology?
- Is there a true understanding on their part of how much they have hurt you?
- Have they cheated before, or is this the first time?
- Do you believe that you can ever trust them fully again?
- Will you be able to truly forgive them, or will there be instances where you may find
yourself reminding them of their infidelity when you argue or fight?
- Are there others who depend on your relationship, like family, children, or friends?
- Are you both willing and committed to putting in the work to resolve the conflicts between you and address and fix what may have led to the infidelity?
- Who was it that they cheated on you with? Was it a one-time thing, or was it a long-term thing with an ex or someone significant to them?
- Have they accepted their infidelity and that they were unfaithful to you?
- Do you believe that you can be truly happy with them again?
5 Truths About Forgiving That Will Help Make Forgiveness Easier
Here’s a harsh truth: Forgiveness can very much be a tough pill for you to swallow.
When you’ve just been hurt and betrayed by the one you love, it may seem like the
last thing in the universe that you want to or can do is to forgive. But forgiving
someone is growth — and it is the only way to really move forward from the painful
and difficult chapter you find yourself in right now.
It’s not about staying with them still or choosing not to. You are not obligated to love
them or stay with them. You just got to learn how you can forgive them, no matter how
long it may take. That’s the only way for you to heal and move past this.
Read on for 5 truths about forgiving that you have to learn to embrace so that you
can take that step towards healing from the pain and the grief:
- To forgive does not mean to forget
That pain you are feeling right now is very real. The hurt, the grief, the ache in your heart, all of that is real. To forgive the person who causes you does not mean to forget what they did. Forgiveness isn’t a promise that you won’t remember — it is simply a promise that it won’t hurt you, in the same way, moving forward.
- To forgive does not have to be something you do for your partner
We often see forgiveness as a means to make others feel better. When a friend of ours wrongs us in some way, and they apologize; we offer forgiveness so that they feel relieved and that a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. But remember that to forgive your cheating partner is not about enabling them to feel better — this one is about you and letting yourself heal and release the hurt that you’ve been carrying with you.
- To forgive does not mean to let them off the hook
You can be forgiving towards your significant other — but you do not have to keep on loving them and being with them. You don’t even have to keep on liking them. They hurt you, and if you feel that the pain they caused was enough to let go of your relationship, that is okay. It is your right to choose how to move forward. Forgiveness gives you the opportunity to truly be free of the pain, whether with them or without them.
- To forgive does not make you a victim
A lot of people are wary and afraid to forgive when we have been hurt or wronged, particularly when it comes to cheating. It’s about now wanting them to have power over us — we do not want to forgive because that would mean acknowledging that they have caused us pain and we have become their victim. But forgiveness does not equal being a victim. It means you are brave enough to face what happened, grieve over it, and then move on past it.
- To forgive is not a sign of being weak
Remember this: You are not weak because you choose to forgive. Being angry forever and holding a grudge is not a strength. It is a weakness to let a single instance or part of your existence define how you will be and how you will feel for the rest of your life. To forgive is a strength that not everyone can find it in themselves to muster.
6 Signs You May Not Be Ready To Forgive
Just like all other aspects in a relationship, forgiveness is a choice — and a process.
You cannot force yourself to grant forgiveness if you are just not mentally and
emotionally ready to overcome this painful chapter. You may try to convince yourself
that you are okay and everything is okay, but there are certain clear indicators that
this may, in fact, not be the case. Fact is, there are only so many times that you can tell
yourself and others that “it’s okay” before you break and realize and accept that it is
actually not okay. And that’s okay.
So, are you try ready to forgive? Or are you honestly still trying to heal? Here are 6
indicators that will help you know:
- You find yourself quickly annoyed with them.
Your partner is making amends, and they are doing all they can to get back on your
good side. It is perfectly fine if you are not openly reciprocating their gestures, but
that’s not a good sign is when you get annoyed by every little thing they do! Where
your usual candid appreciation once was for him, you find that you are irritated by the small stuff that you used to adore about them. You may even find yourself irritated by the niceness they show you and feel their efforts to win you back are like overcompensation.
These very complicated emotions simply mean you are not ready to be around them
yet. Instead of ultimately hurting each other more, it may be better to take some time
apart to allow some of those negative feelings to dissolve.
- You find yourself questioning new friendships
Infidelity completely shatters the solid foundation you once had together in your
relationship. It affects how you see your partner and eats at the trust you once had.
So while before, the prospect of having new people come into his life was no big
deal, nowadays hearing about a new friend or a new colleague may make you
uneasy. You want to trust them; you do. But you hear a small voice whispering in your
ear, saying that they will just do it again.
In order for you to move past everything, you have to be able to trust your partner
again. If you cannot do that now, that’s an indicator that you may not be ready to
move forward with them just yet.
- You find yourself no longer doing small acts of kindness for them.
Do you find yourself saying to your partner and also to yourself that all has been
forgiven but still shy away from doing those small, simple acts of kindness that
express your love for them? If that is the case, you may not be as near ready to
forgive as you may think. Relationships are about those little, unconscious gestures of
love that we do for our significant other. Sometimes they may even be more weighty
and meaningful than grand gestures simply because these little acts are ingrained in
us and automatic — not something you have to think about or plan but something
you just do because of the love you feel for them.
If you find yourself not engaging in the simple acts right now, maybe take a step back
and ask why you’re feeling uncomfortable doing them. It may be because you are just
not ready yet for everything to go back to the way they were.
- You find that sex with them feels weird or unnatural.
One thing that is crucial indeed to fixing a broken union is to reignite physical
intimacy. It is a beautiful and significant way to bridge that gap between you two,
literally — and allow you both to be familiar with each other all over again. But sex is
not going to help if you still have mental images of them being with another person.
Sex is something that is supposed to be private and sacred; if your mind is filled with
thoughts of them having engaged in it with another person, then it may be best to
postpone having sex with them for now.
Sexual willingness and openness are very telling of it you are ready to forgive or not.
Telling your partner that you are ready to forgive is one thing, but if your hear, and
mind aren’t in it, your body will react instinctively.
- You find that you are wary when they head out.
You know you want to trust them once again. You keep telling yourself that you’re
ready to do that. So why is it that every single time they head on out by themselves,
you feel an urge to snoop around or do some social media stalking to find out what
they’re doing and with who? Snooping around is a very clear sign that you aren’t
ready to trust again just yet.
Even after all they’ve done for you to feel good and secure in the relationship, you still have a gut feeling that something is going to go wrong. You should be living in trust, but you are living in fear. You are not confident in your partner and the choices they may make. You are just consistently scared that something will go wrong, to the point that you expect it. It isn’t fair to either of you, especially if they have been doing everything that they can possibly do to make amends. If you feel that fear and worry and even paranoia every time they go out alone, communicate this to them and maybe, for now, choose to have a little space. There is just so much that they can do about their infidelity. When you are at this point, it may be best to regroup by yourself so you can become more reasonable and stable again as a partner.
- You find that you are starting fights.
Fights are part of the process of forgiveness. And as you are airing out your dirty
laundry, you may begin saying stuff you never said before and bring out more issues
into the open instead of burying those like you used to. But what is not normal is
starting fights out of thin air. You may find that you are instigating fights more and
more because of reasons that aren’t connected to infidelity, like spilling something or
buying the wrong soap, because every single thing they do now you can’t help but
put under intense scrutiny. No matter how insignificant or small the mistake, you may
find yourself shouting at them or tearing them a new one.
This is basically your anger and resentment manifesting. Instead of you redirecting
those feeling to your day to day with them, admit that you are just not ready to go
back to everyday life with them still. If you instigate fights out of thin air, it is most
likely because you still feel the urge to punish them secretly for cheating, and that s
not healthy for either of you.
8 Steps On Forgiving Someone Who Cheated On You
Forgiveness does not happen in a day. To forgive a cheating partner will certainly
time. And that’s okay. If you have looked within your heart and you know that you
want to forgive and fix what you have and are wondering how to forgive someone for
cheating and how to fix a relationship after cheating, well, it comes in steps. Cheating
is a choice, and it was something your significant other chose to do to you. But to
heal from the pain and to move forward with them and rebuild, forgiveness is a
necessary thing you have to do.
Here are 8 steps on how to forgive someone for cheating and fix a relationship after cheating:
- Accept your mental and emotional state.
Being cheated on by the one you love takes a toll on someone’s emotional and mental health. Accept that you are in a state of grief and pain and that it is okay for you to be sad. Do not bottle up your feelings because that will lead to lashing out in other ways that are hurtful.
Accept the mental and emotional consequences of cheating. Infidelity will have Avery big impact on you. Accept how you feel, first and foremost.
- Express what is inside of you.
You have some very big and complicated feelings right now. Write it down. If you want to lash out or even cuss, put it to paper. And if you want to cry, let your tears flow. Do not keep it bottled inside.
If you find yourself unable to express your emotions to your significant other (understandably), do so with family or with a friend who will be there for you and understand what you are going through. You can also speak with a counselor who can help you process what you are feeling.
You need to be able to express yourself and let your bottled emotions out. It is the only way you will be able to start the process of forgiveness towards your cheating partner.
- Communicate and spend time with confidantes.
We talked about expressing yourself and letting your bottled emotions out and how you can do that with someone that you trust. It is a key thing to do as you go through this emotional and mental trauma. It is a good thing to get different perspectives on your pain. Healing is not something you have to do by yourself.
When we say communicate, it doesn’t even have to mean you have to talk about what you are going through all the time. Just spending time with your friends, talking about your college days, laughing together, those things can be very therapeutic.
Communicating with others, and spending time with friends and family, helps to relieve stress. You will have less time to wallow in the pain and dwell on negative feelings when you are communicating and spending time with those you care about.
- Give your significant other and yourself some space.
Being too clingy with your significant other so that you can inspect and watch every move of theirs is going to destroy your relationship as well as your inner peace. Forcing yourself to be with them all the time like normal when things aren’t normal is just going to hurt more than help. If you are on the road to forgiveness, you may want to give yourself and your partner space for now. This may also help you to re-evaluate where you stand in your relationship.
Taking time apart will help you heal, and it may also help you realize how much you mean to one another.
Over time, you’ve built a shared life together, and even as cheating has occurred, there is still that thread that connects you two. Having some space between the two of you can help you to begin working on strengthening that connection, and granting forgiveness to them will be a little easier.
- Therapy may help.
Never forget: Therapy is not taboo. It is a good thing. Relationship counseling is something you may seek or couples’ therapy. Professional help can aid you greatly in openly communicating with each other through all the pain and hurt.
Professional help can also help you both to address the knots in your union that gave way to the cheating happening to begin with. Many times, couples find it difficult to talk to each other and truly communicate after infidelity, particularly because there is now an awkwardness, suspicions, and loss of trust.
Professional help is a good way to get back that communication you lost, and even help make it better than before and help you trust again.
- Try to be understanding.
Okay, this is a very tough and challenging one. But you have to try to understand why it happened to begin with.
Not the actual cheating. But what it was that may have led your significant other to cheat in the first place. There are many instances where cheating happened because they were feeling unappreciated or neglected or were unhappy in certain aspects of the relationship.
This does not ever excuse what they did. But rather than just blaming them for stepping out on you and causing you pain, it is now time to face the reasoning behind it or what led them to do it. Remember, however, that understanding does not mean now placing the blame on yourself for your partner’s infidelity!
- Do not plot your revenge.
Ah, yes. It is human nature to want to get even when you feel hurt or wronged. But the whole “they cheated on me; therefore, I can and will cheat on them so we are even” is nothing but a foolish move that may end up causing you and the relationship more pain.
Channeling your anger and pain into getting back at your partner will make the situation worse. A couple unable to get past the anger and pain will keep on having huge trust issues even as they choose to stay together. You have to move past it.
It doesn’t have to be an instant thing. Nor should it be. Let go of the pain and the anger gradually, and do not be vengeful or vindictive. You have to be able to have a grip on your own feelings. And do not ever feel guile over your significant other cheating. Find your center and your composure.
- Move past the insecurities.
After you find out about your partner’s cheating, you’re bound to have feelings of insecurities. You will wonder and be anxious about their choices and their moves. But forgiveness is about slowly rebuilding your trust in your partner and not being paranoid and insecure when it comes to them.
Of course, it is normal for you to feel a little twinge when your partner goes out or is talking to someone on the phone or is late coming home from work. Your mind may also go into overdrive. When this happens, your significant other should also take steps to help you not to feel those insecurities and fears. They should do all they can to make you feel secure with them again and believe in their love and commitment to you.
5 Ways To Help Yourself Heal As You Forgive
So you are ready, and you know in your heart that you will forgive your partner, and you two will fix your relationship. And you’ve taken to heart the steps to forgive and fix. But before all that, you have to focus on healing yourself. Only when you have healed can you truly begin the process of forgiving someone for cheating and fixing a relationship after cheating.
First, ask yourself:
- Do you love them?
- Do you want to stay with them?
- Are you able to trust them again?
- Are you willing to get past the affair?
- Are you willing to put in the work to rebuild the relationship?
Did you yes to all the questions? Then before anything else, you need to heal.
To heal means to learn and accept the past and not allow it to ruin and destroy the present. Don’t let the past haunt you and taint your present and your future.
Here are some ways to help yourself heal as you forgive:
- Find out where you stand.
Are you truly ready to move past what happened and to forgive? Do you think you will be able to be in a healthy union with the person who broke your trust? Can you get past the pain and the hurt and try to place your trust in them again? Look within yourself and evaluate where you stand before going on the road to forgiveness.
- Steer clear of asking for the dirty deeds.
If you really and truly desire to move forward, steer clear of asking them for the dirty details of their infidelity. Doing this will just cause you more pain as this will fuel your imagination and keep thinking of them having sex with another person. It is wise to not dwell and wallow, which will happen more when you are finding out the details.
- Accept that healing is a process.
You have been betrayed. Your heart has been crushed. This is not something that can be fixed overnight. Fast-forwarding the healing process and forcing yourself to get back to normal will just impede and hurt the process of healing. Instead, communicate with them about your fears in the relationship. Give yourself, your relationship, and your partner the time needed to heal and get better.
- Let go of grudges.
Here’s the thing: Keeping grudges is not moving forward. Constant nagging about the infidelity and using what they did to manipulate or put down your partner indicates that you are still keeping a grudge. Keeping that grudge will just make it more difficult to reignite and rebuild your relationship in a healthy manner.
- Give trust another chance.
Trusting your partner again seems like such a challenge now. And yes, it definitely will not be easy to place your trust in them again, but you have to if you want to heal your relationship as well as yourself. An important foundation of any relationship is trust, so if you truly want to heal, forgive, and move forward with them, you have to find it in you to trust them again.
Forgiveness and healing after being betrayed by the one you love is very hard. There’s no escaping that. And we all have the right to heal and forgive at our own pace. But with patience and time and a willingness to overcome, you can forgive someone for cheating and fix a relationship with them — and the rebuilt union may even become stronger than before.