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How to forgive a cheating spouse: 7 ways to overcome infidelity

how to forgive a cheating spouseYour spouse has betrayed you in the most awful way.  They have cheated on you and you cannot see a way forward.  You can’t go back in time and make it so that it never happened, but you can’t force yourself into ignorance in order to move forward.  You’re stuck, and you don’t know what to do.  How can you forgive your spouse for their infidelity?  How can you forgive them when you feel like you’ve been utterly deceived?  Here are 7 methods for how to forgive a cheating spouse and overcome their infidelity for the sake of moving on in your relationship.

  1. Deal with your emotions

Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or hold them inside until they explode, face up to your emotions and deal with them.  This isn’t going to just go away by pretending it didn’t happen.  Face up to it.

Express your emotions

Cry, scream, shout, and break things… do whatever you need to do to purge yourself of the emotions that are threatening to swallow you whole.  Rid yourself of these emotions and work through them; this is how to forgive a cheating spouse; by expressing your emotions so that you can attempt to forgive and move past what happened.

Release them in a healthy way

You may want to wrap your hands around your cheating spouse’s throat, but there are healthier ways of expressing your emotions of anger, hurt, disappointment and betrayal.  Take your emotions out on a punching bag at the gym; at least there’s no danger of getting arrested for hitting a bag.  If this doesn’t sound like you, try writing down how you’re feeling.  Seeing them on paper can make it feel like your rage is flowing out of you and onto the paper.

Calm down

Make an effort to purge your emotions and calm yourself down.  It’s important that you are calm and can think things through reasonably before you make any serious and lasting decisions about the future of your marriage and whether or not you can forgive your husband or wife.

  1. Put some distance between you and your spouse

In the immediate aftermath of the incident or your learning of the betrayal, take some time and space away from your spouse.  Ask them to move out for a few days or pack a bag yourself and head to a friend or family member’s house for a few days.  You will not be able to think rationally while your spouse is still walking round the same halls as you, sitting beside you at the dinner table, and sleeping in the same bed as you.  You need some time and space to take a step back and think things through; this will help you to calm down and work through your emotions and is an important part of working towards how to forgive a cheating spouse.


Use the time you take away from your spouse to recover from the hurt, disappointment and anger you feel at their betrayal.  You feel like you have been shattered, completely blown apart, and you need this time to pick those tiny little pieces up off the floor and put them back together.  When you face your spouse, you need to be certain that you have recovered from the initial shock of their infidelity and started to recover from the hurt it caused.  Try not to think about your spouse right now.  Focus on yourself, what you want and you need.  Do what you need to do to feel better and make yourself feel strong enough to get past this hiccup.


Once you feel like you have recovered enough from your shock and hurt at your spouse’s infidelity (at least enough so that you can think about it without wanting to gouge someone’s eyes out), you can begin to reflect on your marriage.  Think about the things that have happened between you and your partner, the conversations you had, any arguments you may have had, and try to identify any reasons why your partner may have cheated.  Try to see in your mind any times where your partner may have felt unappreciated or unhappy, and any times that you may have been the one to make them feel this way.  Try to identify why they might have cheated.

  1. Talk to your spouse

When you feel emotionally ready to talk to your spouse again, sit down with them and discuss the affair.  Do it in private; this is no one else’s business but yours and your partner’s.

Hear them out

forgive infidelityLet your partner explain what happened and why it happened.  If they cheated, it happened for a reason, and while it is not your fault, you should still listen and try to understand what your partner was thinking and feeling.  Hear them out fully; let them say they’re sorry and make their excuses, allow them to tell you every sordid detail of their affair.  For you to decide how to forgive a cheating spouse, or indeed if you even want to, you need to have all the information to make an informed decision.  Don’t give your partner your decision right away; take some time to think about everything they’ve said and how you feel about it.

Ask questions

If your partner omits certain things or doesn’t want to tell you much about the affair, ask them.  They need to be open and honest with you now and confess everything.  Was it a one off?  Has it happened before?  Who was the other man/woman?  How did they meet him/her?  Do they love him/her?  As much as it may pain you to ask these things, if you don’t the possible answers will only haunt you.  It’s better to get everything out in the open now than to let these questions eat away at you when you’re trying to forgive your spouse.

  1. Be honest

If you are going to have any hope of repairing your relationship, you and your partner need to be one hundred per cent honest with each other from now on, even if what you have to say may hurt the other person.

Discuss your feelings

After you have heard everything there is to hear about the affair and asked all the questions you had, you need to be honest with your partner; tell them how their affair made you feel, how angry and hurt and betrayed you were, even if it hurts them to hear it.  They did that to you, and they need to be aware of the effect it had on you so that they will never want to hurt you in that way again and will never stray again.  Let your partner know how much they hurt you so they can begin to earn your forgiveness; this is an important part of how to forgive a cheating spouse.

Discuss your partner’s feelings

Listen to your partner.  Let them explain how they were feeling about your marriage and about you before the affair, and let them tell you how they feel now.  They gave you the chance to express your feelings and now you should do the same, no matter how hurt it may make you feel.  Understanding how your partner was feelings is a part of how to forgive a cheating spouse.

  1. Things you shouldn’t do

When your husband or wife has cheated on you and you are trying to see a way to forgive them, there are certain things that are very cumbersome, certain things that you should absolutely avoid doing.

Blaming yourself

No matter what your partner says, recognize that none of this was your fault.  While your marriage may have been rocky before the affair, it was your partner and your partner alone who chose to betray your trust when they cheated on you.  Perhaps you weren’t the perfect husband or wife but that doesn’t make a difference.  Your spouse should have come to you to discuss the way they were feeling, so that the two of you could work on it together, rather than seeking comfort in the arms of someone else.  That was their decision; you had no part in it.  Don’t blame yourself for what your partner has done and don’t let them put any blame on your shoulders.  This was not your fault, and if your partner truly wants to be forgiven, they will recognize and admit their own error.


forgive betrayalThe point of asking every question you could think of about the affair was that you wouldn’t obsess over it.  Don’t obsess over the person your partner cheated on you with.  It doesn’t matter if they were better looking, younger, or better in bed than you.  Obsessing over it will only hurt your chances of repairing your marriage.  You’ll drive yourself crazy and you won’t ever be able to truly forgive your partner if you keep dwelling on it and in the end, it won’t do anyone any good.

Be pressured

Don’t let your spouse or anyone else pressure you into forgiving them or taking them back if you don’t want to.  You were the one who was hurt and betrayed and it is your decision if and when you will forgive your spouse.  Even if you have children who don’t want their mum and dad to break up, take them into account but do not let them make this decision for you.  These decisions are yours to make so don’t let anyone else pressure you into making them before you feel ready to do so.

  1. How to forgive a cheating spouse

It may be easier said than done, but once you and your partner have fully discussed the affair and how each of you feels about it, it’s time to start working towards forgiveness.

Let go

Don’t constantly hold the affair against your spouse.  Once you have discussed it, leave it be.  Lock it away in a forgotten corner of your mind and avoid talking about it unless you really feel the need to.  It is in the past, and you and your partner have decided to try and find a way to work through it, to get your marriage back on track.  Leave it in the past where it belongs; this is how to forgive a cheating spouse.

Go to counselling

You may be hesitant to air your dirty laundry in front of someone else, but you’ll find that it can really help to see a professional marriage counsellor.  They have helped countless other couples through situations similar to yours and may be able to offer insights and solutions that you and your partner never thought of.  Consider giving it a go; it can only make your marriage stronger and is a very productive step in how to forgive a cheating spouse.

Rebuild the trust

When your spouse cheated, the trust in your relationship was severely damaged and now you need to work towards repairing and rebuilding that trust.  It won’t happen all at once, but if you and your partner are open and honest with one another, you communicate about any doubts you have or if you’re feeling unhappy or unsatisfied, you can begin to repair that trust.

  1. Take your time

The most important piece of advice for how to forgive a cheating spouse is to take your time.  When the trust between you and your partner is damaged by infidelity, it will take a long time to heal and repair.  Agree to work on your relationship with your spouse, keep the lines of communication open and agree to always be honest with one another from now on.  Your partner was the one who really hurt your marriage and they know this, so give them the time and opportunity to earn your forgiveness and regain your trust.  This is a process.  You can’t just decide to forgive your spouse and it will happen immediately.  Only time will fix your marriage.  Resolve to be better this time around and take your time to forgive your partner.  This forgiveness will help you to build a healthier and stronger relationship, and neither you nor your ex will ever again feel the need to look elsewhere for the things that you should be getting from your marriage.  Taking your time is the key in how to forgive a cheating spouse.

Antoine Peytavin, fondateur du site

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