How To Forgive A Cheater!

Caught cheating! The repercussions of the most heart wrenching mistake a spouse can make in their marriage requires patience, understanding, communication and forgiving!

Forgiving is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re on the receiving end but it’s the most crucial step that must be taken if you have any hope of salvaging the relationship. We’re going to look at some of the obstacles that deter the process of forgiving and I’ll also follow up with some suggestions you can implement in order to grasp the pieces of a broken marriage.

Either we’ve been a part of it or we know somebody who’s dealt with it in their marriage. Unfortunately, in today’s society its way too frequent and accepted amongst our peers. We’ve managed to actually twist the logic behind cheating and now some professionals even propose some form of cheating can actually enhance a relationship! Are you serious? Yes, it’s gotten that warped!

Emotions, they play a major part in the forgiving process. Depending upon the individual, emotions can lead the “cheated” to commit the worse crime that you can think of when they realize that their love was taken for granted and thrown to the curb all for a physical desire to be filled. Once you’re able to place your emotions under a clear level of control you normally go through the questioning phase and of course the biggest question is WHY? Here’s where most people get on the wrong track for healing. We in general start off by asking the WRONG types of questions! Does it really matter WHY they cheated after the fact? All that’s fixed in your head right now is either a picture you have locked away from witnessing the “act” or simply imagining your spouse in the arms of a new individual. Neither of them bringing you much comfort.

Replacing your WHY’s to HOW do we get past this, is a more significant question that leads you back on the right track for recovery. But let’s be real here, the WHY’s are masking a bigger issue, WHAT drove this person to commit this act of betrayal in the first place? No one truly committed in a marriage wakes up one morning and simply decides to sleep with another person other than their spouse. Know that there’s always “warning signs” prior to this taking place. Somewhere along this road to betrayal some signs were evident BUT you either didn’t consider it a real “issue” at the time or you simply took their concerns for granted. There’s always signs! Placing your emotions on the back burner and sitting down with your spouse for that serious discussion is a necessity. This discussion must be handled with kid’s gloves, the first wrong answer or wrong question spoken with sarcasm or harsh accusation will only provoke a verbal war or even worse. Remember, you’re trying to start on the road to hopefully recovering what’s left of the marriage, not seal the coffin to a fading marriage!

Once your anger has subsided (somewhat) you finally realize that you have an upper hand in this marriage and for a lot of us we misappropriate this upper hand and use it in the worse way! It’s now our official ACE in the hole card! Used at our discretion, at whatever time we feel the need to remind this person of that horrible mistake! And we try to justify it too! An eye for eye, or in some people’s view, a lay for a lay! Forgiving is nowhere to be found in this course of action, it’s buried deep and for many years! Again, it’s those emotions that take over our rational thinking and our hearts! How can you shift forward when you’re constantly reminding them of the past? Once again, you’re left with taking the high road or the low one. The high one of course relating to the question, HOW bad do I want this relationship? (And in reality you’re asking yourself just how much do I love this person now?). The low question that takes us down the wrong path is, How can I make them sense the pain I felt? Taking this road only leads to more destruction in the marriage, now there’s NO responsibility amongst either of you and neither of you feel as if you were wrong for doing it! How sick is that thinking?

If we really wish for the marriage to survive we use our “upper hand” to create some rules for the “cheater”. We don’t ask, we don’t suggest that they consider it, but we TELL THEM that we, as a couple will be going to counseling! It doesn’t matter which professional you seek for it, rather it be your Pastor, a Marriage Counselor, or Rabbi, it’s a must that someone give you two input and recommendations from a neutral view. You can also use your upper hand to hold the “cheater” answerable for their whereabouts. Now this should not be taken to the extreme, not allowing them to go the bathroom without checking in with you is a little extreme but at the same time knowing that it should take them no more than 30 mins. to get home from work and they can’t seem to make it home til 2 hours later is a justifiable basis to have them call you. And be aware of that this is something TEMPORARY! Until your trust in this individual is at a “safe level” again. Holding someone prisoner with this suggestion for 5 or 7 years later “after the fact” is not a sign of FORGIVING, it’s a living hell!

Of course there’s quite a few scenarios that we can look at because everyone’s situation is not the same (kids, traveling due to job, friends and family, etc… ). But do you see how asking the RIGHT questions are in a sense, steps toward FORGIVING? Wanting to know who the other party was in the act won’t salvage your marriage, but given access to the cheater’s personal email and social sites accounts should be considered as an “offer of goof faith” towards the cheated. The “cheater” must be eager to show the “cheated” that they still value the marriage, they made a repulsive mistake and that they truly love you. Actions will always speak louder than words. FORGIVING takes action, and LOVE is not an emotion, LOVE is action!

FORGIVING is a necessity in order for any marriage to outlive the pains of betrayal.

Anthony W. Taylor