Has your spouse broken their vows, ripped your marriage apart and left you reeling—and now you’re struggling to find healing from infidelity?
Do you wonder whether or not you can ever forgive this offense and move on with your marriage, and that healing from infidelity is even possible?
Forgiving a spouse is one of the most challenging issues the victim of an affair has to deal with, which we will look at in today’s blog. Also, I will give you 3 tips to help you in your struggle to obtain the necessary healing from infidelity so you can move forward with your life.
What Does “Forgiving” Mean?
If the worst has happened and your spouse broke his or her marital vows and had an affair, no doubt it has crushed you emotionally.
Anyone who has endured this level of emotional pain has asked, “How can I ever forgive my spouse? Will I ever be able to open my heart to this person again, and move on with this relationship?”
The question is a perfectly legitimate one—and a challenge—because the concept of forgiving is so complex. But what does it mean to forgive someone? Do you have to forget in order to forgive?
For most people in our culture, the idea of “forgiveness” is almost a holy act. It’s supposed to happen in a single moment of revelation where you open your heart to another person in an act of the purest, most selfless compassion in order to restore the relationship to its former level.
But this meaning of forgiveness sets up an unrealistic expectation for people who have suffered from a trauma inflicted by another person and are trying to move forward.
How to Survive an Affair has sold over 20,000 copies and we have hundreds of written testimonials that have told us that Dr. Gunzburg’s program was the single reason they survived.
- Regain your self-esteem after the affair…
- Replace the anger, depression and sadness…
- Forgive your spouse and get a heart-felt apology…
- Rebuild the trust from the ground up…
- Open the lines of communication…
- Eliminate the negative thoughts…
- End the affairs for good…
- Make the relationship better than ever…
As a result people often judge themselves when they can’t seem to forgive people who have hurt them, feeling like they are not a “good” person if they feel unable to do this. But forgiveness is a very personal subject. Everyone moves forward in different ways, especially when they are trying to reconcile with people who have hurt them.
It is especially complicated when the person who has hurt you is your spouse—the one person you thought you could trust above and beyond anyone else.
The injured person thinks he or she is supposed to be able to “forgive” his or her spouse, and when that can’t happen the person feels stuck, and, in some cases, judges himself or herself harshly, complicating an already difficult situation.
If you feel stuck, you can move toward a different kind of forgiveness than the one typically promoted by our culture. This form of forgiveness is more practical: it focuses on the concept of acceptance.
Acceptance: An Alternative to Forgiveness
Acceptance is defined as the “willingness or ability to tolerate” some event in your life. By accepting that the terrible events that have happened in your marriage have in fact happened is the first thing you need to do if you are going to move on with your relationship.
That doesn’t mean you have to like what happened. You probably hate what happened. But you have to accept that it occurred, and you have to accept the feelings that come along with it if you are going to move forward.
In fact, acceptance is the first in a series of steps that ultimately have the power to move you toward forgiveness in a practical way. Forgiveness doesn’t have to come in a single revelatory moment. It can be the outcome of specific steps leading to recovery. Here are three to get you started:
Step 1: Get in Touch with Your Feelings
Exploring your own feelings, and learning how to cope with and manage them more effectively, will help in the healing from infidelity. You have a lot of emotions to process and manage, and thinking of forgiveness before you’ve even dealt with your emotions can put an unnecessary burden on you. Start with this step to regain some sense of inner peace.
Step 2: Rebuild the Trust in your Marriage
One of the biggest questions an affair victim has is, “If I forgive, will my spouse just turn around and cheat again?” This is a valid question. While there is no guarantee one way or the other, your spouse has a lot of trust-building to do before he or she can earn the right to regain your trust—let alone your forgiveness.
Step 3: Communicate your Pain and Receive Apology
You will need to express to your spouse the pain you are experiencing and your struggle in healing from infidelity. He or she needs to understand what, exactly, you are going through. And, he or she needs to offer you a complete, sincere apology for their transgression.
There is a lot of work to be done on the part of the cheater. He or she needs to take in and process the results of their actions, comprehend your pain—and make an apology based on this deep understanding of the hurt you feel.
My best to you as you reach a place of acceptance in your quest for healing from infidelity.
How have you handled the idea of forgiveness?
Do you feel you’ll ever be able to forgive? If not, what holds you back?
Has your spouse demanded forgiveness?
Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,