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Isn’t it heartbreaking when your spouse cheats on you and you find out about it? Should you forgive your cheating spouse? You made promises to each other and shared the most intimate moments. It’s distressing when your spouse does the same with someone else. It’s like they do not see your worth and have no respect toward you.
The Impact of a Cheating Spouse
When you got into marriage you had expectations of trust and loyalty from each other. Your cheating spouse has broken those expectations. This is someone that you trusted and committed yourself to. That’s why it disappointing when those expectations are not met.
It’s sad when you find out that this person has broken the commitment. It can threaten your sense of worthiness in the marriage. At times it can be tough to decide whether your spouse is worth forgiving or whether you should not.
Cheating is a Personal Decision
To cheat or not to cheat is a personal choice. It’s unlikely that your spouse was forced to cheat. You may start to question your role in their behavior thinking that you might have failed as a spouse. You may think that the problem is with you. Especially so when you confront your partner and they become defensive trying to justify the mistake and make it seem like you are the problem. But, maybe it was nothing to do with you. They made the choice to cheat on you.
If you and your spouse got married because of love, it is very tough to face your wife or husband. You might direct your anger at the person they cheated on with. However, that person has no obligation to you. Your spouse is the one that does. At the moment that you married each other, your spouse’s happiness is your responsibility. The one person you should be angry at is your beloved spouse for choosing to betray you, putting your life and health at risk and pursuing sexual pleasures outside your marriage.
Forgiving Your Cheating Spouse
Take your time when making the decision. Wait for your anger to subside first before making that decision. Forgiving your spouse is choosing to move on and not getting stuck because of their cheating behavior. Not forgiving your spouse means choosing to stay stuck in your negative feelings and not seeing life after the situation.
Your personal circumstances might differ based on the kind of relationship that you have with your souse. Things like the presence of children in the marriage, your level of reliance on your spouse, how you found out they were cheating, with whom they cheated with, and your own perception of betrayal can affect your personal decision after your husband’s or wife’s infidelity is exposed. Therefore, the decision to forgive your spouse is very personal.
Some factors that affect the decision to forgive your spouse
- What have you got to lose? Failing to forgive others hurts the offended more than the offender. If you hold that bitterness toward your spouse, the only person that will carry the most hurt is yourself. Forgiveness is a process. It is not easy to forgive someone who you had put so much trust and respect in. Weigh what you will gain from not forgiving your partner and what you will lose. Will you be ready to start a different life with your spouse knowing well that they were unfaithful to you?
- Have you practically played a role in encouraging your spouse’s cheating behavior? Sometimes people cheat on their partners because they have been driven to that point. Analyze the situation keenly by examining if you have contributed to the problem. Have you been good to your spouse and they still cheated? Or have you been behaving in a manner that they feel unwanted, disrespected and thus put them at risk of infidelity? Whether you have been good to them and you have always played your part in the relationship, and then they cheat on you. Or you have failed to play your part and then they cheat on you. The best decision would be to forgive them for cheating on you.
- Is your spouse remorseful? After catching your spouse in the cheating behavior, what was the reaction? Did your partner become defensive or owned up to their mistake? Have you forgiven them before for infidelity? A person might be willing to change their behavior for the sake of your marriage. But, if they do not take responsibility for their mistake then, can you tolerate that? It might be easier to forgive a remorseful spouse than a spouse who does not show remorse.
- Can you live with that betrayal? Still, whether you decide to leave or stay, you will need to let go of the anger and bitterness in order to continue with your life. Forgiving your spouse will help you to move on with your life, with or without them.
- Have you ever cheated on your spouse? Have you been faithful all through to your spouse? If not then, there is no reason not to forgive each other. You are imperfect and sometimes it can be challenging to remain faithful. However, if you have different values toward loyalty then maybe the two of you are not compatible. Both of you are imperfect. So, ask yourself if you can always forgive someone who has a weakness with being faithful. Will you be able to forgive your spouse every time they cheat on you?
Will you Get a Divorce or will you Stay?
Forgiveness does not mean that you have to stay there and tolerate their behavior despite the fact that it caused distress to you. Forgiving your cheating spouse means letting go of the anger. Forgiveness means not taking their error to heart and carrying bitter feelings for them forever. When you forgive your spouse it means that you recognize that there is nothing that you can do to change the situation since it already happened.
Forgive your spouse for your own peace of mind, but don’t be a fool in the process. Don’t let your spouse’s disrespectful behavior to cause stagnation in your life. You can forgive your spouse and continue living, or you can forgive and leave the marriage. Moving on after your spouse’s infidelity is tough but necessary. You might decide to end or keep your marriage, but if you chose to forgive, it’s not the end of your life.
Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.