The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong (Mahatma Gandhi). Your spouse’s affair has turned your life upside down without your permission. Is forgiving infidelity in the cards for you? Or do you feel that you’ll never be able to forgive them for the betrayal? What conditions are conducive to forgiving your spouse after an affair?
1. Acknowledgment of your pain
As the affair victim, you want your cheating spouse to acknowledge the terrible pain they caused you by going outside of the marriage, regardless of the reason. You want him to validate the hurt and disappointment that you are feeling and also to beg your forgiveness. When this is not forthcoming, it can make it difficult for you to forgive him.
2. Disloyal spouse recognizing and admitting responsibility
To be able to get to the place where you feel confident enough to forgive your spouse, first he or she has to come completely clean about the affair and accept full responsibility for his actions. He needs to show by his actions that he is more concerned about you and the relationship the two of you share than about his own feelings of discomfort, guilt and shame at having to look at the mistakes he made.
3. Accept what is now in your midst
If forgiving adultery is not something you feel you can honestly do at the moment, you can either choose to be miserable in your marriage or accept what happened and move on. Acceptance does not mean that you are letting your partner off the hook, it is just giving you some breathing room to deal with your emotions without feeling like you are being a doormat. The infidelity happened and is now water under the bridge. You will always have that scar, no matter what.
You may feel that because your spouse intentionally set out to deceive, to lie, and to cheat on you that such actions do not allow forgiveness. But your spouse may eventually emerge from the affair fog to beg your forgiveness and prove to you in word and deed that he deserves a second chance. In forgiving infidelity, you may find that it is liberating and empowering for you.