Steps to Forgiveness: Forgiving Infidelity Takes Time and Determination

If you go online looking for the steps to forgiveness when dealing with a cheating spouse you will find all kinds of lists, some rather simple and some quite detailed and complex. However the steps to forgiving are basically the same, although the process of forgiving a spouse for cheating may vary according to personality, temperament and spiritual strength.


After the Confession

Of course, whether your spouse confesses freely or whether you confront the cheater and force a confession, what immediately follows is going to be anger, hurt, and possibly even a desire for revenge. While the first two are normal, the last is one that takes a strong person to rise above.

Remember this is real life and not a cute movie where the betrayed spouse joins with a couple of other betrayed spouses to wreck vengeance on their scumbag cheating spouses…or ex-spouses. While the movie plot is designed to elicit laughter, no one who is dealing with a cheating spouse or the aftermath is going to find much laughter in contemplating revenge.

Steps to Forgiveness in No Particular Order

Here are some basic steps to forgiveness, and not all may apply to your situation. For example, 1) Forgive yourself, and 2) Don’t blame yourself. Depending on your particular situation, neither of these may apply to you.

Then again, perhaps you deliberately drove your spouse into the arms of another by some of your choices. Not that that absolves your spouse from cheating, but you need to take an honest look at your own part in this issue.

On the other hand, you may have been the perfect spouse…realizing that no one is perfect…and you’re just married to someone that cannot be faithful to one person. If that’s the case, then you now must decide whether in addition to forgiving for your own peace of mind and future health, you also want to continue aiding and abetting your spouse’s behavior.

The basic steps to forgiving and getting on with your life:

  • Forgive yourself - take a good hard look at your own actions and behaviors

  • Don’t blame yourself - this is especially true if this is not the first time your spouse has cheated; it’s obvious your spouse has some issues.
  • Talk - calmly and rationally talk to each other. Let your spouse explain why…the who, where, how and when may not be necessary…but listen. Then your spouse needs to allow you to express your feelings of hurt and betrayal. If emotions get close to the edge, then consider taking a break before resuming when you both feel calmer.

  • Don’t rehash the subject - once you’ve talked it out, then you need to let it go. Your mind and imagination are naturally going to replay all types of possible scenarios that will keep the betrayal in the forefront of your thoughts, unless you determine to move on. So dwelling on and talking about it continually is going to make moving forward just about impossible.
  • Look for reasons to forgive - once the confrontation and conversation is finished, then avoid looking at the negative. Instead focus on the good in your spouse. Remember why you got married, consider your children, future plan or the history you share.

  • Get counseling - Consider seeing a marriage counselor, one that understands you are working on forgiving your spouse, and that you both are committed to saving your marriage.

The most important of the steps to forgiveness that you need to follow in your journey to forgiving your cheating spouse is: Take your time. The time it takes to work through these steps to forgiveness will vary from person to person.  Don’t rush it and don’t be surprised to find that just when you thought you had forgiven, that you realize that you still feel some anger and hurt.

You might also find that keeping a few forgiveness quotes handy will help you get back on track to forgiving your spouse.

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