In life all manner of cruelties befall us, but when the perpetrators of those cruelties are the people who supposedly care about us the most it does something particularly terrible to our sense of self worth. That’s why not only are they the most difficult to forgive, but the most necessary.
Ask yourself, what is the foundation of a strong marriage or romantic relationship? There are several that work in tandem. Love, communication, support, and of course trust. Infidelity is particularly difficult to forgive because likely two of these foundations have been severely breached: trust and communication.
They are also the two pillars that must be restored after an affair has occurred. The reason for this is because generally cheaters go out of their way to hide their affairs from their spouses concocting elaborate lies to feed their husbands or wives a false narrative. When the affair is revealed that narrative crumbles along with the spouse’s sense of self and understanding of their life.
This is why forgiving an affair is particularly difficult. But it can be done. Here is how.
The time for BS is over and will do more harm than good. What must happen now is honesty for both yourself and your partner. Sometimes cheaters use excuses like: they’re bored sexually, or their partner is being emotionally or sexually distant, and while these may have been the justifications they used to absolve themselves of wrongdoing, they do not excuse going behind their partner’s back and cheating on them.
Instead of cheating, the right thing to have done at this point would be to be honest with their partner about their needs, emotionally or sexually. Communications like this may be awkward and difficult, but so is explaining a web of lies after you’ve been caught cheating. It only forestalls the inevitable.
The most difficult period after the affair will be the beginning. If the cheater believed that sexual or emotional disatisfaction was a major tipping point in committing adultery, then they can expect more of the same. The cheated party will not be jumping directly back into bed with you because they found out about your affair. You will have to reestablish the intimacy you once had and that will take time.
The cheated-on party will be pelting them with question after question concerning occurrences in the past. Things like “When you said you were picking things up for our son were you really with so and so?” The questions will be uncomfortable and are meant to be uncomfortable. They’re meant to hurt because your spouse is hurting. If you try to lie your way out of this part, it will completely backfire. No answer you give will be a good one. So just be honest.
Marriage counseling is particularly beneficial to couples dealing with an affair. Forgiving infidelity is difficult and won’t happen without establishing the pillars of trust and communication that were damaged in the process. Marriage counselors can make you aware of destructive communication and how that makes both spouses feel. With a commitment from both parties, those foundations can be restored.