How to Forgive a Cheater


Christian Vierig

If your partner cheated on you, then you’re likely experiencing a whirlwind of different emotions. For example, you may be shocked, sad, and disappointed at one moment, and then feel infuriated, betrayed, or incredibly hurt the next. And while you’re trying to manage and deal with the wide range of thoughts and feelings that are on your mind, you may also be wondering where to even go from here, what this means for your connection with your partner and how to get through this kind of unfortunate and unpleasant relationship situation. In fact, you may not only be asking yourself if you should forgive this person but how you’d ever be able to do so. With this in mind, in order to forgive a cheating partner, there are four key steps you can take right now to start your journey on the path toward forgiveness.​

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Decide That You Want to Forgive This Person

If you’re wondering how to forgive a cheating partner, the first question that you should actually be asking yourself is if you want to forgive this person in the first place. And while your partner may be hoping (or begging) for your forgiveness for his or her transgressions and reckless actions, you’re under no obligation to do so. To that end, if you don’t want to forgive him or her, since that it’s too painful, or you feel that he or she doesn’t deserve your forgiveness, you have every right not to absolve this person. And no matter what your friends and family are telling you to do, forgiving a cheater is a highly personal decision that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, as every relationship is different. However, if you make the critical decision that you’d like to somehow forgive your partner — even if this seems challenging or even impossible at the moment — this choice is the first step toward being able to forgive a cheater.

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Don’t Hide From Your Emotions

If you’re wondering how to forgive a cheater, it’s also important that you let yourself fully experience the emotions that the situation has stirred up within you. In fact, while your tendency may be to sweep everything under the rug and pretend that things are fine between the two of you, but this is only going to backfire in the long run. After all, putting on a happy face and neglecting to truly deal with, and work through, your emotions are only going to make it that much harder for you to ever forgive this person. In other words, when you keep bottling up your emotions, it’s only a matter of time before an explosion occurs.

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Understand the Power of Forgiveness

The next key step is to recognize the numerous benefits that forgiveness can generate. Most importantly, when you’re carrying around a grudge and living each day with the hurt and pain that your partner has caused, you’re actually just causing yourself more hurt and pain by holding onto these difficult memories day after day. In a word, not forgiving your partner can be an act that you’re committing against yourself. However, when you consciously decide to forgive your partner, you’re actually doing yourself the biggest favor of all by freeing yourself from the heavy burden that he or she has placed upon you. 

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Have a Real Heart-to-Heart With Your Partner

An additional key step toward forgiving a cheating partner is for both of you to truly open up to one another. And whether you do this with or without the help of a professional, it’s important for you to honestly and rationally talk to one another about what happened, why it happened, and what you want going forward for your relationship. For example, you may be worried that your partner is going to cheat on you again in the future, while he or she may be worried that you’ll never be able to fully trust him or her again. Nevertheless, once you’re able to be totally open with each other and eliminate the secrets, lies, misunderstandings, and miscommunication, you’ll be in a better position to forgive him or her as well as build a stronger connection going forward.​

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