Can You Forgive An Affair?

Can You Forgive An Affair?

I was talking to a client this week who was distressed about his progress.  He has been working on forgiveness and trying to move forward after his wife had an affair and lately he feels like he is not “getting over it” fast enough.

He asked me “can I truly forgive an affair and make the marriage feel good again?” He feels like he has been doing all of the “right” things and working on himself as much as he possibly can. But, he keeps wondering if he can do it.

When it comes to forgiving infidelity, there are a couple of things to address. First, there is a trust that has been broken. Since that trust was broken, you have to ask yourself if your spouse is doing the things they need to be doing to rebuild that trust?

I have seen couples in this situation where the spouse who cheated is really doing everything they can. They are an open book. They are always saying where they are going and what they are doing, they are handing over their cell phone, they are really making an effort to connect and change the relationship.

If that is all happening, then forgiveness is at least a possible. There is space for it to grow.

What do you need to see from your spouse to feel like they are really trying?

Now, if you are not seeing anything change and your spouse is just expecting you to forget about it, go back to how it was, and go on like you never knew about it, then forgiveness is going to be really difficult.

The second thing about infidelity is that you can’t make the troubles in the marriage just about the affair. Other things had to be going on in the marriage before the affair happened. You have to look at what wasn’t working before because there was something that was broken in order for the affair to take place.

What was broken in the marriage before the cheating?

Now, you have trust issues and hurt layered on top of those problems, but those problems never went away. They did not disappear once the affair happened. They still need to be dealt with.

When you and your spouse are trying to work through all of this and you are trying to forgive an affair , you can’t make it all about the affair.  You do need to deal with that for sure, but you can’t forget about what was broken before that.

If you want to find out how you can work towards forgiveness and create a marriage that feels good again, I invite you to schedule a complimentary exploratory session with me. Let’s see if are a good fit to work together and find out if it is possible for you to forgive the affair.