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How to Forgive a Cheating Spouse

by Jaime Vargas-Benitez

While infidelity can ravage a once-happy marriage, it is possible to recover and rebuild the marriage to be better than ever if both spouses are committed to doing so. By working with one another, and not viewing the other as the enemy, two people can salvage a marriage after infidelity. Over time, the trust may be rebuilt and the relationship may flourish again. The steps may be painful at times, but the end result can make the process worthwhile.

Saving a Marriage After Infidelity

Let go of the anger. Infidelity in marriage breaks the trust between partners. It creates feelings of hurt and hostility. Letting go of the anger is the first step in healing from infidelity, advises psychologist Emeralda Savage in her Marriage-Sanctuary article "Forgiveness After an Affair." The wronged spouse may try counseling, self-reflection or physical activity in order to help work through anger. Letting go of the anger allows for the opportunity to heal after infidelity, both personally and as a couple.

Examine the relationship before the infidelity. There is a reason a spouse strays from the marriage. Inadequate communication, lack of intimacy and hurt feelings are often causes of infidelity, says psychologist Stephen Diamond in the Psychology Today article "When Partners Cheat: Who Deserves a Second Chance?" Infidelity is not excused by the existence of issues before the affair, but a couple will not be able to move forward and heal without dealing with the issues that led one partner astray. Healing the cracks in a marriage is the only way to rebuild a stronger foundation.

Communicate openly with one another. A healthy marriage is one in which both partners' emotional and physical needs are being met, according to psychologist Willard F. Harley Jr. in the Marriage Builders article "Can't We Just Forgive and Forget?" In order for both partners to understand one another's needs, there must be good communication. Following infidelity, spouses should communicate feelings about the affair and the expectations each has moving forward. In order to meet a spouse's needs, the other spouse must first know and understand what needs exist.

Tip

  • Both couples and private counseling may be needed when dealing with marital infidelity.

Warning

  • A hurt spouse may need to seek out professional help in dealing with anger management. It is never OK to resort to physical violence, even when hurt by something as severe as marital infidelity.

About the Author

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.

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