Learning to Forgive Infidelity

Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

If you have recently been cheated on, you may find the idea of forgiving your spouse difficult and uncomfortable. You likely are asking yourself what, if anything, you did to cause his infidelity, or whether he will ever cheat on you again. Divorce may also be a thought in your mind. If you want to restore your relationship and are not ready to separate from your spouse, there are a few steps you can take to forgive his infidelity and mend your broken heart.

Tame Your Imagination

If you are entertaining thoughts of your wife and the man she cheated on you with, stop these thoughts before they overwhelm you and postpone the healing process. Dr. Frances Cohen Praver reports in "Psychology Today" that the more times you imagine the adulterous act, the less often your brain releases serotonin, which lifts depression and stops obsessive thoughts, and GABA, which reduces anxiety. By constantly replaying the images in your mind, you are keeping yourself angry at your spouse, which will not allow you to forgive her infidelity.

Forgive For Yourself

You may not feel like your spouse deserves forgiveness for his infidelity, and you are probably right. Rick Reynolds, founder and president of Affair Recovery, reports that forgiveness is not based on your husband's repentance, but rather your desire to be set free from his hurtful actions. Reynolds calls it a gift you give yourself, as choosing to forgive will keep you from being a victim to someone's wrongs.

Request Repentance

Make sure your wife is committed to the future of your relationship when she says she is sorry. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach reports on "Oprah" that it is essential your spouse demonstrates that she is serious about repentance in order to restore your trust. Demand that all communication with the person she cheated on you with be severed, and if it is a co-worker, that she change jobs. Doing so will give you the peace of mind to know she is not constantly around someone she may be tempted by.

Consider Marital Counseling

Seek marital counseling with your husband if you are having a very difficult time forgiving him. Even if you have the best intentions, you may simply need an outside perspective to refresh your relationship and give you the strength to heal. Boteach states that counseling is often a necessity to heal a marriage broken by infidelity, and your spouse's willingness to participate with you should demonstrate his level of commitment to your relationship.