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How to Forgive a Cheater


The act of forgiveness is one of the most defining elements of our lives. Yet, it can be incredibly difficult to master. We start to learn about forgiveness when we are very young—when our siblings steal our toys and our parents make them apologize—and we continue to grapple with it for the rest of our lives—some better than others.


But this much is true: We cannot fully free ourselves from inflicted suffering unless we learn to forgive. But when your partner has cheated on you, forgiveness may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, forgiveness should always be about you—not the other person. You deserve the capacity to choose forgiveness, no matter how unfathomable the wrongdoing. Your healing journey and peace of mind need forgiveness.



GIVE YOURSELF TIME AND SPACE TO PROCESS THE SITUATION

Naturally, your emotions may be all over the place. One minute, a wave of sadness washes over you; the next, you’re red in the face with rage. There is no need to blame yourself for your feelings—each one is completely natural.


But until you give yourself the necessary space and time to process the way you’re feeling, you won’t be able to reach forgiveness. It’s nearly impossible to forgive someone who wronged you while fuming in their presence, so take some space away from them to sit with each uncomfortable emotion before deciding how to proceed.


WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU’RE THINKING AND FEELING

When thoughts are flooding your consciousness and affecting your mood every which way, it can be impossible to make sense of them. The key to slowing down and understanding exactly what you’re feeling is to take the time to jot them down. Relationship expert and sex therapist, Tatyana Dyachenko, says “You can either write down everything that you feel about the situation or use a more structured approach with specific questions.”


The questions she recommends asking yourself are: How do I feel about the situation? How did I feel about my partner before they cheated? How do I feel about my partner now? What questions do I want my partner to answer so I can get closure? When you put a diligent effort into separating yourself from your feelings and understanding the purpose they serve, you become that much closer to reaching forgiveness.


ACCEPT THE SITUATION, AND ACCEPT THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH

It can be incredibly difficult for our minds to accept a situation that has caused us so much pain. But acceptance is not the same as approval. When you accept that your partner has cheated on you, you are acknowledging the reality of the situation instead of living in denial.


You are accepting that you have been through a great deal of pain and that there is nothing you can do—or could have done—to prevent the cheating from happening. Acceptance doesn’t mean happiness; it simply means allowing your mind the ability to rest instead of senselessly torturing yourself over an event that cannot be changed.


Then, take it one step further. Accept that you are enough exactly as you are, even though you have been hurt. Accept that your partner’s decision to cheat is not a reflection of your worth; your worth is inherent, regardless of how someone treats you or the suffering you endure.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to stay in or abandon the relationship is up to you. But know that neither option can be done fully and smoothly without granting yourself the ability to forgive.



If you want to repair the relationship and make things work, it must be done from a place of acceptance and forgiveness—otherwise, the pain will simply bubble over time. And if you decide to walk away, forgiveness will ensure your scars don’t make an appearance in future relationships. If there’s one thing we all deserve in this life, it’s peace—and forgiveness is often the first step.

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