Learn How To Cope With Forgiving A Cheater And Move On

Forgiving a cheater - what should you do and how to move on

By Sylvia Epie
Learn How To Cope With Forgiving A Cheater And Move On

How to forgive a cheater

When you are cheated on, your world is turned upside down, you feel betrayed, angry, hurt and offended in the worst possible way. All you want to do is scream, hate and punish your partner. The last thing you feel like doing is forgiving and letting go, every part of you is craving revenge and you resent your partner for causing such pain. Nevertheless, the only way to get past all the hurt is to forgive. I know it’s easier said than done but forgiveness is a challenge you have to face if you want to move on. 

Forgiveness benefits the faithful person more than the cheat, it helps you heal and get past the pain. It doesn’t matter if you intend to give the relationship a second chance or move on to something else, forgiveness is a step you can’t skip. The only way you overcome anger, distrust, stress, anxiety, and depression after a betrayal is by taking the necessary steps to forgiveness. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you have to take into consideration before getting to the point of forgiveness and how to actually forgive and move on. 

Is it worth forgiving a cheater husband?

1. Is the affair over?

This is what determines if forgiving is even a possibility; when the affair hasn’t ended then there's practically no point in trying to work things out. How it ended is also a factor, did your partner realize their mistake and end things? Or did they put things on hold to calm you down or out of fear? These are all questions you have to answer before you can proceed. If the affair has genuinely ended and the one who strayed has been sincere and transparent about how it ended, what they’ll do if that person got in touch, steps they’re willing to take to rebuild. Once these areas have been established then you might decide to take a chance.

2. Is there genuine regret and remorse? 

The healing process only begins when the partner who cheated understands the gravity of their actions, regrets the affair and shows remorse for the pain and damage they have caused. The partner who cheated has to own up to their mistakes and not blame you or anyone else for their mistake. It is important for both partners to commit to preserving the relationship and taking constructive actions to rebuild trust and address the reasons for the affair, to begin with.

3. Do you both genuinely want the relationship? 

Both partners have to honestly decide if the relationship is worth fighting for and if they’re willing to. Only one partner's commitment is not enough, there has to be a chance of love and connection. Sometimes people stay together just because it’s convenient, maybe because they have kids, they can’t afford a divorce or for financial security but these are not the best reasons. You both have to be on the same page and want the same things. If one partner wants to love and connection and the other partner is in it out of convenience then there’s never going to be healing. 
So ask yourself if you genuinely want each other and if you can meet each other’s needs.

4. Your partner is no longer defensive.

In case the partner who cheated is still on the defensive and blames you for their behavior then they don’t regret the affair. Sometimes they may feel sorry for hurting you but not for cheating.  You have to be able to differentiate between the two. To consider repairing the damage; they have to take full responsibility for their actions and acknowledge that there’s no excuse for their behavior. They also have to be willing to make amends and give healing all the time it needs to run its course.

5. They’re willing to be transparent 

When there’s transparency there’s a possibility to move past the affair, the person who cheated has to be open about what happened and be transparent about who they’re hanging out with and how they spend their time until you’re able to trust them again. You both have to make it a habit of expressing how you feel so you squash the gap that led to infidelity in the first place. 

Forgiving a cheater and moving on

Forgiving a cheater and moving on does not mean you will forget about the infidelity. Neither does it mean staying in a relationship you don’t want, you could forgive him/her and move on with your life or stay with them. It all depends on what you truly want. Forgiveness is about being at peace and not feeling any resentment against the person who hurt you. Forgiveness is not for the offender but for the person who was offended, it is the first step to recovery. These are some of the steps you can take to get to the point of forgiving an unfaithful partner regardless of whether you choose to stay or not.

6. Identify what led to the affair

For forgiveness and healing to take place, there has to be an understanding of what led to the affair, ask yourself what was missing in your relationship that your partner went looking for elsewhere and how that can be fixed. More often than not both parties in a relationship actually contribute to the problem. So honestly examine the motives behind the affair and ask yourself if you can meet that need or maybe you have outgrown each other. 

Marriage counselors say there are two main reasons why people cheat: when their partner is physically, emotionally and sexually unavailable or inadequate and when the person has a commitment, attachment and personal issues they can’t manage. Understanding these aspects will make it easier to forgive and move on.

7. Know that forgiving does not mean forgetting.

Forgiveness does not mean you’ll forget what happened, it’s not likely you will ever forget. It simply means you don’t stress about what happened and can use the experience to grow. Trying to forget will only fill you with resentment, anger and hurt. Admit that you are heartbroken and it will lead you to acceptance and eventually healing anything short of that is denial.

Also, bear in mind that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things, if he does not value you and is not willing to change, then stick to forgiveness and leave it at that. Reconciling should only occur if you can build the relationship you both want and there’s a commitment towards a better future.

8. Remember Forgiving is a Step Towards Healing

The only way to heal after infidelity is through forgiveness, it will help you rebuild trust in your relationship or for future relationships no matter how you choose to move on. Cheating does not only shatter trust, but it also affects your confidence and self-esteem all of which you have to rebuild. If you fail to forgive you’ll carry resentment that will stop you from trusting anyone else for the rest of your life. 

Forgiveness is healthy and with it comes freedom from feelings that will follow you around and drag you down up to the point of altering your character and affecting your health. Unforgiveness leads to anger, stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and overall bad health.

9.  Be patient

The healing process takes time so don’t try to rush it, whether you and your partner decide to work on your relationship or go your separate ways, you need to give it time. It takes time to process such an experience and to get past it,  you’ll have to put in the hard work and truth be told it’s going to be painful for a while but in the end, it’s worth it. Your happiness depends on the rehabilitation of your heart and this is not something you take lightly or rush.

10. Let others help you

When we’re deeply hurt our first instinct is to crawl up to one corner and keep to yourself but that's not the best approach. Seek the help and counsel of those closest to you, share your feelings with someone who knows you and has your best interest at heart. Having someone to comfort you and give you advice from a different perspective is always beneficial. You could also seek out professional help from a counselor or therapist, it doesn’t matter who you choose as long as you speak to someone and don’t bottle everything up. 

Quotes about forgiving a cheater

1. Infidelity is mentally, emotionally, and physically painful to the betrayed spouse. Be gentle with yourself as you heal.
   - Dr. Karen Finn

This is a quote that encourages those who have experienced betrayal to take the healing process one day at a time and not speed up the healing process.

2. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
        - Paul Boose

Forgiving is about learning from past mistakes and rebuilding, not acting like it never happened.

3. A happy marriage is a union of two forgivers
       - Robert Quillen

To preserve a marriage both partners have to be willing to make certain sacrifices and forgive each other for their mistakes.

4. Every test in our life makes us bitter or better. Every problem comes to break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.
      - Unknown

This quote reminds us of the power we have, to choose how we react to the things that happen to us.

5. Forget enough to get over it. Remember enough so it doesn’t happen again.
       - Unknown

Moving on from infidelity does not mean you have forgotten it happened, but that you have chosen not to let it control your life. You now know what led to such betrayal as well as how it feels to be in such a dark place and you’re determined never to let it happen again.

Related Article: How To Forgive A Cheating Husband Without Giving Up Your Dignity
How To Forgive A Cheating Husband Without Giving Up Your Dignity

Recently found out your husband was cheating on you? Love him so much that you need to learn to forgive without giving up your dignity? We're here to help.


Coping with infidelity is not an easy feat, it comes with all sorts of emotions ranging from betrayal to anger, confusion, and insecurity. Heck, even the cheating partner struggles with guilt ( unless he/she is a psycho with no feelings). Whichever side of the spectrum you find yourself in, forgiveness is the healthiest way forward. If you were cheated on, forgive your partner and then decide if the relationship is worth fighting for or walk away. If you’re the unfaithful partner, forgive yourself and work towards making amends for all the pain and damage caused.



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