We are quick to judge those who easily forgive their partners for infidelity. We see the relationship from our perspective and we don’t truly allow ourselves to try to understand what forgiving someone who has cheated really feels like.
Many times we have told ourselves that if our spouse did that to us then we would kick them to the curb, we are worth more than that. It’s true, we are worth more than being lied to but the true reality is that more often than not we forgive, we give someone a second chance and we try again.
If you’ve been dating your partner for less than 6 months, this might not be the read for you. Not to say that you won’t understand what is being talked about here, but it’s a lot harder to relate to the idea of forgiving your partner after they have been unfaithful when you haven’t been through as many of the challenging times together that don’t often occur during the “honeymoon phase”. We know that every relationship runs differently, however, we also know that long-lasting relationships are typically the ones that have been put through the ringer and might need a pep talk like this. Whatever choice you make, it’s nothing but respect on our end, this is your life, after all, we just want you to know that if you do decide to forgive your spouse for their infidelity, we aren’t here to judge and we thought we could share some information to help you get by!
One thing to remember if you encounter infidelity in your relationship is that each person’s perception of infidelity is different. Whether it is kissing someone other than your spouse, texting someone romantically who is not your spouse, or having sex with someone who is not your spouse, each and everyone’s idea of what infidelity is is different. I mean, kissing, texting romantically, or having sex with someone that isn’t you or your partner is a pretty obvious thing to point out but saying something like “Texting that person the way you do is inappropriate” is perfectly acceptable to say because perhaps your partner thinks their actions aren’t as bad as they are. Unless you have an open relationships then pointing out that having sex with someone else is considered cheating is probably not a necessary step but it doesn’t hurt. The thing to remember here is to just be open and honest about what is and is not acceptable when it comes to infidelity in your relationship.
We know, we know, cue the cringe because there was once a time when you told yourself that you would never stand for this shit. This one isn’t an easy reality for anyone to accept, breaking trust is a very hard thing to come back from. However, if willing to accept the challenge, overcoming an affair can be something that makes your relationship even stronger. Overcoming this means you have to be willing to put in the work. Whether you are the victim of cheating or are the cheater, you have to decide that if you want to fix what’s broken then don’t be afraid to have those hard conversations – likely the ones you were avoiding before this scandal happened in the first place.
We know that healing takes time, we also know that healing doesn’t happen during a conversation in our heads. If you and your partner are having a hard time communicating what and how you are feeling about this situation then maybe it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Have the conversation on whether this is a relationship you want to save and want to work towards making stronger. Commit to once a week or every other week, a lot of the time, professionals give you and your spouse homework to help improve the communication. Don’t think of therapy as something to dread, think of it as a tool, as an unbiased party stepping in to help you see clearly through to the other side – if Miranda Hobbes can do it then so can you. Take advantage that this journey will have its ups and downs, navigating your way isn’t going to be easy, be honest about this, tell your partner, share it during one of your sessions, “I’m having a hard time trusting that you really are where you say you are.” Your therapist can help this conversation go from a screaming match to an actual conversation with a normal tone and an outcome that you both can be happy with. This should be something you and your partner vow to take seriously and work towards, have fun with it, therapy doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
If you’ve encountered cheating then we wouldn’t be surprised if you have envisioned yourself seeing red and going full on Leslie Mann style and destroying your spouse’s office with a golf club. It’s normal, someone cuts us off on the street and we’d like to hit them with a baseball bat so we get the urge to go ape-shit. Take this opportunity to go a little crazy, plead temporary insanity and throw all your partners clothes on the front lawn, tell the neighbours you are doing a little spring cleaning, we’d say get even but an eye for an eye isn’t the best form on revenge in this instance. Maybe settle for bleaching or burning a couple of their clothes, make them grovel every day for a month, whatever feels appropriate. We aren’t suggesting you commit a crime but we totally get it that you aren’t interested in just sitting by and doing or saying nothing, your spouse must have forgotten that paybacks a bitch.
This one might seem blatantly obvious but we just thought we’d mention it. Your partner’s infidelity does not have to be shared with friends and family. As women, we know that when we share something negative about our spouse with our friends all they remember is the negative things we tell them. No one ever remembers how great and nice and kind and blah blah blah your partner is, we only remember how they messed up royally – “remember that time they forgot your anniversary and went on a golf trip instead”, yeah we won’t forget. If fixing this relationship is your main goal then sharing every detail of your partner’s scandal doesn’t need to be shared, your friends and family will only focus on the negative and have a hard time forgiving them, this will also hinder your ability to forgive them. If you feel this desperate need to share this with someone we encourage you to take the therapy route, even if go on your own this can be quite helpful.
When navigating your way through the shock of a cheating scandal it is hard to remember that you aren’t alone and that this happens to more people than we think. No relationship is perfect, we aren’t suggesting you lower your standards or take someone back just because it’s convenient for your life, we just want you to know that if you are choosing to fix your relationship with your partner and move past this than we support you, if not, all the power to you, we never want to stand in the way of your happiness. Ultimately, we want you to be able to move on from this and enjoy your life, you’ll never forget what happened but we hope you’ll get to the point where you can forgive.
If you aren’t the forgiving type maybe this piece is more for you, take a read!