“Do you think I should forgive? I feel I should forgive but am afraid I can’t forget” A client I was seeing once told me. Today am asking what is forgiveness what is to really forgive, can you forgive and forget and can you really let go the hurt?
Acceptance or forgiveness when an affair happens
When you need to forgive your partner because of an affair it’s not easy in fact most people accept that it happened but can’t really forgive and forget. Which I honestly think that to forgive and forget and move on with the relationship is not easy, there is need for a lot of work in the relationship. Most couples cope with the pain of an affair in different ways others revenge and get into an affair, others hate the partner and ask for a divorce, others stop focusing on the relationship and stay for the sake of the kids but they don’t attempt to have an emotional attachment with their spouse…this can be so bad for the relationship, others chose to accept and move on with the relationship.
You might think that forgiveness is a necessary step to moving on with your life and your relationship. You don’t have to forgive your partner to move on and rebuild your relationship. What you do need to do is accept that the affair happened and commit to finding a way to rebuild and look to the future.
Acceptance is different from forgiveness in many ways. Acceptance simply means that you acknowledge the past as an unchangeable reality and that you choose to move on with your life with this truth. It doesn’t mean that you accept your partner was “right” or that you lie down and let him or her walk all over you. Acceptance is a practical strategy that allows you to move forward with your relationship without wrestling with all of the difficult connotations of forgiveness.
Acceptance is when you who is in pain look at the whole situation and the cheater and choose to do something positive about the pain. However the pain you feel can be so much that it becomes impossible to have anything positive to see and it’s allowed. That is why the first step is to look within you and find answers to the many questions that you have.
When people are affected by infidelity, their first instincts are to look for reasons that the affairs happened. They want to know the details of the affairs. They want to know why their loved one did what they did. They want to know if they will ever be able to trust their partner again. However this is externalizing which means looking outside of yourself for answers to emotional issues that are happening within you. Therefore the focus is on the other person and not you, what this does it makes you not address how you are really feeling concerning the affair. You need to look within you and allow yourself to feel the pain and cry it out if you have to and then come to a point where you are totally aware of what you feel and then start doing something positive to resolve the thoughts and feeling.
One thing you should always know is that you are not to blame and you don’t serve it. Your partner was wrong and he/she should not have done what they did. In most cases I have seen couples blame each other for the cause of the affair, but what that does is withdrawal emotionally from the relationship and then doing things to make him stay with you to ensure he does not cheat on you again.
The problem with this kind of strategy is that you will do things to your partner e.g. a wife will try cook, keep things in order, offer better sex or do anything she thinks will keep the man … but unfortunately this is not done out of love, you are doing it to fix things up, but it does not work. You need to resolve the thoughts and feelings of hurt in you so that you can start the journey to healing. When the woman does all this and the man still continues to have the affair then she feels so used and hates herself and the downfall of her ego starts, which is really bad for her. When a woman hates herself then everyone around her is in trouble.
A heartfelt apology
The cheater must offer a heartfelt apology and be honest about what happened. Doing that you did not cheat makes it worse and both of you will never move on. So be honest and be apologetic. Asking for forgiveness should be done with action as well as verbally. We all know when and how to ask for forgives and we know when it’s coming from the heart. If the cheater is willing to bring a close and move on with the ndoa then they will do what it takes.
As for the cheater you can only offer a heartfelt apology when you come to terms with the fact that the affair is your fault and you see what you have done is wrong. Don’t apologize because your partner requests you or because others tell you to. You need to apologize because you need to and you know it’s the best thing for the relationship.
Rebuild Your Self-Confidence, Self-Trust, and Self-Respect
When you are injured in an affair, you often lose your sense of self-confidence, self-trust, and self-respect. Overcoming your negative thoughts and feelings is an important step in rebuilding these vital aspects of your character. This process will not only allow you to step out of the rut you may find yourself in, but show you a way to start walking self-confidently again. Here are the some areas that you need to work on
- Assuming personal responsibility – these can only be answered and dealt with at a very personal level it’s when you will need to check within you and see what happened to bring the relationship to that level. Also what did your partner tell you that you think might be your responsibility? I don’t mean that you blame yourself but take responsibility.
- Accepting reality – It has happened … and at the moment you can’t do much but accept and ask God to help you move on.
- Doing things that satisfy you emotionally and spiritually, it time to connect with yourself and do things that motivate you and bring positive energy to yourself. At this moment you cant do it on your own you need God and His healing power to go through it. Pray for His love and mercy to sound you and help you move on.
- Reminding yourself of past successes, at least there must have been good things in the past and there are also good things your partner has that you really cherish focus on them to help you love him/her again.
- Envisioning future success.
- Taking confident action; take positive steps and ensure you take action.
- Do not blame yourself and don’t do something you will regret. Be sober when dealing with the issue.
- Talk to a counselor or a therapist they will help you look at the affair in a different light which will help you move on.
- Talking to friends and relatives has its own positive and negative effects so be careful.
- As for the cheater do not get to the same situation again, we can always tell when we are headed in the wrong direction. Please see the red light and run as fast as you can.
When ndoa has experienced an affair the relationship needs work and a lot of energy to move on, it is recommended to work on what you need to to make it work and resolve the feelings you both have. If you are successful at working on yourself then you can move on beyond the affair.