Thursday, February 9, 2012

Forgiving and Forgetting Infidelity

You date, fall in love, and get married. For years, everything in the marriage is good but one day, you discover that your spouse has had an affair. No matter the situation,

Regardless if you want to keep the marriage together and move on, the spouse that was cheated on will have a tremendous amount of hurt and recovery. Although it would be difficult, there will come a time when you not only have to forgive but forget. Most often, you hear the words, “I can forgive, but I will never forget” and while this is true, for healing to occur, some forgetting must occur.

No, you will not forget everything and perhaps you should not forget everything but to rebuild your life, alone or together, you will need to let the pain die down. This means pushing the affair to the back of the mind so you no longer dwell on it. Instead, you will need to make a commitment to yourself and/or your spouse to start over, not allowing the infidelity to remain a key focus.

Let us first address the forgetting part of an affair. Most often, professional intervention or counseling is needed. Even if you try hard on your own, chances are you will need a professional to provide you with appropriate tools and resources so you can forget, at least to some degree. Human nature is not to forget so we strongly recommend you consider working with a reputable counselor so you can move ahead with your life, becoming a stronger and better person in spite of the affair.

Now, let us turn our attention to the forgiveness. Again, you may need some assistance from a professional but forgiveness is a very personal thing, a commitment that has to come from the heart. In addition, you might consider spiritual counseling, sitting down with your pastor, priest, rabbi, and so on so you can gain wisdom from a spiritual point of view.

The interesting thing about forgiving and forgetting infidelity is that while the person who was cheated on has the largest role to play, the spouse who cheated also must learn to forgive and forget. You see, if a husband or wife were to cheat and then afterwards really feels bad, understanding the significant damage done, that person will need to learn to forgive him or herself. For this reason, both parties of the marriage need to work on forgiving and forgetting individually but also together if they decide to remain married.

Infidelity affects a person emotionally, mentally, and physically abandoned. Therefore, you need to be realistic about moving ahead after the affair. In other words, if you believe you will get over things in weeks or even months, you will be disappointed. Being able to forgive and forget when a spouse has cheated requires time to allow the deep hurt to calm down. It also needs time for anger to subside so the two of you can communication, which requires patience.

The bottom line is that learning to forgive and forget an affair is possible but challenging. It may end up that the spouse who cheated does not want to work things out, which leaves you with the choice of making things work on your own. Again, if the two of you want to rebuild the marriage, seek professional assistance so you give you and the marriage the best possible chance of success.

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