Find out that your spouse or significant other has been unfaithful can be one of the most painful things that you can go through in a relationship. Sometimes, even the strongest bonds can be broken because of an episode of unfaithfulness. Forgiving after an affair is a hard thing to do, but it is simply a must if you wish to be able to save the relationship after such an incident – that is, if you want to save the relationship at all.
The first step to forgiving after an affair is to first think of whether or not you want to save the relationship. If you think that you can forgive your significant other after he or she had been unfaithful, but realize you would not be able to trust the person anymore, then continuing with the relationship could be a mistake. Trust is a vital part of any relationship and in order to truly save the union you need to regain that trust. Be warned, re-establishing trust will take time. It does not happen overnight. Regaining trust will take months and sometimes even years.
If you do think that you can forgive your husband or wife, and you think you can find it somewhere inside of you to trust them again, at some point in time, then forgiving your loved one after an affair is something that you need to work on with all your heart – and you cannot do it alone.
There are three different kinds of ways to be unfaithful: a physical affair, an emotional affair, or both. An emotional affair is when someone has emotional attachments to another person outside of the marriage that is not appropriate, i.e. being emotionally attached to someone else the way you should be to your spouse instead. A physical affair is basically when the husband or the wife has intimate relations with someone outside of the marriage. Many times a physical affair occurs when there are no emotions involved, and it is just a lapse of judgment and self-control on the part of the husband or the wife. Last is the worst kind of affair, if there is such a thing, and it is when it is unfaithful both in the physical and emotional sense. This is when your husband or wife has fallen in love with someone else entirely. Forgiving after a relationship of this kind may be the hardest thing to do; but remember, it is going to be worth it if it means you and your spouse can stay together.
You will not be able to do this alone. You will need someone to mediate your attempts to reconcile. Whether it is a therapist, clergy or close family members, you will need to be honest, open and vulnerable if you want to be able to accomplish rebuilding the relationship.
It will be hard, but it is possible. If both parties sincerely work toward bringing the relationship to a place for healing, you can have a stronger bond than ever before.