Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Forgiving Infidelity: The Gift of Forgiveness

Long ago when I was first starting out in business, I had a friend who abused and misused me. The circumstance was simple. After committing to partner with me on a business plan, he told me he had found a more promising partner, took my idea and ran away. In the blink of an eye, I was on the outside, crushed by the fickle state of relationships. What I felt then were the same emotions many experience when first discovering infidelity. (Although, I recognize the intensity of the pain pales in comparison to what Stephanie experienced with my own betrayal over three decades years ago).

When my business partner left me, at first I felt devastated and alone. I wondered what was wrong with me that he would choose another business partner? My pride felt destroyed and shame washed over me like a roaring river. Feelings of inadequacy and insecurity were my constant companions, and although I was very young, I knew enough to understand I hated what I felt and wanted nothing to do with him, or the feelings now associated with him. Would I ever find another business partner I could trust? Would anyone ever want to work with me again? Similar to forgiving infidelity, I didn't know where to start.

I found that each time I rode by his house, anger flooded my soul. I imagined hurting him in the same way he'd hurt me. I'd ignore him when we saw each other in public. If we were both outside, I'd move to the other side of the street. If I encountered him in the store, I'd leave. If I saw him at church, I'd move to the other side of the room and pretend he wasn't there. I wanted to make sure he paid for what he'd done. And I was going to make sure that I would never be treated that way again, not by him or anyone else. If someone had suggested that I forgive him, I would have laughed, cursed, or even thought they were insane.

In my mind, he didn't deserve forgiveness. He deserved death, pain, and suffering. The rage I felt was seductive in many ways but not at all helpful and provided me no real comfort. I wasn't interested in getting even - I wanted to get ahead. I was sure that the antidote to bitterness was revenge.

To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

This is an unbelievably common question. The incredible pain of the betrayal may create a nearly impossible situation, one in which the betrayed spouse feels as though they cannot function until they get even. To forgive or not to forgive is where almost every betrayed spouse ends up. Overcome with a myriad of emotions, not to mention a wide array of advice from well-meaning people, the mind of the betrayed is often maxed out and paralyzed.

The betrayed spouse can be overwhelmed with questions like:

  1. If I forgive and give my mate what they want, what will keep them from doing it again?
  2. Will they have suffered enough or even long enough to discourage them from doing it again?
  3. Maybe I need to hold this over their head for the time being, in order for them to understand the level of pain they've caused?

Bitterness and anger are the weapons most used to inflict the pain necessary to discourage future indiscretions. By not forgiving infidelity, betrayed spouses may even notice their mate working harder to reconcile and gain forgiveness.

But Is Forgiveness Losing Control?

For many, granting the gift of forgiveness is relinquishing their last ounce of control. For others, they wonder how they can maintain safety once they release their anger and bitterness?

Gift of Forgiveness

How can you maintain safety once you release your anger and bitterness?

What many fail to realize, due to the overwhelming and practically incapacitating pain, is that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. For those who come from faith, the teachings of Jesus are very clear. Forgiveness is not optional, not even when it comes to forgiving infidelity. Therapists and infidelity experts, whether they have a Christian worldview or not, tend to agree that forgiveness is not for the benefit of the betrayer but rather for the benefit of the offended. I learned this concept early on as a young man, yet the lesson has stayed with me for decades.

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I discovered that my unforgiveness of my business partner affected me far more than it did him. As long as I held a grudge, he had control over my life. Do you recall what I said earlier about how I changed my behaviors when I encountered him? When I saw him, I altered my plans to make sure he knew I was still angry. I lost my peace. The very sight of him stirred deep emotions of hatred and ruined my day—over and over again. It stole my joy morning until night. Nothing made me more miserable than seeing him living well while I still suffered. My unforgiveness served no good purpose other than to further harm me. I had suffered enough. Unforgiveness kept me blind to anything but my anger and the injustice I felt in my heart. Before I could heal, I needed to see all of this more clearly.

Now, don't think for a moment that I'm suggesting that forgiving infidelity is quick or cheap or easy. In fact, it's far more than the offender deserves! If I had this much trouble mustering forgiveness for a business partner—someone I had committed no more than a few months and some money to. It is infinitely harder to forgive an unfaithful spouse, someone who vowed "till death do us part."

Again, though, it is not for their sake that we forgive. We forgive for our own health and ultimate recovery. If you have a personal faith, you also forgive because God first forgave you. If you don't come from faith, forgiveness still sets you free and provides the necessary context for a life free from the desire for vengeance. This journey is all about finding freedom from your crushed heart and to get your life back and move forward.

Bitterness and unforgiveness will never bring peace or joy and will most certainly kill any sense of hope for reconciliation and restoration. Bitterness and unforgiveness are like poison.

Be sure to understand that I'm not saying that forgiving infidelity is synonymous with trust and reconciliation. I'm not even saying that your anger and hurt will be gone. The forgiveness I'm writing about is between you and God. where you (like Jesus) say "Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing". It may seem as though they should be aware of what they are doing, but in reality, it's part of the fog they are enveloped in. They are just not in touch with the magnitude of what their choices have done, or are doing to you. They are not living in reality. Nevertheless, the most important type of forgiveness is about releasing them to God and allowing Him to deal with their sin and also help you have the courage to forgive. This is to set yourself free, not your mate.

For additional help in understanding forgiveness and working towards forgiveness you can view all of our related content in the How to Forgive category in the Recovery Library.

"See? You Have To Forgive Me!"

If you are the betrayer, please don't use this to say to your mate "See, you have to forgive me!" That's up to the betrayed and where they are at in their personal journey. Demanding forgiveness will only intensify their feelings of hurt, pain, frustration, and anger. In fact, if you feel you need your mate's forgiveness in order for you to be okay, then I'd like to invite you to consider the possibility that your mate may be like your god and your need for their approval might signal an imbalance in your own life. Those from whom we seek to gain forgiveness in order to find peace are the ones we expect to relieve us from our fears and insecurities. It's a type of co-dependency that happens so gradually, sometimes we don't realize how unhealthy is has become.

I look at forgiveness as a process, an event, and then a process on the other side. I believe we must sit down and consider with great prayer and contemplation what it is we are really forgiving. Numerous losses are experienced with betrayal: loss of the idea of who are mate is, loss of hope for the future, and loss of friendships. As you are painfully aware, the list goes on and on. Ultimately, it involves no longer making them indebted to us for what they have done. One definition of forgiveness I like to use is, "Giving up all hope of having a better past." The event of forgiveness can be freeing for everyone involved. Then the process on the other side of the event has no defined timeline. It is to remember that I have forgiven the particular offense(s) when bad feelings pop into my mind, when a physical or financial consequence is felt, when the person does something else hurtful in the present, or when someone else does something hurtful that serves as a trigger to my past hurt and emotions.

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Forgiving - on going but worth it

I remember my ex-husband's ex-Affair Partner telling me that "The act of not forgiving is like taking poison every day and waiting for the other person to die" .... and I thought to myself, what right did she have telling me this? She was the one who was the active participant in the very betrayal that destroyed my marriage and family. After many events and lots of time, and him betraying her, she and I eventually came to stand on the same side of betrayal and forgiveness (even though it was at differing degrees - me being the wife with children and her being the AP). And she still held true to her prior statement.... I took the step back and gained a deeper appreciation for the verse "Lord, please forgive them for they know not what they do" and then I forgave both my now ex-husband and the now ex-AP. Trust me when I tell you that forgiving her was easier than forgiving him. I struggle with the very act of forgiveness of him every day, especially since we are in the midst of a heated custody battle..... But I will testify that I am much happier and at peace and was so after the first instance that I forgave him. Now he is the angry, bitter one .... and I am growing in my faith in the Lord and moving forward by no longer being tethered to the anger, hurt and bitterness brought about by the betrayals in my marriage. I now know that forgiveness is FOR ME! Not for anyone else.... I choose to be happy and at peace.


Everything you described feeling towards the ex-business partner is exactly how I feel toward my spouses affair partner. She still works in his office and I try to avoid her as much as possible, but when I see her, I'm filled with anger towards both of them, but especial towards her. She acts like nothing happened! I'm not sure she's convinced that I know everything. She seems to have no shame around me. My husband only speaks to her when he has no other choice, but his words and manner are caustic. I know I need to forgive her, along with him, but she really doesn't seem to care one way or the other.

Reply to Jeanie

I feel the same. I've seen photos. of her on her daughter-in-law's FB page of her with her husband at their son's wedding, and photos. of them all - except husband, out ice-skating (husband really doesn't look like ice-skaitng sort!). She and my husband had both a very sexual and emotional affair for FOUR years - yes, before we married. In November 2016, same month I caught them, they'd booked a week's holiday to Tenerife for August 2017 - he told me it was golf as usual.

I bet she goes to bed at night with no triggers bothering her, no pain, no nothing. Same as him. She just had the "Oh cr*p" panicked feeling of getting caught and her kids not speaking to her for a month or so but now it's gone back to normal for her. I made sure her family also knew about the first affair she and my husband had about 15 years ago when he was in his first marriage and they both had young children. Yet, she still sleeps at night without bother. How are you now, four years on?

Giving up all hope of having a better past

One definition of forgiveness is “Giving up all hope of having a better past.” - this sentence really struck a cord with me. I think that has been my problem with moving forwards with forgiveness. I keep replaying the past in my mind, looking for ways it could or should have been different. I am someone who likes to be in control. Since my spouse's infidelity was not a choice I had control over, I am really struggling with the thought of letting that go. Because, if I let go then I still have no control over how they treat me in the future. I have to fully rely and trust in him that he won't be that person again.

forgiving and betrayal

My wife told me about 9 months ago that she had been having a lesbian affair with her best friend. This news was not completely shocking, because I had suspected it from the beginning. I had even confronted about the affair several times.

I appreciate that she finally told me and said that she wanted to make our marriage work. It has been a long 9 months. I can forgive and move past the sexual discretion. The part that I am having an extremely difficult time with is that she still insists that she can be a friend with her AP.

They workout together 6 day a week and spend at about 4-6 hours together daily. I don’t feel like they are still sexually active, but I feel like I am still being betrayed every day.

How do I continue to forgive? I have read so many opinions on what to do. Become a good listener, be patient, try and understand. How long do I endure this?

I ask myself, why? Sometimes my only answer is just don’t give up. I realize I can only change myself; I cannot change my wife. What do I do?

Is it because she had a lesbian affair?

If almost all the advice on this site is that the unfaithful spouse must cut off affair with the AP in order to make recovery successful, shouldn't your wife be doing exactly that? Would it have made a difference if she had had this affair with a man? This situation seems odd to me, because an affair is an affair. And I come from this is the unfaithful spouse. I had a six-week affair, and when I told my wife about it, I cut off all communication with my AP, and have never looked back. It has made for a more successful recovery. I'm not trying to plant ideas in your head, but as an outside observer, I have to wonder how an unfaithful spouse can spend 4-6 hours per day with their AP and tell you that's nothing is happening.

Forgiveness through an Accounting Process

I was one of those people who were able to forgive very quickly after discovery, so I thought! I think I was lying to myself as the pain raged on inside of me. It seemed as though, the more my pain was denied the more it seemed to intensify. This was my pain and if I gave it up through forgiveness, I thought I was giving up what little power I had over this heinous act of betrayal. Through this pain I have learned a great deal about human nature. As time passed through the day of discovery to almost two years now, I have learned to forgive through an accounting process. I actually wrote down all the ways that I was sinned against and carried this written word with me everywhere. Through time I was able to eliminate each one until they did not have quite the effect on me as they once did. The lying, the secrecy, among others still exist on my list, but I have found forgiveness. The lying and the secrecy are still on my list as a way of remembering. I will ALWAYS remember the pain that came on that day—d-day, even as I pen this note the tears still flow! I can tell you that I can spot the lie and secrecy very quickly, but instead of spying or snooping it is very quickly and easily discussed with not only my spouse but others in my life too. And I am starting to view d-day not as the worst day of my entire life anymore, but rather the day when I was liberated!


This has been me. Reading the sentence about giving up hope of a better past makes a lot of sense finally. I've prayed to forgive, I've offered forgiveness but there was always the part about our past that I wanted to change or improve. I don't dwell on the affairs or the pornography, I dwelled on the times we should have had enjoyment, togetherness, a family life that were ruined by actions I couldn't control or understand. I understand Leslie who says if she lets it go she is pushed into trusting this person won't hurt her again. It is a huge risk we take. I can honestly say I am better now, not because of myself but because I have a much better relationship with my God. And no matter who might betray me again I will always have that faithful relationship.

I have Forgiven....

But, I can't forget. Do those 2 things go hand in hand? Some days are harder than others. In the beginning, I wanted him to suffer the same way I was. But the truth is, I had cheated too... and according to him, he cheated to "get me back". We are both definitely in a place of forgiveness finally. I forgive him now and in the future as I am married to this man and I'm married for life. I've given up on the past, it is what it is. All I can do at this point is make our future better. And we are working on that every day. I realized forgiveness was for me and not for him, nor his AP's. It's been much harder for me to forgive the AP's though. They were both friends of mine. Some days I feel like I have moved on and others I just want to hurt them so they can feel my pain. But I'm going to leave that up to Karma. Certainly they will suffer their own consequences, one of them being that we are no longer friends. I can't say that if I saw them on the street that I wouldn't approach them, I'm a very feisty person and these women had sex with my husband having been friends with me for years. But, as for my marriage... we have forgiven. It was because of EMSO that we learned that forgiveness was for each of us individually. So that we can live in peace.


Forgiveness is certainly very, very different than forgetting. I have forgiven my spouse but I no longer trust him. I actually took away his power of medical attorney over me because I do not feel he would always make the best decisions for me as he is a liar and cheat. That is not the person that I want making life and death decisions for me. He has proven to me that he has bad judgement and should not be trusted. That is not erasable. It is a fact that I would be stupid to ignore. Your course is very clear that repeat offenses are very predictable in unfaithful spouses. Again, forgive yes....forget....not smart.....and potentially deadly.


Good choice, I believe siblings or attorneys make better POAs


But what if you are betrayed and they never ASKED for forgiveness??? Even after I told them that's what I needed...I told them I needed them to ask for forgiveness and he just texted me. I told him I needed it to be face to face....I'm still waiting



True remorse and empathy are very important components to forgiveness. I do not want my partner to ask for my forgiveness. I am uncomfortable with that since I am not in a forgiveness mood yet. However, I want his empathy, kindness and gentle attention to pave the road to forgiveness. I cannot give it until I am convinced his behaviors pave the way to a new marriage with adequate fire walls.

Not asking for forgiveness is

Not asking for forgiveness is just one more thing to forgive. Forgiveness is bearing the cost of another's wrongdoing, choosing to decide they are released from the debt they owe for the wrong they have done. If they are forgiven, it is because you have chosen to release your requirement for a sense of justice. If you have any requirements, any stipulations to the terms of your forgiveness, then it isn't forgiveness.

I know how hard it is to forgive, I'm a betrayed wife here. It takes time. It's very costly. It's so hard. And the. The pain rears its ugly hard and you have to forgive the same thing again, or a new layer is exposed and you have to forgive the same thing from a different angle.

But forgiveness has to come from you, free of charge. Most people who wound you will not ask for forgiveness, let alone apologize. Yet forgive we must. Even if you aren't a Christian, as Christians are commanded to forgive, forgiveness is still a crucial part to personal healing, a way to release and heal and be free from the burden of carrying the collections notice for a debt that will never be paid, because their is no way to undo a wrongdoing. It will always have been done. There are ways to rebuild trust, reconcile, heal, etc. But there are no take backs.


I have come to the conclusion after 11 months that divorce would have been easier than reconciliation and or forgiveness. At this point I would recommend that betrayed spouses cut their losses and run. Just my humble opinion.

I know how you Feel. It’s

I know how you Feel. It’s the most depressing place I’ve ever been in my life. You Feel like you’re in a hole and can’t get out! When we were at 11 months I felt exactly the same way you do, matter fact I didn’t feel better until around the 16th month. We are now 19 months since D day and I can tell you I finally feel a shift. I’ve been told it can take somewhere between three and five years to heal. I’m sure I will be closer to five but now I see that it’s a possibility. Remember this… the Poison you know it’s better than the poison you don’t! I have friends That have remarried and the grassisny always greener on the other side. I’m sure you’ve come through the worst of it I know the first year was unbearable if you can try not to give up yet.


I have never been one to give up easily but this is different. Just not sure I am able to forgive. I was raised to believe that you never stay with someone who commits one of the A sins.
Adultry, abuse or addiction. However, I also know that my response to this situation says more about me than my husband.

Do not give up if he is remorseful.

Before the 15 month month, I wanted to be out of the marriage almost every day. It hurt too much and was unbearable. However, my husband tried so hard and did everything beyond and above. It made me quit the idea to get out.... While he worked hard to save this marriage, I tried hard to hang in there... Suddenly, I felt a change. I was able to love him and even love him more than before. Forgiveness is a process.... We still have down time. But we were able to pull up ourselves quickly and got back to track. It is possible to forgive and it is possible to make your marriage better than before. Do not give it up if your spouse is remorseful and repentant.


Sara i am sorry you are going through this. I think divorce is easier in the short term. I use to feel the same way. I use to say .. why am i outting myself thru this? I am 18 months since D day amd the last few months i feel a shift . It doesnt have the grip on me as it once did. The pain and ambivalence is subsiding. I hope you give it more time. My husband and i have both made progress. We still have work to do but at least i dont feel so hopeless anymore. . I hope this helps you.


Thank you for your words of encouragement. At this point, I will just take it one day at a time.
I know the grass is not greener on the other side. I just wonder if being alone might be the better option.


How do you forgive when the betrayer will not come clean, won’t own all they have done. Offers excuses for their actions, wants to blame someone else. Continually lies about what was for 18-20 years and has to tell a lie to cover up previous one. No healing for either of us. Im just stuck. Ive been doing this making excuses for him- his childhood etc. Ive been a fool.


Shirley, I am so sorry. Your situation sounds chronic. I hope you will do what you must to make yourself feel whole. Find a good counselor and support group. It is amazing how much strength you can find from others.

Forgiveness almost seems impossible towards the affair partner

I struggle with forgiving my wife’s affair partner. He was her boss and I was a partner in his ministry. He pastored a church we attended. We were friends. He was pretending to be a man of God only to turn out to be a wolf in sheeps clothes. I know it was wrong, but recently I saw him riding with his so called Christian/pro law enforcement motorcycle club. I wrote the word deceiver on a piece of paper and held it out the window of my work car. He filed a complaint against me and now I am on Admin leave pending an investigation. I pray everyday day to release him and that God remove the desire of revenge from my heart. But I can’t help but want to see true Godly justice done. I can’t believe one man can do so much damage to another. People have no idea the pain and hurt and some cases the ruins they bring into the lives of others because of their selfish actions.


I know your pain mike. I am also a male betrayed spouse. It’s hard. I wish you the best.

Bettayed male

I am also on this roler coaster ride, she won’t come clean or apologize, and she keeps swearing that nothing happened even with all what i have and the contradictions of her stories each time, i forgave her because i got proof that there was no physical or emotional attachment it was kids play and ego to show off in front of her friends that she can grt any man she wants, that got out of hand, but still it hurts like a b****, i cannot forget and keep replaying everything in my head been 7months since Dday, for the kids sake i set some ground rules to the healing process but each time she is away from my sight in work or out for sth i feel the rolercoaster, for the OM i want to hurt him bad, i wish i could make him suffer as much as i did, but waiting for Gods justice to take place, i bumped into him once and acted as if all is normal, that i am the superior male for ignoring him, i can hurt him in real life but it would lead to questions and a bit of a scandle so i choose not to, i already hurt him financially in a way due to my work, but still not satisfied, he knows not to cross me for he saw what i can do, but still not satisfied.
I think my healing is on the way the only missing ingredient is my wife to show me that i am all that matters to her and that she will not do it again.
You see our biggest fear is from the repeat not the old action, and my advice is to focus on your spouse and not the OM/OW then you can start achieving.
Forgiveness will not let you loose control forgetting will.


God has spoken to me since my original posting. This is what has been revealed to me: Love and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin. They cannot exist apart from one another. Without one, the other will fail. I choose Love because God is Love. Therefore I also choose to forgive, even those who have wounded me deeply.


Does anyone ever second guess their decision to try to make it work. Now that I 11 months past d day---- am beginning to question my initial decision.

forgiveness and reconciling or not

everyday, and even more when he says things like, "I am redeemed and I can get back on my white horse" "its over, and I am here" "it is too late to end our marriage now over the affair,it has been too long" D-day April 21, 2012, when I discovered his 11 month emotional, sexual, spiritual affair.....I have no hope, no joy, and wish to leave this earth daily....I discovered his affair while recovering from a horse riding accident, and subsequent surgeries, he continued the affair for months after the accident, until he got caught....I will forever be broken, I now suffer PTSD, Fibromyalgia, panic attacks,severe Sleep Apnea, I can't work, I barely leave the house,

Forgiveness and reconciling or not

It’s been 30 years since my spouses first affair and 5 years since his second one and I ask myself daily why I’m still here, there’s a lot to consider and I’m only passing through this life, I choose Jesus and I know that great things await us. Hold on Jesus loves us and cares for us and He knows exactly where we are.

Every day!! Yes - I'm 11

Every day!! Yes - I'm 11 months out and haven't made the commitment either way, but yet I'm still here. And every day I question what in the world am I doing still here! You are not alone in your thinking!


How does one get to the point where u know ending it is the right thing to do. My husband is sorry and I feel fairly certain he would not do it again if the tape could be replaced. However, I feel a gradual distancing on my part.


It will be 3 years since D-Day this July for me and if I had a better job and the means to do so, I probably would have just ended it and walked out. The daily pain of the betrayal just never subsides.

Yes, I'm in the same boat

It's been 3 years from D-day #2 (10 years from D-day #1). We reconciled quickly after #2 and then I was in emotional chaos for another year due to other personal issues. After the "fog" cleared, I have been able to see things more clearly. And it's not pretty. I have absolutely no feelings for him, postive that is. I don't trust him, don't respect him, don't really like him even. He is sorry for his affairs but doesn't show any compassion, empathy or love towards me, which doesn't help at all. He's "giving me space to heal" but it feels like constant rejection. He needs to win my heart again, to woo me. But, at the same time, I don't want him to. I'm guarding my heart big time. Now, I'm wondering if staying is actually harming our kids. They see parents who have no loving feelings towards each other. I have been dealing with depression and trying desperately to heal. I almost feel like the responsibility for the marriage to work is on me. I have forgiven him (at least I think I have) but just don't like being around him. I have no peace when I'm near him. I do feel that reconciling after two affairs is the hardest thing I've ever done. Not sure I can do it, at least successfully. I'm so discouraged...

This article was the best I

This article was the best I read. Ever since my husband revealed his betrayal, I fought with bad feelings and loneliness, wanting him to suffer and feel for ever remorseful and mostly, wanting to go back in time and change the past, but it is as you wrote, we can't...
And it's difficult, in a terrible way, to accept it.
I wish I'm sure about what love means...how can we live with such a doubt...?


As the betrayed wife I have been studying forgiveness in order to understand it from different religious perspectives and from various professionals that I have worked with in order to heal. I have come to the conclusion, for me, that forgiveness is not a one time event. Every single day that I awake, and my husband lies beside me, is a new day of forgiveness. Every time that I show him my love and respect, it is an act of forgiveness. Because forgiveness is for myself, it is a private matter that I can choose to share, or not share, with my SA husband. My favourite quote on forgiveness is what Buddha said: "Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace."


The process on the other side of the event is to remember that I have forgiven the particular offense when bad feelings pop into my mind or when the person does something else hurtful in the present.

Something else hurtful in the present? Like cheating again? If that's the case I'm out. I can forgive the first time but i have to put myself first if someone won't respect me and my physical and mental safety by remaining in affairs...


I have so many misunderstandings about forgiveness.
If I forgive, do I have to tell the person? Can it just be between me and God.
The AP in my husbands last affair, claimed no responsibility, she is his sister in law now. According to her it was all my husband. He came knocking at her door. And she didn't know why he was there, she had just gone thru a divorce and wasn't thinking straight. I heard more. So, why should I forgive someone who claims no responsibility?
As for my husband, he hasn't even told me everything.
I get none of my questions answered. I don't even know what all I need to forgive him for? How does someone forgive with these kinds of instances?

what forgiveness really is and why you can do it even if...

@Cab, I've been where you are. I know the swings of rage, to grief, to fear, to desire to keep the relationship and back again. It's hard to think about forgiveness when you are in this state. It appears from what you said that neither your husband nor the AP has taken responsibility for their actions. That in itself is hurtful, of course. But it is not something you can fix; only they can (with God's help). And what forgiveness does is help you let go of the need to hurt them back, to "get even", etc. It's the realization that it's not your job to even the score or to punish. That's God's job, accomplished in His time. I found that praying for my betraying partner helped me heal myself. Initially I felt as though someone had ripped off a part of my body part, and I was in agony and bleeding. With time, I began to heal, and to realize that I had depended too much on my partner to define myself. After a separation I got myself back, stopped worrying about what HE was doing, and focused on my own recovery - from trauma and the excessive emotional dependence on him. You may not have the same issues I did. But I think the same principle applies. Forgiveness really is freeing, and it allows you to focus on healing.

Forgiving but can’t forget

I forgave my spouse very easily. Probably too easily. I know that everyone makes mistakes. Forgetting what happens seems to be impossible while it’s gotten easier after 4 years I simply can’t forget. Also trying to rebuild a trust again that was unconditional before the affair will never be the same. Furthermore how do u really know what truly happened. You have to trust they’re telling the truth. That’s most difficult

Forgiving but can't forget

Hi Jack36,
I just want to take a moment to reply to your comment. I do not believe any of us are or should be expected to, "forget." We are not computers where information can simply be deleted. No, rather, we can work through the process, sometimes very long process of the betrayal and recovery, and process of forgiveness. No one determines tor dictates the length of time for your healing except you. You are on your individual path of recovery. And while we never forget what happened, and should never be expected to, the sting can be softened, and the triggers thoughts, grief, memories, and anguish can lessen over time with the proper help. And as far as knowing if your spouse has been truthful and disclosed all the lies and acting out? The strongest recommendation I can make is for a therapeutic disclosure followed by a therapeutic relationship polygraph. If a spouse truly wants to show they are accountable and has nothing to hide, then this is the least they will do to make their spouse feel safe during the road to recovery. It's you who needs to feel safe, respected, and heal in your own way, and in your own time, and to ask for what you need to feel that safety. Not too late for any of this, no matter how many years ago discovery happened. And TRUST is never never never unconditional, but something that is always earned! My wish for so many in this community is to ask for what you need to feel safe. Set your standards, hold your boundaries, and trust God to lead you into truth and guide you through your healing. God bless.

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