If You're Going to Forgive a Cheater...

If You're Going to Forgive a Cheater...

If you are a person who finds yourself in a relationship that you have become aware of, apparently included a third, the question then becomes, are you going to forgive that person, or are you going to move on? Many people who have said, I would never stay, have stayed, and many who said, they would forgive, have ended up moving on. No one else can determine what works for you or will work for you in that situation but you and your partner, but if you are going to forgive a cheater, read on.

1. Actually forgive them

If you somehow find it in your heart to forgive a cheater, then forgive them. Remember, you have the option to walk away, and nothing is holding you there whether you have kids or not. You can still raise your kids together without being in a relationship with that person. But forgiveness means, you don't pack this away in your worry bag for the rest of your life pulling it out of your bag every single time she or he does any little thing. You don't bring it up and make it everyone elses business at the dinner table. You don't use it during every fight you will have in your relationship. You don't sit there and not allow them to move on in your relationship and hopefully be a better person, because you're still hung up on it. Again, you have the option to walk away and decide this is not what you deserve or want to continue living with, but know that if you go on the forgiveness path, this is the choice you are making and you must allow actual forgiveness to happen.

If You're Going to Forgive a Cheater...

2. Do set crystal clear boundaries

You may have thought things were clear that your relationship should have only been the two of you before the cheating happened, but now that it has occurred, have the dreaded talk where you let your partner know, this is a one time deal. They cheat again, that's it, and stick to your word. If you believe in giving a second chance, it should not include a third, fourth, and fifth unless you are content with a life of reliving betrayal, hurt, and pain on repeat.

3. Talk about how you got to this place

You are not to blame for your partner choosing to go out and cheat on you, but there may be real underlying issues in your relationship that need addressing. The cheating maybe for example a reaction to you maybe traveling all the time and your partner missing close or intimate contact with you. Whatever the case, simply paving over the problems in your relationship and moving on, is probably only going to lead to you being right back to square one with them continuing to cheat unless you get to any possible underlying issues in your relationship. Do know that, whatever the reason for the cheating, should not be used as an excuse for the cheating by your bf/gf because your partner had the option to come to you and say what these problems were to your face and work through them before they ran off and decided cheating was a good idea.

4. Seek counseling

Whether this comes from your church, trusted family, marriage counselors, etc, you may need someone impartial to step in and help you sort through everything because emotions on both sides will be running high after the discovery of the cheating. You may simply need a counselor to help you vent your frustrations, even though you say you can move on.

If You're Going to Forgive a Cheater...

5. Don't assume they want to stay

You may think, if you forgive them, your partner wants the same. They want your forgiveness and to be able to move on together, but that may not be the case. After discovery, they may just want to leave. Rather than assume you are being the bigger person, or opening your heart and trying to keep you guys together, go deep and find out if they want to cut and run. Don't just hold on to keep holding on if the sparks are just completely gone.

A word to the wise:

You should never have to live your life always wondering if the person you are with is going to cheat again, or whether they can remain faithful to you. You should have peace in your heart and in your own home knowing that your relationship is one where you trust one another. If being together after the betrayal is killing you, you feel stressed out all the time, you're angry all the time, you can't or they can't move on, it's not worth it to have to feel like that every day. Break up, seek out greener pastures. Kids or no kids, marriage or no marriage, decide for yourself if it's worth staying and if you can actually forgive them, do so, but if you can't, take a big sip of a cup of wake up call, and make the hard big boy or big girl choice to move on.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Thanks for the advice. I have struggled about this topic when my love life was in danger. Now I am a better person as compared to my past version. Helpful Mytake

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Most Helpful Girl

  • This is pretty spot on.
    I'll add too, that there are no time restrictions when comes to getting over a betrayal.
    There will be times when you need to discuss the affair with your partner and he or she should accept it and not shut the conversation down.

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What Guys Said 22

  • It is so rare to see a mytake with such quality that it moves even my opinion. I used to think that if someone cheats that its over forever. But now, after kissing a married woman, my feelings on the subject are more nuanced.

    I think you take the right approach. I think that cheating is an example of a flawed relationship or a broken relationship more so than an evil person. I have seen people cheat that I know are good and decent people. But that person's husband was out of the country for 3 years when he got deported. There is a lot of pain.

    Another reason I like the article is because a lot of people don't understand that cheating has nothing to do with love. You can love someone and still cheat. People cheat because of pain they can't process, fear, a deprived sex life. SOmetimes people cheat because we are animals and lust for the feelings of a new penis or vagina. We might even like sex with our partner but want something new just to experience it. I mean, who watches the same porn clip for 20 years?

    I think people should be given a one time pass but it should not be an expectation. In other words, the one time cheating experience should not be conditional or taken for granted. You may get dumped, so pray and beg for one last shot. Then be true to your word to either dump or give that person a chance. This article was fantastic.

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    • It's too late for MHG, but thanks for your comments. What inspired this really, is that I've seen a few couples/friends in my life go through this, and I've always said, don't go back to them, they are cheaters, it can't work, and true, most didn't, but the ones that did--and this is why I say repeatedly that it's their business and they must decide what works for them---went back to each other, fixed what was broken, and made it work, like it's been years later, and they're still going. We like to think of things as black and white all the time, and no grey, and no room for any sort of second chance, though people say on repeat, they believe in second chances, they really tend not to when it comes to themselves and their dealings with others, but there are situations and people who can go through hell and come out on the other side. It takes some strong people for sure, but it's one of those things where never say never, as in I'll never cheat, I won't/will forgive, I'll leave/won't.

    • Thanks for your reply. I cheated with my last ex. I don't really view it cheating because I view it as friendship even though it originally had a different intent. But, I can see why my ex would see it as cheating.

      I did not physically cheat. I was talking online to a woman I never met. She was on a dating website during our breakup. When I got back together with my ex, I told the woman I was talking to that I wanted to work things out with the girl I loved. But, I told her we could still be friends. So, I used her as an outlet to talk about my relationship and deep thoughts. She had a boyfriend to and we would talk.

      Why did I talk to her? It was because of a comment that my girlfriend at the time made when she broke it off. She said, "I don't need you. I can get any man I want."

      That made me feel worthless. Like a loser. Out of pain and anger I wanted to build up my self worth emotionally. It proved I was attractive to women.

  • If we could agree on the definition (e. g. dating around is not cheating) then I must say that something's missing (no matter what they say) in a relationship they stray from. Ergo, they will continue to cheat until something changes to fully satisfy them at home, which cuts the wanderlust attraction to the nub.

    Forgiveness is about setting yourself free more than grace upon others.

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  • Well, that was all spot-on 'till you got to the very end. The 'You should never" bullshit. Cuz that just never goes away. You realize that ANYONE could cheat at ANY time, if the circumstances are right are for it. I know, I've been on both sides of this isle.
    No, this could happen to ANY relationship whether there's been cheating or not.
    THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES IN LIFE!!

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    • Before you get crazy with this, let's read the full sentence: "You should never have to live your life always wondering if the person you are with is going to cheat AGAIN, or whether they can remain faithful to you." If you are in a relationship where your partner has not cheated on you, you still presumably have a built in trust that they are faithful to you, and since they have given you no reason to believe they are not faithful as well, there is no reason to sit on the couch at night when they haven't yet come home yet dreading that they are with someone else instead of maybe just late because of traffic or because they stopped at the grocery store. Get my drift? It's like once someone you trust has stolen from you... next time something goes missing, even by accident, you are more than likely to accuse them of theft because of their past, vs. just assume you lost the item on your own. Same goes for cheating. You may assume the worst at every juncture and live in fear and panic...

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    • I'm not sure you're understanding me. You seem to want to rage at this subject and call me names, but here it is again in plain form.

      If a person has not given their partner any reason to believe they have cheated and they have not cheated, why would you, on the other end, then sit there every night and accuse them of cheating? Answer me that one. Imagine that relationship. You'd think your partner was an absolutely jealous psycho and you'd probably break up with them.

      Now contrast that with a partner you know has cheated either because you've caught them or they've admitted it. The blueprint is set. You know they've already done the deed, so that trust is shattered. If you can't forgive, then you may indeed spend your days and nights always worried that it's happening or going to happen again...

    • You cannot assume everyone on the planet is cheating, which is what you seem to suggest here. I don't go into relationships assuming my partner is going to cheat on me just because it happens to other people. You deal with the person right in front of you and what they are doing or not doing in your own relationship.

  • I'm actually currently dating someone who cheated on me. We broke up after he cheated when we were 16. We stopped talking for 2 years.
    He messaged me and we started talking again. I forgave him and we started dating again. We've been together for almost a year now.

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    • Good for you. I hope it works out with him. It's all about choice here, and you had and have the choice to decide if he is worth it. No one can decide to make it work or not, but the two of you.

  • For me it really depends how the cheating happened and her honesty... if she were at a party or club and she got carried away like a one night stand, I could forgive her if she told me and was honest and sorry. If I found out about her having a long term affair and she told me she had feelings for him, I would leave her and never forgive.

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  • I don't necessarily think that "once a cheater is always a cheater" is true, but it gives me suspicion. It's the same with a former drug addict or ex con. People can change but it is still a red flag regardless.

    It is all situational though.

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  • I forgave her several times, didn't regret it. But in the end we both married another.

    I still don't regret forgiving. I learned pussy exclusivity isn't that important. There's more important in life.

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  • Some very wise advice - The most important of which is accept the consequences of your decision and fully commit to rectifying it.

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  • Never forgive a cheater they will only do it again or bail when times get tough. Loyalty is paramount in a relationship

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  • No thank you. I would not even consider forgiving them. Not worth it. They made their choice.

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  • just don't make a big deal out of it unless is relationship. most of the people would cheat it depends on oportunities

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  • I'll never forgive a cheater

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  • Thank you for sharing!

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  • this place is sooo funny

    DUMP THAT BITCH

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  • Agreed.

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  • I agree

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  • Good for me to remember, being too forgiving. lol

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  • Thank you

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  • No point in forgiving serial cheaters, they'll think its ok and keep doing it. Most people always think i'd be the cheater but i got cheated on 3X by one girl, was with her two years. I just cut her off and left her and now she's been married for the last 6 years i wonder how thats working out lol

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  • I really liked your "A word to the wise"...

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  • I wish a woman cheated on me as at least she wanted me at some point.

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  • Thank you

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What Girls Said 11

  • I don't think I can ever forgive a cheater. He didn't even cared for what I felt so why would I care about his desperate need to be forgiven? I will leave him and never care about him. I can't lıve easily but when I do and get hurt, that love turns to strong hate and disgust. So, he gets what he deserves. And also if doesn't want to be forgiven then that's better. I will leave him and never look back. I am that type of person I don't know is it bad or not 😅😅

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  • Good take, but your first sentence really confused me. Your grammar was wayyy off and it almost put me off reading any further than the title!

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    • The grammar in that sentence is correct.

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    • see Dogma

    • :') forgot about that

  • I guess I'd have to be in the situation to really know. But at this point, I don't know if I could ever trust someone again if he cheated.

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  • This is good advice I think. I have a friend in this situation and I think this will help her. Thank you :)

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  • I personally would move on. Sure I'd eventually forgive him and maybe we could be friends but once a cheater always a cheater

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  • It was one time I forgave onv of my ex's other that I will never forgive them they hurt me

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  • i will never forgive a cheater

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  • Thank you great job with the story

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  • Once a cheater, always a cheater

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  • You never forgive

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