How to Forgive When it Hurts

How you can start to forgive

couple argument

  • It's never a good feeling to find out your partner has been on you.
  • But it doesn't always have to mean the relationship has ended.
  • According to Ashley Madison, people who have been unfaithful themselves are more likely to be forgiving if their partner cheats.
  • This could be because they are more aware of the nuances of cheating, and know it means an opportunity to fix what's broken in the relationship.
  • However, some cheaters are simply selfish and are unlikely to ever change.

Forgiving a partner who was unfaithful to you might seem inconceivable. But many couples manage to get through affairs, forgive and forget, then go on to have long, happy lives together.

According to a survey by Ashley Madison, the married dating site, people who have cheated themselves are much more likely to be forgiving if their partner is led astray.

Out of 3,000 Ashley Madison members, 53% indicated a forgiving mentality when it came to being cheated on. Men were more likely to forgive women, with 59% saying they were more likely to forgive their partner than their partner is to forgive them, compared to 51% of women.

There are on their partners. It might not be because they want out of their relationship or marriage. In fact, according to results published in a book by sociologist Alicia Walker, to husbands they loved, not to leave them.

"They're not cheating for revenge, or to get out of a marriage, or to get the husband to notice them through bad behaviour. It's none of those things," she told Business Insider. Rather, they were seeking the sexual satisfaction that had fizzled out in their marriages.

The Ashley Madison data suggest people who cheat may be better emotionally equipped to deal with infidelity, and approach it in a more measured way — perhaps because they're more open to the possibility that an affair doesn't mean the end of a marriage.

Why men and women decide to stay

When asked how they would feel if their partner cheated, 53% of respondents suggested they would be forgiving. A fifth said it would hurt but they would understand, 17% said they wouldn't like it but they would stay and try and work it out, and 16% said they wouldn't care at all.

About a fifth said they weren't sure how they would feel — as sometimes it's hard to predict how you'll react to situations until they actually happen.

The reasons the respondents gave for leaning towards forgiveness varied. 26% of men said they wouldn't want to put their children through a divorce, while 25% said they still love their partner and would want to overcome their problems.

Rather than divorcing, 30% of women say they would stay for financial reasons, while 25% would prioritise their family above all else.

"Although they tend to be similar, the reasons that men and women cheat aren't always the same," said Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist and author of "." "Sometimes women cheat to wake up an otherwise dying marriage."

She added it can add "zest and excitement" to their lives, which can result in an improved sex life within the marriage.

"When the affair ends, there are good reasons to stay married," she said. "If the marriage has improved as a result, why not try to make it work?"

How you can start to forgive

In a blog post for Psychology Today, psychologist Robert Enright gave six suggestions to help you forgive someone if they were unfaithful to you. It won't always work, and sometimes cheating really does signal the end of the relationship. But if both partners really want to make the relationship work, it is possible.

1. Don't expect to forgive in a day, said Enright. It is a process that takes quite a long time, so don't beat yourself up if you haven't forgiven your partner in a week, or even a month.

2. Remember that feeling anger is fine, as long as it isn't dominating your life.

3. Try and see the humanity in your cheating partner. Try and look past the behaviour and remember their value.

4. Ask yourself whether you can bear the pain of cheating without lashing out on the other people you care about.

5. As you forgive, try and bring some sense of justice, such as asking something of your cheating partner. This may be agreeing to go to counseling, or asking them to show remorse.

6. Know there is a difference between forgiving and reconciling. If the cheater doesn't seem to value you, and is constantly acting selfishly, they may not ever change.

Video: How To Forgive When You Can’t Forget

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Date: 13.12.2018, 02:36 / Views: 72582