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14 Signs It's Safe To Forgive Your Partner For Cheating

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14 Signs It's Safe To Forgive Your Partner For Cheating
Heartbreak

If you notice these signs, it may be a safe bet it is time forgive your former cheating partner.

From the outside looking in, the actions you need to take after your partner has cheated on you are very straightforward. Most people would simply tell you to end the relationship and leave it at that.

"Once a cheater, always a cheater," they’d say.

But as anyone who’s experienced infidelity already knows, this is not always the case. No matter what anyone says, infidelity is not a simple phenomenon. In fact, it’s actually extraordinarily complex, with a multitude of causes, effects, and future possibilities in play.

And for some people, it’s important that they only discuss these difficult issues with people who understand the complexities involved in infidelity and are willing to discuss them with you.

What we’re trying to say is that if you’ve been cheated on, you’re entitled to whatever feelings and reactions you’re currently having. This includes considering the possibility of reconciliation.

Many marriages have rebounded in a very healthy way after episodes of infidelity, and although there’s no way to predict the future, yours might just become one of these success stories.

Guidance During An Incredibly Difficult Time

One thing we know for certain is that you’re confused and in pain. If you’re going to recover from the pain of infidelity, you’ll need a path and something to light the way. That’s why we’ve compiled this list to give you some idea of when it is safe to forgive your former wayward spouse.

While making this list, we operated under 3 basic assumptions.

First, although your partner has made a terrible series of mistakes, it is still possible for him or her to make the internal and external changes necessary for your marriage’s recovery.

Second, these changes are extremely difficult for a person to make.

Third, because these changes are so difficult to make, the efforts your partner puts forth to make them will be readily apparent if you’re paying attention.

With all that being said, here is our list of signs that it's time to start learning how to forgive your partner after cheating (we hope it gives you the guidance you deserve during this incredibly difficult time):

  1. Your partner seems to understand the gravity of this situation and the hard work the reconciliation is going to require.
  2. Your partner takes constructive actions toward addressing the internal issues that led him or her to cheat on you.
  3. Your partner is no longer defensive. They display sincere regret and remorse for what they have done. They assume full responsibility for their actions.
  4. They do not attempt to blame you for their behavior. They accept that they’ve made a grave error and have sincere desire to repair the damage. 
  5. They’re attentive and communicate well without trying to rush the healing process. They’re neither harping on the issue nor trying to sweep it under the carpet and act like it’s not there. 
  6. Both you and your partner have a decent idea why the infidelity occurred. You’ve also talked about how to prevent it from happening again in the future, usually by learning to better communicate your mutual needs.
  7. Your partner’s attitude and actions have helped you to develop compassion for them and their misdeeds.
  8. Your partner’s devotion and behavior have allowed you to begin to reestablish the connection that had perhaps started to fade prior to the infidelity.
  9. As a couple, you’ve made enough progress to believe in your vows once again. They have given you ample reason to commit to the marriage for better or worse. In other words, you still feel that they’re worth it.
  10. They’re willing to practice as much transparency as you need to feel comfortable. They’re very open about who they’re contacting and spending time with, whether it’s a person, on the internet, or on the phone. 
  11. You’ve both taken the time and the actions necessary to process this terrible experience. This means you’ve been able to talk openly about your feelings with your friends, family, or therapist.
  12. Their actions and renewed dedication have helped you to see your partner more clearly and feel grateful for your marriage.
  13. You’ve begun to feel at least some modicum of relief. You’ve returned to the routine of your daily life and can again experience joy without it being ruined by resentment or recurring images.
  14. You can realistically envision a happy and brighter future with your spouse. For a variety of reasons, the vision you have for the future of your marriage is of crucial importance to recovery from infidelity.

As you can see from the list up above, you don't have to deal with the aftermath of infidelity in ignorance and darkness. By staying reasonably vigilant, you can avoid playing a very painful guessing game and receive the guidance you need to support or disavow your decision to reconcile with your cheating partner.

Not knowing what is in your partner’s heart is one of the worst parts of coping with infidelity. It is our deepest hope that you spot many, if not all, of these signs in their future behavior.

The decision to reconcile or sever the relationship is yours and yours only. It is our experience that recovery from infidelity is possible, sometimes to the extent that the marriage actually improves after a certain period and the couple ends up closer than they were before the infidelity began.

No matter what happens, we want only the best for you and your marriage. We would be honored to know that our list has helped you in any way.

C. Mellie Smith is a former betrayed spouse who was able to pick up the pieces and move on with her life after several affairs rocked her marriage. We know how much infidelity hurts, so click here to get the help and resources you need to stop the craziness and get over the pain and heartbreak of the betrayal.

For more on Rethinking Infidelity, check out Relationship Expert Esther Perel's TedxTalk:

 

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