Adultery: To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Spouse


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Forgiveness won't come easily, but it is possible to overcome.

"I know this was a huge mistake on my part," John said. "I should have told her how I felt. This crisis has forced us to realize that we really do want to be together. But she may never forgive me."

Pat said, "If I tell John I forgive him, it's like saying I am ready to forget and move on. I don't forgive him, but I am coming to understand what happened. And I know I want to make it work."


Eventually many couples experience what I call empathy: a new understanding of what led their partner to cheat, and how it feels to be cheated on.  In fact, I see hundreds of couples in my office who come for therapy after an affair. Many have a new vision for their relationship. And some days they forgive, and others they don't. Forgiveness comes in time; empathy is a choice they make every day. 

Staying with your spouse after adultery is a personal and a marital decision, and for many couples it can be a better choice than trading in one partner for another, or choosing divorce as an option. Its hard work but it is possible. Talk about your feelings with each other. Try to empathize with what it feels like to be on both sides of the couch – and talk about your new vision of a new monogamy. A new monogamy includes a deeper communication and a more empathetic view of love.

For more information on creating your new monogamy and a new relationship together go here.

Dr. Tammy Nelson is a world renowned sex and relationship expert and the author of The New Monogamy and Getting the Sex You Want.  She can be found online at

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Tammy Nelson


Tammy Nelson, PhD, LPC email me at

Location: Ridgefield, CT
Credentials: LPC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Sex Therapy
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