Adultery: To Forgive Or Not To Forgive Your Spouse


red letter A
A is for adultery.
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. 

More from YourTango: Who Has More Sex?

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.

More from YourTango: Find Out If Your Partner's Cheating

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

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Tammy Nelson


Tammy Nelson, PhD, LPC email me at

Location: Ridgefield, CT
Credentials: LPC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Sex Therapy
Other Articles/News by Tammy Nelson:

Want To End Your Marriage? Try Conscious Uncoupling


Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin just announced their "conscious uncoupling" and it has brought up new questions for some people and a media conversation about what endings might look like in a long term, committed partnership. See Paltrow's blog Conscious uncoupling or what I call intentional divorce is more common than ever before. The ... Read more

Is Technology Ruining Your Sex Life?


Couples who lead happier, sexier relationships don't text. They don't gamble online, they don't pick fantasy football teams. They don't spend a lot of social network time on their hand held devices. They take the time instead to increase their physical and emotional connection with their actual real time partner. Not surprisingly, these same ... Read more

Who Has More Sex?


You're probably wondering if you should stay single to enjoy the partying, player lifestyle, especially after Miley Cyrus recently told Matt Lauer on the Today show that "old" people, those "over 40," don't have sex any more. She was referring to those "old" married people, right? Not to worry. Research shows ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts

6 Texting Shockers You Must Avoid!

Most of you know how I feel about the digital age, and how it’s totally mutilated the ...


The addiction to "busy"ness: How to live with more intention

Is the daily routine of life getting you down? Find your passion and live a more authentic life!


Guide to Becoming a Soulfull Woman Understand Your Beliefs

Once you understand where your beliefs about yourself came from, you determine what's really YOU

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>