- Step 1
Give yourself time. Don't expect to be able to forgive someone immediately. This is a multi-step process and will likely come in stages as you move towards acceptance of what has happened. How much time it takes varies from individual to individual, so don't compare yourself to anyone else.
- Step 2
Allow yourself to work through and process your own feelings and emotions before you attempt to forgive your partner's betrayal. Go to see a therapist, journal, read books/articles on affairs, and look at on-line support groups. You must get all the emotions out that you are dealing with. Don't allow anyone to minimize them. These are real, painful, and must be dealt with and expressed so you can heal and move forward.
- Step 3
Join a support group. It helps to have a group of people to support you who have been through the same thing. You will find people at different stages in the recovery process. This helps you to see how far you have come and where you are headed. You can find support groups by searching on-line. Support groups are often available at local churches, community centers, or at counseling centers. There are also on-line support groups. I recommend a face-to-face group over an on-line community if possible.
- Step 4
As you continue to heal and express all the emotions that have surfaced, you may find yourself able to look at your partner's actions with less anger. When you get to the point where you can listen to and understand the reasons that your partner cheated, you will be on your way. Again, this is not condoning their actions. This is looking at them with compassion and understanding that they acted the way they did to satisfy their own needs. As heartless as this sounds, it helps to understand that their actions were not about you. You are good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, etc... The person they cheated with is NOT in some way better than you! Understand, know, and believe that your partner's actions really had NOTHING to do with you. They were done because your partner needed something and he/she went about getting it in a way that hurt you tremendously.
- Step 5
Work to recover your
self-esteem. Take small steps every day to nuture, affirm, and love yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, and take quiet peaceful time for yourself every single day. Do things you love even when you feel sad, angry, or confused. Eventually the pain will begin to retreat. At first, you may find only seconds of peace and then it will be minutes. Eventually, you will get to the point where you can get through an hour, two hours, etc... without thinking about what has happened. As you heal, recommit to living your life for yourself. Go back to activities that brought you happiness or take the first step to develop a talent that you always wanted to nourish. As you feel better and better about yourself, your world will begin to seem brighter as well.
- Step 6
The more you are able to focus on yourself (your healing, your self-esteem, your recovery), the better you will feel eventually. After you have allowed yourself recovery and healing time, you will get to a place where you have space in your heart to look at your partner with greater compassion. Say every day: "I forgive (Name) and let go of my hurt, anger, and pain." Forgiveness for me came in stages and they were not always consistent. I found myself moving forward and then moving back a step or two. This is normal so be easy on yourself.
- Step 7
Set boundaries for yourself. Healthy boundaries are needed for you to recover and heal. It is impossible to heal when you are still in a situation where your partner is cheating or where you don't know if he/she will again or not. If you decide to stay with your partner, set boundaries and limits that allow you to feel safe. If you need to know your partner's schedule to the minute, then state that. You may ask to see their telephone, e-mail, credit card, bank statements etc... to verify that they are telling the truth. That's okay - it is up to your partner to earn your trust back if you want to keep him/her in your life. Regardless of whether you decided to stay with your partner or leave, forgiveness is essential so you can move forward with your own life.
- Step 8
A final stage of forgiveness is looking at the good that has come from the situation. What positive experiences, ideas, etc.. came about because of what you went through? In the middle of chaos, there is always opportunity. Take this opportunity to transform your life into something better, brighter, and more empowering than ever before. When you are able to forgive someone who has betrayed you, you will look at the world with a new perspective. You will be more able to separate people from their actions and look at them with compassion rather than judgement. Looking at the world in this way, opens up so many doors for you and those around you. My life has been completely transformed by my experience. I am more grateful for everything in my life because I know it can be taken away at any moment. I am more loving, more compassionate, and more able to forgive because I was able to forgive something that I once thought was unforgivable. I love myself more, take more time for myself, and feel happier and more peaceful than I ever have. I have recommitted to developing myself in every way and being the best woman I can be. Keep in mind that this didn't happen overnight. It's been a little over two years since I found out and I've done a lot of healing work to get to the point I am today.
Things You'll Need:
- New Perspective