How to Forgive a Cheater to Start Your Healing

No Shame to Stay

You need to know that there is NO SHAME IN STAYING.

If you decide to work through the infidelity, it does not mean you’re weak.

Working through betrayal with your partner speaks to your strength and conviction.

Staying means your relationship is more important than your partner’s transgressions, and that’s a beautiful thing.

#1 Don’t Play Victim

Yes, you were betrayed by the one you love, and that sucks; however, if you decide to work things out, you cannot have a victim mentality.

When you stay, you become a willing participant. It’s important to understand that problems in your relationship are both you and your partner’s responsibility.

This does not excuse the actions of your partner, but dysfunction stems from you both. Whether it’s a lack of availability to your partner, breakdown in communication, or enabling your partner’s unhealthy behaviors – you’ve both played your parts.

#2 Be Vulnerable

To heal, you and your partner need to discuss the uncomfortable aspects of your relationship and yourselves. Getting down to the nitty-gritty isn’t fun, and it isn’t easy, but it’s crucial.

You both need to be willing to be open and honest with each other.

Often, when there’s a betrayal, it stems from a communication breakdown. When you learn to communicate openly and sincerely with your partner, it paves the way to learning how to forgive a cheater.

#3 Let Go

Forgiveness is vital to the act of healing. I want to be clear that forgiving your partner is not condoning what they did.

Your Past

To move forward, however, you have to let go of the past. The past is what it is – it cannot be changed. Lingering on what happened is counterproductive.

It’s impossible to deconstruct the past and the contributing elements truly.


Acceptance of what happened is necessary to move forward. Letting go is an important step even if you decide not to stay.

If you don’t make peace with what happened, you’re bound to carry that baggage with you to your next relationship.

#4 Don’t Rush the Process

Healing from infidelity takes time and a lot of effort – don’t rush the process.

I wish it were as easy as saying, “I’m sorry, I love you” and moving on, but it’s not.

Learning how to forgive a cheater can be a slow process.

Who Are You?

You need to allow yourself and your partner time to work on yourselves and re-establish who you are at the core.

  • What are your needs?
  • Have you asked your partner what they need?
  • Which topics should be addressed first?

Your partner may want to move quickly to make you feel better; they feel guilty and uncomfortable with their actions.

Similarly, you may try to move too soon as an attempt to regain normalcy.

The reality is these wounds did not develop overnight and therefore, will not heal overnight.

With time and proper care, however, you can recover.

#5 Seek Therapy

Unpacking your relationship and what caused the infidelity is a lot of work; you and your partner don’t have to go through this process alone.

One of the healthiest things you can do is seek outside help from a therapist such as myself. When you add the element of guidance and experience into your healing, it will make the process easier. A lot of emotional ups and downs will inevitably happen when you’re in recovery from betrayal.

A good therapist will help navigate you through the hurdles. Therapy and counseling can help you, and your partner both develop effective and productive ways to heal individually and as a couple.

Let’s work together to transform this negative event into positive growth.

#6 See the Light

It can be hard to grasp any positivity from a complicated and negative situation such as cheating. But, my friends, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Many couples indicate that infidelity opened the door to addressing underlying problems in the relationship.

I am not in any way condoning cheating, to be clear. Betrayal of a spouse is usually a symptom of other issues; cheating can sometimes be the red flag that draws attention to what needs to be healed in a relationship.

When properly worked through, some couples believe their connection to be more secure and stable than before the infidelity.

A more genuine mutual understanding of the needs of both you and your partner can be reached.

Dawn Wiggins, Ed.S., Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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