After finding out that a spouse or significant other was unfaithful, it is not easy to forgive. Whether the goal is maintaining the relationship and continuing as a couple or the goal is simply letting go of the other individual, forgiveness is the start of healing. Without forgiving the transgression, it is hard to move forward.
Start with Recognition:
It is often tempting to sweep the problem under the rug and ignore the hurt of infidelity. The idea that ignoring the problem will make it go away only leads to a gradual build up of negative feelings.
The first step in forgiving is recognizing that the other individual was unfaithful and not denying the truth. It is only possible to forgive after identifying the situation and refusing to let it slide without working through the emotions.
Open the Mind to Willingness to Forgive:
After identifying the problem and recognizing that it exists, the next part of forgiving is having the willingness to let go. Willingness does not mean taking the action immediately; instead, it means opening the mind to forgiveness and making a decision that you will forgive eventually, even if it is not possible at the present time.
Willingness to forgive is a decision that puts the feet on the path to forgiving. If it is not yet possible to forgive, it is at least possible to make a decision and work toward forgiving.
Change the Emotional Response:
It is natural to feel hurt, angry, upset or even depressed after finding out about unfaithfulness. The key to forgiving is changing that emotional response. Instead of allowing the mind to focus on being a victim, it is best to think of the situation as being a survivor.
Letting go of the negative emotions is often hard, but it is possible. It starts with changing how you think about yourself. After that, it becomes easier to realize that the other individual made a mistake so that it is possible to let go of the negative emotions.
The final part is actually forgiving. When trying to forgive, it helps to remember that the other individual is only human. Humans make mistakes and often regret those decisions.
Forgiveness is a process that might take time to reach the end. When it relates to unfaithfulness in a relationship forgiveness is particularly difficult. While it might seem hard, making a decision to forgive and taking small steps each day will result in ultimately relieving the mind of the negative emotions.