In this article you will learn:
- Why it’s very courageous that you want to forgive your husband or boyfriend (most people don’t)
- The best ways to forgive a cheater when he cheated on you.
- What percentage of the population cheats.
- How to make sure that your boyfriend or husband does everything he can to make it up to you.
- Who should take the initiative moving forward: you or him (and how to move past it, together).
How to forgive cheating and move forward in your relationship after he betrayed your trust
“He cheated on me”
How am I supposed to just let this go after he did such a horrible thing…”
It’s one of the toughest questions you can ask yourself.
Yet, eventually, the majority of people will have to deal with it how to forgive infidelity.
Cheating is very common.
We can pretend it doesn’t exist, but the numbers tell a different story
I’ll explain to you in a moment how you can forgive your husband, or boyfriend after such a terrible mistake as adultery.
But first, I’d like to say that I’m sorry.
It’s a shame that it has come to this.
That you have no choice but to forgive him.
After he’s done something so unforgettable.
In this article, you’ll learn…
12 effective tips on how to move forward in a relationship after your husband or boyfriend cheated on you.
Here we go.
Tip #1: Realize that cheating is extremely common
I have good news and bad news.
First of all, I think it’s audacious of you to forgive your husband or boyfriend for his cheating.
That takes a lot of courage, and most people don’t dare to do that at all.
“If my boyfriend or husband cheated on me…”
They tell stories like:
“Yeah, if my boyfriend would do this to me, he wouldn’t even be allowed in the house anymore. He can sleep on the sidewalk for the rest of the week for all I care. He can come and pick up his toothbrush during the weekend when he is returning his key.”
(No joke, this is literally what I heard a woman say at a birthday party.)
What I think of that, I’ll tell you in tip #2.
But first, a statistical fact, that will blow your mind.
“Half of all people cheat.”
Adultery is very common.
If you’ve had multiple relationships, chances are it has already happened.
Maybe you know about it, or maybe your boyfriend hid it well.
Maybe you’ve done it yourself.
Whatever you think of it:
Cheating is normal
That’s not a way of justifying it.
But when it happens on such a large scale, you just can’t pretend it never happens.
And like it’s a surprise when your husband or spouse slips up or has an affair.
That also makes it even more useful to learn how to forgive him.
If you reject any man who cheats or could potentially cheat, it’s impossible to start and maintain a relationship.
And this also applies to men.
If you want to start a relationship with a woman, you may expect that one day she will cheat on you.
The question remains:
How do you deal with it?
Tip #2: Many people don’t talk about it
Earlier on, I told you about the outspoken lady at a birthday party I attended.
You know, a circle of people with some drinks and snacks, where people talk about all kinds of things.
“If he cheated on me…”
She received the support of several others in that group.
There were even some men who couldn’t wait to support her and tell her how right she was for never wanting to see this man again.
After all, he was a big jerk, and he didn’t deserve her.
According to them.
Resenting cheaters is an easy response
But if half of the people are cheating, is half of all people genuinely bad?
No, I don’t believe that.
There are other reasons why men cheat, which means that not all men (and women) are horrible jerks.
Yet no one went against it this during that birthday.
There can be two reasons for this:
- Everyone on that birthday agreed.
- People don’t want to talk about how they did something that was against the norm.
There is an enormous amount of shame regarding infidelity
And if something is considered embarrassing, it is when you forgive your partner for it.
People think you’re a fool and believe that anyone can just walk all over you.
But setting boundaries in a relationship is a lot different from forgiving someone for cheating.
And I’ll explain the difference to you in the following tips.
Tip #3: Forgiveness is not a weakness
Let me give you an example of this.
A friend of mine forgave her boyfriend when he had an affair
When she told this to the people around her, her family criticized her decision and was all over her.
They put a lot of pressure on her to end the relationship.
It’s horrible when something like this happens.
Who wants his or her parents to interfere so strongly with your choice of partner?
These people wouldn’t leave her alone. They had to do something about it.
That man didn’t deserve their daughter, they thought.
And she was called weak and naive because she could find it in her heart to forgive him.
But they overlooked something important.
It’s incredibly challenging to forgive someone
Especially if that person has hurt you badly.
It takes a lot of effort and energy, and you’ll only succeed if you love that person very much.
It’s much easier to be justly superior and blame others for everything.
People think you’re morally right at such a moment since your partner is the one who made a mistake.
But if you exploit that power, the relationship is over.
Because then you destroy all love between you and your boyfriend when he has to go through hell for a while, and you still don’t forgive him.
It’s impossible to maintain a healthy relationship under those circumstances.
Yet this is the path that many people choose – if they don’t end things right away.
It’s very easy to blame the other person
Seeking forgiveness in your heart is a lot harder.
Fortunately, many people dare to forgive their partner.
But they don’t talk about it because it casts such a stigma.
When you first have to make an effort to forgive your partner and then also get the rest of the world to approve of your decision, it becomes downright uncomfortable.
So people choose to remain silent because they know people won’t understand them anyway.
Tip #4: Ask your partner for help
Wanting to forgive your partner is one thing.
Can you do it?
That’s another thing.
Think of two extremes:
- You’ll find out through a series of intercepted text messages that your man has been cheating on you with your sister for three years. When you confront him, he shrugs his shoulders. He does not regret it and makes remarks that I won’t include here, but I think you know what I mean.
- Your husband has a cup of coffee with his ex, and he accidentally has sex with her. Two days later, he confesses it to you. He cries and says he’s terribly sorry for what happened.
In what situation is it easier to forgive him?
“ After it happens, ask him to be understanding and show more empathy. ”
Explain to him that you want to forgive him, but that it will be easier if he shows empathy and tries to understand you. Tell him it’s not easy for you either.
That you need to deal with it maturely, and that it’s crucial to know where he stands.
Because forgiveness is not a “sorry, no hard feelings,” type of thing.
It takes time and effort.
It isn’t easy, and you shouldn’t take it lightly
And neither should your man.
Just because you want to forgive your spouse, it doesn’t mean that’s all he has to do.
You don’t have to forgive him right away either. It can take time.
You’re the person who has been hurt, so you set the terms.
Especially in the beginning, then you have the right to ask him to listen to you carefully even if he may be a little distant.
At the same time, it’s up to you to try and control yourself as much as possible.
And to strive to deal with all of this in the most constructive way possible.
Tip #5: Let him regain your trust
I’ve written an article before about regaining trust in a relationship.
After cheating, this is, of course, extremely important.
Tell your husband or partner he needs to be fully transparent.
Have him share his phone. Ask him to tell you honestly what he’s doing and with whom.
Make sure there’s no secrecy between you
If he cares about you and he wants to be forgiven, he’ll agree to that.
But there may also be situations when that won’t happen.
He’s cheated on you with a good female friend of his.
You found out, and he regrets it. He wants you to forgive him.
But he also wants to keep seeing this friend, once every week.
And he expects you to go along with it.
At the same time, he thinks you shouldn’t be jealous anymore. He’s sorry, isn’t he?
That’s not how it works.
He has to earn your trust again
And, obviously, he can’t do that if he keeps seeing the woman he cheated with.
In such a case, he has to make a decision.
If he thinks you shouldn’t be jealous, it’s not going to work.
He must 100% believe that earning back your trust is the right thing and that he cannot get everything he wants for a while.
After all, trust can be ruined by one single action. But regaining trust, that can take months or even a year.
And that brings me to the next point:
Tip #6: Don’t hang it over his head for 10 years
It’s awful that your guy cheated on you.
And you are undoubtedly angry.
But the worst thing you can do is to hang this over his head for the rest of the relationship.
This has an unintended psychological effect on him, which I’ll discuss at tip 11.
Realize that it’s not fun at all to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t trust you.
If he doesn’t try his best for you, or you can’t bring yourself to work on it… then it’s better to break up.
Because there’s always someone else.
And the drama?
Life is too short for that.
Tip #7: Find a distraction from the situation
There is a good chance that at the beginning of this process, you are constantly thinking about what he did.
Especially when you’ve just found out, then you might think about what he did with her and envision this in horrible detail.
- “Maybe they laughed at me together.”
- “Maybe he took her to the same restaurant as me.”
- “Maybe he did it with her in our bed when I was watering my sick grandmother’s plants.”
These kinds of thoughts are challenging to have, just because there’s a possibility that it’s true.
Fortunately, most people are not mean, and your boyfriend would not intentionally try to make your life as difficult as you might think.
When you come into this spiral of nasty thoughts, it’s tough to escape
You get sucked into it, and you think of worse and worse scenarios.
Your paranoia increases, your anger rises, your hurt grows.
That’s all very unproductive if you’re trying to forgive him.
So, “Find distractions.”
If you have to deal with this, look for something to distract you.
Do something fun
Alone, or with him.
It doesn’t matter, as long as you get out of your own head.
Remember that a relationship must be enjoyable and that you decide to stay with him because he has a lot to offer you…
…not because of the bad things that happened between you.
So if you end up in a negative spiral:
Distract yourself with:
- Running (or any other sport you like)
- Reading (a book can take up all your attention)
- Working an extra shift at work (you earn some money at the same time, and you have something else to focus on)
- Have a night out with friends (so they can distract your attention)
It’s especially important to do something you enjoy so that the hurricane of negative thoughts can slowly subside.
But before you do, think about the following.
Tip #8: Him cheating on you doesn’t mean he likes her more than you
All studies show that a man who is having an affair, mistress, or a few casual relationships (while having a girlfriend), doesn’t like them more than his girlfriend.
Think about that for a second.
Men are so stupid that they risk their relationship for a woman they don’t even like
And it also turns out that they’re very sorry about what they’ve done, precisely because the other woman doesn’t mean anything to them.
That’s the ideal situation.
Most times, he’ll ask for your forgiveness because he likes you better than the other woman.
You probably won’t have to convince him to ask for your forgiveness, he’s also working on that himself.
Because even if he didn’t mean to, he’s well aware that he has hurt you.
Tip #9: Understand the reasons why he is cheating
Men usually don’t cheat because they like another woman better.
The following things play a much more significant role:
- Alcohol. Cheating often happens after drinking. Sober people behave a lot more decent than drunk people.
- A lack of appreciation. Men who don’t feel appreciated in their relationship are more likely to cheat.
- Distraction. If men aren’t satisfied with the state of their relationship, they’re more likely to fall for the temptation.
- Escapism. Some men are emotionally dissatisfied with their lives, for example, in a mid-life crisis. So an affair can help them forget about this whole misery for a while.
Realize that it’s not a reflection of what he thinks of you.
In most cases, he likes you very much and doesn’t want to lose you
The reasons he cheated have nothing to do with you personally but may have to do with the relationship.
You can’t change who you are, but you can change your relationship with him.
There is no quick solution for how to fix your relationship after cheating…
Only if he’s willing to work for it, and you can have the courage to forgive him…
…then there’s a good chance you’ll make it.
Tip #10: Think of it as an opportunity to restart the relationship
When I present the idea that my female clients forgive their cheating husbands – I often hear that they can’t see him the way they used to.
The image of him has changed forever because of what he did.
“I can never go back to the way it was,” they say.
But no one’s telling you that you have to go back to the way it was.
It’s rather good not to go back to the way things were.
Because your husband was cheating on you in that situation.
And of course, you don’t want this to happen again.
You want to forget about his adultery as fast as possible.
You can think of this as a moment where you can start all over and take the relationship in the direction you want it to go.
There’s no need to go back to the way things were. I think that would be very unwise.
If you choose to forgive your husband, you don’t have to go back to the situation where you thought things were great, when in fact he was cheating on you.
With your experience today, you can learn to love your husband again and strengthen your relationship for the better
So it becomes better for both of you.
It’s a new opportunity to make the relationship fun and exciting.
And to find a way to enjoy it again to the fullest.
Many women who make it through this, say years later it was the best thing that could happen to their relationship.
Tip #11: Don’t give him a reason to cheat again
This sounds very crude.
You may think I suggest it’s your fault.
Of course, it’s not.
Your husband is 100% responsible for his own behavior.
If he cheated on you, that’s a terrible thing. That goes without saying.
But what can you do to make the relationship so amazing that he will never even think of cheating?
You can’t forbid him to drink alcohol if that’s what caused it.
But if he’s emotionally dissatisfied with your way of living together…
…for example, if he needs more rest…
…or he lacks affection and appreciation…
…you can see if you can help him with this.
You can find out if there are ways he can get what he wants without hurting you.
If you don’t consider this and only forgive him, then there is a great chance that it will happen again
And I hate to break it to you, but that chance is already very high.
Research shows that people who have cheated before are 3x times more likely to do it again.
Which makes it very important to see what you can do to prevent him from even thinking about it.
Maybe it turns out that there is nothing that you can do.
So you decide whether to end it or to have an open relationship (see the next tip).
You must find something that works for both of you
You may decide that you cannot forgive him.
In that case, it’s not a bad idea to break up with him.
If you are going to behave like you expect him to cheat on you again, then the chances of him actually doing it to you again increases.
Tip #12: Consider an open relationship
This is a secret tip for the advanced readers of Change Him.
I don’t talk about this very much.
But given the context, I think it’s important to talk about it.
An open relationship is a situation in which both of you can do whatever you want.
You can make agreements about what is and what isn’t allowed
Some couples give each other the freedom to have another partner outside their relationship.
It’s not something people talk about in public.
But there’s every reason to consider this.
If you can’t give your partner what he needs (or vice versa), but you still love each other a lot, why not see if you can’t remove the barriers that are holding you back?
This is how to forgive a cheater
It is difficult.
Forgiving someone after adultery is one of the hardest things you can do in your life.
Still, I’d like to ask you to think about it.
If you dare, you’ll see that your life will be a lot more fun.
You won’t be the victim of other people’s mistakes anymore.
You’re able to continue to grow despite adversity
What I recommend you to do now is to read this article on how to deal with a cheating husband or boyfriend.
And I wish you all the best.
You deserve a faithful husband or boyfriend.