Is it possible to forgive him after an affair? Yes. However – why and how long it takes to forgive your husband after he had an affair is different for every woman.
If you’re recovering from an affair, you may find When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal helpful.
Here’s what one reader says about forgiving her husband: “I forgave my husband instantly, which is important,” says Sad on Should I Leave My Cheating Husband? “Everyone MUST forgive. Forgiveness is the first step towards healing after an affair. The longer you wait to forgive the longer you hurt. I forgave right away.”
Yes, forgiveness after an affair is the first step to healing…and it’s also the most difficult thing you’ll ever do. An affair is a betrayal, a punch in the stomach, a shock that takes a long time to get over.
And here are a few thoughts on how to forgive your husband after he had an affair…
Why should you forgive your husband?
“If I divorce it will not be because of the affair itself….it will be because I’m afraid of the person I might become if I stay,” says Sad. “I don’t want to be someone’s mother, I don’t want to have to look over my shoulder the rest of my life, I don’t want to live in fear that he might have another affair, I don’t want to worry about getting older, I don’t want to have to wonder what is going through his mind every time he sees a pretty woman, I don’t want to feel the pain every time we make love. Talk about painful!”
You forgive not because of who you are or what your husband says, but because of how you want to live. You can choose to live in bitterness, misery, suspicion, and fear. Or, you can choose to live in acceptance, freedom, healing, and forgiveness.
Know that forgiveness is a long process
My friend’s husband had an affair with her best friend (it’s a cliché, but it really happened). It took her about six years to be able to honestly say, “I still love him, and I completely forgive him for having an affair.” She said that it took her a long time to forgive him – it didn’t happen overnight. When he was late coming home from work, she often wondered who he was with and if he was cheating. If you’re trying to forgive your husband, don’t expect it to happen overnight.
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Look for the “higher purpose.”
When bad things happen, I sometimes have a feeling that there’s a reason for this. Somehow, I’ll be able to use this experience for good, for growth, or to help someone else. I don’t know if you can feel that when when you’re struggling to forgive your husband for having an affair, but it can help if you try to look beyond your pain. Or, try to dig into your spiritual strength or your faith. Things happen for a reason — even affairs that make you feel like you’ll never be happy again — and sometimes it can help to hang on to that.
Know that there is no easy road
“When your husband is truly sorry for his affair, you are damned if you stay and damned if you leave,” says Sad. “If you stay you have to face all those horrible thoughts, fears, insecurities. If you leave your husband, you feel like you left your best friend and did not own up to your end of ‘for better or worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part.'”
How sad and depressing! I bet that if men knew how devastating their affairs were, how they’d tear their families apart, they would think twice about cheating.
Knowing why men have affairs may help you forgive. For insight, read Why Men Cheat.
And if you’re thinking about couples therapy, read 4 Signs Marriage Counseling Will Improve an Unhappy Relationship.
What’s your story? Have you had to forgive your husband or partner for an affair?
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