The bad news is forgiving your husband is a daily choice you have to make. The good news is these tips on how to forgive your husband after an affair will help you start the road toward healing.
“Forgiveness doesn’t mean agreeing with, condoning, or even liking what has happened,” says Iyanla Vanzant, author of Forgiveness: 21 Days to Forgive Everyone for Everything. “Forgiveness means letting go and knowing that – regardless of how challenging, frightening, or difficult an experience may seem – everything is just as it needs to be in order for you to grow and learn. When you focus on how things “should” be, you deny the presence and power of love.”
The first few days (or weeks…maybe months) are the most difficult, but with time you will move forward and be happy after your husband’s affair. These tips on how to forgive your husband’s affair are inspired by a comment from a reader. She said: “My husband cheated on me with his coworker, who has since left the company. How do I forgive my husband after the affair? I can’t look at him, much less let him touch me. How do I trust him after he cheated on me? I want to forgive and move on but it’s so hard.” – from Lost That Loving Feeling? When to Give Up on Your Marriage.
It’s important to remember that forgiving your husband after he had an affair doesn’t mean you have to stay married to him. This article is geared towards forgiveness and saving your marriage, but it’s just as important to forgive your husband even if you decide to leave him.
Forgiveness is for you, not him.
How to Forgive Your Husband After an Affair
These tips for healing your marriage when trust is broken will help you reconnect with your husband and rebuild your marriage. If you’re not sure if your husband is cheating, read 5 Signs He’s Having an Affair.
Prepare for the daily process of forgiveness
There aren’t any easy answers about forgiveness after a physical or emotional affair. It takes time, effort, and energy to build a healthy strong marriage that includes forgiveness and trust. You need to be honest about your needs, and know from the bottom of your heart that you can trust him not to cheat on you again. If you need something that he can’t give you, then you have to decide how to meet your needs.
Sometimes, learning how to forgive your husband after an affair is more about you than him.
Decide if you can live with your husband the way he is right now
You need to decide if you’re willing to live with your husband the way he is…because most people don’t change unless they have a compelling reason. You can’t convince your husband to change, and you may not even be able to force yourself to forgive him after the affair.
Maybe accepting your husband for who he is means you look past his affairs (but I don’t recommend that!). You can try to support your husband through the worst parts of marriage — and it’s especially effective when both of you are equally committed to saving your marriage.
If both you and your husband aren’t willing to work towards forgiving after an affair, then you need to accept your marriage for what it is, and not expect more. And, you might need to learn how to overcome obsession with your husband’s affair.
Remember that men and women perceive affairs differently
Men perceive physical affairs to be worse, and women feel emotional infidelity is more upsetting, according to a study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. This seems to hold true in “real life”, too.
One of my friends’ husbands had a physical and emotional affair with her best friend, and she said it was so difficult to forgive and trust him again — but they held it together. She said saving her marriage would have been easier if it was “only” a physical affair. But he was in love with her best friend.
That marriage was saved, and both husband and wife say it’s because God taught them how to forgive after the painful betrayal of an affair.
Believe that “happily ever after” DOES exist
Have faith in happily ever after.
It take effort, energy, time, and commitment to learn how to forgive your husband after an affair. It’s hard enough building a happy marriage when nobody cheated, but forgiving and trusting after he cheated on you is super duper difficult.
That said, however, it is possible to build a better marriage. And your marriage may be stronger, happier, and healthier because he cheated. Many relationships are stronger because of infidelity – and the couples DO live happily ever after.
Remember that love isn’t just about saying “I love you”
In fact, that’s the easiest, laziest part of love! Anyone can say “I love you.” Real, committed, healthy, romantic love is about how you treat each other, whether you respect one another’s wishes, if you can talk about your problems, if you’re emotionally and spiritually connected, and if you have the same goals for the future.
If you can’t understand why your husband had the affair, read 8 Reasons Why People Cheat in Relationships.
Forgiving your husband after an affair does not happen overnight
Learning to trust again after a betrayal such as an physical or emotional affair doesn’t happen once, nor does it happen quickly.
Rebuilding trust and forgiving your husband is a process that involves ups and downs – even if you’re the most forgiving person in the world. You will eventually learn to trust him after he cheated on you — but you have to work on it. And he’ll have to earn your trust.
“Accept the events of the past, while being willing to change your perspective on them,” says Iyanla Vanzant. “Only forgiveness can liberate minds and hearts once held captive by anger, bitterness, resentment, and fear. Forgiveness is a true path to freedom that can renew faith, build trust, and nourish the soul.”
If want to save your marriage, consider getting counseling
Untangling emotional issues is very difficult, and a professional counselor can help you see how to forgive your husband after an affair. Marriage counseling doesn’t have to last for years or even months; sometimes it just takes a session or two to see what the issues are and how to resolve them.
Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and Restoration is one of the most popular books on forgiving and trusting your husband after an affair. It’s a long process that doesn’t happen overnight – it can take years to forgive him after he cheated.
Here’s what a marriage counselor says about cheating: “It’s best to come clean as early as possible,” says Gary Neuman, author of The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It by M. Gary Neuman. “Be honest with your partner when you’re just beginning to become interested in someone else.”
If your husband is hiding his affair from you – or trying to make you feel crazy for thinking he cheated – then forgiveness will be MUCH more difficult. But if he’s honest about why and when he cheated, you might find it a bit easier to forgive him after an affair.
I welcome your thoughts on how to forgive your husband after an affair below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but sometimes it helps to share what you’re going through. Writing can be one of the most healing ways to find peace and forgiveness.