How To Forgive A Cheating Husband: 15 Helpful Tips

Suffering and Healing | | , Writer & Editor
how to forgive a cheating husband

It was Friedrich Nietzsche who said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” And these words perhaps mirror the agony of a person betrayed and lied to like no other. If you too have felt cheated by your loved one or are wondering how to forgive a cheating husband, remember sister, you’re not alone.

Yes, cheating may not always be about sexual experience outside marriage. There’s emotional cheating too! And to make matters worse, in this age of social media and overwhelming exposure to a sea of options, cheating has become a common phenomenon. And yet, some of us would rather forgive a cheating husband than ruin a long-term bond that we have nurtured for years. Is it weak to forgive someone for cheating? Probably not, when a lot is at stake.

So, how does one forgive a cheating husband? Does it hurt your self-esteem if you do? And how long does it take to forgive someone for cheating? In this article, we have tried to offer you some tips to deal with unfaithfulness in a relationship, with the help of our expert counselor Dhriti Bhavsar (Master’s degree in Psychology with specialization in clinical psychology), who specializes in relationships, premarital counseling, LGBTQ issues, and breakups. So, read on to find out more about staying with a cheater and the details of betrayal forgiveness…

Can You Forgive A Cheater?

Cheating and forgiveness don’t go too well. But if you’re asking yourself, “Can you forgive a cheater?”, picture this: your husband of 10 years confides in you, saying he once cheated on you with his secretary. Do you walk out of your otherwise good marriage? Do you stay and nurture the relationship? Is it possible to forgive a cheater?

A Reddit user has this to say about forgiving a cheating spouse: “In a long-term relationship, yes. Shit happens and sometimes communication breaks down. But I’m not gonna walk away from a 12-year relationship if she’s willing to cop to it and wants to talk about how to fix it.”

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Dhriti agrees, “People can overcome infidelity, and many couples do come out stronger at the other end. However, whether you can forgive the cheater or not is something you should be asking yourself.” She believes one should consider a few things while one tries to forgive a cheating husband, such as:

  • Is your partner genuinely apologetic and asking for forgiveness from the heart, or is he sorry for being found out?
  • Is he willing to make an effort for the sake of your relationship and regain trust?
  • Is he taking accountability for his actions or is he focused on blaming this on you?
  • Do you have it in you to trust him again and do you think the relationship is worth saving?

Dhriti adds: “It will take time to rebuild trust and reach a place where you can forgive your partner/spouse. You will be required to be patient with yourself and with them. But this can be a real turning point in the relationship.”

Importance Of Forgiveness In A Relationship

Talking about betrayal forgiveness in relationships, a Reddit user had this to say, “Mistakes happen in relationships and it is fair to forgive once, twice, or even three times, but a pattern of mistakes after clear communication of the problem shouldn’t be ignored. It probably signals a respect issue and that you are not compatible with one another.” And we can’t help but agree.

While forgiveness is essential to maintaining a long-term and healthy relationship, it is also crucial to check if your generosity or love isn’t abused by your cheating partner. After all, you don’t wish to be the one regretting forgiving infidelity.

Related Reading: Forgiving My Partner’s Infidelity To Reclaim My Life

Nonetheless, there’s no alternative to forgiveness when it comes to saving a relationship in the long run, provided the person you’re forgiving knows the value of your bond. Dhriti lists out a few facts about forgiveness and tells us why it may be the most precious factor in maintaining a relationship:

  • Holding onto resentment will not let you overcome the pangs of cheating, keeping both of you in a miserable place
  • We forgive others more for our sake than for theirs. So, forgiveness after cheating brings peace because we’re able to let go of what is hurting us
  • Forgiveness in a relationship does not equate to forgetting. Forgiveness also does not mean you’re allowing the person to hurt you in the same way again
  • Betrayal forgiveness creates room for repairs. So, if your cheating husband is asking for forgiveness, it is often a golden ray of hope for rebuilding the relationship
  • Forgiveness in a relationship is voluntary, meaning no one can force it out of you, including you. This is also why forgiveness empowers the forgiver and the forgiven

15 Helpful Tips On How To Forgive A Cheating Husband

Yes, being cheated on by your husband can take its toll on your mental health. It can make you suspicious and irritable. You may not ever be able to trust your husband or anyone for that matter. Forgiveness after cheating too may be quite an impossible thought for you. But what happens when your husband has cheated just once, at a moment’s weakness, and has been repenting ever since? What happens when you have kids and financial burdens to cater to? Or if you’ve invested in a future together and don’t wish to let go of the emotional bond you share with your husband?

Related Reading: 12 Simple Tips To Build Healthy Relationships

In such cases, you may be more amenable to mend ways with your cheating partner or give them a second chance in the relationship. So, while you ponder over how to forgive someone who hurt you emotionally, why not take a look at the 15 tips on how to forgive a cheating husband that we’ve collated with the help of Dhriti. Here they go:

1. Be patient with yourself

Dhriti feels, “When you’re considering forgiving infidelity, it’s important to be patient with yourself and let time take care of some of your pain. Don’t rush anything.” A friend of mine, Andrea, had a similar experience. She found out her husband had been cheating on her with a friend, after reading his texts.

She was in tears for days and decided to end the relationship soon after. Two years later, she bumped into her ex-husband and was surprised to find out that he hadn’t been in a relationship ever since Andrea had left him. His repentance made her realize she had probably made a hasty decision.

2. Feel your emotions

can you forgive a cheater
Can you forgive a cheater?

Just as important as it is to give yourself enough time to process the shock of being cheated on, you should also go through all the emotions that this phase brings with it. Dhriti advises, “Allow yourself to authentically experience and express whatever comes up — any emotion, thought, or feeling you have around this situation should be acknowledged. It’s okay to feel angry or hurt.”

So, instead of shoving your negative emotions under the carpet, go through them, be it anger, sadness, or despair, so that when you emerge from this, you can think over with a clear headspace. This is the answer to how to forgive someone who hurt you emotionally.

Related Reading: Emotional Adultery: I’m Cheating On My Wife, Not Physically But Emotionally

3. Don’t force yourself to be strong

Yes, forgiveness after cheating can be hard. No, being strong doesn’t work when you’re suppressing your true feelings and emotions, without venting and bottling all of it up instead. Dhriti says, “It’s important to remember to be yourself and not force yourself to feel or act a certain way.”

A coworker, Sheila, was known for her vivacious nature and her ever-smiling face. Nobody at work got a hint of what she was going through in her personal life, till she started howling in the bathroom one fine day. Two of her coworkers, including me, had to hold her and make her sit before she eventually vented about her husband’s infidelity and how it had affected her. So, in case you’re wondering how to forgive a cheating husband, well, you need to vent and stop being too strong.

4. Identify your needs

Want to know how to forgive a cheater? Or are you still struggling with staying with a cheater? Dhriti says, “During a tough phase such as this one, you need to find out what it is that you actually need.” So, ask yourself:

  • What do you need from your partner? Do you need them to leave you alone or pacify you and apologize?
  • What is it that you expect from yourself? Do you wish to quit and stay all by yourself or forgive and accommodate your partner’s flaws?
  • What do you need, in general, in order to overcome this? Do you need to speak to someone in your family? Or your friends? Or do you need time away from all this?

Related Reading: Is Indifference Or Disrespect Equivalent To Cheating On Spouse?

5. Set clear boundaries

Is it weak to forgive someone for cheating? Well, not when you have healthy boundaries. Dhriti believes, “Setting clear boundaries is a non-negotiable even in a healthy relationship. So, it’s absolutely necessary to convey your needs to your husband and create boundaries to protect them.” This is how to forgive a cheating husband with grace. Boundaries can look like:

  • Asking for transparency in the relationship
  • Letting them know you’re not okay with them subtly flirting with other women at parties or at work
  • Telling them about your emotional or sexual needs and if they are being met
importance of forgiveness in a relationship
Forgiveness is extremely important in a relationship

6. Seek support

When you’re dealing with a cheating husband and are clueless about how to forgive a cheater, one of the primary things is to find a support network you can vent to and rely on. Dhriti advises, “Seek out support from people who you trust. Create a safe space around you.” This can help you navigate the puzzle of how to let go of hurt and betrayal. This network can include your trusted friends, a family member, or coworkers. But be mindful that you don’t vent to the wrong person, or you’ll end up as fodder for mindless gossip.

Related Reading: Gut Feeling He’s Cheating, No Proof? 31 Signs Your Instincts Are On Point

7. Don’t blame yourself

The worst thing you can do while staying with a cheater or dealing with a cheating husband is to blame yourself for the whole incident. So, you may blame yourself for:

  • Not being good-looking or attractive enough
  • Not keeping track of his activities
  • Not being good in bed

Dhriti suggests, “Avoid falling into a spiral of blaming yourself. This does more harm than good to your overall well-being. Understand that affairs happen irrespective of the role of the cheated spouse in the relationship.”

8. Opt for open and honest communication

To those wondering how to let go of hurt and betrayal, Dhriti says, “There’s no alternative to a wholehearted talk, when it comes to resolving such issues, even if you’re feeling angry. So, opt for open and honest communication with your husband about why this happened and where to go from here.”

Here’s what you can do:

  • Ask them what their needs are from the relationship
  • Find out if your relationship goals still align
  • Identify differences, if any. Find out if you have both evolved into different people with different life goals and values

Related Reading: My Husband Cheated On Me But I Decided To Stay Together For The Kids

9. Spend enough time alone

Dhriti says, “You should put time and effort into nurturing yourself, addressing your pain, and creating a safe space within you.” Remember, it is only when you are complete by yourself that you’ll be able to deal with this situation in a healthy way. So, spend enough time by yourself. Nurture yourself and listen to your emotional needs. The answer to how to forgive and let go of a cheating husband with grace will come to you.

10. Recognize the efforts of your husband

It’s very easy to overlook any efforts your husband is making during this phase, as your anger and sadness can cloud your judgment. But Dhriti says, “It’s extremely important to acknowledge the efforts your spouse is making.” So, here’s what to do:

  • Don’t make him feel invisible just because you’re going through your pain
  • Talk if he wants to
  • Let him apologize and make amends, instead of shutting him out or giving him the silent treatment
  • Engage in emotional intimacy, if he is willing
  • Don’t encourage negative emotions when you’re talking

Related Reading: Is He Cheating Or Am I Paranoid? 11 Things To Think Over!

11. Be accountable

In case you’re feeling hurt in a relationship due to a cheating husband, Dhriti suggests, “Take accountability for your part in contributing to the problems in your marriage.” So, while you shouldn’t be blaming yourself for everything that’s gone wrong or doubting yourself for letting this happen, you should also not overlook your own part in this whole scenario. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you ignore your husband when he wished to speak to you in the past?
  • Did you neglect him and his needs and stay glued to your phone or social media profile instead?
  • Have you been rude to him, his friends, or his parents?
  • Did you make offensive or sarcastic remarks, demeaning him, in public?

12. Focus on self-care

So, if you’re feeling hurt in a relationship and wondering, “How can you forgive a cheater?”, well, Dhriti suggests, “You should always have constructive and healthy outlets for your emotions, in such cases.” So, forget about cheating and forgiveness for a while, or if possible, forgive and let go. And definitely focus on your own happiness and opt for ways of self-care such as:

  • Journaling
  • Daily exercise
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Eating in a healthy way
  • Hobbies, such as pottery, reading, or painting

Related Reading: 10 Signs Your Husband Is Having An Affair

13. Find reasons to forgive your husband

As you work through the conundrum of how to forgive a cheater, remember, that much as it is important to make sure you’re not taken for granted by your husband, it’s also crucial to find ways to make your relationship work again. Dhriti says, “Figure out reasons to forgive this person because you can only forgive him if you have enough reasons to and think the relationship is worth saving and fighting for.” So, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Who are you doing this for?
  • What do you expect to gain out of it?
  • Is he asking for forgiveness?
on cheating

14. Set realistic expectations

Dhriti says, “It’s important to set relationship expectations that are realistic and have a clear idea about what will come before and after you forgive your partner.” And we agree. You should have a real picture of the whole scenario when dealing with your husband’s cheating ways and looking forward to making your relationship work again.

You shouldn’t be expecting a dreamy rom-com-like reconciliation or comparing your relationship to someone else’s Instagram couple selfies. Be prepared for rifts. And be sure that it won’t be easy. This is the only way forward to a great relationship dynamic after infidelity.

Related Reading: Coping With Depression After Cheating On Someone – 7 Expert Tips

15. Consult a mental health professional

And if all else fails in your effort to deal with your husband’s cheating ways, don’t hesitate to reach out to a licensed mental health professional, speak to a family therapist, or go for couples counseling. Remember, sound and practical advice from a professional has no alternative. And if you need any help, Bonobology’s counseling services are here for you. They will help you to forgive and let go of the hurt

Key Pointers

  • Forgiving infidelity is not easy, as it can take a toll on the cheated partner’s mental and emotional health
  • You can forgive and let go of the hurt caused by a cheater, but it may require accountability and efforts from both partners
  • Betrayal forgiveness is important in relationships because resentment doesn’t help much, and forgiving someone brings in hope of reconciliation
  • Wondering how to forgive a cheating husband? You can forgive a cheating husband in a lot of ways: be patient with yourself, feel your emotions, identify your needs, consult a trained therapist, and communicate openly

By now, you must be acquainted with how to forgive a cheating husband and deal with feeling hurt in a relationship due to cheating. Whether you found your husband had been cheating by spying on him or got to know about it when he broke down and confided in you, dealing with a cheating husband will never be an easy task. And yet, at times, it becomes necessary to forgive your man, because you either don’t wish to lose the person forever or you have a lot at stake. 

But whether you choose to practice forgiveness or decide to part ways, it’s important that you do it because you want to and not because you’ve been forced to by circumstances. A new and healthier relationship is always welcome if you feel being with your husband is a toxic option after the infidelity.


1. Can a relationship go back to normal after cheating?

Cheating and forgiveness aren’t a good match, really, But, yes, a relationship can go back to normal even after you’ve found your husband cheating, but for that to happen, both partners need to put in equal effort. Your cheating partner should also be asking for forgiveness. And if you ask, “How long does it take to forgive someone for cheating?”, well, there’s no easy answer to this, as it may not happen by magic, and will require some soul-searching, some boundary-setting, and some compromises from both.

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