Being cheated on induces a scurry of self-doubt, rage, insecurities and many complex emotions that end up being more overwhelming than anything you’ve felt before. When your trust has been broken to an extent where it seems like you’ll never truly trust again, forgiving an affair is the last thing on anybody’s mind.
Once it seems like the insecurities and the rage are the only emotions that occupy your mind, unsurprisingly, it gets hard to think straight. As hard as it may seem, forgiveness can be liberating. It can not just help save your relationship but also you. I speak from experience because forgiving my spouse after an affair ended up saving my life.
Read on to find out how by choosing the path of forgiveness, I gave myself a new life and just how you can forgive after an affair as well.
How Forgiving Spouse After An Affair Helped Me Heal
I was perched on the edge of a hillock. In the distance, a mirage flashed and I absently wondered if it was just my imagination. The pain came in spurts, like shards of glass relentlessly stabbing a startled heart. My mind swung from numbness to delirium and back again. The incoherence and frustration of the past few days threatened to push me off the cliff. How could my wife be having an affair?
It was like being told that you have a life-threatening disease when all along you thought it only happened to someone else. The past ten years played like a movie in my head, some parts flashing by, some in slow motion. Where had I gone wrong? Like a kitten with a ball of yarn, the more I tried to unravel my thoughts, the more tangled they got.
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Ours was an ordinary love marriage. We were young and dreamy-eyed about the future. Jade had always wanted to study further and I unreservedly encouraged her to pursue her dream. It took her two years to complete her course, after which a wonderful opportunity came along and she resumed her career. Looking back, it was about then that the scales had started looking lopsided.
How my wife changed and our relationship suffered
Her new position, snooty colleagues and flashy social circle changed her. The real problem, however, started when she brought that attitude home. It crept into our lives like slow poison, unbeknownst and unfamiliar.
Around this time, our daughter was born. I hoped fervently that our little daughter would bring us closer. But to my chagrin, the opposite happened. Jade became even more distant. Initially, I put it down to postpartum abstinence but the distance only seemed to grow.
I turned my attention to my daughter, Ariel, who, true to her name, signified the spirit of the heavens to me. Maybe someday she would bring Jade closer to me. Meanwhile, Jade’s apathy continued and having exhausted my attempts, I resignedly accepted it.
The worst was yet to come. Fast-forward to eight years later, I started sensing a different kind of change in Jade. There was something about her demeanor that alerted me. Her covert texting at odd hours, the furtive glances to ensure she wasn’t noticed, the cloak-and-dagger stance. It baffled me at first until I found out that she was involved with someone at work.
Forgiving an affair changed my life
It threw me into a kind of despair that I didn’t know was possible. Questions reverberated and threatened to explode in my head for want of answers. That was what drove me to that hillock, to the brink of suicide. In hindsight, it was also the turning point in my personal journey.
If I stayed sane through it all, it was only because I never let Asavari’s image leave my subconscious and a couple of friends who kept me afloat. I threw myself into meditation and Pranic healing. As I healed my broken heart, it became easier to face the trials life had so brutally thrown at me.
There’s a Khaled Hosseini quote from The Kite Runner that deeply resonated with me. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night,” he writes. I decided to forgive my wife because that was the only way to move forward. Jade was remorseful too and tried to make amends. Like two insomniacs willing the night away, we looked forward to the impending dawn.
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The relationship after forgiving infidelity
Two years later, I am grateful for whatever stopped me from inching forward on the cliff that day. I’ve made major leaps in my personal as well as my professional life and am riveted by my own journey. My relationship with Jade might not be perfect yet, but we have slowly built up cordiality in our daily life. Surviving an affair is never easy.
We are raising Asavari with all the love we can provide her. Life could have been a withered mess but my spiritual journey gave me the courage to find acceptance and peace. To anyone who is troubled by life’s unsolicited dramas (which is every one of us at some point or the other), I highly recommend a daily dose of meditation.
A couple of weeks ago, we went on a road trip. When we came back, our relationship felt like a freshly budded rose on a thus far barren plant. In the end, everything has a point.
When you look back at life, every experience, every emotion, every hurdle seems justified. And even if it doesn’t, we can do nothing but accept it.
“You know it’s never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It’s always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride,” writes Jodi Picoult in her novel, Mercy. It’s true. No couple meets each other exactly halfway. At every hurdle, someone has to stretch out a hand and pull the other one over.
How To Forgive A Cheating Partner
If you’re wondering just how I managed to take the path of forgiveness after cheating, there are things you can do as well if you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation. Forgiving after an affair is never an easy task. While meditation and pranic healing helped me, listed below are a couple of things you should do if you want to forgive your spouse after an affair.
1. Make up your mind
Forgiving an affair is not an easy thing to do. Figure out with absolute certainty if you can truly forgive something like this and move on. If you lie to yourself now and tell yourself you can move on, you might find out a year later that you still hold a grudge, which will just spell doom for your relationship. Make sure you make your mind up by weighing out the pros and cons and stick to your final decision.
Related Reading: 11 Signs Of Cheating Guilt In Your Husband
2. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you
While you may want to break everything that comes in your sight, your relationship included, try to take a step back and try to calm yourself from the sudden storm that your partner has brought upon you. Once you’re calmer, you’ll be better able to make decisions. Let some time go by, take a few weeks off if you want, and assess what you want to do with a calm mind.
3. Consult your support system
If you’re lucky enough to have friends around you as I did, ask them for help. Tell them you’re forgiving an affair and they will help you out in any way they can. Sometimes, just by sharing, you’ll feel a lot better already.
4. Seek a therapist
Possibly one of the best things you can do is seek professional help if you’re finding your overwhelming emotions too hard to control. Forgiving infidelity by yourself is an uphill task, and by taking the help of a professional, you’d at least be giving yourself an even playing field.
By forgiving my spouse after an affair, I was given a new life, both literally and figuratively. The betrayal that feels like a punch to the gut initially will wane off with time if you’re working on forgiving your partner. It may seem like the end of the world, but only with a willingness to change and work on your relationship will you both get through this together.
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Once you’re determined to move on and forgive your partner, infidelity pain will go away, slowly but surely. Forgiving an affair is no easy feat, but if you do it right with the help of others or a professional, you’ll one day be able to reach a place of pure forgiveness, devoid of anger.
People really can change, if they let themselves. If you’re hesitant to forgive your cheating partner because you’re worried they’ll cheat again, the best thing you can do is ask your partner how serious they are about the relationship and being loyal. Building trust thereon will be the most important thing you can work on.
If you’re still not convinced, you can try and spot the signs your partner might cheat on you again for better clarity.
Whether your cheating partner deserves forgiveness or not is completely up to you. Think about if you have it in you to forgive them and if you’d like to offer them forgiveness.
(As told to Renica Rego)