By Kevin Jackson, Infidelity Expert and Author of the “Wife Cheated Report”
“How to forgive a cheating wife?” is one of the most common questions I get in the thousands of emails men have written into me over the years. So today I’m going to give you the beginning of the answer to this complex question of forgiveness.
Why Forgiveness is Important
It might seem obvious, but if you’re unable to forgive after your wife cheats you’ll be stuck with a feeling of resentment toward her FOREVER. In my book that’s no way to live a life. Not only does it rob you of happiness – it’s even bad for your health.
If your marriage is going to survive and thrive, you must find a way to forgive her. The good news is there’s a specific series of steps you – and your wife – can follow to move forward along the path to forgiveness. This is critical to your recovery process, so listen up bucko…
Should You Forgive?
Before you can tackle the question of HOW to forgive, the first step is to figure out if you even SHOULD.
One place to start is my Four Factors For Healing when your wife cheated – here’s a quick review:
First, the No Contact Message. That means your spouse must send a clear message to the other person that there will be no further contact between them.
Second, Full Access. Your wife needs to provide complete access to phones, online accounts, and email so you can confirm the affair has ended. (Like Reagan used to say, “Trust, but verify.”)
Third, Remorse. Your wife should feel and show a DEEP remorse for having cheated on you. If she doesn’t, that’s a red flag – after all, how can you forgive her if she doesn’t feel that bad about ripping your heart out?
Fourth, Disclosure. Your wife needs to disclose everything about the affair that you want to know to resolve any remaining questions you have about what happened.
How Do You Forgive a Cheating Wife?
One of the biggest myths about forgiveness is that it’s unconditional. This is total B.S. – at least when it comes to someone you have a continuing relationship with.
In a marriage, your wife’s actions are a necessary part of the forgiveness equation. That’s why the four factors listed above are so essential.
And don’t forgive because you think it’ll make you feel better, or because you’ve been taught it’s what “good” people do. Instead, forgive because your wife has earned a more positive response from you. (A great resource for more information on this concept is Janice Spring’s book, “How Can I Forgive You?” Many of the ideas I have about forgiveness were influenced heavily by her work – I’m forever grateful.)
Why Men Forgive Too Quickly
When we first find out we might think “Oh my god. My wife cheated on me. I have to find a way to forgive her and move on.” But there’s problems with this line of thinking:
If you forgive the cheating too quickly, before your wife has earned it, you’re engaging in what is known as “Cheap Forgiveness.” This typically comes from being stuck in the first two stages of the grief process: denial and bargaining. You are in denial of how hard it is to get past her affair, and you are bargaining that if you forgive your wife, the pain will go away.
You might also be seduced into Cheap Forgiveness if your wife is moving towards ending the marriage and you believe you need to be a “bigger man about it” to convince her you’ve chanced and that she shouldn’t leave.
The problem with Cheap Forgiveness is that it doesn’t last. It’s not REALLY forgiving – all the issues are still there, plastered over with a thin veneer of words – not with a change in your heart.
7 More Misconceptions About Forgiveness
I want to share with you 7 more misconceptions about forgiving a cheating wife – since clearing up these misconceptions is the first step toward genuine healing:
You must be ready to forgive before starting the process. Not true. You may never “feel” ready to forgive your wife. Beginning the process can help those feelings come.
Forgiveness is a one-time deal. Not true. It’s something you’ll have to revisit often. Remember – recovery is a roller coaster.
Forgiveness is all or nothing. Not true. Real forgiveness is often a matter of degrees. You may forgive her for certain parts of the affair much easier than others. Fortunately, you don’t have to forgive 100 percent to heal yourself and your marriage. But pay attention whether or not you can forgive enough to get your own sense of well-being back… and only you know what that feels like.
Forgiveness removes negative emotions. Not true. You’ve been traumatized and when you’re reminded of the trauma your hurt feelings are going to show their ugly heads. This is natural. Over time, the negative feelings will get less frequent and less intense. Forgiveness isn’t the magical antidote to the emotional trauma of infidelity – though it can help a lot
Forgiveness means you think the offense wasn’t bad. Not true. It was bad, but you are choosing to do your best to let it go to the extent that your wife earns your forgiveness through her actions.
Forgiveness means reconciliation. Nope. These are two separate processes. You can forgive and still get divorced. On the other hand, not forgiving at all and staying married – now that’s one damn bitter pill to swallow.
Forgiveness just helps the violator. Actually, it helps you as well – to get past the hurt feelings and heal the marriage.
Avoid these misconceptions and you’ll have the foundation to begin the journey toward genuine forgiveness.
PS: Your next step? Download a free copy of my special report “The 7 Biggest Mistakes Men Make When Your Wife Cheats.”
It’s real important you get the information in the report. It’s helped thousands of men in your position. Just click the button below to get it now:
Kevin Jackson is an internationally recognized infidelity expert who has helped thousands of men recover when their wife had an affair. He’s been featured in popular news outlets such as The Huffington Post and Bloomberg Businessweek, and he is the creator of a proven 4-step approach that gives men the “blueprint” to successfully heal from infidelity. If your wife cheated on you and you want to recover as quickly as possible, grab his free report “7 Big Mistakes Men Make After Women Cheat” or his powerful eBook system “Survive Her Affair.”