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How to Forgive an Affair No Matter How You've Been Cheated On

Are you struggling to figure out exactly how to forgive an affair? Does the thought of your husband or wife sleeping with another man or woman torture you?

The very first step in learning how to forgive cheating is to identify exactly what type of an affair your spouse had.

Since there are different types of affairs, each type will take a different way of forgiveness. By learning the types of affairs you’re going to make it much easier on yourself when it comes time to forgive.

However, before we get into all that, let’s talk about one VERY important question that you should have asked yourself before you even started reading this article:

Ask Yourself: “Why do I want to forgive this affair?”

Now, most of you will probably immediately respond with something along the lines of “I’m in love” or “For the kids” or something like that. What you need to realize is that…

Actually I don’t want to tell you. You can figure it out for yourself – just read through this article, and keep your answer to that question in mind. If you’re truly in love with your spouse, as you read about forgiving their affair, YOU decide if it’s really worth it. I’ll try and provide a little guidance along the way. Just remember that the moniker “Once a cheat, always a cheat” holds quite a bit more truth than most folks realize.

Recommended:
3 Phases to Completely Forgive an Affair

How to Forgive an Affair

But either way, whether you just need to forgive a drunk cheater or forgive long term cheating…Forgive a cheating wife, or forgive a cheating husband…We’re going to have you covered here in this part of SignsCheating.com…We provide the information you need, but I still want you to make absolutely sure you WANT to need it. If that makes sense.

Alright, so let’s go ahead and get started learning how to forgive an affair. Basically, for each type of affair I’ll talk about what defines that type of affair, and then how to forgive a cheating spouse who’s committed that particular type of infidelity.

Sound good?

How to Forgive an Affair
for Each Style of Infidelity

Was it an Emotional Affair?

Basically, this type of affair is when no sex actually takes place.You can read the Emotional Affairs article on wikipedia if you’d like to know more.

Everything about this style of infidelity takes place in the heart. For example, your husband/wife might have fallen in love with one of their coworkers. Or perhaps they just spend their time talking to someone online that they have a crush on. Online affairs are very commonly categorized as emotional affairs.

  • Your wife/husband has an online crush
  • Your wife/husband falls in love with someone at work
  • Your wife/husband begins to become interested in a mutual friend
  • Your wife/husband falls in love with one of your siblings (it happens more often than you realize)

Here’s How to Forgive an Emotional Affair:

This type of affair usually happens because there’s some emotional need that’s not being met in the relationship. Generally your spouse falls in love with someone else because they’ve grown tired of the marriage as it is. For whatever reason, they feel lonely or needy, and so they seek emotional fulfillment elsewhere. Your job, in finding forgiveness, will be to identify exactly what’s missing in your marriage.

You’re going to have to identify:

  • Why your spouse fell in love outside of your marriage
  • Why you were kept in the dark about it
  • What issues in your relationship led to emotional infidelity
  • Why your spouse fell in love with who they fell in love with
  • What’s going to change in the relationship from now on

This type of affair is extremely hard to forgive, so if your spouse has done this to you, my sympathies go out to you.

Basically, you’re both going to have to work together to identify what problems in your relationship led your spouse astray. You’re going to have to figure out WHY they cheated, and that will be the first step in forgiveness.

The main reason that it’s so difficult to recover from emotional affairs is because there’s no way for your spouse to claim innocence.

Remember! Denial of guilt, especially in an emotional affair, can make forgiveness much harder than it’s worth.

How to Forgive Cheating

The affair went on for a substantial period of time, and during that time you were kept completely in the dark about your wife or husband’s feeling for this other person. If your spouse tries to claim that they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong, my suggestion would be to just kick them to the curb right then and there.

Was it a Physical Affair?

As you’ve probably guessed, physical affairs take place when there is NO emotional attachment to either person involved. Your husband or wife may have accidentally drank to much alcohol and slept with someone on a work trip. Something like that.

The important thing in identifying a purely physical affair is that there’s no emotional attachment following the affair. Your spouse had sex with someone else, but that’s it.

Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but this particular type of affair only EVER happens once.

It’s a one time deal.

Once your wife or husband has sex with the same person twice, then the affair becomes Pre Meditated (see below).

Here are some examples:

  • Your husband/wife gets really drunk and has a one night stand
  • Your husband/wife goes out of town and has sex with a co worker
  • Your husband/wife goes out with friends and ends up hooking up
  • Your husband/wife just “went along with” some innocent flirting, but it turned into more


If you need to forgive a drunk cheater, then this is probably where you need to be.

Here’s How to Forgive a Physical Affair:

Despite the fact that there is no actual sex in emotional affairs, I’d actually say that they’re harder to forgive than physical affairs. Since a one-time physical affair is more like an accident than cheating, it’s much more plausible that the relationship could recover and move on. Just because there’s a physical affair doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with the marriage, unlike an emotional affair.

Important! There are no short cuts to forgiveness. The process will take patience.

Basically, if your spouse is truly sorry about the physical affair, then the only thing you really need to do is become at peace with it yourself.Forgiving Cheating

Was it a Pre-Meditated Affair?

If your spouse spent any time at all planning to cheat ahead of time, then their affair will fall into the “Pre Meditated” category.

Basically, this is when your spouse has become tired of marriage, or otherwise just plain bored, and they’ve decided to seek emotional and physical pleasure elsewhere. They will spend time selecting who to have the affair with, and they may become both emotionally and physically involved with them.

In this type of affair, the extramarital relationship is often ongoing, long-term even. Your spouse may cheat on you daily, weekly, monthly…It really doesn’t matter. The point is that they’re spending time PLANNING when they’ll cheat. The entire time they’re lying to you while keeping a straight face.

While it’s not ALWAYS long term, it often is, and often it would go on even longer without your intervention. And yes, forgiving long term cheating is the hardest thing to do.

If you’re here because you need to forgive online cheating, then your spouse’s affair could fall into this category.

How to Forgive a Pre-Meditated Affair:

Don’t.

Well, that’s my opinion anyways, but of course, that’s ultimately going to be your choice.

Here’s what I will tell you though: 90% of the time, even if you go through all the trouble of forgiving this type of affair, your spouse will VERY LIKELY cheat on you again.

This is a fact, not just my own opinion.

This type of affair typically happens, not because of any problems in the relationship, but more because your wife/husband actually felt the NEED to cheat for some reason.

=> => Most people who commit this type of infidelity are, in fact, Serial Cheaters <= <=

That is to say that they’ll keep on cheating, no matter what.

Just from my experience I can tell you that most of these relationships never recover…And many times YOU will be the one who gets screwed over…Again, and again, and again.

YOU are the one stuck in an unhealthy and abusive relationship.

And that’s really what it comes down to. I said this up above, and I’ll say it again:

Why Forgive an Affair

“Why do you want to know how to forgive an affair?”

Seriously think about this question, because being in an emotionally abusive relationship (and at this point that IS what this is) is no joke. It will mess you up in the head, and your psyche already will likely never fully recover from this affair.

The supreme betrayal by someone you deeply care for is going to leave a scar so deep you can’t see the bottom, and it’s going to take WORK just to get back to ‘normal’, much less actually start learning how to forgive an affair to start actually enjoying your spouse again.

Just sayin’.

My suggestion to you is this:

Before even THINKING about forgiving a cheating wife or forgiving a cheating husband for this type of affair, take some time to yourself. Get out of town, go see your parents, whatever.

Just find time to be by yourself and really think about the relationship. Really think about whether or not it’s healthy for either partner to continue the marriage.

If it’s not healthy to continue the marriage, then you should figure that out right now. Don’t take another step towards recovery til you’ve totally committed to surviving this affair.

And do NOT stay in an unhealthy marriage for your kids. You’ll be teaching them cowardice, one of the worst things to teach a child. Let me reiterate this point, because I know that being worried about your kids is one of the biggest reasons that many men and women continue unhealthy relationships.

Oh, and I wanted to emphasize one more thing, because this is REALLY IMPORTANT.

Staying with a cheater is NOT good for your kids!!!

I seriously can not emphasize that enough.

I grew up in a home where my parents really SHOULD have gotten divorced, and let me tell you that all the stuff I witnessed between my parents was MUCH worse than the alternative.

In fact, by allowing an unfaithful parental figure to continue being a part of your child’s life, you’re going to be doing much more harm than good.

Take it from a guy who’s parents had a really F-ed up marriage…The therapy you have to go through later in life is not worth the stability of having 2 parents. It took me years to even be capable of operating in a normal relationship…The trust, commitment and emotional development issues that I had because of my parents’ difficulties at home are a testament to that.

Forgiving an Affair Seems Hopeless

Is There Anything I Can do to Make it Easier?

What you need to realize is that without a plan, learning  how to forgive an affair is going to be extremely difficult. I highly recommend that you and your spouse sit down with each other and talk about the steps you’re going to take to rebuild your relationship, and what you both are going to do to contribute to the process. This whole ‘figuring out how to forgive an affair’ should be a 2 person job. At least, ideally.

And that’s really what you’ll be doing; rebuilding the relationship, one step at a time.

My suggestion is to whip up a plan and stick to it.

“Why Jack, is there anything else you recommend I read to make forgiveness easier? Do you have a plan for ME?”

Yes. Yes I do.

Basically, the above link is a case study done by Dr. Gunzburg outlining the 3 phase plan that he’s had great success helping folks with. He talks about each phase and how it affects your relationship.

Dr. Gunzburg’s 3 Phase Affair Recover Plan:

  1. Phase 1 – Heal Yourself
  2. Phase 2 – Heal Your Relationship
  3. Phase 3 – Heal Your Marriage
  4. Learn More…

Alternatively, you can learn more about this by checking out the full guide I wrote…It’s part of my 5 step C.A.T.C.H. affair action plan, and it’s the last step, How to Heal From an Affair.

Well, at 2700 words I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this article. After all, I’m not writing a book. I really encourage you to spend some more time on our site to learn more about affairs and how you can deal with them.

Thanks for reading!

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