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How To Forgive A Cheater – Forgiving Infidelity Is Easier With This Simple Exercise

How To Forgive A Cheater1

So, how to forgive a cheater? Probably the question you need to ask is should you forgive a cheater.

What will it take for you to understand your ex just isn’t worth taking back after they’ve cheated?

They’ve strayed once so what are the chances they’ll stray again?

You know deep down inside that you can’t trust them anymore, right?

Wow, that’s somewhat of a “right between the eyes” style opening. Nothing like getting straight to the point.

Actually I’m probably echoing some of the thoughts of those who have been cheated on by their ex. It’s that decision they know they have to make that will affect the rest of their lives.

While the initial trauma of finding out is bad enough, I think the toughest part of being cheated on is when you have to decide whether to take them back or not.

It’s different for a lot of people. Some have kids involved – there’s finances to work out, property to split, friends and family who’ll be affected and even the dog and the cat.

Who takes who or what?

why people cheat

Why Do People Cheat?

Before we start figuring out how to forgive a cheater, which we will talk about below, let’s understand why people cheat.

Well, people cheat for many different reasons. Some people cheat because because they simply want something new in their life.

Others cheat because they feel like they don’t have anything to lose and that their partner is not faithful enough. 

Still others cheat because they think that it will make their relationship better. No matter why someone cheats, it is always wrong and can cause a lot of damage to the relationship.

Other reasons include: feeling neglected, feeling like their partner is not paying attention to them, being bored with the same person for too long, wanting to feel a sense of excitement and newness in their life, wanting more sex than they are getting from their partner, feeling like they do not have control over their own life. 

There is no one answer that can explain why everyone cheats; it depends on the individual and their personal motivations.

I’ve spoken with cheaters who cheat because they just do not care. There is a difference between having an affair and having no feelings for your partner.

It is important to remember that nobody can fake their emotions; you either love someone or you hate them.

Since the 1970s, relationship researchers have been studying extramarital affairs. Research has shown that, on average, men have affairs more often than women.

For example, in one study showed women with extramarital affairs had 2.3 affairs per year and men had 3.5 affairs per year.

I think those numbers are much closer, especially in today’s world.

However, there is a large disparity in the number of husbands who cheat compared to the number of wives who do it.

why people have infidelity

A Deeper Dive Into Why People Cheat

It’s been claimed men have more affairs because they’re willing to pay for sex. This can be a very effective way for men to find sexual satisfaction outside of their marriage.

Yet, several studies have also shown that extramarital affairs are more likely to occur in the second half of a marriage.

This is because people tend to get bored with their spouses and look for excitement elsewhere.

The most common reason that people have affairs is boredom. Boredom usually leads to more extramarital affairs and can be a very dangerous thing if not dealt with immediately.

In another study done by the University of Michigan, sex among married couples tends to decrease after eight years.

People who are in long-term relationships have to deal with the physical and emotional consequences of that relationship. Issues such as boredom, stress, frustration, and a lack of intimacy can lead to infidelity in the marriage.

The issue of money can spur on infidelity. Money can take away a person’s ability to focus on their goals and responsibilities at home, work, and in their relationships.

Shared financial responsibilities can make a person feel less independent and more dependent on their partner.

Lack of independence can lead to feelings of insecurity, another common reason for affairs.

Meanwhile, boredom seems to keep cropping up at the top of the list of reasons. It is important to have some level of excitement in one’s life.

This can help keep the marriage strong, as well as improve the relationship with one’s spouse.

Stress is another reason for affairs. Anecdotal evidence suggests that affairs are more common among people who have been married for a long time, as opposed to newlyweds, who tend to be more enthusiastic about their marriage.

How To Forgive A Cheater – Why? 

In just a moment, I’m going to make that decision process a little easier. Stay tuned.

For now, this post is for both men and women who have been on the wrong side of a cheating episode. 

Some of you are not going to like it and I imagine I’ll get some examples in the comments below from people who will want to prove me wrong.

Great! Look forward to it. So what’s the verdict – forgive them and take them back or move on? 

This is always a tough topic to discuss. Not because of its nature but because the question of whether it’s worth taking your ex back after they’ve cheated can’t really be answered with a simple yes or no.

I’m in the “no” camp but with a couple of caveats.

toxic relationships

Forgive Or Not To Forgive?

Firstly, were they caught messing around in a moment of drunken stupor at the office Christmas party and now are totally ashamed and apologetic. Maybe we can work with this.

Or, have they been caught out in an ongoing affair and instead of wanting to be with their plaything, they want to stay with you and give your relationship another chance.

Whoa, not so fast buddy!

Do what you want with the first but I would be inclined to go down the second chance route after a cooling off period.

Not so the second instance. 

You have to understand I’m coming at it from first hand experience so I’m writing this with a “little sting in the tail”. 

But make no mistake I am qualified to make an assessment. However, in the sense of all fairness let’s just assume you want them back but right now, hurt and pride are at an all time high.

Making a decision now will be premature. You need to clear your mind of the initial trash caused by the trauma.

Once you have some perspective back and the anger subsides, then it’s time to start the assessment.

Resist Forgiving A Cheater Too Quickly

Before you make any decision I’m hopefully going to make it a little clearer.

As I said earlier, this is not a “on the spot” decision. It needs to be made when all emotions are tempered.

There’s a strong possibility your tone will switch from how to forgive a cheater to one of “let’s take five and figure out my next move”.

Don’t ever be pressured by family and to a lesser extent friends, who in most cases are looking after their own interests. 

I’m going to give you an exercise that if you do it, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a clearer understanding of what your decision will be.


Before You Forgive A Cheater Try This…

First task is to distance yourself from your ex. This is really important. 

For how long? At least 2-4 weeks.

Let your emotions play out a bit and regain some composure. Come on, your world has just been shattered as the person you loved and in most cases, trusted the most in this life, has just betrayed you.

It’s not something you can recover from overnight unless you’re a Vulcan and don’t have any emotions. And I’m betting you’re not.

Once you have some composure and you’re thinking more clearly, it’s time to decide what you are going to do.

You’ve had time to assess the hurt, the betrayal, is it worth going back in at the risk of getting hurt again or are they worth going back to.

But before you make any decision, perform this exercise…

…grab some paper, a pen and take some time out. Draw two columns. On one side list all the positives about your ex and on the other side list all their negatives.

Don’t hold back and be brutally honest with yourself. This is the moment of truth. The more genuine your answers the better you will be able to determine if your relationship really has any future.

List every annoying habit they have along with the good stuff if there is any.

And I stress again…only do this after you’ve had at least two weeks, preferably four, away from your ex without any contact. 

Obviously this will be hard if there are kids involved but you can get around this by having an intermediary communicate on your behalf. Your parents, a sibling, a best friend…someone you trust implicitly.

Still Keen To Know How To Forgive A Cheater Or…

What I’ve found doing this exercise is that when you list positives and negatives and see it in black and white, there’s an uncanny feeling of calmness that comes over you and it’s almost as if you’re seeing things clearly for the first time.

You’ll see stuff you’ve written down you’ve ignored because you have simply chosen too – just out of your love for the other person. 

They say love is blind. No, it’s blinding.

You’ll see negatives that will jump out of the page at you and then be questioning yourself with…”what did I actually see in this person?”

In other words, you’ll learn more about your ex in this sitting than you ever could have by being with them.

It will give you a real sense of just how balanced your relationship really was. But only if your answers are truly genuine. 

Don’t Hold Back…

Don’t worry, no one is going to see this other than you so don’t hold back. 

If you’ve been jilted once, twice, three times or more, you need to do this exercise for both clarity and your sanity.

And I’m not going to lie, many people have decided it’s not worth going back to their ex after they’ve completed this. 

Others have found the positives outweigh the negatives and it was worth another try, especially given there were children involved.

Will it work out for you next time around if you go back? I can’t answer that. In my case it didn’t but we are all wired differently. If I had this exercise to do all those years ago there’s little doubt I would have opted out.

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.

Forgiving Infidelity Is Tough

Finally, I never have been comfortable when someone has asked me how to forgive a cheater. It smacks of a little – or a lot – of insecurity. 

This exercise is not easy to do. It could be downright impossible for many people to complete. In fact, to even get started. 

I’m certain that some of you, despite the negatives far outweighing the positives, will choose to go back anyway. Again, that’s your decision. 

If you decide to go back, I will be talking about post-cheating shortly, why people choose to go back to a cheater and the pitfalls to watch out for.

But for now, I’d be keen to hear from you and how your situation has played out. Did you stay or leave?  

JD Dean

What started out as an intention to fix my own relationship, has turned into a mission to share my knowledge with as many people as possible. I’m betting your love life has been throwing you lemons. How do I know? You’re reading this page and looking for something that can turn things around for you. It might be making better choices in your partners, improving your current relationship or marriage, identifying signs that will avoid you getting hurt or you just simply want to get off the dating merry-go-round. Maybe my pain can be your gain.

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