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Is it possible to forgive an infidelity?

Is it possible to forgive an infidelity?

September 25, 2023

An important aspect of infidelity is the fact that, in general, it is given in secret. So, usually implies a betrayal of the compromise agreed between the parties involved, the spouses . This is a fundamental element when breaking the trust on which the relationship is established.

When an infidelity occurs, the "aggrieved" suffers a deep wound in his self-esteem that will be necessary to heal. One of the most difficult challenges you will have to expose will be to forgive what happened, regardless of whether you want to restore the relationship or not.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a process that has a healthy effect on the person who forgives, thus promoting their mental health. But nevertheless, forgiveness is a complex issue that will take time , desire to forgive, determination and commitment.

In this process we will have to change attitudes, thoughts and behaviors. Through this cognitive restructuring, we will be able to reconcile ourselves with those feelings that were violated, and return to normality.

The process of forgiveness after infidelity

The first step will be to recognize the damage suffered . It is important not to deceive yourself minimizing what happened, on the contrary, it will be from the importance of the event from where the "aggrieved" will be given the opportunity to forgive.

In the analysis of what happened, it is necessary to understand the circumstances in which infidelity occurs. In this way, we know that external attributions (attributing responsibility to external circumstances to the person), unstable (that vary) and specific (concrete and specific) infidelity facilitate forgiveness against internal attributions (attribute responsibility to character of the person), stable (that does not change) and global (generalizable) that make it difficult.

It may interest you: "What does science reveal about infidelity?"

The second step is to show interest in forgiving what happened , at least as a possibility.

Misconceptions about the forgiveness process

For this we will have to analyze and recognize what it means for us to forgive to detect possible thoughts or ideas that can negatively interfere with the forgiveness process. Some of these misconceptions can be:

1. "Forgiving implies forgetting what happened"

Memory is a brain function that intervenes in all learning processes of the human being. When we learn something, it is not deleted from our "warehouse", we can not make it disappear. The goal is not to forget what happened, the end will be to remember it without hurting us.

2. "Forgiveness is synonymous with reconciliation"

This is one of the most widespread ideas in consultation: "If you do not want to go back with me, it's because you have not forgiven me, if you had, we would be together". Forgiveness does not necessarily include restoring the relationship with someone , it is necessary, but not enough.

3. "To forgive is to minimize or justify what happened"

How many times have we heard phrases of the type: "it's not that bad", "try to see the positive", "these things happen", ...? Forgiving does not imply changing the assessment of the fact ; so it is very likely that it is always valued in a negative and unjustifiable way. However, what will change will be that, although the assessment of the fact is negative, the attitude toward the "offender" will not imply any desire for revenge or the need to "return the damage caused" in search of justice.

4. "Forgiveness is a sign of not being valued or of weakness"

When they hurt us, we learn that it is necessary to protect ourselves from the person who has hurt us . Anger is a defense mechanism that protects us from the other (hatred allows me to "control" part of what happened, makes you feel important and restores part of the trust lost in oneself).

Changing our thoughts to be able to forgive

The third step that leads us to forgive, and this happens by changing our behavior (what we do) and accepting suffering and anger . In the case of infidelity, is to stop doing open and explicit destructive behavior (seek revenge or justice, lash out against the "aggressor", ...) or disguised and implicit (bad wish the aggressor, ruminate on the betrayal and damage infringed ...)

The fourth stage involves establishing strategies aimed at self-protection . Forgiveness does not mean "blind faith in the other", precisely implies recognizing that there are no certainties that will not happen again and that risk is part of what it means to live and share life with another, even if one tries to reduce the likelihood that To happen again. It is important not to fall into excessive control that leads us to manifest a jealous behavior.

Overcoming a complicated situation

Forgiving an infidelity, therefore, it is possible . However, this will not mean retaking the relationship again, it is a necessary but not sufficient requirement.

On the other hand, it is important to take time, forgiveness is only possible once we have passed the process of mourning that will lead to the loss of trust both in the couple and in oneself, given the devastating effects it has on self-esteem.

We help you: "Overcome an infidelity: the 5 keys to get it"

Dr. Phil's Advice for Couples Coping with Infidelity | Oprah's Lifeclass | Oprah Winfrey Network (September 2023).

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