Long-term affairs are infinitely harder to forgive and forget than a one-night stand. No matter how you frame it in your mind, a long-term affair is a real relationship built by two people. So it is understandable that there is no limit to the amount of hurt and betrayal you feel when finding out your spouse has lied to you for years. How could you ever forgive someone who has hurt you so badly? Is it possible to forgive long-term ongoing infidelity?
Forgiveness Begins When The Affair Is Over
First and foremost, if the affair is still ongoing despite the discovery or admission, there is a problem. An ongoing affair means that your spouse is still betraying you. There is no reason to forgive someone for such behavior while it is ongoing because it is disrespectful and unjustifiable.
In order to heal from the trauma, your spouse must call off the affair and show remorse for what they have done. Should they lack any sense of guilt and refuse to be honest about the affair, you do not have to forgive them. Forgiveness begins when the affair is over and when your spouse commits to healing the wounds they have given you.
The Possibility Of Forgiveness After An Affair
You may be unwilling to forgive your partner for their atrocious behavior. There is no way to reverse time and remove the hurt caused by an affair, especially one that has gone on for several months or years. However, you should seek forgiveness. By accepting what happened and finding forgiveness, you free yourself from the chains of trauma. Make no mistake: Forgiveness is a gift that you give you yourself.
While forgiveness does not feel like the natural step after being betrayed by your spouse, it is a step in the right direction. Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget and overlook what your partner did behind your back.
Forgiveness means the following:
- That you are able to accept that humans make mistakes sometimes, even ones that are devastating and painful
- You have accepted the cost of your spouse’s mistake
- You won’t settle the score or seek justice for your spouse’s act
Forgiveness does not mean that you will no longer be upset or hurt by the affair. It also doesn’t mean that you have turned a blind eye to what your partner has done. No, forgiveness is about releasing the burden of the affair and moving on.
Of course, forgiveness doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effort, therapy, and time.
The Cost Of Forgiveness After Infidelity
Once again, forgiveness begins after ground zero—after discovery. The cost of being forgiven for a terrible deed is to first apologize. Therefore, if you are the wayward spouse and have yet to end the affair and express remorse, you need to do that first. For the betrayed partner, you need to accept that there is a cost to forgiveness. Beyond the pain is commitment, to reevaluating your marriage and your values.
Not only have your vows been breached by your partner’s actions, but your own personal beliefs may also have been upended.
Forgiveness is a sacrifice, in a sense. It means that you are letting go of the past and any expectations for where you thought a relationship was headed. You must accept that while this isn’t necessarily the road you wanted to travel, it is currently the road you are on. By staying the course, you are committed to remaining with your spouse and working together to make a better future.
Attending therapy and seeking a path towards forgiveness is going to feel like a blow to your dignity and pride. But if you love someone, then it should be unconditional.
This is why forgiveness is a two-way street. As the betrayed partner, you shouldn’t be expected to do all the work. As mentioned earlier, what is unforgivable is your spouse continuing their infidelity or seeking out another affair. Should this behavior repeat itself, then there is no reason you have to forgive them.
In short, is it possible to forgive a long-term ongoing affair? Not really. Forgiveness begins when the affair ends. If your spouse is remorseful for their long-term affair and ends it, that is a great sign. It means you can forgive them in time.
No matter where you are on the road to infidelity recovery, Couples Academy can help you heal and seek forgiveness. Embracing forgiveness instead of anger is where your new life begins. Get in touch with Couples Academy today to learn more about our services