I often get asked why should I forgive after an affair? In this article I examine why forgiveness essential for the betrayed person to heal whether or not he or she decides to stay in the relationship.

Affairs are so painful for the betrayed person. As I said in last week’s blog on After Infidelity: How to Deal with Flashbacks and other Stress Reactions, the moment of discovery can lead to shock, disorientation, emotional numbing, panic and anxiety.

It is up to this person to make the decision if he or she is willing to stay in the relationship and being able to forgive after an affair is essential to the success of the relationship.

I often encourage the betrayed person to look at the infidelity as a symptom and by looking at it that way; there are things that can be done to heal the committed relationship.

Like I have said many times before, infidelity is not a good thing; however, many couples end up better off than ever when they heal from that crisis. Having said that, if the betrayed person wants to move on and feels it is too much to overcome and get the trust back, I always honor and respect that decision.

However, if the betrayed partner chooses to stay, forgiveness is always an important goal. Here are 5 reasons why being able to forgive after an affair is so essential for the betrayed person to experience if he or she wants that relationship to continue.

5 Reasons Why You Should Forgive After an Affair
1) Being able to forgive after an affair directly benefits the person who is forgiving.

Forgiveness involves a letting go of the pain associated with (in this case) the betrayal. The hurt in the heart does not need to be held on to for eternity. The betrayed partner has a right to feel peaceful and emotionally healed again.

2) If the partner who deceived is showing signs of maturing and demonstrating a willingness to be a trustworthy partner, forgiveness is the only path to see him or her in a new light.

Without being able to forgive after an affair and by holding on to the pain, it is difficult for the once betrayed person to see the other in any way but an unsafe and bad risk.

The truth as I have witnessed repeatedly is that most people have the capacity to become better people and better partners. I have seen partners who were egocentric become partners who now can be thoughtful of the partner. I have seen partners who did not communicate begin to communicate regularly. I have seen partners who betrayed learn much healthier ways to regulate their emotions.

In these cases, with forgiveness, the betrayed partner can enjoy the fruit of the other’s growth.

3) The act of being able to forgive after an affair can deepen and “humanize” the betrayed partner.

In other words, I have seen people in this situation learn to see and feel more deeply; to accept the complexities and “grey” of life rather than in terms of good and bad; black and white. They appreciate the flawed human condition. They learn more about self-compassion as they forgive themselves as well.

4) Forgiveness can be contagious.

As the betrayed partner is able to forgive after an affair, often the children, his or her parents, and even friends can follow suit. Others see the humanness of the couple and may apply it to their own lives as well.

5) There is a power in vulnerability; to live your life despite uncertainties and flaws as fully alive as possible.

This kind of openness to the ups and downs of life as well as the risks of loss (and we know loss is a part of life) can only come through the process of learning to forgive after an affair.

Forgiveness allows the couple to reach their relationship potential as they hopefully continue to increase their capacity to give and receive love.

Being able to forgive after an affair is not an easy process but it is a worthwhile one for the 5 reasons

If you are finding it difficult to find peace and forgive, I am here to help navigate this process. Feel free to contact me.

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Creager is educated and trained as a Marriage and Sex Therapist and spends much of his time helping partners in long-term relationships learn how to create passionate, alive and nourishing interactions. He provides unique and powerful insights that lead to powerful breakthroughs which result in his clients getting closer to realizing their full potential.

He founded his practice in 1982 in Tustin CA, and has since helped thousands of individuals and couples learn how to bring the best out of others to achieve their goals. The biggest joy in his career is witnessing clients increase their capacity to receive more from life as well as others.

He has developed the gift of helping couples and individuals move past their resistance to have the relationships and love they crave. His specialties include helping couples heal from infidelity, helping couples rekindle passion and helping individuals break free from their earlier toxic relationships and dysfunctional families. He does this in a variety ways including specialized programs that are powerful and effective as well as seminars, workshops, speaking and informational products.

Todd’s practice in Huntington Beach, CA has been helping couples and individuals all around Orange County including Long Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Corona del Mar and Seal Beach – for over 30 years!

He has been a keynote speaker and spoken in hundreds of venues to thousands of people. His main talks are:
The Art of Love and Money
How to Heal From Infidelity
The Secrets to Rekindling Passion
His book, The Long Hot Marriage has been highly acclaimed and has helped thousands of people who gave themselves the gift of reading it. His new book, Love, Sex and Karaoke; 52 Ways to Ignite Your Love Life, is about to be released in February of 2015. He has as well cd’s dvd’s and downloadable products that can be bought from this website.
Relationship Mastery connection
Are We Built For Monogamy
Todd Creager is an Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work where he teaches three classes to MSW graduate students:
The Art of Practice with Individuals,
The Art of Practice with Families and Groups
Mental Health and Human Development. He enjoys teaching as much as he enjoys his private practice and each enhance his skills of the other.
He attended the USC School of Social Work and received his Masters in Social Work in May, 1982. He obtained his licenses in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Social Work in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

From 1991-1992, he did an intensive internship through the UCLA School of Medicine and Extension Program in Human Sexuality. From 2001 to 2003, he did some additional training in Business and Personal Coaching through MentorCoach, LLC.

His interests include meditation and Yoga, working out, hiking, pickleball and basketball. He is an extrovert and loves being with good friends and at the same time definitely loves his solitude. One of his biggest joys is watching his clients transform their lives to achieve what they may have previously thought of as impossible.