Ways To Forgive Someone Who Cheated On You: Pros & Cons

By: Gabrielle Seunagal

Updated October 29, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lisa Childers, LCSW

In today’s world, continuing a relationship with someone who participated in cheating can be quite controversial. Many individuals believe that infidelity should not automatically mean the end of a relationship.

Someone cheated here. They try forgive.

Conflicted About Your Partner Who Cheated?
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Then, others believe it shows such disrespect in a relationship that it should mean the end. In many cases, people on both sides of the aisle feel very strongly about their positions. Objectively, whether a person should forgive a cheater depends upon themselves, what type of relationship they want to have, and what they would like to experience in the future.

"We always have to weigh out the pros and cons of staying in a relationship. If the pros outweigh the cons, repair needs to occur in order to continue. If you decide the relationship was already broken and you choose to move on, taking time for personal introspection can facilitate growth and healing." - Aaron Horn LMFT

Before covering the pros and cons of forgiving a cheater, it is imperative to note just how harmful and hurtful cheating can be to a relationship.

A Word On Cheating

This problem is very devastating for many relationships. More often than not, when people enter a partnership, they do so with the understanding that there will be love, mutual respect, and fidelity. It's one of the ultimate forms of disrespect in any relationship; as such, many individuals are unable to get past it, and that's their right. The temptation of straying may exist online and in the real world, but ultimately, stepping out on one's partner is a choice. Alcohol is not an excuse; neither is distance or anything else.

Why Do People Cheat?

There are numerous reasons why specific individuals engage in cheating. Occasionally, they are bored in the relationship. Rather than communicating this feeling with their partner or leaving, they engage in cheating. In other scenarios, cheating can happen as a result of seduction, they desire someone new, personal insecurities about desirability (or lack thereof), and so much more. Ultimately, cheating is a choice; this is something everyone must remember if they ever find themselves in a situation where they are weighing the pros and cons of forgiving a cheater.

Forgive Someone That Has Cheated: Pros

No two relationships are the same. As such, some people will inevitably wish to forgive that someone for cheating and wonder how to forgive. Regardless of the ultimate decision of whether to forgive or not, knowing the upsides of forgiving someone for cheating is just as important as being aware of the downsides. Whether or not you decide the pros outweigh the cons (or vice versa) for deciding to forgive someone for cheating is entirely your call; however, everyone deserves to make an informed decision about their relationship and how to move forward.

Healing Yourself And Forgive Someone Who Cheated

The ability on how to let go of anger and resentment is certainly a benefit that comes along with forgiving someone. Feeling hurt, angry, or even resentful after being cheated on is perfectly normal; however, when these feelings are not processed or released constructively, this is when problems arise.

Forgiving a cheater allows for the person who was wronged to heal. Ultimately, holding onto negative emotions does not benefit anyone, and it certainly doesn't hurt the cheater more than the someone who was cheated on. Learning how to let go, to forgive, and move forward in life is a valuable life skill; the merits are not mutually exclusive to a relationship.

Fixing Problems For A Relationship To Heal

In many cases, when this happens in a relationship, this is a symptom of other underlying issues in the relationship. Of course, there is nothing that merits unfaithfulness, although forgiving a cheater does allow for more deep-rooted problems in a relationship to be dealt with. Solving the cause of relationship struggles can often result in a partnership that is better and healthier. Of course, when fixing issues that exist in a relationship, both parties must be willing to. Remember, a relationship only works if both individuals are on board and willing to put in the necessary work.

Seeing If The Relationship Has A Future With That Somebody

Despite the opinions of others, not everyone is ready to call it quits on a relationship after cheating immediately. Many people are still interested in seeing whether or not a relationship has a future. It's impossible to know what lies ahead and ultimately, only time will tell what will come of a relationship, primarily if this occurred. People who are interested in seeing if their relationship has a future deserve to do so. This will ultimately require them to forgive the one who cheated and attempt to move forward in the relationship.

Forgive Someone: The Cons

The drawbacks of forgiving a cheater are regularly discussed in society. Despite what many people view as upsides to the forgiveness of cheating, others maintain that cheating ought to be a deal breaker. There are a series of downsides to forgiving a cheater, and each person deserves to be aware of them as they decide what to do next.

It May Happen Again

One of the most obvious drawbacks of forgiving a cheater is that they could cheat again. This doesn't happen in all situations; however, when one is willing to break their commitment to remain loyal and faithful, this says a lot about them. It is not particularly uncommon for first-time cheaters to later become serial or habitual cheaters. Forgiving a cheater can easily be interpreted as acceptance of cheating, of which many cheaters tend to take advantage of. Anytime one chooses to forgive a cheater, they are running a risk of being subjected to further cheating.

Ongoing Hurtful Reminders

Forgiving a cheater and remaining in that relationship can be incredibly hurtful. To always be reminded of the fact that the one who promised to be committed to you broke that promise is not a good feeling. Questions about whether this type of existence is even mentally healthy could also be raised. No matter how much a cheater apologizes, promises not to do it again, or tries to atone, they will never be able to take back their actions. To at least some capacity, the acts of cheating will add a new dynamic to the relationship.

You Deserve Better

Remaining in a relationship with a cheater robs you of the opportunity of a relationship with a partner who won't cheat. The reality is that there are many people in this world; the potential to be in a healthy relationship that is free of cheating exists. Occasionally, it's not always easy to remember this, especially in the wake of a partner who has chosen to commit adultery. Occasionally, one door has to close so another one can open. Occasionally, leaving one relationship allows a better one to come later on down the line.

Decide What Is Best For You

If you find yourself in a situation where you are cheated on, knowing what to do is not always easy. Weighing the pros and cons is still helpful, but ultimately, you must make the decision that is best for you. It's also important to note that forgiving a cheater does not always mean that they will want to remain in the relationship. Occasionally, people cheat because they are looking for an out. Obviously, this doesn't make cheating right or acceptable by any means, but it's still a thing to be aware of.

As you decide whether or not to forgive a cheater, it's also important to understand that you are not at fault for what happened. Occasionally, individual cheaters will attempt to blame their partner or to claim that if their partner had or hadn't done a particular thing, they wouldn't have cheated. This is a bogus reason, and it's not a reason that you should internalize. Each individual is accountable for their actions. Attempting to pass the buck, as opposed to taking responsibility for one's own choices, is very disappointing. How a partner conducts themselves after their cheating comes to light is another important detail that speaks volumes about character. This should be taken into consideration when someone is deciding whether or not to forgive a cheater.

How to Forgive Someone For Cheating: You Don't Have Go Through It On Your Own

Relationship drama is complicated enough; adding cheating into the mix often makes matters ten times more complex. Some people can work through these issues on their own and forgive; others may require help, and there's nothing wrong with that. The ability to seek advice when necessary is an advantageous skill that will undoubtedly have both short term and long term merits.

If you are dealing with issues regarding relationships, cheating, struggling to forgive or another matter entirely, signing up for online therapy with ReGain will undoubtedly prove to be beneficial. Working with an online therapist allows you to get the help you need regardless of who you are, where you live, or what your lifestyle looks like. Having someone to talk to is often mentally and emotionally beneficial, as is getting advice that is directly relevant to your situation and what you are dealing with.

Working with an online therapist will not automatically make your troubles disappear. It also won't guarantee that you never face challenges in the future. However, what online therapy can do is successfully ensure that you are equipped to deal with present issues and any future situations which may arise.

FAQs

Can a relationship really go back to normal after cheating?

Cheating shatters relationships on occassion. It’s so hard to forgive and move on once your significant other is unfaithful. Can a cheater be forgiven? It's up to that someone who was cheated on however it's important to remember that forgiveness is a strength. It takes a lot of work to rebuild trust in a relationship, and occasionally a partner may feel they don't want to forgive. If they don't want to forgive, it can be difficult to move forward. The relationship won't go "back to normal" because this is a traumatic experience. Ultimately, it's up to both people to decide how to move forward. Forgiving your partner won't necessarily be easy, but it may be worth it to salvage the relationship.

Ways to fix a relationship for good after infidelity happens?

You don't have to forgive your partner and move on after being cheated on, even if your partner pressures you to do so. You have the right to feel your emotions. Some people believe that unfaithful behavior isn't something that stops and that once you cheat, it becomes a pattern. It could bring up further questions about relationships, such as do people change? These individuals may say you shouldn't because they'll hurt you again. There are no right answers. Many people believe that a relationship is fixable if you work on the problems and forgive. And that may be true for some couples. But for others, cheating may be a deal-breaker. It depends on the situation and the people involved. You have to ask yourself if it's worth it. 

Should you take a cheater back?

There's no definitive answer as to whether you should forgive a cheater. It's up to you to make that decision to forgive and it's important to remember that forgiveness is a strength. You need to think long and hard about what you want out of a relationship. Ask yourself if you want to take a risk on this someone once the trust has been broken. It's not wrong to do. You might sense that this was a one-time thing and be able to forgive them. Forgiving a cheater is undoubtedly taking a leap of faith and trusting someone who burned you, but it could be worthwhile. If you let go of this and forgive, you could cultivate a wonderful long-lasting relationship.

Can an unfaithful partner really change?

Do people change? Some individuals want to work on themselves and do better, while others are stuck in toxic or dysfunctional patterns. Some people have substance abuse issues and struggle with addiction. They can get better if they're dedicated to treatment. Forgiving a cheater is trusting that someone wants to change. Only time will tell if that individual is serious about modifying their behavior. You don't have to forgive a cheater if you're uncomfortable with the idea. You may have an intuitive sense that they'll hurt you again. You don't want to take the risk on them, knowing that they could hurt your heart. Your wellbeing is what matters the most. If you feel like your partner isn't going to change, or doesn't have the desire to make these behavioral shifts, you have the right to move on.

Do you love someone if you cheat?

You may love your partner dearly, and still cheat on them. It could be that the relationship became mundane, and you feel unfulfilled. Maybe you're not happy with your emotional connection, or the physical intimacy isn't satisfying. Part of being loved is also feeling understood. Some people engage in emotional cheating. That sort of cheating can be more painful than a physical affair. If you choose to be unfaithful by forming an intimate romantic bond with someone besides your partner, that is considered emotional cheating. That could make your partner feel extremely devalued because they don't feel like you love them.

Should you stay with a cheater?

If you forgive a cheater, it shows that you have faith in that someone. You may believe it was a one-time thing. Perhaps your partner explained the reason behind the cheating. You get why they did it, and so do they. They've promised that they will work on themselves in therapy and make an effort in the relationship with you. You can forgive a cheater, and stop labeling them that. That's another aspect of moving forward. If you're always calling them out for being unfaithful or throwing it in their face, you can forgive a cheater, that makes them feel like they have no choice. You need to humanize your partner. Remember that people make mistakes. Your partner may not have wanted to hurt you. Perhaps, with time, they'll see why they were unfaithful and can explain it to you. It's up to you whether you chose to move on or not. It may be worth it, and you could live a long, happy, faithful life together.

How to stop hurting after being cheated?

If you're hurt after your partner cheated on you, that's normal. Don't try to force yourself to get over the cheating. No matter how much pressure others put on you to do so, this is your life, and these are your emotions. It could take a long time to get over the cheating. You may need to take space. It's okay to take a break from a relationship. You can tell your partner that you're hurt from the cheating, and you want to take a break. This could be a sign that it's time to move on from the relationship. It's crucial to rely on your support system, which includes your friends and family. You can also seek the help of a licensed mental health professional who can help you through the challenges of having someone cheat on you. Whether you see a therapist online, or in your local area, therapy can be crucial to recovering from cheating. 

Can you forgive for infidelity?

It's possible to forgive your partner for cheating. It makes sense if you don't trust them at first and can't forgive. You may be tempted to check their private social media messages. A cheating partner will keep engaging in the behavior if they want to stray from the relationship. You can't control their behavior. It isn't fair that your partner engaged in cheating. If you can't move past the cheating and forgive, it's time to think about how to let the relationship go. It's crucial to be with someone who you love and trust. If your partner has cheated, chances are you don't know how to trust your partner anymore or even forgive them. You have good reasons to be distrustful, because in healthy, non-open relationships, the people are loyal to each other. 


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