Affairs can devastate relationships and marriages. When a partner decides to stay with a partner who has cheated, it is necessary to truly forgive the cheating partner. No one should live life in a resentful, bitter and suspicious relationship. Here are some tips to help to forgive offered by Larry Bugen who has written a book on forgiveness after an affair to help couples move ahead.
Cheating violates trust. When one commits an affair, contrition must be expressed before forgiveness can occur. The unfaithful partner must grieve and show a penitent spirit in regards to his or her imperfections and shortcomings. In addition, the partner has to express his or her grief directly and openly with those the affair has affected. When a person asks for forgiveness, he or she is attempting to open dialogue with persons who are most hurt by the actions. True forgiveness requires dialogue and healing occurs within this dialogue.
Empathy lies at the very center of forgiveness. A person’s capacity to show empathy reflects his or her ability to climb out of a state of self-absorption for the time required to understand another human being’s feelings. Psychologists would say that empathy expresses a capacity to grasp another’s experience from that person’s reference point. Another expression that describes empathy involves putting oneself in their shoes. Every person loves conditionally and poorly. Most of us unhappily suffer as fools.
Empathy requires us to release our own self-absorption in the fact that we are a victim while recognizing that imperfection drives our behavior as humans and thus all behavior acts in imperfection. When living in glass houses, throwing stones is advised against. Humans willing to take a look inside their own pain can recognize that they have received forgiveness from others many times without realizing it for many years.
Herein lays the key. If we have received forgiveness, others have seen us as worthy of forgiveness regardless of the types of imperfections in us or misdeeds we have committed. Therefore, we are compelled to extend the same forgiveness to others. This defines empathy. This capacity allows renewal for all humans. We share a responsibility to forgive in the most cherished relationships and this give us the ability to respond.
To reiterate, forgiveness can only be expressed, whether in person or by letter if the forgiver believes that:
- The transgressor has owned his or her responsibility for the created pain.
- The transgressor has expressed and feels genuine regret or remorse concerning his or her actions.
- The transgressor has understood lessons learned from his or her mistakes.
- The transgressor will mind his or her actions beginning today by taking time to realize their impact on others.
- The transgressor provided the necessary time required for heal and to rebuild trust.
- The transgressor views you as truly special again.