Forgiveness is a tricky virtue. Unlike the pope, I don’t believe it should be dished out unconditionally.
And forgiving a cheater is not an easy thing to do. It’s not just about whether your cheating partner is worthy of forgiveness. Consider whether or not you can live with the nagging uncertainty.
Infidelity is one of the worst kinds of betrayal to reconcile. Your partner has:
- Lied to your face
- Lied to your friends
- Lied to your face in front of your friends
- Been naked with someone else and came home to sleep in your bed
- Whispered pillow-talk in someone else’s ear
- Spilled intimate beans about you
- TOTALLY betrayed your trust
I’ll grant that some cheaters come at it from a place that might not be so maliciously intentioned. Sometimes a relationship is taking its final breaths and one of you jumps the gun. To that I say, well it was doomed anyway, move on. I can even live with the notion of having a fling because you’ve been in the same relationship for 20 years and never had sex with anyone else—well, that’d kill just about anyone’s libido, and the crisis of an affair might even help the relationship.
But by the time you’ve cheated more than once? Especially after you’d already been caught? That’s a bit different. Once you go down that route, is it so unrealistic that you won’t be trusted again? Are you really working late? Are you really off to the store to buy milk?
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One of my friends has been with a guy for five years, and during that time they’ve broken up twice because he’s been caught cheating. Now they’re about to get married. I said nothing, yet she offered to defend him nonetheless. “I know what you’re thinking,” she said, “but he’s changed.” That’s what she insisted the first time, too.
Feel free to dish out forgiveness at your will. But serial-cheaters exist, and they’re cunning little foxes. Protect yourself.
Speaking of which—any time you’ve been a victim of infidelity, do yourself a favor and get tested for STDs.
Not sayin, just saying.
Can you forgive being cheated on? Share your experience in the comments below.