I’ll admit it. Before an affair happened to me, I never thought that I would be one of those wives who stood by or forgave their cheating husbands. That was before I understood that you can’t possibly know how you’re going to respond until you yourself are living in the situation in question. Sometimes, I’ll have people contact me and say things like: “I just don’t understand how a wife can really forgive the husband who cheated on her. This is something that I could never do. These women must have low self esteem or something.”
I understand these doubts. Many people do consider cheating to be a deal breaker. And I have to say, that repeated cheating would likely be the end of my marriage as far as I was concerned. But, many wives (myself included) do decide to forgive their husband for cheating. In the following article, I’ll explain why we ultimately chose to do this in the hopes that you will perhaps understand us a little better.
Wives Who Forgive Their Cheating Husbands Often Make The Deliberate Choice That They Feel Is Best For Everyone Involved: Make no mistake. Forgiving a husband’s cheating is not something that comes easily, nor is it a decision that is usually taken lightly. And, we don’t always come to this decision right away. Many of us leave first or initiate a divorce or separation. Eventually though, we generally come to decide that we don’t want to end our marriages or split up our families.
That’s not to say that we ever forget the cheating or even start with a clean slate. These things probably aren’t accurate either. What generally happens is that once a decent amount of time has passed and we are able to see things somewhat clearly, we realize that we aren’t willing to dismantle our families or the things we worked so hard to build over a mistake which wasn’t even our own.
That doesn’t mean that we are able to turn our feelings off and on light a light switch. It doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to struggle with resentment, hurt, and anger. It’s not to say that our marriages don’t have their struggles and their problems because they most definitely do. But, we do and did make a choice to hang in there because our marriages and our families were too important to us to just surrender them because of the actions of someone else. And more often than not, beneath the anger, shock, and pain, we still love our husbands (even if we are incredibly angry at him) and are still invested in our marriages.
Wives Who Forgive Their Cheating Husbands Often Do This For Themselves Rather Than For Their Husbands: I realize that people might view wives who forgive cheating as women who don’t have a backbone or who are too weak to strike out on their own. I would argue that the opposite is true. The assumption that we stay because we don’t have other options is most certainly not always accurate. And, many of us weigh those options quite carefully.
But, we usually come to realize that we no longer want to carry around this resentment and misery with us for the rest of the lives. We often decide that fear and resentment are negative feelings that are sucking the joy right out of the parts of our lives that are still right. The anger and bitterness become like a heavy weight that you are constantly having to drag around behind you and I can tell you that it gets very heavy and you get very tired.
The effort of continuing to be angry and in holding on so tightly just becomes too tiresome for many of us. And we realize we want some release from this. Forgiveness is one way to help us do that. And forgiveness doesn’t mean that we endorse or condone our husband’s cheating. It actually often has less to do with him and more to us with us. And, it means that we don’t want to have to serve a life sentence for something we didn’t do, nor do we want to allow all of this negativity and turmoil into our lives or into the lives of our children.
If You Can’t (Or Don’t Want To) Forgive Your Cheating Husband, That Doesn’t Mean That There’s Anything Wrong With You: Just as deciding to forgive your husband is a legitimate choice, so is deciding that you can’t forgive. I firmly believe that there are no right or wrong choices in this situation. Each family has to pursue what is the right choice for them. Some women just don’t feel that forgiveness is appropriate or possible and that’s an absolutely valid choice.
Every one is different and every wife has the right to chose which path is going to work the best for her own unique situation. None of us should judge one another. Dealing with cheating is painful enough without having to justify the decisions that are required from this very difficult situation.
Forgiving my husband for cheating turned out to be the right choice for me, but this is a personal decision. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, it is actually stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/