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Can You Forgive Your Partner for Lying? Should you?
By Susie and Otto Collins

Anna and her husband Brian have always had a no-porn agreement.

When they started dating and Anna realized that Brian watched pornographic movies and visited adult porn sites on the internet, she made it very clear to him that she finds it degrading and offensive.

At the time, Brian hesitantly agreed that he would stop consuming pornography to respect Anna's wishes.

Now that they've been together for over 7 years and married for 5 of those years, Anna assumed that Brian has kept his no-porn promise all this time.

A few days ago, she discovered that her assumption is wrong.

When Anna caught Brian watching a pornographic video on their home computer late at night, she felt betrayed.

Brian keeps arguing this this isn't like having an affair with another person. He is simply doing something that he enjoys-- it's not hurting anyone.

Anna, on the other hand, feels very hurt and upset. She doesn't want to blow this whole thing out of proportion, but it seems to her that trust in their marriage has been seriously damaged.

She can't help but wonder if there are other agreements that Brian is not keeping.

When you find out that your partner has been lying to you, it can feel like a punch to your gut.

What you thought you could depend upon in your relationship has suddenly been called into question.

It could be that, like Anna, you found out that your mate has broken an agreement that is very important to you.

While he or she may not be having an affair, the sense of betrayal and deception is certainly

You might have discovered that your partner's lying was an attempt to cover up cheating. In cases of infidelity, you most certainly may
feel betrayed and hurt, as well as other feelings.

Why it's to your benefit to forgive.
The choice is up to you whether or not the lying and betrayal is something that you will forgive or not forgive.

You are also the one who gets to decide whether or not you will stay in this relationship.

We suggest that, regardless of whether or not you stay in your current relationship, you consider taking steps toward forgiveness.

While the idea of forgiving your partner might seem impossible at this moment, try to keep a door-- even a small door-- open to eventually forgiving.

Here's why...

When you forgive a lie, even infidelity, you are not doing it for the other person. It might seem that way, but it isn't.

Instead, forgiving is mainly your decision to stop carrying around the pain and the hurt of the past. You finally come to some sense of acceptance and relative peace about what happened.

The affair or the lie/s were not okay with you. These actions or words are still unacceptable.

At the same time, you know that you don't want to focus on painful past events for the rest of your life.

You reach a point at which you release that past in order to create space for the present and
future that you truly want for yourself.

This is what forgiveness is about.

You might not be ready or able to forgive right now, but over time this may seem more possible.

No matter how upset and angry you feel at this moment, keep the option for forgiveness open.

Take steps toward forgiveness.
Anna does not want to end her marriage to Brian because of his lying about consuming pornography.

She wants to forgive him and to find a way that they can both live the way that they want to live-- and be happy together.

Ultimately, Anna feels regret that Brian felt pressured to make an agreement to stop watching porn when he was not 100% on board with

While her feelings about pornography haven't changed, she wants to open up and really listen to Brian and see if they can repair trust and make new agreements that they both are satisfied about.

Once you have made a decision that you are willing to forgive your mate, you might feel at a loss for how exactly to go about doing it.

As well-intentioned as you may be about forgiving, it's not always easy to do.

When you are confronted with what happened or when something triggers mistrust within you, you could find yourself back in the anger, resentment and blame where you started!

Here are a few simple steps toward forgiveness you might try...

  • Acknowledge what happened and remind yourself that it is not going on right now.

  • (NOTE: If your partner is continuing to lie and/or to cheat, it's time for you to set some boundaries. Your focus at this moment may need to be on whether you want to stay in this relationship if your mate is unwilling to stop.)

  • Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, but stop re-playing the events that happened or words that were said that are causing you pain.

  • Make lists of what you appreciate about your life right now. This can include things about your partner. You can start with seemingly insignificant things.

  • Ask yourself how you want to feel and be in your current relationship. Shift your awareness to better line up with these goals.

  • You might be surprised to find that some good things are happening right now.

  • Use deep breathing and relaxation techniques to create a greater sense of calm and ease for yourself.

  • Practice saying to yourself and/or writing down the words "I forgive you." You don't have to link them specifically to your partner right now, unless you are ready to.

  • Notice the way that you feel when you do this. Continue this practice. You might be able to really believe these words the more that you practice them.





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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
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