Forgiveness from the Heart After
By Susie and Otto Collins
When an affair or infidelity has occurred in your love
relationship, you are probably going through a real mix of
Anger, sadness and grief are just a few that are
common during such times.
Whether or not you decide to stay in this relationship or
marriage, you might be urged to forgive your partner for
Rebuilding trust if you continue the
relationship can happen most easily when you're able to
Even if the relationship has ended, forgiveness can allow
you to heal and more completely let go of the past
relationship as you move on to that future you want.
In either case, you may be advised by friends, family, your
church or spiritual teachers or even your own inner voice to
forgive. You've possibly read about the healing and benefits
of forgiveness and this sounds appealing to you.
The trouble is, you just don't feel like forgiving! Your
heart is not in it.
You simply cannot force yourself to forgive your mate after
an affair-- or any other betrayal. As with just about
everything, if your heart isn't engaged, the action is
It can even backfire as a false sense of forgiveness can
mask the resentment and unresolved feelings you might be
Janet's family keep telling her to just "forgive and
forget" about the affair that her husband Jeff had a year
Although Janet and Jeff have decided to give their marriage
a second chance and they are even taking part in a survival
after divorce program offered at their church, Janet can't
seem to bring herself to forgive Jeff.
She admits that he's trying to make up for his hurtful
choices. And she also wants her marriage to overcome this
At the same time, Janet is having trouble feeling in her
heart a sense of forgiveness.
What does forgiveness mean to you?
If you feel resistant to forgiving your partner (or ex)
after infidelity and you'd really like to take this step,
you might take a closer look at what the notion of
forgiveness means to you.
For many people, the word "forgiveness" seems BIG! It can
trigger in some a sense that whatever happened will be
erased from memory or that somehow the offending action will
be okay after being forgiven.
For others, forgiveness is uncomfortable because it gives
the impression that you condone or accept the betrayal or
None of these understandings are accurate. Of course, you
have to decide what's true for you. In order for forgiveness
to be a healing and trust building act, however, you might
need to question and shift your understanding of what
Forgiveness is about releasing the hold the past and the
pain or anger have on your present life. Forgiveness is
ultimately about you deciding that it's most important to
release the past and re-focus on what you want in this
Forgiveness is about making your healing and your
happiness the priority-- not events that are no longer going
Forgive one moment at a time.
Janet sits down one day with a good friend and the two of
them talk about forgiveness. After realizing that her
understanding of the whole concept was part of her
hesitation, Janet begins to re-think what forgiveness can be
She does want her marriage to Jeff to be one built upon
trust, openness and closeness. And she is starting to see
that releasing the past-- for her own good-- could really
help point her toward what she wants.
She also welcomes the idea of feeling happier and less tense
and angry all of the time.
Instead of feeling like you have to forgive your mate all at
once, think about forgiving one moment at a time. This type
of forgiveness requires you to stay tuned in to how you are
It might be that one moment you can acknowledge and even
appreciate the way that your partner has made a conscious
effort to be honest and open with you.
That can be a forgiveness moment.
There will possibly be other times that you are
remembering the hurt you still feel and your emotions may
seem more raw.
This is probably not the time that you can forgive from the
heart. But try to remind yourself that
with self-soothing and nurturing, these feelings will pass
and you can experience improvement.
Forgiveness is all about deciding to let go of the past and
beginning to live more in the present as you point toward
the future you want.
It all starts with a decision and then is followed up by
staying true to how you feel in each moment. Be patient with
yourself and allow the
healing and letting go to happen.