Should You Forgive a Cheater?
When someone cheats in a relationship, it’s a violation of trust and boundaries, but more over, it could put a person at risk for contracting STIs if the affair didn’t involve protected sex. Even though we constantly see people cheating on one another in pop culture–whether it’s in movies, TV shows, or the unfortunate real life celebrity drama that plays out in the tabloids, (I’m looking at you Scott Disick) cheating on a partner isn’t something to be taken lightly.
But, what do you do if it happens? What if your partner cheats on you, regrets it, and is begging for forgiveness? Should you forgive a cheater for their deed, or kick them to the curb and hope to never hear from them again?
There are a few questions that you need to ask to make this decision. Has your partner ever cheated before this incident? If so, you can probably bet that this is a pattern of behavior and, it will happen again. While you could forgive them for their misdeeds, forgiving doesn’t always mean giving someone a second–or third chance to prove themselves to you.
Another question you need to ask is if your cheating partner is sincerely sorry and regretful of their decision to cheat. Although, it’s likely that if they cheated repeatedly, they aren’t, if this was a one time thing they may have simply gotten caught up in the moment. While that’s certainly no excuse, if they’re regretful of the decision you can at least be somewhat confident of the fact that they don’t want to and will try not to let it happen again. Did their urge to cheat stem from actual feelings that they had for the person they cheated with? If so, it’s time to move on.
But, perhaps, the most important question that you need to ask is one you should ask yourself. It’s not whether you should forgive your cheating partner but could you forgive them? Cheating is a serious offense and even if your partner is genuinely torn up about the mistake, if you can’t forgive them (an understandable reaction), your relationship is going to be in the toilet because of the residual feelings of resentment and mistrust you will feel if you can’t truly forgive them and put all this behind you. At the end of the day, the choice to forgive your partner is yours, but whether or not the two of you will be able to rebuild the trust and boundaries that were violated is what will ultimately make or break your relationship.