Once a cheater always a cheater is the all too familiar saying; but is that a true statement? Not all but the majority of people have cheated at least once in their lifetime; and the part that never ceases to amaze me is that most of the “cheated on” crew ends up staying with the “cheater”. How ironic right? Well I’ve been told the reason behind this fact is because the “cheated on” person becomes so drained from the situation that it turns into fear; fearing every future relationship will result in the same thing and end with them getting hurt. So to eliminate the hurt they stay with the cheater with hopes that they will grow out of their cheating ways. Whoo yea, you probably have that same dumb look on your face that I had when I heard that; but in actuality it’s true.
This brings me to my next question which is “Do you ever REALLY forgive after being cheated on?” (Of course this is applied to those that continued the relationship after being cheated on by that person). However this is a question I had to blatantly ask myself.
After years of going through our “growing stages”, my fiancé and I finally reached a point where we felt the only answer to a better life was to surrender to a higher power. Long story short we reconciled and our family has become closer than ever before. Confidently speaking I was totally delivered from that whole trust issue I’d experienced in the past…or was I? It wasn’t until I was presented with his “overnight bachelor party” that I realized I still suffered from trust issues. When I first heard of this demented idea my head hit the roof! What!!! Overnight, doing what, with who and where?? Yea, I totally overreacted and showed my true colors to let him know I wasn’t feeling it! I wanted to just disappear and escape from the situation totally so that I didn’t have to deal with my emotions. That’s when the question came to me, is there ever really salvation after cheating or does time paint over the hurt and give temporary comfort? Granted I claimed the victory over my past hurt but the question still left unanswered was had I forgave him with my whole heart?
I pulled up this great article called “Happiness after Infidelity” and here are 7 helpful steps they give to help you not only forgive, but to heal!
1) Permission to heal: Forgiveness and healing begins with acknowledgement. So instead of denying and trying to bypass the hurt, accept it and tell yourself it is ok to forgive.
2) Willingness to let go: Willingness doesn’t mean you have to know “how to do a thing” it only means you are willing to do it. Do your best to not revisit the hurt; one thing for sure is you can’t change the past; you have to continuously pray for deliverance. Forgiveness is not an overnight process!
3) Change your emotional response: Surviving infidelity is 5% about the situation and 95% about your response to it. You have the power to decide for your happiness or your own unhappiness- and right now, you choose to be happy.
4) Give up your “shoulds”: Whenever you find yourself saying (or thinking) the world “should” give it away. Remind yourself in the real world there are no guarantees that others will choose to always live up to our “should” (or expectations). You had a choice to leave after the cheating and you chose to stay, so don’t drive yourself crazy with what they should have done.
5) Trying to forgive: Forgiveness is a process; yet every effort is rewarded and every “try” is tremendously significant. Trying to forgive is the first step to actually forgiving.
6) Practice acts of forgiveness: Rebuild your trust and break down the barrier. The best way to do show is by showing your mate you’ve regained trust for them. Also removing the victim title and renaming yourself the survivor helps mentally. The more your mindset believes you are still a victim the further you are from actually forgiving and letting go.
7) Allow yourself to be vulnerable: I know being vulnerable is such a hard thing to do but this is the only way to a healthy future for your relationship. If you have agreed to move on from the past hurt and you and your mate are beginning a new life, it is totally unfair to keep holding them responsible for your feelings. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable which means putting your heart back on the table completely (no barriers)! Practice pre-forgiving everyday and focus on your future, not your past.
Needless to say prayer heals all wounds; time heals nothing, it is what you do with the time that matters. So to answer my own question, yes there is salvation after cheating. We all have to deal with our own feelings and you are the only one that knows how much you can/can’t handle. “…there’s no hierarchy in the order of mistakes. All mistakes are simply misguided decisions. No mistake is more worthy or less worthy of forgiveness than another.”- Suzie Johnson’s “The Golden Rule of Forgiveness”.