Forgiveness “Healing From the Trauma of Infidelity” (for the faithful partner) (part I)

This blog is taken from my upcoming manual “Healing from the Trauma of Infidelity” (for the faithful partner) a companion manual to: “Healing From the Trauma of  Infidelity” (for the unfaithful partner)

In this chapter of the manual,  I discuss the idea of forgiveness and a different way to understand the process.

The Process of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is an important topic for couples, even if there hasn’t been infidelity.  When I see couples they are to one degree or another angry at each other.  For two people to feel closer they have to be willing to let go of their negative feelings and be open to being forgiving.

Forgiveness is different for everybody. Most of us don’t wake up in the morning and say “I forgive my husband / wife for cheating on me”.  Forgiveness is something that happens a little bit at a time. It is very difficult to decide to forgive, instead what usually happens, over time, with patience, and motivation we are less and less focused on the betrayal and more on the reconnection with our partner

 It is common to have mixed feelings about forgiveness; on one side when we feel betrayed we don’t ever want to forgive our partner, and on the other side about 70% of people who have affairs continue their relationship and in my experience use the situation as powerful wake-up call and, in a strange way, with the help of counseling, getting through this crisis, can help bring a them closer to each other.

Dr. Jeanne Saffer, a psychotherapist who has written a book called “Forgiving and Not Forgiving” in which she talks about forgiveness being a three step process (that doesn’t always in end in total forgiveness but with being more able to rebuild, to some degree the relationship with the person that has betrayed them). 

In the next blog,  I will discuss Dr. Saffer’s thoughts as to what steps are involved in being able to forgive your partner.

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