Okay, you got it. You’re wrong. You managed to be honest and admit your infidelity.
It was not easy, but you thank all the people who have supported you despite what you have done. Your boyfriend was hurt, but who wouldn’t be after finding out that their girlfriend has cheated?
But he tells you he loves you and he understands your reason, which is mainly about him being overly busy and neglecting you.
Now, how do you forgive yourself for cheating?
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Yes, that’s the next question: what are the steps to forgive yourself for cheating? Consider the fact that your lover has forgiven you and you have a somewhat solid reason for why you did it. You’re still in love with your man (one who you cheated on) but the guilt is eating you up. What do you do?
Here are the things you can do to forgive yourself for infidelity:
One way of feeling less guilty is taking care of the man you still love and yet you have cheated on. Not that it will erase what you did, but the act of taking care of him will solidify the fact that you regret being unfaithful and you’re ready to be honest. This is the first step to forgive yourself for cheating.
Why? Because the guilt is still fresh and you must have an avenue to release it. Why not cook a meal for him? Or prepare his clothes? It will even be better if you write him a letter about how you love him and how sorry you are for what you did.
The second way to forgive yourself for cheating is learning that you are not a witch! Yes! Some girls feel like just because they cheated, their whole personality sprung from an evil spirit!
So, list all that’s good about you and compare it to the fact that you have been unfaithful. Don’t do it to be proud of yourself, do this to understand that your cheating is not the whole you. You are still a good friend, sister and daughter.
Come on girls! Let’s go back to the first paragraph; the man himself has forgiven you. What’s stopping you from forgiving yourself?
You have a man as good as him, so you have no choice but to forgive yourself! Write down your sins and apologize to yourself. And then write down a resolution, about why you won’t do it again and how it hurt you when you hurt your boyfriend.
The third step to forgive yourself for cheating is to give the forgiveness.
Now that you have forgiven yourself, it’s time for you to relax, give yourself a break, and unwind. Take a walk, buy a book, listen to music, and do arts and crafts. These activities signify that you are finally moving on! No more looking back on that terrible experience!
How do you forgive yourself for cheating? Bury it with good memories.
And finally, realize that you are not perfect. The only perfection you can have is the acceptance that you’ll learn from your mistakes. Don’t let others’ expectations of you ruin that perfection. Live your own life, be faithful, and be happy with your loving relationship with a very forgiving man.
Forgiving yourself for cheating is a long process, but it is surely worth it.
The awkward moment: when you have to utter the title words, not to the man whom you have cheated on but to yourself.
There’s really something to be said about forgiving one’s self. It’s amazing how you can let go of the bitterness when someone else wrongs you, but you will be a hundred times harder on yourself when you are the one on the wrong side.
Forgiving yourself for cheating is a tiring process. The main reason for this is guilt. But come to think of it, the fact that you are sorry and that you understand that what you did is wrong is a really good start. So, what’s next?
The next step is to “internalize” the reason behind your cheating. Here is a list of possible reasons why you cheated and the corresponding solution on how to forgive yourself for cheating:
Remember those stories where children are forced to steal food because they are super hungry? Well, I might say it is really a weird analogy, but you get the picture. If the man in your life refuses, or neglects to give you what you need, you will be more tempted when an opportunity comes along.
How to forgive yourself for cheating: For the first few weeks, initiate the intimacy. Your boyfriend or husband may still feel bad about the cheating, so it is unlikely that he’ll initiate it. Also, do not forget to talk about the issue. It’s not all about you; ask him if he has problems and if that’s why he does not want to be intimate.
This is very common. Your boyfriend or husband may have cheated on you and you want nothing else but to get even. The only problem is instead of feeling satisfied, you feel miserable. Again, don’t be too hard on yourself, but it will not hurt you if you think a thousand times before you proclaim that vengeance is yours.
How to forgive yourself for cheating: Make a pact with your lover. All is said and done; you’re even. It’s time to move on. Go somewhere together, have fun, and forgive and forget. In other words, let it move past you, and be happy because you have a surviving relationship to nurture.
When you are super insecure about yourself, you’ll feel like your bubble will burst any minute and your boyfriend will leave you for someone who is more beautiful, sexier, and smarter. So this guy who shows you interest comes along and you think that he’s a good backup plan. The thing is the backup plan blew up right in your face!
How to forgive yourself for cheating: If you’re insecure, then get the assurance that you need! Take care of yourself, start making an effort to become more beautiful, and most of all, communicate with your man. The moment he tells you that there is no need for you to become insecure is also the moment you’ll feel good again.
This is perhaps one of the most common reasons why a person cheats. The spark in the relationship was significantly damaged. Everything becomes so mundane. You do the same things over and over again– simply put, the fire is gone.
How to forgive yourself for cheating: Get wild and make the relationship more exciting by trying out new things. Why not go skydiving? Or enroll in a martial arts class? Make time to be together to rekindle the spark that is still present.
Life can be considered a very big game– you’ll be spending a lot of years in that game, and it is impossible that you’ll live it perfectly. From time to time, you will commit mistakes. Most of them are minor, easy to be forgiven and sooner or later will be washed out from your memory. Others will be serious, like neglecting a child, letting go of a wonderful opportunity, and cheating on your spouse.
The question is, after knowing that you’ve wronged someone (your husband or boyfriend), how do you forgive yourself?
Forgiveness is a beautiful word– when someone has wronged you and you have managed to accept the situation, you’ll also start thinking about forgiving and forgetting. When a person has made a huge mistake that hurt your feelings very deeply, it may take time.
Here are some guidelines on how to forgive yourself for cheating.
Remember this; a lot of people will turn a blind eye on their sins, but not you. You have realized the things that went down and you feel bad about it. It’s more than just being guilty; it’s all about feeling guilty.
I’m not telling you to be proud; I’m telling you that you’ve taken a huge step– and that step is right.
Most people find it hard to forgive themselves because they do not know exactly what went wrong. Forgiving yourself for cheating involves reflecting on “why” you cheated.
Why did you cheat in the first place? Look deeply; perhaps you’ve had a solid reason. It may not be valid (because nothing will be), but it may have pushed you to the edge.
Once you know the reason why you cheated, don’t wash your hands clean. They aren’t. Just use that to at least “rationalize” that you’re not completely evil.
Once you have settled yourself in your mind, come clean to your boyfriend or husband. There’s no use burying everything. You won’t be able to forgive yourself if you only hide everything.
Sit down and have a talk. Brace yourself and don’t bite back if he has some bitter words for you. However, don’t let things get physical. If he hits you, draw the line. The steps on “how to forgive yourself for cheating” does not involve you taking a physical blow.
Hear him out; if he shouts, take it. But don’t let him insult you for anything other than infidelity. Keep track of the issue.
If he forgives you (which will be likely if you’re sincere and honest, and he really loves you so much), make sure that you make up for your misgivings.
Spend more time with him. Be more attentive and caring.
On the other hand, you can also end things. Forgiving yourself for cheating includes being honest. So, if you really do not love him anymore, end the farce. There’s no need to be a prisoner just because you are guilty.
Remember, you have wronged a person by lying and being dishonest; don’t add on to the misfits.
And the last step is to learn your lessons. Recall the hurt in his eyes; do you wish for that to happen again? I’m sure the answer is no. So you have to learn your lessons.
When you’re lost, you want directions. It’s the same with forgetting and forgiving. The steps to forgive yourself for cheating are not filled with comfort and relief. In fact, it is the other way around. And it will be much harder if you don’t know what to do.
So, for the benefit of everyone who had an affair behind the backs of their husbands or boyfriends and don’t know how to start with the “reconciliation” process within themselves, this step-by-step guide is prepared for you.
How to forgive yourself for cheating: The Manual
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Often times, the reason why most women are not able to forgive themselves is because they jump into the conclusion that their act of cheating summarizes their whole persona.
Forgiving yourself for cheating does not involve getting beaten by unnecessary guilt. If your mistake is cheating, then it’s about infidelity. It’s not about you being evil.
For this to work, list all the things that you have done correctly. You’re a good mom who prepares meals each day because you don’t want your kids to eat just anything. You’re a good daughter who never fails to remember your parents’ anniversary.
See, there are a lot of good things about you. It’s all about acceptance.
Internalizing that forgiveness is essential. The world will never be at peace if forgiveness is taken for granted. Living a happy life suggests that you forego negativities –the inability to forgive being one of those.
Ask yourself this question: what will happen to my whole life if I’ll live it in grief and guilt? That will be too much of a punishment even for cheating!
Step number three is understanding yourself. Since you know that you are not a witch who does evil things just because it pleases her, you’ll know that there is a reason behind your cheating.
Maybe he was neglecting you. Or perhaps he’s showing interest in other girls. Knowing that you did not cheat out of the blue will at least make you feel decent.
That does not mean though that you have no fault. There’s still no excuse for cheating, but if you have a solid reason behind it, the gravity is lessened.
Be gentle in coming clean – Even if you don’t want to continue the relationship any longer, you still have to be gentle. Remember, you were the one who wronged your partner. Don’t be defensive.
How do you forgive yourself for cheating? Be honest. Your infidelity is a form of lie, so the way to make it right is by being true. Tell him why you did it, but don’t turn the tables and blame him.
Respect his decision – If you still love him but he cannot find it in himself to forgive you just yet, let it go. At least for now. But be sure to tell him how you feel– that you’re sorry and you’re hoping that he’ll give you another shot. If you insist on continuing the commitment when he no longer wants it, you’ll find it harder to forgive yourself.
If he readily forgives you, be thankful. Tell him you’ll make up for all your wrongdoings. But don’t sink down to a level you don’t belong in. Yes, you have cheated, but you don’t deserve to be treated any less.
Forgiving yourself for cheating includes patience and acceptance. Without these two, it’ll be impossible.
Maybe he wasn’t there for you when you needed him. You felt like you were suffering alone when he should have offered at least one of his shoulders for you to cry on. Or maybe you found something in another man that you thought you would never find. You spent months or maybe even years with your lover because you thought he was the one. And then one who seems to be better sweeps you off of your feet.
So, it happened. You cheated.
And now, the guilty feeling is nagging you. Non-stop. What will you do? Forgiving yourself for cheating is not an easy process. In fact, it is more difficult than forgiving someone who has wronged you. So ask for help.
Here are the steps on how to forgive yourself for cheating:
Think about it. Why did you cheat? Consider the following reasons that I have provided in the first paragraph. Perhaps he also has some misgivings. Maybe he neglected you. Although this particular reflection does not wash your hands clean, at least you’ll know that you did not cheat just because you wanted to. There was a reason behind it. Your mistake was when you cheated instead of communicating your concerns.
The second step to forgive yourself for cheating is knowing exactly what you’re guilty of. Once you talk to your husband or boyfriend and come clean to him, make sure that your topic will be about cheating. Don’t let him badmouth you for anything else.
Of course you can talk about the topics that made you commit the mistake, but talk about it as mature adults would. If he ever insults you or hits you, draw the line. If you let him do that, the chances of you forgiving yourself are decreasing.
Is it more time? Is it more attention? Is it assurance? Go back to the reason why you cheated. If you’re feeling lonely because he barely spends time with you, then tell him gently. Forgiving yourself for cheating is all about honesty. You were not honest enough before, so be honest about how you feel and what you want now.
This is a very important step. Most of the people who cheated find it hard to forgive themselves because they feel like their loved one will not be able to forgive them. How will you know if you cannot even utter a simple sorry?
The correct way to ask for forgiveness is being true and gentle, not defensive and demanding. Don’t blame it on him. He may be at fault for something, but it was your choice to cheat on him.
The only way you can make it up to him is by being faithful from now on. It does not mean that you will be his personal slave. Don’t let that happen. Just because you’re guilty, itdoesn’t mean he has the right to step on your pride. Forgiving yourself for cheating does not include being eaten by guilt so much that you forget your worth.
If you ever decide that you can no longer continue the relationship because you have fallen in love with the other man in your life, then so be it. There’s no point in continuing a relationship that you feel nothing for. But again, make sure you apologize. And lastly, learn from your mistakes.
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.