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10 Reasons Not To Forgive A Cheating Partner

by Ellen "Jelly" McRae about a month ago in advice
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10. A little resentment educates the meek…

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Just forgive your cheating partner, right?

You want to stay with them; you want to make the relationship work, and they’re sorry, so forgive them. Simple.

Oh yeah, if only it was that easy.

I’m someone who has forgiven and regretted it. I’m the one who has felt the stung of being the dupe who should have known better, but took the high road and issued forgiveness.

I’ve been the idiot who’s let a cheating partner back into my life because that’s what you’re “meant to do”.

You don’t have to forgive your partner for doing the dirty on you. In fact, here are all the reasons you shouldn’t even entertain the idea:

1. They don’t deserve your forgiveness

They cheated on you. They went behind your back and slept with, kissed, or fooled around with someone else.

They broke a trust contract between you, the contract that each of you will act faithfully towards each other.

If this was business, you would sue. If this was a transaction between you and a retailer, you would ask for a refund.

2. Fake forgiveness sucks

If you’re letting go of your resentment because you think you should, because it’s “healthy” for you, disappointment awaits you.

Fake forgiveness is like going on a short-term diet.

You can get through an interim period, you might feel a little healthier in the end, but it will go back to the way it was. If you’re not genuine about your forgiveness, it won’t stick.

3. They haven’t always asked for your forgiveness

Here’s a screwed-up thought that a lot of cheat-ees don’t realize.

We’re trying our hardest to forgive our cheating partner, but our significant other isn’t asking for forgiveness.

They don’t want our forgiveness. They want out of the relationship. Or they want to hurt you or they want to bask in the act of doing something wrong.

You’re forgiving them for your own sake. That’s fine to do, by the way. Forgiveness can help you move on and get over the situation.

But if you’re doing it to make them feel better, because you think it’s something they want, you’re not always right in that assumption.

4. Forgiveness isn’t a guarantee to override how sh*t you feel

I admire those who forgive and move on, just like that.

To me, forgiving a cheater is like a hangover.

It gets better over time; you grow to feel better as time passes. Despite timing passing, there’s always a memory of the headaches, the sick feeling in your stomach, and regret.

Taking a dose of forgiveness isn’t like popping paracetamol when the hangover takes over.

Cheating + forgiveness doesn’t = happiness.

Sometimes you never get over it. As much as you’ve tried to forgive, you can’t shake the pain caused by their indiscretion. For some people, no amount of forgiveness will reverse what has happened.

5. Forgiveness won’t repair how screwed your relationship is now

Let’s be real. When cheating happens, your relationship hits a roadblock.

There’s more anger between you than ever before. You don’t know how you will ever trust again. You don’t have your head on straight. It’s the worst.

Most people will do anything to make this situation go away. Someone get out the Men In Black memory eraser stick and wipe it across the eyes of everyone involved.

Forgiveness doesn’t do this. It doesn’t reset your relationship back to normal. Though most think it’s supposed to, probably because romantic movies tell us it will, that’s not another guarantee we can rely on.

6. Forgiveness doesn’t address why they cheated

Everyone cheats for a reason.

As a side note, if anyone tells you they cheated, and they don’t know why they’re a dirty liar. Everyone has their reasons for cheating, some innocent in their ways, and others more sinister and planned.

Anyway, back to forgiving them. Your forgiveness doesn’t solve, work through, or help manage their reasons for cheating on you.

For example, if they cheat because they feel sexually unsatisfied in their relationship with you, forgiveness doesn’t fill the void. It doesn’t work through the issue or even address it at all.

7. You forgive, they get a free pass to go again

Though we would like to think our forgiveness is something our cheating partner earns and respects, this isn’t always the case.

They might see this as an opportunity to cheat again.

It’s like children. They work out what buttons they can push with their authority figures. They experiment with how far they can go with their behavior and push those limits time and again.

You’re the parent in this scenario.

Sucks, right?

But the reality is, the more you forgive, the more they can get away with it if they don’t have the morals or respect to change their behavior.

8. Your forgiveness doesn’t create a time machine

This was something I learned the hard way. I cheated on my ex and we broke up. Then a year later, we got back together again.

But as we began dating again, the subject of my cheating rose its ugly head as if no time had passed. Despite my ex-boyfriend claiming he had forgiven me and we were starting fresh, it didn’t stop my previous indiscretion being:

  • Brought up during a normal, healthy conversation about our relationships
  • Used against me when the time was right (unhealthy conversation)
  • A prediction of what might happen again
  • A part of our history neither of us could erase

There is a reason the saying goes, “forgive and forget.” The two concepts are completely opposite of each other.

To forgive isn’t to forget/pretend it never happened.

And to forget doesn’t mean the other person has forgiven you.

9. If they have the cheating gene, your forgiveness won’t rid them of it

Some people are born to cheat; they have the cheating gene, as I like to call it. They’re incapable of a monogamous relationship.

When they cheat, it’s like breathing. And no matter how much forgiveness you apply to their behaviors, they won’t change. It’s not going to happen.

This is when we need to think about a healthy dose of tough love in a relationship.

To forgive is to exercise the most amount of love possible. But to hold some back might help the person wrestling with serial cheating.

Knowing they can’t get away with it, knowing you won’t let go of the hurt, might force them to make permanent changes to their behavior. Or seek help with why they can’t remain monogamous.

In the best-case scenario, it might help them let you go, which allows you the freedom to find happiness elsewhere.

10. A little resentment educates the meek

This is a thought for those who experience constant unfaithfulness from the people in their romantic lives. Sometimes, your forgiveness doesn’t teach you anything about how people behave around you.

It doesn’t teach you that someone will do this to you again, and how you need to protect yourself from getting hurt.

A little anti-forgiveness now and then will teach you the standards of relationships you’re willing to tolerate. And it will help you set those standards so people, like those of your past, don’t continue to walk all over you.

Your big heart is vulnerable. Sometimes you need to shrink it down to stop the vultures from getting at it.

Forgiveness is up to you

A final thought about forgiving a cheater; it’s completely up to you. Forgiveness can be a concept that helps us move on more than it helps the other person.

If that’s what you need to help you sleep at night, keep forgiving. I won’t stop you.

But it’s always important to remember we only have so much forgiveness to give before people think you’re a pushover.

If all else fails, exercise some balance in your forgiveness.

It can’t hurt.

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About the author

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here: www.ellenjellymcrae.com

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