I recently wrote about regaining trust after an affair and how forgiveness is important to the process of rebuilding trust. I promised in that last blog that I would tackle that topic which is why I’m writing this one.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you need to “forgive and forget,” but from a neurological perspective, forgetting is certainly not a part of that process. In fact, if you read the last blog then you know that forgetting isn’t even necessarily recommended. You should remember. That’s a protective factor for both of you.
When you learn to forgive, memories of an affair can play a much smaller role than they do now. So, the aim is not to forget, but to forgive.
Here are some practical steps you can take to work on forgiveness.
#1: Understand why there is a need for forgiveness.
This is a two-parter. First of all, you need to understand what your spouse has done that deserves forgiveness. And this isn’t necessarily a straight-forward answer. For some couples, it takes a few months to get the full realization of what the betrayal means for them. For instance, at first, there may be a focus on the physical part of the relationship while some time later the focus may be on the actual deception that was necessary to hide the affair, still later, the focus may be on the emotional relationship that the spouse had with the lover. But, to fully forgive, you must fully understand all areas of the hurt. (more…)