If he apologizes for the affair, should you forgive him?

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You’re not sure if he’s sorry for hurting you, or sorry for getting caught. You’re not sure you can ever trust him again. What you need now is some way to sort your feelings out and make a decision.

How much does an apology mean? There are different kinds of apologies. There is the obligatory but insincere apology; the guilty but not truly repentant kind; the one that braces you for more bad news to come; the complicated one that mixes up guilt, confusion/placation/conflict. Then, sometimes, there’s a genuine, heartfelt, true apology, from the soul, and a promise to change. Whether or not that change can be achieved is another story, however.

The other question is, what does forgiveness mean to you?

It doesn’t mean approving of his actions, or even deciding to take him back if that’s not the right thing to do in your circumstances. Forgiveness is not about condoning his actions, nor excusing them. It’s not for erasing his past misdeeds. It doesn’t mean you suddenly now trust him again.

What forgiveness does, however, is help you release negative energy, resentment and the pain of judgment. It enables you to let something more positive come into your life, whether that’s reconciliation or a new relationship. Forgiveness is not about giving up your strength; in fact, it’s empowering.

So should you accept his apology? Yes. Should you forgive him? Yes.

Is your work over? Of course not. If he is really sincere, he will break off his extramarital relationship immediately and let his poor suffering ‘other woman’ get on with her own life. He’ll be willing to focus his energy and attention on you, on the marriage, and do the deep, painful, brutally honest ‘inner work’ that true reconciliation will require.

Whatever ends up happening, by forgiving your cheating husband in this way, you’ve freed yourself emotionally and spiritually to begin healing for damage caused by his infidelity.