Man cheating on his wife

If your spouse cheated on you, but came clean and admitted to the affair, could you forgive?

October 5, 2017
  • Yes, I am naturally a forgiving person
  • Maybe, if it happened once and the apology seemed sincere
  • Absolutely not, once a cheater always a cheater
  • I’m not sure

Infidelity can be a gut-wrenching experience. When a spouse cheats, the emotional aftershock can leave one reeling, questioning everything from the foundation of the marriage to their own self-worth. Yet, faced with the daunting question of whether to forgive a cheating partner, Americans’ answers vary as widely as the country’s diverse landscapes.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”

Alexander Pope

This timeless quote captures the essence of human nature and the nobility of forgiveness. But can this sentiment extend to a breach of trust as profound as infidelity?

Yes, I am naturally a forgiving person

For some, forgiveness is a deeply ingrained trait, reflecting not just on the offense at hand, but also on a broader life philosophy. Research indicates that those who possess a higher tendency towards forgiveness often report better overall mental health and lower levels of anxiety and depression. Additionally, a study has shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to experience longer, more satisfying relationships.

People who align with this choice believe in second chances and often view mistakes as a pathway to growth. They understand that humans are flawed and that every relationship encounters its challenges. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.” They may see infidelity as a significant setback but also as an opportunity to rebuild, recommit, and rediscover the relationship’s strength.

Maybe, if it happened once and the apology seemed sincere

The uncertainty that revolves around the word “maybe” reflects the complexity of emotions surrounding infidelity. Some believe that context matters and that a one-time mistake, if accompanied by sincere remorse, could be forgiven.

A survey revealed that over 60% of Americans believe that the sincerity behind an apology is crucial in determining whether to forgive a mistake. This finding underscores the importance of genuine remorse in mending broken trust. In the realm of infidelity, the depth of the betrayal, the reasons behind it, and the cheater’s commitment to change might influence one’s willingness to forgive.

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”

For individuals resonating with this sentiment, understanding the root cause of the cheating and assessing the genuineness of the apology are paramount. They believe in the possibility of redemption but also recognize the importance of boundaries and conditions.

Absolutely not, once a cheater always a cheater

There’s an age-old saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” and many firmly stand by this belief. For these individuals, trust, once broken, is irreparable. They regard fidelity as the bedrock of a relationship, and any breach is a deal-breaker.

A survey showed that about 30% of Americans believe that certain actions, including infidelity, are unforgivable, no matter the circumstances. This perspective often arises from past experiences, observations of others’ relationships, or deeply held values about commitment and trust.

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.”

Dhar Mann

People holding this view prioritize self-respect and believe that there are certain boundaries in relationships that should never be crossed. For them, moving on might be the best way to find peace and happiness.

I’m not sure

Life is complex, and so are relationships. Not everyone can have a clear-cut answer when it comes to matters of the heart. The emotional weight of infidelity can leave one oscillating between anger, hurt, love, and confusion.

Interestingly, a national poll found that a substantial number of Americans, nearly 40%, felt unsure about how they’d react if their partner cheated. Such uncertainty can stem from various factors – the strength of the bond, the circumstances surrounding the affair, personal experiences with infidelity, or even societal pressures.

“Not everything is black and white. The world is filled with colors, and so are our choices and feelings.”

Shannon L. Alder

For those in the “I’m not sure” camp, taking time to heal, seeking therapy, or confiding in trusted friends might provide clarity. After all, navigating the emotional maze of betrayal requires patience and introspection.

In Conclusion

Infidelity challenges the very core of a relationship, demanding introspection, communication, and sometimes tough decisions. While Alexander Pope eloquently spoke of the divinity of forgiveness, the path one chooses post-betrayal is deeply personal and influenced by myriad factors. Whether you’re someone who believes in the power of forgiveness, the sanctity of trust, or if you’re floating in the sea of uncertainty, your feelings are valid. Remember, every relationship is unique, and so is the journey towards healing and closure.

  • Share opinions on topics that matter to you.
  • Learn what others think through comprehensive, real time stats.
  • Your vote is anonymous.
Sign Up. It's free!
Register to vote and to view all content
  • in use
  • taken
    We assume that you want to comment anonymously so we recommend not using your real name for the username.
    • Must be 6 - 20 characters.
    • Allowed characters: a-z, A-Z, 0-9, underscores, periods and hyphens.
    • Must start with a letter.
  • Password must meet the following requirements:
    • Be at least 8 characters
    • At least one number
    • At least one uppercase letter
    • At least one lowercase letter
  • I agree to Terms of Use and I have read Privacy Policy.
Sign Up

More in Love
An ethereal twilight forest, where bioluminescent mushrooms illuminate a clearing and in the center, a crystal-clear pond reflects a constellation not seen in our night sky. Nearby, a family of deer with iridescent antlers in the water
How do you perceive the balance of closeness and distance in intimate relationships?
September 23, 2023
  • It's crucial to find the perfect balance to maintain warmth without pain.
  • Too much closeness can be suffocating; distance is necessary.
  • Intimacy requires constant adjustment, much like porcupines finding the right distance.
  • Relationships are more about enduring imperfections than seeking perfect proximity.
  • People inherently have flaws, and relationships require accepting those flaws.
Balancing Act: Closeness vs. Distance in Intimate Relationships When we embark on the journey of intimate relationships, one of the most delicate dances we engage…
beautiful young multiethnic couple
How would you describe you and your partner’s psychological compatibility?
March 30, 2019
  • Outstanding. We’re like two peas in a pod
  • It’s good, but it could use some improvement
  • We’re incompatible, but we appreciate the differences
  • Incompatible, and it’s only a matter of time before we separate
“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.” – Will Ferrell Psychological…