Did your mom ever tell you when you were a lovesick teen that a guy who cheats once will always do it again? Personally, I’m not so sure. I’m no pushover, but I’m prepared to forgive a cheat—here’s why.
Everyone makes mistakes. I know, I know, this is exactly the kind of cliched crap cheaters say, but the fact is, it’s true. No honest human can say they’ve never made a mistake—some people just make bigger mistakes than others. Not every guy who cheats has made an innocent error, but for those who have and show genuine remorse, you’d have to be pretty heartless to not hear them out.
An affair is a wake-up call. No one wants to have to deal with an affair, but if a guy’s been cheating, there has to be some reason for it. Sure, in some cases he’s a total douche, and you have my blessing to kick him out of your life. In other cases, though, could there be some other problem? Maybe you’ve grown distant or you haven’t been there for each other, and cheating brings those issues to light. Sometimes an affair can be the wake-up call that sets your relationship back on track.
It can make you stronger. I’ve been in “perfect” relationships before, and the minute things start to go wrong, it’s scary as hell. Knowing that things aren’t always going to be plain sailing but that you can still get through them together makes you a far stronger couple than the one that’s never had a fight. If you come through a cheating scenario and out the other side, your relationship can only get more solid.
There’s more than one definition of cheat. Cheating can cover a whole multitude of sins, so it’s ridiculous to blanket everyone with the same attitude. I’d find it much harder to forgive a guy that had been sustaining a long-term affair with one of my close friends than the one who drunkenly kissed a stranger on a guys’ night out. People do stupid things, but as long as they’re not malicious with it, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
I know when something isn’t right. People who forgive a cheat worry that the same thing will happen to them again. Sure, you run that risk, but no more than you do in any relationship. If it’s time to end a relationship, my gut will tell me. If not, I’m prepared to give it another chance. Sure, if it happens twice, the guy’s not worth your time, but he should be given the chance to change before he’s ditched.
Revenge hurts everyone. Who am I hurting if I cut a guy that’s cheated out of my life right away? Ultimately, I’m causing myself as much pain as I am him. Holding onto anger and wanting revenge keeps up a cycle of negativity that hurts everyone. Being able to forgive and move forward makes you the much bigger person.
Feelings don’t go away overnight. Just because my boyfriend made a stupid mistake, that doesn’t mean all my feelings for him have miraculously disappeared. I can’t automatically stop loving someone on demand, and it would be pretty crazy to even try. If I still care about someone, it’s natural to want to make a relationship work.
Life isn’t black and white. Relationships aren’t simple, which is why cheating ends up happening in the first place. If a guy cheats on me, I won’t truly know how I’ll react until it happens because there’s no one right thing to do that’s the same for every single person. One thing’s for sure: the decision will have to be made by me.
I won’t let myself be walked all over. If all this is making me sound like too much of a pushover, let me reassure you. I’m not about to let somebody walk all over me, and if a guy treats me badly, he’ll find himself single pretty quickly. Thing is, no one can be perfect 24/7, which is why I’m prepared to forgive if it just comes down to one silly mistake. I like to think that the guy I’m with would do the same for me too.
There’s more good to come from forgiving. The options you have when somebody cheats are to run for your life, or forgive and try and make it work. Who stands to gain from each scenario? In the first, I end up alone, bitter and resentful, and my BF is full of regret and shame. In the second, we might have a hard time rebuilding the trust between us, but once we do, we’ll have a stronger relationship than we did to start with. I know which of those sounds more worth fighting for.
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