In this podcast, Anne Bercht shares the pathway to forgiveness and acceptance after an affair or any kind of betrayal or infidelity.
Forgiveness is the very last step in affair recovery, not the first. A healing process needs to be honoured. It can take two years or longer to get to this place. We have seen some couples heal in as little as one year. The common denominator with these couples is that they are the ones that found and attended one of our programs early in the healing process.
Acceptance is for some a preferred word over forgiveness. Everyone attaches different meanings to words themselves. The bottom line is this horrible, unwanted event has taken place, and no one can turn back the hands of time and make it unhappen, so we enter into a grieving process. We grieve the death of our marriage as we have known it. We go through stages of anger, sadness, denial, bargaining, and hopefully, when the healing process has been honored enough, we come to a place of acceptance – that is not to say it is okay that it happened. It’s not okay, but accepting that this is now part of our life story, that can’t be changed, but we can find happiness on the other side. Infidelity does not need to rob us of all joy in the future, unless we let it.
Forgiveness and acceptance after an affair does not necessarily mean we reconcile with our spouse.
It’s not the affair itself that does the greatest amount of damage to a marriage, but rather the mistakes the that husbands and wives make after disclosure.
One of the biggest mistakes the unfaithful spouse usually makes is minimizing, in other words continuing to lie, while claiming to tell the truth. Inevitably the full truth is discovered, and then it is almost impossible to restore trust, because the betrayed says, “how can I ever trust you again, when you lied to me, while claiming to tell the truth?
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