How long does it take to forgive cheating?
Recovering from an affair takes time, especially if you’re invested in the relationship enough to try to make it work even after you’ve been cheated on. If you’re the one who’s done the cheating, then you can’t expect things to necessarily ever go back to the way they were.
If you are the one cheated on
There are several keys to forgiving an affair that you have to know if you are going to salvage your relationship. Firstly, you have make sure you’re not being a doormat. If he cheated on you and denied your suspicions until no denial was possible you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth forgiving in. If you’re only doing it for religious reasons, like you’re married and you’re not allowed get a divorce, it might be in your best interest to talk to your priest, pastor, rabbi, or whoever about your options. You don’t deserve to be lied to your face like that, and you do deserve to be in a committed loving relationship with someone who feels the same way about you as you do about them. You can forgive this person without necessarily subjecting yourself to their mistreatment.
If they were honest and did not try to lie to you, you may feel just as bad, but at least they have enough respect to tell you the truth. Forgiveness for cheating may take time. Not only do you have to reevaluate your marriage, but also you start thinking back on all the memories you’ve created together, and those get recast in the light of this terrible experience. For most people, it’s hard to ever get over and no amount of time will be long enough.
What you can do to expedite this process is be firm about your expectations moving forward. If it’s worth it try to save the marriage, then it’s worth it to try to get a marriage counselor so that the two of you can rebuild your relationship properly. Too often folks try to do this themselves, but they have difficulty communicating in a non-accusatory way, and that makes things much more difficult in the long. Give the effort, and you will eventually get the results.
If you are the one who did the cheating
You should expect that if you want to save your relationship, you’re going to need to take full responsibility for what you did, without putting any of it on your spouse. Even if they were emotionally cold or distant, and even if your needs were not being met sexually, you’re still trying to save your relationship. So being accusatory will be counterproductive, as it will be for them too. You can talk about your needs for a relationship, and you can talk about how those needs were not being fulfilled, but you can say that your spouse caused you to cheat by not fulfilling those needs. That’s coercive and unfair. You had the option to talk to them about it, and you had a choice as to whether you cheated or not.
It will take time before the two of you can learn to trust one another again. Getting a marriage counselor will work, and putting the time and effort into the relationship that it deserves will show that you’re trying to do the right thing. That goes a long way.