I recently put out a call for people who had survived a relationship disaster, and I got quite a few surprising responses – one question that kept occurring was how does a person forgive themselves if they were the one who cheated?
This situation naturally causes a lot of mixed feelings which is understandable. We find it hard to forgive cheaters, so how do cheaters feel about their own behavior?
The degrees to which ‘cheating’ can be measured are varied. There isn’t just ‘cheating’ and that’s it. There are gradients. There’s emotional cheating, physical cheating, and degrees to how far it goes. One night stand on a single business trip, for example, is far different than a pattern of Craigslist meetings, which is still different than years of living a double life.
It’s like how stealing can range from shoplifting to milking a widower over the course of 18 months for her life savings. So when it comes to cheating and forgiveness, the answer isn’t that simple. You can’t just ask “How do I forgive myself after I cheated?” It’s too simple.
The first step to forgiving yourself is the same as it is for any transgression: you’ve got to acknowledge what you’ve done.
It’s going to hurt.