While cheating on a partner often breaks up a relationship, it doesn't always have to be the case. If handled appropriately and depending on the strength of the relationship prior to the infidelity, it may be possible to regain your partner's trust and mend your relationship. Asking for forgiveness is rarely easy, but it is an important step to salvaging whatever can be salvaged after infidelity has occurred.
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Speak to your partner in person to ask for forgiveness, if this is possible to do. If you are not able to speak to your partner in person, arrange a time to speak over the phone or write a letter or e-mail to ask for forgiveness.
Acknowledge that what you did was wrong. You must accept responsibility for your actions and admit to your partner that you did the wrong thing and made a mistake by cheating. Do not make excuses for the behaviour -- doing so will make it appear that you are not accepting full responsibility for your behaviour.
Apologise for making the mistake and for whatever pain your mistake has caused your partner. You can say something like, "I am truly sorry for causing you this pain."
Ask directly for forgiveness for your actions, but acknowledge that you understand if your partner cannot forgive you immediately. Forgiving infidelity often takes time because a trust has been broken and you will have to work to regain that trust.
Tips and warnings
- If you are better at writing things than verbalising them, you can also write out your letter of apology and request for forgiveness and give it to your partner to read in person. You can then discuss it, if you both agree to, after.
- Arrange relationship counselling with a therapist if both of you decide to continue with the relationship. A relationship counsellor can help you to work through trust issues that arise in these situations.
- Do not expect forgiveness to happen overnight. It may not happen at all, in some cases.
- You may need to offer sincere apologies often to the person you've wronged before the apology is accepted.
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