Forgiveness After Betrayal: Forgiveness Exercises for You and Your Partner
Every relationship will have its ups and downs. You should never enter a relationship expecting perfection. However, betrayal tends to be a huge issue in any relationship. When your partner or spouse betrays you, it can leave you with feelings of mistrust, conflict, and immense hurt.
Fortunately, betrayal does not necessarily mark the end of a relationship. If you and your spouse still want to work things out, forgiveness is going to have to be a priority. Keep in mind that forgiving someone after betrayal is not an easy task. Fortunately, it is something you can achieve using forgiveness exercises.
Preparation Before the Exercises
You will need to make certain preparations before diving into your steps toward forgiveness. For starters, you are going to have to acknowledge, and even express the anger and hurt you feel. It is best to get your feelings out into the open.
If you harbor your feelings, it is more likely that they will resurface at a later point. If you allow feelings of hurt and anger to resurface, it will make it near impossible for you to forgive your partner. Keep in mind that while expressing yourself and how you feel, the goal is not to attack, or even disrespect your spouse.
Make sure you also prepare by ensuring that you and your partner both want to participate in forgiveness exercises. If you cajole one another into the exercises, they might not turn out successfully. If you or your partner feels forced into forgiveness, then the exercises will lack sincerity.
Successful Exercises for Forgiveness
Now that you have made the proper preparations, you are ready to move onto your forgiveness exercises. Make sure you complete each step before moving onto the next. No matter how difficult a step might seem, it is something you must complete to achieve a forgiving approach toward your partner.
Exercises for forgiveness include:
- Communication: The most crucial step you can take toward forgiveness is the first step, which is communication. It is pertinent that you and your partner discuss how you feel. You must keep a level head during this discussion and you must allow each other to take turns speaking. Listen to what each other has to say in silence and you can get to the root of the problem.
- Understanding: Once you have put your feelings and emotions on the table through communication, practice understanding. Rather than expecting your partner to understand you, try to understand your partner and vice versa. By practicing more understanding toward one another, you can accept each other’s differences and flaws.
- Support: Next among the forgiveness exercises, is supporting each other. Forgiveness is about supporting one another so you can grow and evolve together as a stronger, more capable unit. Keep in mind that this exercise can take time. It will take time for wounds to heal and the hurt of betrayal to fade. However, if you work to support each other through the healing process, you can achieve forgiveness.
- Letting Go: Letting go is perhaps the most difficult of all the forgiveness exercises there are. It is not easy for a person to let go after they feel betrayed. However, the best way to let go is to get rid of all the hurt you have let build over the years. Perhaps you have felt the sting of betrayal from someone beside your partner. For instance, a family member or friend may have left you feeling betrayed. You must let go of all those past incidents so you can focus on the current incident with your spouse.
- Moving Forward: Once you feel the weight of past betrayals lifted off your shoulders, it will be easier to address the betrayal caused by your spouse. From there, it will also be easier to move forward with complete and total forgiveness. Make sure you are honest with yourself and your partner. If you cannot say with all accuracy that you forgive your spouse, then you are not quite ready for this step just yet.
Seeking Outside Help
Sometimes couples need additional support aside from what forgiveness exercises can offer. In those instances, therapy can provide positive breakthroughs. A therapist can assist you in navigating through communications, understanding, and forgiveness.
Additionally, a therapist can provide you with additional exercises that may guide you through the process of forgiveness. Make sure to get in touch with a therapist for assistance no matter if you choose to forgive your partner and make the relationship work or forgive and simply move on from the relationship.
Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office located in Louisville, Colorado for in-office visits. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 16 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her eclectic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).