Is It True That Once a Man Cheats, He Will Cheat Again?

Q&A on How to Forgive a Cheating Spouse (Question #2)

Dear Suzie, My husband is begging me to forgive him (if not for him, for the sake of the children). But I was raised to believe that if a man cheats once, he’ll cheat again. If I forgive him, won’t that just confirm that he can do whatever he wants to me and get away with it?

Let’s answer that question with another question: Who benefits from forgiveness? And who is punished by withholding forgiveness? This is a very important thing to look at. In the end…infidelity has no winners—only survivors. And I believe the key to surviving any unfair situation in life is to forgive it and let it go. If this doesn’t make sense to you, read my article about The Astonishing Power of True Forgiveness.

However, for now, consider this:

Would you be more willing to forgive if you knew (beyond the shadow of a doubt) this would be your spouse’s one and only indiscretion for the rest of your married life?

If your answer is yes, then trust is what you need to work on. But here’s the thing: Without forgiveness, rebuilding trust is impossible.

I must ask you to consider carefully. What is it you truly want? Do you want to BE right or do you want to DO what is right for yourself and your family?

Here’s the thing:

Many of us are raised to believe that forgiveness is a favor granted by those who are right (superior) to those who are wrong (inferior). I would ask you to look closely at this premise and ask yourself…IS THAT TRUE? When you forgive, are you really doing the other person a favor?

Here’s another thing:

Infidelity isn’t an unforgivable crime committed only by bad people. In fact, the opposite is more often true. Infidelity (like many other mistakes) is mostly committed by good people who’ve fallen into the trap of a bad decision.

Who among us hasn’t been in that situation?

This is why forgiveness should never be viewed as a superior gesture or some kind of welfare handout. Because forgiveness is a gift. Forgiveness is a gift, it's a simbol of loveIt’s a symbol of love. We forgive, not because we are better human beings, but because we are human beings ourselves…and so, we understand that in this life, making mistakes and making bad decisions are par for the course.

One final note:

It sounds to me as if you’ve been influenced by the superstition that says…once-a-cheater-always-a-cheater. This type of cliché suggests that people cannot (and do not) learn from their mistakes and are therefore doomed to forever repeat their mistakes. Again, I must ask you. Is this true? If it were true, would we have made it out of the dark ages?

Here’s the beautiful truth:

The ability to learn from our mistakes is part of the reason that human beings have become the most successful species on this planet. So keep that in mind, and be wary of writing people off or assuming that a person can’t be a one-time mistake-maker. I guarantee you there are plenty of them out there.

Until we speak again...

Remember... Love Wins!

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