We all make mistakes at some point, especially in our interpersonal interactions. We talk it out, forgive the other person, and move on from there, even if we don’t forget, right? Not all the time. What happens if the person you’re dating makes a mistake that you can’t seem to forgive? What if they didn’t tell you a small white lie, but a bigger one that hurt you? Even if your partner did not cheat on you, learning that they tried to hide anything significant from you – such as their feelings about your relationship – can have a significant impact.
So, is it okay to forgive a lie? Here’s how you can decide…
If you suspect you’re being betrayed or if you catch your partner lying, let them know. On so many levels, the more open and honest you are, the easier it is.
Forgive A Little Slip
It’s okay to forgive when your partner makes a rare mistake and has never done something like it before; it is worth persevering, especially if they express regret. A small white lie might be forgiven, but a large, malicious lie might be too much. Reassess your relationship or seek counselling.
Give A Second Chance Only Once
It’s not a good idea to keep giving your partner opportunities to let you down beyond the first instance. If they express deep regret, declare their love for you, and wallow in pity when they cheat or lie but then do it again, it’s time to move on. You shouldn’t have to go through any more pain and disappointment as a result of their lies.
Put Yourself First
If you don’t feel comfortable or safe, forgive the person but don’t continue the relationship; forgiving entails letting go of the desire for revenge.
Forgive For Your Own Peace
It’s mentally taxing to be unforgiving. Your mind and emotions scream at you to despise, punish and not forgive someone who cheats on you. It’s difficult to let go of these emotions. Nonetheless, forgiving someone who has cheated on you will benefit you more than the cheater. Forgiveness is the only way to move on.
One of my clients, a 32-year-old woman, came to me in 2020 during the pandemic. She had been married for over six years when she discovered her husband was having an affair. Shattered and unbelieving, she confronted her husband immediately, and they got divorced within six months. But she found that she couldn’t move on. She had thought she was over it, but she was really miserable. The situation started to affect her personal life, and she lost her job as well. A year after the divorce, she came to me and I was able to make her realise that it was important to forgive her ex-husband and move on.
“There are more important things to consider than your anger at someone who has cheated on you”
Sheetal Shaparia – Life Coach
Keep in mind that your intellect has limited – but valuable – space. There are more important things to consider than your anger at someone who has cheated on you. Getting rid of resentment makes room for more pleasant thoughts and feelings. It can be challenging to get to the point where you can stop it from engulfing your attention, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Ultimately, you are not obliged to forgive. You do not have to forgive someone who lies and is unrepentant about it, or even someone who lies, apologises and then does it again. Forgiveness will not come just because the other person apologises. But anger and resentment have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health. Forgiveness helps you stay healthy; anxiety, stress and aggression are reduced, your blood pressure stays in control, symptoms of depression are reduced, the immune system and the heart are boosted, and you will have increased self esteem. Forgiveness is generally a good idea, but the decision is ultimately yours.