Have you done the unthinkable? If you have sunk as low as you can and decided to cheat on your spouse and are now feeling guilty, you may wonder what to do next. If you need to ask your spouse for forgiveness and don’t know how, keep reading, these steps will help.
- Want forgiveness. Before you ask for forgiveness, you need to mean it. You need to want to be forgiven and actually convey that need.
- Determine why you cheated. People are unfaithful to their spouses for any number of reasons. You need to determine why you decided to step outside of the relationship for intimacy. Then accept your reasons and take responsibility for your choices. Once you know why you chose to cheat you need to know whether you will do it again. Why bother going forward and asking forgiveness if you intend to be unfaithful again?
- Stop the affair. If you want forgiveness, you need to end the infidelity. Stop breaking your vows so that you can come clean with your spouse.
- Come clean. Be honest about what you did and why. This is not the time to start blaming your spouse for your choice to cheat. Even if your marriage has hit a rough spot, you still need to come clean about the part you played in your marriage woes. Don’t try to play your spouse false again by pretending to apologize when you don’t mean it. Do not make excuses. Coming clean is about being honest with yourself and with your spouse.
- Show remorse. If you don’t feel remorse about your actions then go back and repeat Step Two. Your spouse needs to know that you feel remorse or there is no reason for him or her to forgive you. Let your honest emotions and regret show.
- Apologize…and mean it. You might be amazed to learn how many people expect forgiveness without ever actually apologizing for what they have done. It is not enough to cry and let him know you feel bad about what you’ve done. You have to actually say the words "I’m sorry" and then mean them.
- Ask for what you want. Once you have come clean with your spouse you need to be able to ask for forgiveness. He or she won’t know what you want unless you ask. Be aware that you may have to ask more than once; since your spouse is the wronged party, he or she has a right to take the time to process and decide whether forgiveness is even possible.
- Practice patience. These steps may need to be repeated while your spouse processes the information of your infidelity. You may have several fights, several times when you need to apologize; even more, you may need to give your spouse time to make up his or her mind what to do next.
Infidelity is at its core a broken promise. If you have broken the promise of your marriage you can follow these steps to ask your spouse for forgiveness. He or she may or may not offer it in time – but at least you will have made the effort and asked to be forgiven.