Affair Forgiveness

Forgiveness, With a Side of Grudge

by Stephanie Anderson (edited)

Have you told your cheating spouse you forgive him/her, only… you still harbor a colossal-sized grudge?

It’s not unusual for an affair victim to try to rush the healing process, only to move even further apart from their spouse rather than toward reconciliation.

In this blog, we’ll look at forgiveness and grudges—and whether you may have jumped to forgive too soon. Also, I’ll give you 3 tips to gauge whether or not you’re ready to forgive. Read on…

What a Grudge Does for You

According to, a grudge is defined as “a feeling of ill will or resentment.”

Well, your spouse cheated on you, broke your heart, and has set off a cascade of negative thoughts and painful emotions. Who wouldn’t have ill will and resentment?

What causes a person to feel a grudge toward another person isn’t random: it’s triggered by another person inflicting pain of some sort upon us—whether the pain inflicted was intended or not. When you hold a grudge, you’re psychologically placing a barrier up to protect yourself from further harm by this person.  

But this becomes a double-edged sword. You want to protect yourself from further hurt. After all, you were probably shocked that your spouse is capable of cheating, and it’s only natural to not trust your spouse not to do it again. You’re in a stage where you need to reset the bar of “what my spouse is capable of.”

However, if a grudge is in place, you may struggle to let it go. It’s a comfort because it’s protection, and yet, it’s also a wedge between you and your spouse.

If you and your spouse have discussed reconciliation and would like to save your marriage, a grudge will stand in the way. Also, if your spouse has begged your forgiveness and you’ve offered it, you may also be resentful because you may have felt pushed to patch things up before you were emotionally ready.

Here are three tips to help you discover whether or not you’ve been too quick to forgive, which may be why you are holding a grudge:

Step 1: You Have Zero Trust in Your Spouse

If you have offered your spouse forgiveness, but your spouse has not done the work to rebuild trust, then you are likely to hold a grudge because it’s too soon.

You may feel that with forgiveness, you’ve given your spouse a free pass—especially when they haven’t done anything to get back in your good graces.  

Step 2: Your Emotions are Like Seismic Activity

If your emotions are still volatile, you may hold a grudge against your spouse if you’ve offered forgiveness and yet are still reeling from pain.

Working through difficult emotions is your very first step before you could even realistically think about forgiveness.  

Step 3: You Forgave Based on Religious Beliefs

I’m not going to preach to you or tell you how religion should work in your life. We’ve all heard the saying “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”

But, you simply may not be ready to forgive, and while you may believe the right thing to do is forgive, your emotions may not be there yet. It doesn’t mean you can’t come to affair forgiveness: many people do. However, you need to take care of yourself, working through the negative emotions and post-affair pain that you are experiencing.


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