You feel cut to the heart seeing your partner suffer so much because of what you did.
That is a good sign!
And yet, you wonder if they will ever be able to forgive you.
Is there something you can do to help make them feel better? Some way to help them move past the pain, demonstrate your remorse, and allow them to plainly see how serious you are about wanting their forgiveness?
Actually, there are several actions you can take to demonstrate your sincerity.
Clear Demonstrations That You Are Seeking Forgiveness
1. End the affair relationship
Willingly and completely. That includes all communication and friendship ties to that person. Calling it quits with the other person is a must! You’ll have to do this openly and clearly, leaving no doubts in your partner’s mind.
That means you’ll have to let them hear or see you telling the other person that it’s over. It also includes making a promise to your partner that you will not seek to renew contact with the affair partner ever again, nor will you accept any efforts by that person to contact you.
2. Accept responsibility for your actions
Maybe both of you had been unhappy or frustrated with your marriage, but only you cheated. It was your choice, no one else’s. Don’t expect sympathy. Avoid making excuses. Avoid being defensive. Instead, deal with your mistake. Take responsibility for your own actions and acknowledge your error to your partner.
3. Give a sincere, heartfelt apology
Demonstrate your remorse by offering a profound, genuine apology. In order to even consider forgiving you, your partner must know that you’re taking their hurt seriously and that you’ll do everything in your power to avoid repeating your actions.
So, express your sorrow, your regret, and your grief. Tell them, “I’m sorry.” Listen empathically to their reply and allow their emotional experience to impact you. Show them—through words, touch, etc.—that their pain causes you pain. (You can’t fake this!) And then ask them for forgiveness.
At the same time, acknowledge that you understand that it will take some time before they can consider forgiveness and that you are willing to be patient.
4. Answer questions honestly
Provide information about the affair voluntarily. Be completely honest when answering your partner’s questions so that they can get a correct picture of the situation. Avoid letting them fill in details incorrectly. Understand that they are trying to make sense of what happened. When pieces of the puzzle are missing, you block their ability to go through that process.
For example, they may want to know how serious this relationship was, what it meant to you, and what it implies in connection to your marriage. Be prepared to explain this many times over if you want any chance of forgiveness.
Some spouses feel that total honesty would only hurt their partner further. That may be true in some cases, but what your partner really needs how is total honesty.
5. Become an open book
Basically, you have to come to grips with the fact that you forfeited your rights to privacy due to your actions. You must give your partner access to everything you do and every device you have—phone, computer, email, voicemail, etc.
Whether they will take advantage of that and check up on your activities or not is up to them, not you. This may seem harsh, but to demonstrate that you want forgiveness, you must become an open book. No more secrets!
6. Stay available and demonstrate appreciation
Although your partner may understandably need a break, do make it clear that you still care and don’t want to lose them. Support your words with actions and stay emotionally and physically available.
When you communicate, sit close, keep eye contact, hold their hand, listen attentively, and reassure your partner that you value them. Be respectful, understanding, and use kind words, showing appreciation with appropriate compliments. And if physical distance is needed, make sure your partner still has access to you via the phone.
7. Make continuous efforts
Apologies, communication, and availability are certainly a matter of continuous effort. You don’t do it one time and you’re finished. The burden is mainly on you to keep seeking to fix the mess you made.
One of the biggest steps you can take to show your sincere desire for forgiveness is to seek professional help to mend your relationship. Going to counseling sessions can prove your commitment to your marriage—if you do it for the right reasons and with the right mindset.
8. Be patient
Despite all the efforts you make, you can’t ever expect to wake up one morning and find everything back the way it was before the affair. Wounds may heal more and more, but it takes time. In the meantime, expect that your partner will be on a long emotional roller coaster ride. Be patient and realistic. Don’t push for them to recover when you feel they should.
Understand that they are dealing with emotional trauma, and that can take a long time to improve. When you’re being sensitive and respectful, you can help them naturally arrive at the point of extending forgiveness.
Yes, showing your partner that you’re seriously seeking forgiveness is a long journey. It’s not the time to be selfish, pushy, or impatient. It’s a time to be empathetic, compassionate, remorseful, honest, and emotionally available.
Above all, it’s an opportunity to show how much you value your partner and your relationship. Don’t underestimate the power of your actions!