Asking Forgiveness for Adultery

October 26, 2010 by Stephen J. Ardent  
Published in Marriage

Is there ever a valid reason for confessing adultery?

Maybe you’re a man who just wanted to spend an hour talking to someone who didn’t think you were the cause of all the problems in her life. Someone who thought you were smart, and funny.  Maybe you’re a woman who just wanted to talk to someone who would actually listen to you without dismissing your feelings as inconsequential. One thing leads to another and you end up in bed with the person. The only problem is that you’re either already in a relationship or married.

Now That The Affair is Over

You are wracked by guilt. Perhaps your relationship has gotten better, or you feel stupid for giving in to a smooth talker. Either way you feel terrible. The time has come to decide whether to tell your significant other that you cheated on them. Telling them and asking their forgiveness is the right thing to do isn’t it?

Lie #1 The Burden of Guilt

I’m sorry honey, I cheated on you, I feel so guilty/bad.

Only part of this statement is true, they feel bad and they cheated on you. It is also true that they’re sorry because they didn’t realize they would feel so bad when it was over.  They feel guilty.  So what do they do? They decide that they would rather make the one person in their life that is supposed to be their dearest and most intimate friend feel terrible instead.  They want to relieve themselves of the burden of their guilt by stabbing another person in the heart. Wow. If that’s not love I don’t know what is.

With close intimate friends like these who needs enemies?

Lie #2 It’s Your Fault

I’m sorry honey, I cheated on you. But you were gone at work/school/with-the-baby and I was lonely/bored/needed-someone-to-talk-to…

There you go, did you catch that? They’re sorry they cheated on you, but not really because it’s your damn fault in the first place. How could you be so terrible to them that they would have to look elsewhere.

Lie #3 Dishonest Honesty

I’m sorry honey, I cheated on you. But you deserve honesty.

Translate that – You deserve honesty because honesty is a good thing, and you can’t fault me for being honest, which means I’m doing a good thing, instead of the dishonest thing I did by cheating on you.  They may even be telling their partner in the hopes their partner will end the relationship so they can be done with it and the partner who leaves ends up being the bad person for not being forgiving.

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3 Responses to “Asking Forgiveness for Adultery”
  1. J.N.R Dutton Says:

    Good piece Stephen,

    Confessing ones sins is necessary, but blaming the victim is not. If you ran over a person (say a kid) w/your car, you’d never say to the mother of the kid “well if the fool hadn’t run into the street”. Likewise, if you were to cheat on your spouse(which I don’t suggest/endorse),you should balls up and take responsibility, never blame the spouse.

  2. Karen Gross Says:

    Very good topic, important to discuss. Are you saying that there are situations where you should not tell your spouse that you have cheated?

    I think that cheating can be a symptom of a marriage in trouble. If you want the marriage to work (and you should if you made vows to this person in front of God and some witnesses) I think full disclosure, preferably with a counselor in the room is essential.

    Married people are going to meet up with other people to whom they are attracted. It’s just life. But if you notice that you have chemistry with someone, take steps to avoid any biology from happening. Change jobs, move away if you have to. Affairs don’t just “happen”. If you have allowed an emotional attachment to grow, nip it in the bud. Don’t let yourself anywhere near the point of giving in.

  3. Stephen J. Ardent Says:

    What I’m saying Karen is that I think a majority of time, telling the partner is all about selfishly trying to relieve their own guilt and pain, or trying to lay the blame on the non-cheating partner, or simply to hurt the non-cheating partner.
    And I think a lot counselors unwittingly enable this in the name of “honest discussion”.

    Remember when David committed adultery, he said in Psalm 51:4 – “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…”

    The offence derived its chief heinousness from the fact that it was a violation of the law of God. The state of mind here illustrated is that which occurs in every case of true penitence. A violation of his pure and holy law; a wrong done against Him, and in his sight.


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