Practical Steps toward Forgiveness

State your limits. (Don't misuse this or there will be no communication.)

Make a list of what you cannot or will not tolerate your partner doing. This is called taking a stand. These are non-negotiable. Be sure to include flirtation if you have a problem with that; the only acceptable boundaries are the ones you set honestly. For example: "Stop the affair or our relationship is over" or "Your lover has to stop calling the house or I'm leaving."

Draw up a fidelity contract. (Print this contract out.) Put your limits into a formal contract. The best time for such a contract is before you live together, but it's never too late. Here are two sample contacts for you and your spouse to use. These samples are for someone who has had several affairs; the wording may differ for specific situations. Review and discuss your fidelity contract frequently.

For the Adulterer

I, _______________, give my word that if I enter into any adulterous relationship, I give up the right to have you as my partner. There are no reprieves, no discussions and no second chances.

If I have an uncontrollable urge, I will enlist the help of my therapist and partner to resist it rather than act it out. I promise to work on our relationship, which I value, instead of running.

Signed, _________________________
(the former unfaithful partner)

For the Betrayed

I, ____________________, agree that if my partner is unfaithful to me, I will not accept any excuses or promises to change. There are no more second chances. Our marriage will end in divorce.

However, I will not be judgmental or critical if my partner verbalizes a desire to stray. Understanding that that could represent some change taking place in my partner and that I may have contributed to the situation, I will do everything I can to help save this relationship.

Signed, ____________________________
(former betrayed partner)

Get support from other women like you on the Betrayed Spouses Support Group message board.

Return to the Adultery, The Forgivable Sin main page.

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