Cheap Forgiveness In Marital Unfaithfulness

Cheap forgiveness of marital unfaithfulness often occurs when the betrayed spouse too quickly pardons the unfaithful spouse without fully processing the hurt emotions or recognizing the betrayal trauma impact.

If there is marital unfaithfulness, the offended spouses should not be too quick to proclaim forgiveness without fully acknowledging the hurt, pain, anger, grief, and broken trust.  It is letting the unfaithful spouse off the hook of responsibility in order to preserve the relationship often at the cost of his/her dignity or self-respect.

Cheap Forgiveness Is Counterfeit

Cheap forgiveness is the counterfeit to authentic forgiveness but the pain has not been fully resolved or faced. The offender has not done anything to amend the wrong that was done to the spouse or the marriage relationship.

Conflict Avoider Cheap Forgiveness

The spouse that gives cheap forgiveness often can be a conflict avoider. The conflict avoiding spouse is overly compliant and minimizes when others take advantage of him/her and he/she dismisses an injury because he/she fears losing the relationship.

The spouse smiles and acts on the surface as if nothing is bothering him/her but he/she is raging like a volcano on the inside. The spouse avoids any conflict around the betrayal to keep the relationship but feels unsafe to share the real pain, hurt, fear, and mistrust. He/she has a fear of abandonment, rejection, and a belief that giving quick forgiveness solves the problem.

Passive-Aggressive Cheap Forgiveness

Another type of spouse that gives cheap forgiveness is a passive-aggressive. Again, on the outside, the passive-aggressive seems willing to put the needs of others ahead of his/her own, refusing to speak up when he/she disagrees, and giving a false impression that everything is well. Yet on the inside there is anger, bitterness, and he/she begins to verbalize the real emotions with sarcasm, inappropriate humor, criticism, and contempt.

The passive-aggressive person may protest the betrayal by being late, forgetting, detaching, or withdrawing from the relationship without warning. The cheap forgiveness has a covert contract that holds the offender to an agreement that the offender doesn’t know exists. When the covert agreement is not met, the passive-aggressive person will retaliate by ignoring, withdrawing, showing anger, or even leaving the relationship.

Authentic Forgiveness Restores Relationships

Authentic forgiveness takes more time to process and fully understand the impact of the injury. Cheap forgiveness can simply be a false impression that a person has forgiven the offender but really is holding onto bitterness and anger. Authentic forgiveness is being able to communicate the injury and the what it cost but deciding to let go of the offender’s debt that is owed. Marriages that have been hurt by infidelity cannot fully recovery and be restored without authentic forgiveness.