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How To Forgive Yourself After Your Affair

How To Forgive Yourself After An Affair

Do you struggle to let go of your mistake?


Do you struggle to forgive yourself since you had an affair? Are you dealing with feelings of self worthlessness, self-hatred, guilt, and shame even regret? These are just some of the emotions that I have dealt with since my affair ended.

I have been a Christian since my early twenties so I knew that God forgave me once I asked for it. Even after I accepted the Lord’s forgiveness I still could not forgive myself. So now my struggle was not being able to forgive myself for all of the pain I caused so many people with my selfish behavior I even had a friend tell me she lost hope in marriage after the affair was discovered.

The question I now faced was how was I suppose to live the rest of my life knowing what I had done. Let’s take a look at what forgiveness is.

What is forgiveness
The definition of forgiveness means to stop feeling angry, to stop blaming and also to stop requiring payment for the offense.

To forgive yourself means you come to a place where you accept yourself and your mistakes. Unforgiveness means you continue to hold onto guilt and pain as a form of punishment.

Forgiveness does not excuse the behavior, it doesn’t mean what happened was not devastating to all involved. Nor does it take away your responsibility. What it does say is, I will let go of the anger towards myself and I will stop requiring payment for what I have done.

If I don’t learn to forgive myself when I am choosing to live my life with guilt and pain.

I believe there are 4 steps you can take that will help you learn how to forgive yourself and start living again.

Steps to forgiveness

Let go of guilt
Let go of anger
Stop requiring payment for the mistake
Don’t live in the past
Let go of the guilt
We let go of the guilt and shame by learning the difference between them. Guilt was put deep inside our subconscious to let us know when we have done something that is wrong and needs to be corrected. Guilt tells us we did something wrong.

Shame tells us we are bad. It offers us no hope for change. Shame will tell us we will never be able to change our behavior. It’s important to understand we are not the mistakes we made. Even if we have to suffer through some hard consequences we can be sure that if we work hard change will occur and we won’t have to fear to repeat the same mistake.

It’s okay to feel guilty, it’s all apart of learning from our mistakes. Also once you have asked forgiveness from God and your husband then its time to accept that you made a mistake and that is not who you are. Then allow God to turn what was meant to harm you into something for your good. You will do this by focusing your energy on learning what caused you to have an affair and start taking action to change your thinking and behavior.

Look at it this way, you have already begun to change. You had an affair, then stopped and asked your husband to forgive you. Now you are working on rebuilding your marriage. So guilt did its work and is causing you to change your behavior.

I believe you deserve a high five for the courage it took to admit you messed up and are trying to make your life better.

Let go of the anger
Stop being angry with yourself

I was so angry with myself for hurting my family and destroying relationships. I had this feeling of being powerless to take away their pain. We become angry at ourselves because we chose to go down the path of infidelity. We also failed at keeping our vows and destroyed relationships. Often times we tell ourselves we should have known better. Or things like “I can’t believe you did this. Why would I do this what was I thinking”? So this negative self-talk just reinforces those angry feelings.

Staying angry will not motivate the lasting change we need.

What we can do is to use the power we do have to learn why we choose to have an affair. We can start to ask ourselves the right questions and change our focus. Instead of saying I can’t believe I did this, we could ask what could I have done to prevent the affair from happening? Or what inside of me needs to be fixed?

You can’t put spilled milk back in the carton, all you can do is clean it up and try not to do it again

The payment has already been paid
After a few years had passed and my marriage was improving I found it hard for me to enjoy life. I would start to feel like it was wrong for me to be happy. So I wouldn’t allow myself to have too much fun. It was my way of punishing myself for the pain I had caused. This just another part of the does not forgive myself that I needed to work through.

I would deny myself the right to be happy because I hurt someone.I hurt a lot of people and I was sorry for it but by not being happy was not going to make the pain of what I did go away.

Sin is its own punishment

Sometimes you have to look somewhere else other than people to show you how to live life after a major failure. As I sunk deeper into a depression that is when I had to start looking to Jesus for some help. I couldn’t free myself from this pain and regret. I couldn’t take away their pain either. That is when the Lord began to show me that the day Jesus died on the cross he was being punished for what I had done he took what I deserved and in exchange, I got what he deserved which was freedom.

I didn’t deserve to keep my husband and my family together. Our marriage should have never survived according to society. But I know it was because of what Jesus did for me that we are still together. So I had to believe what Jesus how to forgive yourself.

Jesus spoke those words to the woman who was caught in adultery and at that moment he gave her the freedom to go and live her life free from the guilt of her mistakes.

I realized I couldn’t live the rest of my life this way and the words of Jesus became the tool that broke the chains I was in. I choose to believe what the Lord had done for me. As I see it what better choice did I have? I could stay angry or I could let it all go. At least God was offering me a second chance and hope that he would somehow work all of this out for my good. Sometimes its all about laying our pride down and just believe.

You cant spend your life paying for something that was already paid for

Do not live in the past
Choosing to let go of the affair and all of the pain it caused is one of the major steps to forgiving yourself. I understand letting go of the past is so hard. But by continuing to relive what happened will only breed more guilt, shame, and regret. We live in the past by choosing to focus on what happened and the people we hurt or lost. Don’t spend a lot of time and energy on things that are now gone. It’s important to realize we can not change what happened but we can show up today.

I wasn’t living present for my husband or my kids when I was having an affair. My infidelity stole from my time with my kids and I was not about to let it steal any more time from me or them. My family was innocent and they deserve the best from me, especially now. But if we continue to live in the past we are allowing it to continue to take from you.

Of course, the consequences are heart-wrenching but I had to learn to give myself mercy and the permission to make a mistake.

The bible says God’s mercy is new every day. That means he gives a fresh start each day to choose to live better than we did the day before. Time will pass with or without you. Make the choice to be present today.

I want to suggest that you write yourself a forgiveness letter and one to the people you hurt, then I want you to burn it or throw it away. Let this be a symbol to you and to the person or people you may have lost. That it’s your final I’m sorry for what I did. But I have to move on and give the people who have stayed in my life the best of me. I have to give myself another chance to get this life right.


If you're struggling to end your affair and you feel frustrated, confused, torn, or alone, I'm here to help. Book a 30-minute consultation with me and I'll provide you with the clarity you need to move forward. Remember, you don't have to go through this alone.

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