Investigating Facilitating Factors of Forgiveness Process in Betrayed People: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Masters, Family Counseling Department, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ardakan University, Yazd, Iran.

2 Corresponding Author, Associate Professor, Department of Counseling, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ardakan University, Yazd, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ardakan University, Ardakan, Iran.


The aim of this study was to investigate the facilitators of the forgiveness process in betrayed individuals, which was done qualitatively using phenomenological theory. The study population included all married people who referred to the counseling centers "Sahel Omid" and "Rah-e Eshgh" in Isfahan due to marital infidelity. Using purposive sampling method, 23 participants (10 females and 13 males) were selected from the participants. The research tool included a semi-structured interview with 10 questions about the experience of forgiveness in marital infidelity. The method of analyzing the collected information included coding based on phenomenological theory. The results of the study identified five main categories for the life experience of married couples with the experience of forgiveness in infidels, which were: the characteristics of the spouse, spiritual values, responsibility, love and attention to the negative consequences of the future of divorce. In other words, reviewing the positive characteristics of the spouse, empathy and seeing the role of oneself and others in marital problems and infidelity, love, appealing to spiritual values and finally portraying the future of life with and without a spouse, led to the forgiveness of marital infidelity. Theoretically, this study helps to recognize the experience of forgiveness of betrayed people and practically can help to prepare an intervention model based on the identified experiences to facilitate and remove barriers to forgiveness.


Main Subjects

حبیبی عسگرآباد، مجتبی؛ حاجی حیدری، زهرا (1394)، علل خیانت زناشویی از دیدگاه زوجین مراجعه کننده به دادگاه خانواده، خانواده پژوهی، 11(42)، 185-165.
حسینی نثار، مجید؛ شب افروزان، صغری؛ فیض ثابت، مصطفی (1395)، بررسی عوامل موثر بر تقاضای طلاق در دادگاه‌های خانواده شهر رشت، مدیریت فرهنگی، 10(31)، 42-29.
شاکریان، عطا (1388)، بررسی عوامل مؤثر در رضامندی زناشویی دانشجویان دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی واحد سنندج، مجله علمی دانشگاه علوم پزشکی کردستان، 4، 49-40.
عنایت، حلیمه؛ نجفی اصل، عبدالله؛ زارع، صادق (1392)، بررسی عوامل موثر بر طلاق زودهنگام در بین جوانان شهری شهر بوشهر(مقایسه دو گروه افراد طلاق گرفته و متأهل طلاق نگرفته)، فصلنامه پژوهش های جامعه شناسی معاصر، 2(3)، 35-1.
قهاری، شهربانو (۱۳۹۴)، پیمان شکنی در زناشویی راهکارهایی برای مداخله، تهران، انتشارات دانژه.
لطیف‌زاده، شهلا (۱۳۹۳)، تبیین تجارب همسران محتمل بر خیانت، رساله کارشناسی ارشد، دانشگاه علوم پزشکی و خدماتی بهداشنی، درمانی جندی شاپور اهواز.
مرسلی، زهرا؛ موتابی، فرشته؛ صادقی، منصوره السادات (1398)، بخشودگی خیانت و عوامل موثر بر آن، رویش روان-شناسی، 4(37)،184-177.
Abrahamson, I., Hussain, R., Khan, A., & Schofield, M. J. (2012). What helps couples rebuild their relationship after infidelity?. Journal of Family Issues, 33(11), 1494-1519.
Bell, C. A., Kamble, S. V., & Fincham, F. D. (2018). Forgiveness, attributions, and marital quality in US and Indian marriages. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 17(4), 276-293.
Brewer, G., Hunt, D., James, G., & Abell, L. (2015). Dark Triad traits, infidelity and romantic revenge. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 122-127.
Fincham, F. D., & May, R. W. (2017). Infidelity in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 70-74.
Fung, S. C., Wong, C. W., & Tam, S. M. (2009). Familial and extramarital relations among truck drivers crossing the Hong Kong-China border. Journal of Sex Marital Ther, 35(3) , 239-44.
Glass, S. (2007). Not" just friends": rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity. Simon and Schuster.
Huston, T. L., & Burgess, R. L. (1979). Social exchange in developing relationships: An overview. In R. L. Burgess & T. L. Huston (Eds.), Social exchange in developing relationships (pp. 3-28). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Ji, M., Hui, E., Fu, H., Watkins, D., Tao, L., & Lo, S. K. (2016). Effects of a culture-adaptive forgiveness intervention for Chinese college students. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 44(3), 335-346.
Johnson, D. (2019). Forgiveness in Romantic Relationships following Infidelity: The Mediating Role of Benign Attributions between Attachment and Forgiveness. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Northcentral University.
Kimmes, J. G., Durtschi, J. A., Clifford, C. E., Knapp, D. J., & Fincham, F. D. (2015). The role of pessimistic attributions in the association between anxious attachment and relationship satisfaction. Family Relations, 64(4), 547-562.
Knight, E. A. (2010). Gender differences in defining infidelity. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Humboldt State University.
Leach, M. M., & Parazak, S. (2015). Culture, forgiveness, and health. In Forgiveness and health (pp. 221-235). Springer, Dordrecht.
Levinger, G. (1979). Marital cohesiveness at the brink: The fate of applications for divorce. In G. Levinger and O. C. Moles (Eds.), Divorce and separation (pp. 137–150). New York: Basic Books.
Moller, N. P., & Vossler, A. (2015). Defining infidelity in research and couple counseling: A qualitative study. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 41(5), 487-497.
Paleari, F. G., Regalia, C., & Fincham, F. D. (2009). Measuring offence-specific forgiveness in marriage: The Marital Offence-Specific Forgiveness Scale (MOFS). Psychological Assessment, 21(2), 194-209.
Scuka, R. F. (2015). A clinician's guide to helping couples heal from the trauma of infidelity. Journal of Couple&RelationshipTherapy,14(2),141-168.DOI:
  Wilson, M. (2018). Hope after betrayal: Healing when sexual addiction invades your marriage. Kregel Publications.
Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2005). Initial questions about the art and science of forgiving. In E.L. Worthington, Jr. (Ed.), Handbook of forgiveness (pp. 1-13). New York: Routledge.
Zhang, Q., Ting-Toomey, S., Oetzel, J. G., & Zhang, J. (2015). The emotional side of forgiveness: A cross-cultural investigation of the role of anger and compassion and face threat in interpersonal forgiveness and reconciliation. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 8(4), 311-329.