The Relationship Between Mindfulness and Forgiveness of Infidelity
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Forgiveness has been associated with multiple benefits for individuals as well as for relationships. Mindfulness may facilitate an individual’s forgiveness of interpersonal betrayal by enhancing emotional recovery and perspective taking and reducing overidentification with anger. The current study evaluated whether higher levels of self-reported mindfulness were associated with forgiveness or nonforgiveness of past partner infidelity. Ninety-four participants (49 % male, 51 % Caucasian, 30 % Hispanic, and 16 % African American) with a history of a partner affair anonymously completed an online survey of their own levels of current mindfulness and forgiveness or nonforgiveness regarding an affair. Correlations between facets of mindfulness and forgiveness/nonforgiveness were evaluated. To examine significant associations, separate regressions were run, first controlling for affair variables (e.g., perceived severity of the infidelity, remorse of the partner) and secondly controlling for general empathy, perspective taking, and anger. In controlled analyses, lower levels of the mindfulness facets of acting with awareness and being nonjudgmental of inner experience were related to higher levels of current nonforgiveness of the partner. Additionally, the mindfulness skill of being nonreactive was positively related to higher levels of current forgiveness. However, other aspects of mindfulness either were not associated with forgiveness or nonforgiveness as hypothesized or were accounted for by the control variables. Future researchers could consider whether integrating mindfulness into intervention could be of benefit to individuals who have experienced partner infidelity.
KeywordsForgiveness Mindfulness Relationships Infidelity
Funding for this study was partially provided by the Dean’s Fund for Excellence award from the University of Colorado Denver.
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