There’s nothing more difficult in a relationship than building trust after infidelity. Even among couples that eventually reconcile, the majority can live with their partner for years without fully trusting them. Some may never fully trust their partners again.
You can read Shelly’s story on The Adventurous Writer to learn why. According to Shelly, she wants to, but it’s just impossible.
Fortunately, there are still some things you can try to rebuild trust after cheating since every story is different.
Let’s dive right in.
7 Steps You Can Take to Rebuild Trust After Cheating
Unfortunately, it’s the story of most relationships. Studies show that infidelity happens in as many as 25% of relationships. The figure could be higher. But, you get the picture.
For some people, it’s the gasp of an already failing relationship. For others, it’s a mistake that happens because of unresolved issues in the relationship. In fact, more than half of American marriages survive an affair.
So, what do these couples do differently? How do they manage to rebuild trust, pick up the pieces, and stay together? Here are seven things you can do together to rebuild trust;
1. Consider the cause of betrayal
One of the main reasons many relationships and marriages break up after infidelity is that the partners don’t bother to consider the reason behind the betrayal. Maybe you’re too hurt to listen to your partner. The first step to rebuilding trust is to go back to where it all started and hear out your partner.
Granted, there’s never a good reason to cheat after choosing to be with someone. But, you may find out that your partner in an extremely tough position. You may even sympathize with them – even if it doesn’t make cheating right.
2. Practice forgiveness
It’s important to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean what they did is okay. It also doesn’t mean that you’re getting back with the cheating partner. Instead, forgiveness is about accepting that they have cheated and choosing to move on with life.
Essentially, it frees you from the bondage of the incident. The alternative would be to live with the hurt for the rest of your life. The load is much lighter when you choose to accept that they’ve cheated and decide to enjoy whatever else life has to offer.
3. Don’t dwell on the past
After forgiving, the next step is to forget about the incident. However, this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to recall the events of that fateful day. The thoughts will always cross your mind from time to time. The trick is to recall them the way you recall those who weren’t so nice to you back in high school. You don’t bring it in every conversation anymore, do you?
That’s the same strategy to apply when attempting to rebuild trust after infidelity. You need those memories. But they don’t have to define your life anymore.
4. Don’t be a helicopter partner
A helicopter partner is one who watches their partner’s every move. You’ll know you’re one if you find yourself asking questions such as, “She’s been gone a whole two hours. Where could she possibly be?” or sneaking up on her to find out where she goes after yoga.
It’s bad for you, it’s terrible for her, and it’s unhealthy for the relationship. Rather than build trust, it could instead erode any trust left in your relationship.
5. Stay present and supportive
People who’ve been cheated and therefore feel hurt may find themselves keeping a distance from their partner and withdrawing their support. This is completely understandable after the humiliation and considering the feeling of rejection that results from your partner choosing to sleep with another person.
Unfortunately, you cannot rebuild trust and the relationship when you’re distanced and withdrawn. You must be present and supportive.
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate
It doesn’t matter how much you still love each other or how much you’re willing to forgive the cheating partner. If there’s no communication, you might as well forget about getting back together.
Indeed, every marriage counselor gives couples attempting to rebuild their marriages and relationships one piece of advice – to communicate about their communication. Address reasons why you’ve had poor communication in the past and find ways to communicate better going forward.
7. Consider therapy
Couples who attend therapy are more likely to get back together than those who attempt to fix everything independently. Why? For two reasons.
First, partners tend to open up more during counseling. This means there’s a greater likelihood of finding solutions to the problems rocking your marriage. Secondly, taking the step to attend counseling is a massive vote of confidence from both partners. Each partner will see it as a sign that the other partner is genuinely invested in making things work.
Odds in Your Favor
Luckily for you, 60-75% of marriages heal after infidelity. It means that the odds are in your favor to rebuild trust after cheating. If you try hard enough, you’ll most likely salvage your marriage.