Recently, I was on a radio show where a listener’s husband was cheating online. She said she hasn’t been able to trust him since – and it was almost 6 months ago. Many spouses have difficulty trusting their cheating partner after an affair. Because of the affair, the spouse who’s been cheated on isn’t sure if they’re safe in the relationship or if they’re cheating partner is going to leave them. They’re also afraid that if their spouse cheated once, they’ll do it again. So they’re cautious about investing themselves completely in the relationship again in case their spouse cheats and hurts them again. They have a hard time trusting again because they’re afraid of getting hurt again.
The good news is that just because your spouse cheated, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to rebuild trust in your relationship. In fact, many couples are able to rebuild trust and rebuild their relationship to a place that’s better than it ever has been. But it takes work. And the first step is to rebuild trust again. Below are three tips of how to restore trust after an affair.
Three Tips to Help Rebuild Trust After an Affair
1) Complete Transparency: The spouse who cheated completely opens up to their spouse with Facebook Passwords, credit card statements, text messages, etc. to ensure the faithful partner that they’re not cheating anymore. Now, this is only a step to rebuild trust. Transparency does not recreate the trust. Trust in a relationship comes when one partner tries to be reassuring and protecting of the other one. Transparency is a way to show your spouse that you want to be reassuring and protect the relationship from outsiders and from another affair.
2) Tell Your Spouse the Damages the Affair Caused. The cheating partner needs to be able to work to heal the damage done from the affair.The only way for them to do that is for the faithful partner to tell them the things that were damaged. Sometimes the faithful partner holds back so as not to push their partner even farther out of the marriage. They also hold back because they don’t want to create more damage. But all this does is sweep dirt under the carpet. It doesn’t need to come out all at once but it does need to come out. Don’t be angry when you talk about it. Be honest with yourself and with your spouse about the damage that’s been done so you can both work to fix it.
3) Forgive. This is often the hardest part. In order to be able to trust again, you have to eventually let go of the hurt and anguish your partner caused. I know, why should you, right? You’re not the one who caused the problems. Well, you need to forgive for a couple reasons 1) If you keep holding the affair over your spouse’s head they’ll eventually get annoyed and it’ll push them away 2) it’s not a healthy relationship where one spouse uses past problems as ammunition against the other. But more importantly, it helps you to let go of the bitter feelings and be able to live your life in happiness instead of fear and resentment.
There are so many ways that trust gets damaged by an affair that it’s impossible to list all the ways to rebuild it. These are only three, but there are so many more that may be more fitting for your relationship. It is my firm opinion that whenever there is an affair the couple should go see a marriage counselor.