11 Tips On How To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship After Infidelity
By: Samantha Dewitt
Updated March 12, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Infidelity can destroy relationships entirely, and for some, there's just no way back after one partner has been unfaithful. If you and your partner don't want your relationship to be over, however, you must know what you're doing to get things back the way they were. If you don't go through these steps, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get your relationship back, so make sure you're doing everything you can to work your way forward.
1. Talk It Over
The first thing is that you need to talk it over. Get everything out in the open so your partner knows what happened. Was the infidelity a one-time thing, or was it a long-term affair? For some partners, this will make a difference. Was the infidelity with one person, or were there multiple people over time? How long was this going on? Was it a full relationship with an emotional connection or purely a physical one? This also can be important to some partners. Also, it may be important to discuss whether there was any physical intimacy or solely an emotional form of cheating.
2. Be Open And Honest
As part of talking, things over both parties need to be completely open and honest. If the affair was going on for a long time, you must admit to it. If there was someone else before this affair, you must own up to that as well. Some people believe that they should only 'fess up to what they've been caught at or their partner may leave. The truth is, your partner needs to know absolutely everything. If they don't, then they are more likely to leave when they find out later. At least knowing everything at once makes it easier for the two of you to make decisions and move on.
3. Get It All Out
This should be the only time that you talk about everything. It may take a few days or weeks or several therapy sessions, but once you've gone through everything and the person who has been cheated on has asked all their questions, it needs to be done. That means thinking hard about what it is that you want to know or need to know to put your mind at rest. You need to let them know how you feel and what this all means to you. You also need to make sure they understand that it will take time for you to trust them again completely.
4. Lay The Ground Rules
There may need to be rules for both partners to feel comfortable and trusting enough to move forward. The cheated person may want to set out rules for their partner regarding openness, privacy, friendships, and more. If the person that the affair was with is someone that will be in your lives, whether personally, professionally, or in any other way, there might be even more concern or 'rules' in place regarding interaction with that person, especially by one party alone.
5. Put It In The Past
Once you've talked it all out and you and your partner have decided that you're going to continue your relationship, the infidelity has to be in the past. That means neither partner can bring it up ever again. The partner who was cheated on is not allowed to bring up the relationship to hold it over the other person. The person who cheated is not allowed to bring it up as a threat when things don't go the way they want or when the two of you are fighting. The infidelity must be completely in the past.
6. Put Blame Where It Is Due
If you have been cheated on, that does not mean there is something wrong with you. Many people feel like they must have done something wrong, or their partner wouldn't have cheated. This is not the case. The blame for what happened lies with your partner. They are the ones who chose to engage in some form of relationship with a person outside of your relationship, and that means they are the ones who must take complete responsibility for it. That means not blaming you for something you did or didn't do. And also not blaming the person they cheated with for something they did or didn't do.
7. Get Professional Help
It can be difficult when you have suffered from infidelity in a relationship to overcome the emotions that go along with it. It can be difficult to trust your partner or yourself. It can be difficult not to read too deep into every interaction they have with others. Getting professional help can allow both of you to process what's happened individually and as a couple so that you're able to continue your relationship healthily and put the past entirely behind you.
8. Don't Give Forgiveness Too Quickly
Getting through infidelity is a process, and that means not jumping into forgiveness too quickly. Both parties need to work through their emotions and work through all of the problems that may go along with the infidelity. Offering forgiveness too quickly doesn't allow either party time to process the severity of what's happened and what it's going to mean to your relationship going forward. Take the time to work through all of the emotions and what this means to the relationship before offering forgiveness.
9. Reach Out For Help
You may or may not want to talk to friends or family about the infidelity. This should be something that each party agrees to. The unfaithful individual may not want to share the situation with anyone else, but it's up to the other party what truly happens. The one who the situation has most hurt needs to reach out to whoever they need to get through this if that means telling a family member or a friend or even reaching out to a support group; that needs to be an option.
10. Don't Retaliate
If you're the one who this infidelity has hurt, you mustn't try to strike out against your partner. If the two of you have decided to work this out, then that means you need to work through it together. Being unfaithful, telling other people out of spite, or otherwise trying to hurt or discredit them because of the infidelity is not going to be healthy or helpful to either of you. If you feel that you can't overcome this situation or the infidelity, it may be best for both of you to end the relationship.
11. Spend Time Together
You and your partner need to be able to work through this together. That means you'll need to spend time together and you'll need to try and do some of the things you used to do together. Returning your relationship to some semblance of normalcy is extremely important, and that means going to the movies, going out to dinner, playing games, hanging out with friends, and anything else that you have always enjoyed. By doing these things together, you'll be able to slowly start bringing your relationship back to what you want it to be.
Getting The Help You Need
If you are looking for professional help after infidelity or any situation in your life, you must know where to start. Regain is one place where you can find a mental health professional to work with about whatever you're experiencing. Whether you and your partner have decided to work things out or you've decided to go your separate ways, recovering from infidelity is going to require help. You don't want to go at it alone.
With ReGain, you're going to have a completely online service that lets you and your partner share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with this situation in a safe environment. Whether you attend sessions separately or together (or a little of both), you'll be able to speak your mind and get helpful feedback on just how you can work through what's going on for each of you. With online therapy, you won't have a problem sitting down and having each session either because you're going to have the freedom to do it right from the comfort of your own home.
You deserve to live a happy and healthy life with your current partner if that's what you both decide. So, what are you going to do? Finding a mental health therapist can greatly improve the chances of both of you working through this infidelity and creating a relationship that you want to continue. This doesn't have to be the end of everything that the two of you have built together if you don't want it to be. It's all up to you.
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