Moving Forward After Infidelity: Addressing Trust And Insecurity Issues

Updated June 14, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
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“Infidelity can be so difficult to heal from but is possible through rebuilding and reconnecting. Try to be honest about what insecurities and trust issues that you have in hopes that your partner can help rebuild in those areas.” - Ryan Smith, LPC, NCC

Discovering that your partner has been unfaithful can be a painful experience, but it doesn't necessarily mean the relationship should end. There are ways to work past the lingering trust and insecurity issues and rebuild your connection to move forward together. Read on to learn why people cheat, how it harms the relationship, and how you can move on after infidelity—together. 

Do you have trouble trusting your partner after infidelity?

What is infidelity?

Cheating. Betrayal. Unfaithfulness. There are many words to describe infidelity, but it essentially means one partner intentionally establishes an emotional or physical connection outside the relationship. 

Define what cheating is in your relationship

The boundaries of infidelity can be different for everyone, so it can be helpful to discuss with your partner what constitutes cheating for both of you. Is mild flirtation okay if there’s no intent to follow through? What if someone kisses them and they rebuff the advance but don’t tell you? Open communication and healthy boundaries can help you avoid a lot of pain due to misunderstandings by expressing what you feel crosses the line. 

Types of infidelity

  • Sexual: A physical or sexual connection outside the relationship, with or without an emotional bond 
  • Emotional: Building an emotional connection and intimacy with someone other than your partner
  • Cyber: Virtual messaging, texts, calls, or videos of a sexual nature outside the relationship
  • Object: Obsession or interest in something over your partner, such as work or your phone
  • Financial: Being deceitful about how much you earn, spend, owe, or lend money
  • Micro-Cheating: Small actions that bother your partner but don't necessarily cross a line, such as flirting

How infidelity leads to trust issues and insecurity

When your partner seeks physical or emotional solace with someone else, it’s common to experience difficulty trusting them not to do it again and insecurity about yourself or the strength of the relationship. You trusted your partner to be faithful, which didn't work out. So, where do you go from here? While the pain of betrayal undeniably hurts, take comfort in knowing that the feeling is temporary and you can heal from the consequences of infidelity.

What cheating does to a relationship

Infidelity can affect your relationship in many ways. If your partner strays, you may feel many intense emotions, including anger, pain, grief, and insecurity, which could linger and develop into mental health conditions. 

Getty/Halfpoint Images

The fallout after infidelity

  • You may feel traumatized by the betrayal. Some people may experience the symptoms of post-infidelity stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  • You may go through various stages of grief. 
  • Changes to your brain neurochemistry similar to chemical withdrawal with substance use disorder
  • If you have children, they may suffer from tension and disharmony in the home and possible trust issues in future relationships.
  • Difficulty trusting your partner in the future
  • Insecurity, low self-esteem, and self-loathing
  • Mental health conditions like anxiety or depression

How to move forward

While many relationships don’t survive infidelity, it is possible to heal from the emotional damage and move forward together—if both partners are committed to making the relationship work. If your partner cheated and you're struggling to handle the aftermath, try some techniques to help you cope.  


Taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health helps ensure you are the best possible version of yourself. It can be easier to deal with relationship problems when your body is healthy, and you get enough sleep. You may feel bad about yourself if your partner is unfaithful, and self-care can reinforce a positive self-image. 

Address underlying issues and process the pain

It may help some people to learn the exact reasons why their partner cheated so they can address those issues and process the related pain and distress. For some, the only way forward is through the mess, so try asking questions to learn what you need to know, feel what you feel, and then let it go. 

Practice a mindful lifestyle

Many people find that practicing a mindful lifestyle, with strategies such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques, can help them reframe negative thoughts when trust and insecurity become a problem. 

Identify and change unhealthy patterns

You may notice unhealthy thought and behavior patterns related to your partner's infidelity, such as comparing yourself to other people and wondering who they find more attractive or instantly jumping to conclusions about your partner's actions when you're not together. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you recognize and reshape unhealthy thinking and behavior patterns. 

Lean on your support system 

While you may not want to tell everyone about your partner's infidelity, it can help to have a few trusted people you lean on to help support you through healing. 

Do you have trouble trusting your partner after infidelity?

Forgive and move on

If you’re both determined to stay together and make the relationship work, find out what you need to forgive your partner. Make your needs clear, and if they do what you ask, choose to forgive them and move on with the issue settled between you. As you continue together, devote your attention to safeguarding your relationship from infidelity in the future. 

Keep lines of communication open and check-in

Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting; you may still face insecurity and trust issues. Ensure you communicate with your partner regularly and occasionally check in so you know how they're feeling and that you actively express your emotions and needs. 

Why do people cheat?

While the reasons an individual is unfaithful are unique, researchers compiled some common answers people have given when asked about the reasons for infidelity. 


Some people may cheat because they are angry with their partner and want to hurt them. 

Low-self esteem

Cheating can happen when someone outside the relationship provides the interest and ego boost they need to feel desirable and attractive. 

Lack of love or intimacy

If your relationship lacks love or intimacy, your partner may stray to feel connected to someone. 

Previous habits

Studies show that the cliché "once a cheater, always a cheater" may be more than folk wisdom; partners unfaithful in previous relationships are three times more likely to do it again.

Commitment issues

Some people have difficulties maintaining a monogamous relationship for a variety of reasons. They may feel restricted by the commitment to a single person. 

Sexual addiction

People with sexual addiction often seek sexual activity when and where it becomes available. While they are dealing with strong sexual impulses, it doesn’t excuse infidelity unless you’ve set boundaries about the subject together. 

Symptoms of mental health conditions

Some mental health conditions, such as bipolar depression, may have symptoms involving risky sexual behavior, difficulty controlling impulses, and self-destructive behavior. 

Feelings of neglect

If one partner feels neglected, they may seek the attention they crave elsewhere. 

Rebuilding trust after betrayal

For many couples, rebuilding trust after infidelity is possible, but it requires consistent efforts from both partners to make it work properly. Both need to maintain open communication, check in with each other to monitor feelings, and continue to choose each other every day. 

If you cheated

  • End the affair
  • Take accountability
  • Apologize with sincerity
  • Move forward with transparency
  • Address insecurity and trust issues.

If your partner cheated

  • Recognize that your partner’s cheating isn’t your fault. 
  • Decide a way forward together. 
  • Practice unconditional kindness toward yourself.
  • Express your feelings and find a way to forgive and move on. 
  • Find healthy ways to address your insecurities and tell your partner how to reassure you.

The importance of forgiveness

If you tell your partner that you've forgiven them for infidelity and then continue to act as if the matter's not settled, it can lead to further problems in the relationship. It can be crucial to genuinely mean it before you tell your partner they are forgiven. Otherwise, you may encounter repressed anger and resentment down the road. 

Reach out for help

If you and your partner are having trouble moving past the insecurity and trust problems related to infidelity, you may benefit from speaking with a couples therapist to help you identify and address relationship problems with the support and guidance of a mental health professional. 

How couples therapy can help overcome trust and insecurity

Many couples have trouble moving forward after infidelity due to insecurity and trust issues. If this sounds like you, consider working with a licensed therapist online through a virtual therapy platform focused on relationship issues like Regain. Therapy can help you identify the underlying issues that led to cheating, build healthy communication methods to communicate feelings and needs, and teach practical coping methods to help you manage stress and resolve conflicts. 

Couples therapy works equally well whether you’re doing it online or in person, according to recent research from the Frontiers in Psychology medical journal. During the study, both groups showed similar results, with a reduction in symptoms related to anxiety, depression, and stress and an increase in relationship satisfaction. Online therapy tends to be less expensive and has shorter wait times while offering you a wide range of therapists so that you will find a good match. 


Infidelity can be a traumatic event to overcome in a relationship, but it is possible to move forward together if both partners are committed to making it work. The information provided in this article may offer some insight into why people cheat, what it does to the relationship, and how couples therapy can help you find ways to process your feelings and build a stronger connection with your partner for the future. 

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