We begin a relationship with hope and positivity. The prospect of cheating your partner or getting cheated by them is probably the last thing on your mind when you enter the relationship. However, the reality could be something bitter. Infidelity is not just heart-breaking but also devastating, especially for a person who is madly in love and blindly trusts their partner.
But what do you do when you find out that your partner is cheating on you? Or if you have cheated on your partner but want to make amends now? Some may say the right thing to do is break up and move on; others may suggest trying for a second chance.
If you do want to give the relationship a second chance, this post is for you. MomJunction tells you if it is possible to rebuild trust after cheating and how to do it.
Can You Rebuild The Trust After Cheating?
You can rebuild trust, but it requires patience, time, and effort. And of course, a commitment by both the partners.
Infidelity need not always mark the end of a relationship. Cheating doesn’t always have to result in a breakup or divorce. Sometimes, a relationship can become even stronger than it was after rebuilding the trust. But that is only when a person realizes the fault, wants to make everything right and is determined to strengthen the relationship.
If the partner who has cheated is feeling guilty and is seeking forgiveness from their partner, then the first thing they must do is end the affair right away. They should make every possible effort to earn the trust and prove that whatever happened would not be repeated.
Cheating damages a relationship, and to fix that damage, both the partners have to cooperate and have faith in their relationship. While the betrayer needs to regain balance, accept the faults, give space, and heal, the betrayed person needs to give time, have inner strength, and courage. This may seem difficult to cope with, but it is certainly doable.
Tips To Rebuild Trust After Cheating
It is difficult to move ahead after an episode of infidelity. But nothing is impossible. A little bit of adjustment and a bit of understanding can help you rebuild trust. Most importantly, you should be hopeful of the future of your relationship. Once you find that hope, you can get there by following some tips.
1. Have an open and clear communication
When both the partners have mutually agreed on leaving the past behind and moving on together, there should be clarity in conversations. What were the causes that led to the affair? How can you avoid such situations again?
Such details need to be clarified before a fresh start. Talking honestly will instill trust in the faithful partner. You can also talk about creating new boundaries for the relationship. Healthy, yet some stern ones this time.
2. Accept the faults
The partner who betrayed should not blame the faithful partner or the third party for their mistake. In some cases, the betrayed partner might have had some flaws such as poor self-control, taking the relationship for granted, or lack of communication that could have made the other partner look elsewhere. There may be several reasons for infidelity, but the cheating partner cannot show them as excuses to justify their behavior.
3. Give your partner some time
The one who cheated needs time to realize how big the mistake was, plan out things to regain trust, and to be strong enough to face the consequences.
The other partner needs time to accept what has happened, to vent out, to calm down, and to decide whether to continue in the relationship or move on. Giving each other some time can help bridge the gap.
You know damage has been done. And it impacted both the lives. To seal the crack, a sorry might work as a bandage. But it can heal only when you sincerely admit to your mistake. Your partner might believe you and would be willing to move ahead to open a new chapter of your relationship.
5. Ignore the telltales
If your friends have been telling you not to trust a cheater or that ‘a cheater will always be a cheater,’ do not listen to them without proper consideration. You know your partner more than anybody else does. And if you feel that the episode of cheating is a one-time impulsive mistake, then you might want to give a chance to your partner to mend their ways.
6. Address each other’s concerns
It is not easy to trust the person who has broken your trust once. Insecurities, doubts, and fears would pop up time and again. However, to rebuild trust, both partners need to address each other’s fears.
If your partner, who cheated, gets a call from their old friend, don’t doubt them immediately. Instead of assuming things, talk to your partner and let them know it makes you uncomfortable. The next time your partner gets a call from the said person, they could put it on the speaker to quash your fears and gain your trust.
7. Share responsibilities
Agreed that one partner is at fault when it comes to infidelity, but both the partners have to share the burden if they want to make the relationship work again.
When you are together, you can support each other even through rough patches. Sharing is easier than loading one person with the entire guilt and then walking together. So, whether it is accepting mistakes, making new agendas, or setting up new limits, share everything.
8. Remember the two As
Every partner in a romantic relationship seeks attention and affection from the significant other. One of the reasons for cheating could be due to a lack of any of these attributes. In the second chapter of your relationship, you may focus on these if they were missed earlier. Show affection to each other by doing something that the other person likes. Whether or not they ask for it, you should give attention to your partner.
9. Control your defensive nature
The betrayed partner might get angry, argue, and get defensive whenever they come across the realities of infidelity. This would be a natural reaction but needs to be controlled when trying to get the relationship back on track. Instead of healing your relationship, this attribute could do more damage to it. Also, the partner might try to disclose the facts or convey only half of the truth due to your defensiveness. So, try to be calm when communicating with each other.
10. Don’t take the relationship for granted
After cheating, arguments, and some disagreements, there are chances of losing interest in the relationship. Though the partner says they want to continue, they might not be as enthusiastic as they used to be. If you are in the relationship due to family pressure or societal issues, then there is little chance it could work. To heal the wounds and to rebuild the trust, you should not take the relationship for granted. Instead, you have to show your partner that you are there to work as a team.
11. Think about physical intimacy
This is one of the most challenging parts to deal with after a partner cheats. While the partner who cheated might have low energy, the other partner might not initiate it because they already feel hurt and dejected. While it is not entirely possible to flirt, try to relax a little, and be sweet and maybe seductive if the mood sets in. But go slow and don’t rush it.
Take baby steps but do start moving in this direction because the physical connection is as important as an emotional connection in a relationship. And once you become comfortable being physically intimate, it becomes easier for both to bond and trust each other again.
12. Keep your promises
Infidelity makes it challenging to have faith in the relationship, and even in yourself. Your might feel disheartened or have doubts about rebuilding the relationship. It is on you to convince your partner that the cheating episode was a one-off case, and you have every intention to make this relationship work.
Stand by your words and keep your promises. For instance, if you have agreed upon open and positive communication, you should stick to it. Avoid silent treatment, abusive language, or using an angry tone during the conversations.
13. Don’t dig up the past
What’s done is done. It’s not possible to go back and erase it. Instead of opening the pages of the previous chapters, it is wise to fix things in the present for a good future. Digging the past would create more gaps in the relationship, and it will not allow you to move ahead in life. Try repairing the damage with something that works out for both of you.
14. Respect your partner
Infidelity is undoubtedly a big mistake, but it cannot erase the goodness or noble deeds of the person. When trying to rebuild trust, you need to respect each other.
15. Seek therapy
You have given enough time to your relationship, but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with what you are doing together. Then you can try counseling. A therapist can be an objective third party who sees both the perspectives and help the couple see each other’s viewpoints.
An experienced therapist can give you insights and help you to figure out how to overcome the relationship hurdles. But remember that therapy works only when you and your partner are willing to put in the effort and are open to changes.
When you sincerely want to rebuild your relationship, you can make it work. All it would take is your commitment, love, patience, and time. Of course, both of you need to make efforts, cooperate, and move ahead together for a happy life. Things may not be the same as before, but they can be better if you both strive to be better individuals, positively contributing to the relationship.
Do you have any stories to share? Do write to us in the comment section below.
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