How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating: 17 Helpful Tips

✔ Research-backed

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” If your partner has cheated on you, or you have cheated on your partner and want to mend your ways, you may want to understand how to rebuild trust after cheating.

Trust is the foundation of every relationship. If you find out your partner has cheated on you, you will feel betrayed, shattered, and anguished. It’s hard to digest that the person you loved unconditionally has broken your heart. However, it is often hard to break up even after finding out they cheated on you.

If you have cheated on your partner and have been given a second chance, you may want to know how to rectify your mistakes and rebuild trust. In this post, we talk about certain ways to rebuild your relationship after cheating.

In This Article

Can You Rebuild The Trust After Cheating?

Couple trying to patch up to rebuild trust after cheating

Image: IStock

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 their 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 their trust and prove that whatever happened will 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 their mistakes, give space, and heal, the betrayed person needs to give time, have inner strength, and courage. Affairs 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, understanding, and transparency can help you rebuild trust. The following tips should help you in order to feel more hopeful of the future of your relationship.

An anonymous blogger who has been married for over ten years talks about how she gave her husband and their marriage another chance after he cheated on her. She says, “While I can accept that my marriage has become stronger as a result of discovering my husband’s affair, that strength is more a result of the discovery and how we dealt with it, not the affair. We chose to fight for our marriage, rebuild our relationship, and let go of the marriage we believed was perfect in order to survive our new reality (i).”

If you too want to rebuild the foundation and restore the strength of your relationship, the following tips should help you feel more hopeful about the future of your relationship.

1. Have 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. Try to communicate with honesty, it will help instill trust in the faithful partner. You can also talk about creating new boundaries for the relationship.

2. Accept your 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 use them as excuses to justify their behavior, especially if they are looking to reunite with their partner.

3. Give your partner some time

The one who cheated needs time to realize how big the mistake was, plan things to regain trust and be strong enough to face the consequences.

The other partner needs time to vent, calm down, and decide whether to continue the relationship. Giving each other time and space can help foster acceptance of the situation and ultimately bridge the gap between the partners.

4. Apologize

Woman apologizing to a man

Image: IStock

You know damage has been done, and that impacted both lives. The first step in healing your relationship would be to sincerely admit your mistake. If your apology is genuine, your partner might be willing to reconcile and reconnect 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, try to reevaluate and decide if you 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. Insecurities, doubts, and fears would pop up time and again. However, both partners should have an air of openness when addressing each other’s fears. It will help rebuild trust, which is essential to reinvigorate the relationship.

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

Share responsibilities

Image: Shutterstock

Even when one partner is at fault when it comes to infidelity, 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. So, whether it is accepting mistakes, setting new goals, or setting up new limits, share everything and be ready compromise whenever needed.

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, reassess the past and 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 rekindle the relationship. Instead of healing your relationship, this attribute could do more damage to it. Also, due to your defensiveness, your partner might not disclose to you all the facts or convey only half the truth; so, try to be calm when communicating with each other.

10. Don’t take the relationship for granted

After cheating, arguments, and 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 would work. To heal the wounds and to rebuild the trust, you should not take the relationship for granted. Instead, you have to reassure your partner that you are there to work as a team.

11. Think about physical intimacy

Couple comfortable with physical intimacy

Image: IStock

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 rejected. 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.

Point to consider
Physical intimacy does not mean sexual activities. Holding hands, hugging, cuddling, kissing, touching, or caressing your partner affectionately can help heal the injuries.

12. Keep your promises

Infidelity makes it challenging to have faith in the relationship, and even in yourself. You 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 up the past would create more gaps in the relationship, and it will not allow you to move ahead. 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 good nature or noble deeds of the person. When trying to reintegrate trust, you need to respect each other.

Quick tip
Avoid being a helicopter partner. Avoid checking your partner’s texts and emails, as this reminds them constantly that you don’t trust them.

15. Seek therapy

Couple seeking therapy

Image: IStock

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 helps the couple see each other’s viewpoints.

An experienced therapist can provide you with insight 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.

A quiz was conducted at the University of Waterloo in Canada to measure the level of trust people had in their relationships. The following were some observations made:

  • There was no link between age and trust; people did not become more trusting of their partners as they grew older.
  • The most trusting people were those who were married or in a relationship, whereas those who were divorced and single showed the opposite behavior.

16. Focus on transparency

Transparency is crucial when rebuilding trust after cheating because it demonstrates a commitment to openness and honesty. Being transparent means willingly sharing one’s thoughts and feelings. This openness creates a sense of security that was compromised. Regular and honest communication allows the partner to see efforts toward change. It creates a foundation for healing and rebuilding the relationship.

17. Take accountability

Taking accountability can go a long way in rebuilding trust after cheating. When you acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions, it demonstrates your sincerity and a commitment to change. By being accountable, you show to your partner that you are aware of the consequences of your actions. It also shows that you are willing to make amends and work towards rebuilding the relationship.

Trust and reationship status

Source: Here’s How Trusting You Are; Greater good Science Centre;
Point to consider
Partners should try to spend regular time together. This may include simple tasks to reestablish the connection, such as daily walks or eating meals without looking at screens.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does infidelity pain ever go away?

You may recover from the agony of your partner’s betrayal, but it may still be one of the most painful experiences in your relationship. Finding out about a partner’s affair often means a loss of innocence and the safety of your relationship that can never be restored. It can be extremely traumatic and is just as detrimental as physical abuse (1).

2. Why do people cheat on people they love?

Commitment issues, lack of intimacy, desire for sexual variety, neglect, depression, self-esteem issues, desire for attention, and other factors can all contribute to your partner’s cheating. Sometimes, people may also choose infidelity as an exit strategy from a relationship (2).

3. What percentage of relationships work after cheating?

According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 80% of secret infidelity couples divorce, compared to 43% of revealed infidelity couples, and approximately 53% of all infidelity couples divorce within five years of receiving treatment (3). These statistics show that, while some couples’ relationships may survive despite the cheating, the percentage is far too low.

Relationships are built on a foundation of love and trust. So, if one partner breaks the trust and cheats on the other, it might damage the relationship. However, if the partner recognizes their mistake and agrees to make amends, the relationship may be worth a second chance. Since it takes time to rebuild trust, they need to put in a lot of effort and be patient. If you are apprehensive about how to rebuild trust after cheating, take it slow and start with open and clear communication. Accept the situation, apologize, and be ready to share responsibilities to reconstruct the relationship. Things might not be as they were before, but they can improve slowly, and with your effort and compassion, your relationship may gradually become as strong as before or even more.

Infographic: Bringing Back The Trust After Cheating

No matter the reason, cheating in a relationship is not acceptable. But how you handle it depends on you and your partner. So, if you are willing to give your relationship a chance for the sake of the priceless moments of love you shared, this infographic can help you through the process of healing together and sorting things out.

tips to rebuild trust after cheating (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Cheating jolts the foundation of a relationship and causes intense hurt.
  • But the damage is repairable with persistent, patient, and persevering efforts.
  • Abstaining from digging up the past and keeping your promises are a few ways to rebuild trust after cheating.
How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team


Do you want to rebuild trust after an affair and get forgiveness. Gain valuable insights into the crucial steps involved in repairing your relationship and forging a path towards a brighter future.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. G Wei Ng; (2019); PREDICTING PERSONAL AND RELATIONAL RECOVERY FROM INFIDELITY IN COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP A MODERATED MEDIATION MODEL.
    https://mospace.umsystem.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10355/71104/Ng_umkc_0134D_11525.pdf
  2. The Surprising Reasons People Cheat According To A Couples Therapist.
    https://thewell.northwell.edu/well-informed/why-people-cheat-in-relationships
  3. Rebeca A. Marín et al.; (2014); Infidelity and Behavioral Couple Therapy: Relationship Outcomes Over 5 Years Following Therapy.
    https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/cfp-0000012.pdf
Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
The following two tabs change content below.
Eva Mendes

Eva MendesLMHC, NCC

Eva Mendes is a licensed mental health counselor with nine years of experience and specializes in couples’ counseling, where one or both partners have Asperger’s syndrome and are on the autism spectrum. She also takes up individual counseling for adults with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. She did her postgraduation in clinical mental health from The Union Institute and University. Before...read full bio