How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating: 15 Helpful Tips

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“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.

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 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 the 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 and a bit of understanding can help you rebuild trust. The following tips should help you in order to feel more hopeful of 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. Talking honestly will 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.

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, to calm down, and to decide whether to continue in the relationship or not. Giving each other some time can help bridge the gap.

4. Apologize

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 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. 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

Even when 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. So, whether it is accepting mistakes, setting new goals, 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, 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 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 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.

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 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 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.

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. Things might not be as they were before, but they can improve slowly, and with your effort, your relationship may gradually become as strong as before or even more.

Key Pointers

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


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Eva Mendes

(LMHC, NCC)
Eva Mendes is a specialist couples’ counselor, 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 turning into a full-time counselor through her private practice in Arlington,... more

Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more

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