Cheating can be one of the worst things that happen in a relationship. It tears everything apart, which the two people involved built together. And while healing your broken heart is tough, what’s even tougher is to start trusting your partner again after being cheated on. I mean, how do you even begin trusting someone who betrayed you, your loyalty and everything that your relationship stands for? But please do know that you will heal but the healing process doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a very tough journey and sometimes even the strongest couple find it difficult to navigate their way through. Feelings of betrayal, resentment, anger, hurt, guilty and what not always get in your way. So what can you do to save your relationship?
Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
Put your cards on the table
You were hurt. You need to be heard. Don’t hold back. All those questions that you wanted to ask, ask them. You’re feeling overwhelmed with grief and that’s to be expected. Shout, cry, and do whatever makes you feel lighter. Just make sure that you asking questions does not turn into an accusation match, or worse, a situation where both parties begin abusing or physically hurting each other. That’s one of the unhealthiest ways to “resolve” conflicts.
Don’t be too quick to forgive
A lot of cheated partners make this mistake early on in their relationship. The moment they find out they have been cheated on, they vent their frustrations and when they’re done with it, they immediately forgive their partners. Here’s the thing. Such forgiveness, labelled as “cheap forgiveness” by experts, is often found among those people who are so afraid of living their lives alone that they would rather stay with someone they can’t trust. This is extremely unhealthy. Take 6 months, hell, take 1 year to forgive your partner. It’s okay. What’s not okay is to immediately forgive them and hope that things will magically return to how they were. This is not the way to work on rebuilding trust after infidelity.
Put them on a short leash
They asked for this, so never feel guilty for making this decision. Cheating is always a choice, not a mistake, and choices have consequences. The consequence of their cheating on you is that now they are answerable to you. So when they say they will be home by 7pm, make sure they keep their word. Ensure they mean what they say and say what they mean. Put your foot down if your partner says or does anything to the contrary. Tell them that your relationship is on the line and if repairing it means a little inconvenience in their life, then tough luck.
Let him see your grief
There’s no point in burying your feelings deep down inside you and pretend what happened was “in the past” and that you should be “more forward”. The human psyche doesn’t work like that. Don’t give in to your partner’s BS of “moving on with our lives”. He’s doing that just so that he doesn’t have to see how much he hurt you. But guess what? Actions have reactions, and his cheating on you will have a strong reaction of you grieving. Let him witness it. Let him see what he did to you. He deserves to know exactly how much he hurt you. Don’t think about him; think about yourself.
Road bumps are to be expected
Not only are they to be expected, but they are perfectly normal when it comes to rebuilding trust after infidelity. Trust is earned, and that is a very, very long process. On some days you’ll feel you can trust him and on some, you will be overly suspicious of his actions. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for facing a setback or two. Don’t forget – there’s always tomorrow.
Make sure he takes full responsibility
Because at the end of the day, cheating is a choice that he made. Sure, you were distant, too clingy, too possessive or too flirtatious which pushed him to cheat, but hey, he could have opted to talk things out with you instead of having sex with someone else, right? Why didn’t he take that path? Make him see that cheating was a decision that he consciously chose to opt for. Also make sure he doesn’t blame you for the cheating.
Share the responsibility nonetheless
Not in front of him, of course. Even so, talk to him and ask him what made him cheat on you. Maybe you gave your work too much time, maybe you had grown distant, or maybe your relationship was in a rut. Again, it wasn’t your fault – he could have chosen the path of talking things out with you, but he chose not to. However you have to take your responsibilities in rebuilding trust after infidelity and make sure you right your wrongs. Spend more time with your partner, give him or her more attention and care more about your partner's life. Everything else can take a backseat.
Take things one step at a time
Again, know that your journey is long and arduous. It will require a lot of time, patience and perseverance to make it through. As already stated above, you cannot expect to trust your partner instantaneously after they apologise for their act. Take things one day at a time. Begin small and then work your way forward from there.