For couples that have had to deal with infidelity, there is hope!
Though many couples choose to end a relationship or even a marriage because of an affair, there are still some who trudge on and end up with a relationship that’s stronger than ever.
What doesn’t kill your relationship can make it stronger, after all.
Rebuilding trust after straying away
Regaining the trust of a broken hearted lover is not easy though, and as hard as you try, it will seem futile and frustrating at times, and you may feel helpless and pained at other times.
But when you see couples that have endured through the rocky phases, and come out stronger than ever, you can still cling to hope and try to make your own romance bloom even after it seems to have withered away.
9 ways to rebuild trust after an affair
If you want to build trust back into the relationship or marriage, here are the 9 things you should prepare yourself for.
It’ll take time and determination, but anything worth holding on to is definitely worth the effort, isn’t it? [Read: 10 reasons why you have trust issues and 5 ways to fix them all]
#1 End the affair, duh. But make sure your partner gets proof. No, don’t set up a date with you, the person you cheated with, and your partner. That’s just asking for trouble! Instead, do it via phone, text, Facebook or email. Just make sure the person you cheated with gets the message and you can provide proof to your significant other.
This may be the hardest and most awkwardly heart wrenching hurdle, but ensuring your partner knows how you ended it would help calm his or her mind in case there are still lingering doubts that the affair is still happening. [Read: How to end an affair and get over it completely]
#2 Admit your mistake. Don’t blame it on the third party and definitely don’t blame it on your partner! Infidelity is a conscious decision that you chose to get involved in. After you’ve apologized to your *possibly unreceptive* partner, tell him or her about why you chose to have an affair in the first place.
Try your best not to blame external influences such as alcohol or goading from your friends, either. Instead, let your partner in on what was going through your mind to commit such an act of betrayal. Maybe you felt taken for granted. Maybe you were just looking for an ego boost. Maybe you just have poor self-control. Whatever it is, make sure it’s sincere! [Read: The right way to confess to cheating on your lover]
#3 Let your partner vent, and answer questions when they do. Your partner has every right to be angry. But when he or she lets out the frustration, the anger, the tears and the accusation, try your best to be patient.
Also, give honest answers to your significant other’s questions, no matter how ashamed you are of what you did. You’ve kept your partner in the dark during your affair, so it may be his or her way of shedding light on the times when you lied about your whereabouts.
The more your partner knows about the sordid details, the less his or her imagination takes over to fill in the blanks and make things seem worse than they actually are.
#4 Shower your beau with attention and affection. The thing about cheating is that your partner is hurt that you’re lavishing attention on another person when this should have been exclusive between the two of you.
Chances are, during the affair, your partner was deprived of your affection. This is the perfect moment to make it up. Go the extra mile, woo her with flowers or win him over with breakfast in bed. Remember, you’re rebuilding trust, but affection is also important. Just don’t think for a second that those grand gestures will be enough to get you off the hook. [Read: The 25 sweetest romantic gestures you can use in your everyday life]
#5 Let your partner know where you are at all times. This may seem like something you’d get from a clingy partner. But you’re both working on rebuilding a relationship of shattered trust. By letting your sweetheart know where you are, this lets them keep an eye on you and feel reassured.
This would also serve to calm your partner’s mind that you’re just doing regular stuff even if you’re not being watched. But don’t turn your updates into a loveless report on your whereabouts, either!
Put in something extra like, “Hey honey. Just got into the office. Love you.” Or “Just doing my groceries at the usual spot. I’m thinking about you.” Doing this via a phone call also beats doing it by texting. Sincere and affectionate, yet informative are what you’re going for. [Read: Emotional affairs and 10 really bad things it can do to your life]
#6 Slowly try to rebuild your emotional and physical relationship. Imagine you’re starting from scratch and you’re wooing your partner to fall in love with you again. The mere fact that he or she is willing to work things out says that the love is there, though the trust may need some work. And as with the beginning of your relationship, affection, proof of your sincerity and love can lead to trust, even if it’s the second time around.
Do the little things that won him or her over at the start like long talks, surprise visits or just overall thoughtfulness. Make your partner laugh, use your skills at cooking to woo him or her again. Then, if your partner is getting comfortable with you again, move on to the more physical stuff.
By no means are you aiming to make it seem like you’re starting off on a clean slate. But your entire relationship has undergone a huge, albeit painful, change. This is the time to step up and make up for this relationship road bump. [Confession: I cheated on my boyfriend and felt good about it!]
#7 Avoid the old patterns that led you to the affair. Okay, so maybe you’re not 100% at fault in the affair. It could be that timing and temptation got in the way of your otherwise good judgment and it led to an affair.
But whatever it is that led you down that road *being surrounded by hotties at the bar, friends who encourage you, or just being too friendly with people*, do your best to avoid it.
If your partner knows that your affair started with a trip to the pub, then you’ll have to avoid that or take your partner with you whenever you go there. If it started at work, you should try your best not to be alone with your ex paramour. If it’s with an ex who tried to rekindle the flame, remove him or her from your contact list, your Facebook page or whatever mediums of communication you had.
Also, it would help if your significant other knew that you’re actually making an effort to avoid repeating the same old patterns. Again, this won’t be enough, but it’s a start. Not only would it calm you partner’s mind, but these steps would definitely help prevent a relapse into old cheating behaviour. [Read: 10 big steps to resist temptation in love]
#8 Be patient with your partner. Ending the affair is just the start to a long road of rebuilding your partner’s trust in you. After that, there will be some lingering accusations, the occasional paranoid behavior and blaming you on the side. Take it all in, but don’t let it crumble your resolve. This is all part of the process.
There’s no definite timeline for this, and all couples marred by infidelity go through it at different paces. But one day, with enough time and consistent effort, your partner may slowly start to put down his or her defenses and learn to gradually trust you again. [Read: Affairs in a relationship and the really big role egos play in it]
#9 Seek therapy. Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible for the reconciliation process to not work out as planned. This is what couples’ therapy is for. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you should be proud that you’re willing to invest in professional means of patching up your relationship.
But remember, therapy isn’t an overnight cure for your plight. You still have to consistently work on rebuilding trust on your own. Just think of therapy as an added booster shot to help smoothen the path to a renewed relationship.
There is no quick fix for regaining your partner’s trust. Infidelity can be a one-time thing that will leave a lingering ghost in your relationship for years to come.
[Read: 12 subtle signs of a loveless romance that could lead to one partner straying]
But if you use these steps to rebuild trust after cheating, and you and your partner are resolved to make things work, you can gradually rebuild the trust you thought you’d lost. Good luck!
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