If you ask a person what they would do if their partner cheated on them, most would say they would leave. However, when it actually happens to you, it’s possible that you’ll feel differently. Cheating is heartbreaking and devastating, but it doesn’t have to be a full stop if both of you are willing to work at fixing the damage. You can learn how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying, but don’t expect it to be easy.
Though many couples choose to end a relationship or even marriage because of an affair, there are still many 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.
While we sincerely hope that you never have to deal with such a situation, for those who do, these tips on how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying will give you some hope that you can get back to the good days, or even better to come.
[Read: What is cheating in a relationship? The truth most people ignore]
The most important thing to remember is that you cheated and you betrayed your partner. That means the road ahead is going to be bumpy, full of uncertainty, and you cannot be sure whether the relationship will survive or not.
To give you a chance of figuring out how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying, you have to admit fault. You did this. You put your partner through this pain.
Accept responsibility and know that to give them a chance of ever trusting you again, you need to allow them to work through the pain. At times you’re going to feel terrible but quite frankly, what did you expect? [Read: Affairs in a relationship and the big role ego plays in it]
Understand that your partner is feeling worse. It’s easy to become annoyed or frustrated that they won’t just simply accept your apologies and move on, but would you be able to do that if the tables were turned? Probably not.
It’s going to take time and you’re going to need to be strong enough to take full responsibility for everything that happens from this point on. [Read: Why do people in happy relationships still cheat?]
If you want to build trust back into the relationship or marriage, here are the main 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?
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, social media, or email. Just make sure the person you cheated with gets the message that you want to end things and all contact as well, 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 will help calm their mind in case there are still lingering doubts that the affair is still happening.
It goes without saying that you should also block all contact with that person and again, be able to prove this to your partner. [Read: How to end an affair and get over it completely even if you still love them]
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 them 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. Or, maybe you were just looking for an ego boost. Perhaps you just have poor self-control. Whatever it is, make sure the reason is genuine and you are sincere. [Read: The right way to confess to cheating on your lover]
When you’re looking to rebuild trust after cheating, you need to remember that your partner has every right to be angry.
But when they let out the frustration, the anger, the tears, and the accusation, try your best to be patient. Know that this is a consequence of your actions and you simply have to take it because you betrayed them.
Never allow your own frustration or anger at yourself to spill over and be pushed towards your partner. Shouting at them for being upset for being cheated on is not going to help here.
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. [Read: What you should tell and what you should hide *for now* when you’re talking about your affair]
The thing about cheating is that your partner is hurt that you were 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 them with flowers, or win them over with breakfast in bed. Remember, you’re learning how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying, 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. Be sincere and know that it simply helps, but doesn’t solve anything. Of course, your partner may ridicule you at first for being extra-sweet or accuse you of “faking affection” because you cheated. That’s inevitable, but all you can do for now is let your partner see that you’re genuinely sorry, and you’re willing to put in the effort to salvage the relationship. [Read: The 25 sweetest romantic gestures you can use in your everyday life]
This may seem like something you’d get from a clingy partner. But you’re both working on rebuilding a relationship of shattered trust.
Letting your sweetheart know where you are, allows them to keep an eye on you and feel reassured. For sure, it’s going to be a little annoying and you might feel like you’re under surveillance. But again, it’s a consequence. Learning how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying does take a little sacrifice on your part. But, you should have thought of that before you cheated, right?
This also serves to calm your partner’s mind that you’re just doing regular stuff even if you’re not being watched.
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.
But, how long should this go on for? For a while, but not forever. At some point, trust does have to take over but whether you reach that point of rebuilding trust ever again depends on the process you’re going through right now. [Read: Emotional affairs and 10 really bad things it can do to your life]
It could be that your partner simply needs a little space to go through everything in their mind. If that’s the case, you simply have to give it to them.
You will probably want to stick by their side to make sure that they’re not about to leave you, but that’s not going to work. You have to let them figure things out by themselves and be there when they need you.
Learning how to rebuild trust after cheating and lying means that they may need to think about things and decide what to do. That could go your way, it may not. But, that’s your not choice to make right now, it’s theirs. Give them space if they ask for it, but be there if they call. [Read: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]
Imagine you’re starting from scratch and you’re wooing your partner to fall in love with you again. The mere fact that they are 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 them over at the start like long talks, surprise visits, or just overall thoughtfulness. Make your partner laugh, use your skills at cooking to woo them 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!]
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. [Read: Who cheats more? Men, women & their specific needs to cheat]
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 for a while. Or, 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 them from your contact list, your social media, or whatever medium 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 will it calm your partner’s mind, but these steps will definitely help prevent a relapse into old cheating behaviors. [Read: How to resist the temptation to cheat or have an affair when you’re already in love]
Ending the affair is just the start of a long road toward 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: Why are affairs so darn hard to end even when we know it’s wrong?]
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. [Read: Relationship therapy and 25 clues to know if it will help your romance]
There is no quick fix for regaining your partner’s trust. Infidelity is one of those painful experiences where a one-time thing can 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 lying, 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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