Learning how to regain trust after cheating is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it is worth it. Learn to open your heart to love again.
Whether you want to learn how to regain trust after cheating with your partner or with anyone in the future, you’ll need a lot of patience. Let me tell you, it can be done, but you can’t expect to regain trust in hours, days, or even weeks.
Trust takes time to be earned, no time to be broken, and even more time to be regained.
Trust is not forgiveness. Trust is something you give to someone who has earned it. Trust is a bit of yourself in someone else’s hands. It is your vulnerability and willingness to let them determine some part of your feelings.
And the thing about trust is that it isn’t always so specific. If you’ve been cheated on by your partner you won’t trust them, but that broken trust can seep into the rest of your life and affects relationships you haven’t even formed.
So, whether you want to regain trust after cheating in a relationship or in general, you’ll be better off for it.
What does regaining trust after cheating mean?
Wanting to regain trust after cheating is the first step in actually doing it. When you are first betrayed, you don’t want to trust. You are in pain and never want to take that risk again.
Once you have dealt with the initial shock and pain, you can start to forgive. That takes time on its own. You must work through those feelings and the events. You should process emotions and maybe even get closure.
Once that has been done, you can start learning how to regain trust after cheating.
Before you taking taking baby steps though, accept what regaining trust means. It doesn’t mean you’ll go back to how it was the first time. You cannot erase the fact that you’ve been cheated on. It happened and it affects you.
The feelings that go with a loss of trust will not be forgotten, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Taking that with you can remind you of your strength and what you’ve survived. You don’t want to dwell on it, but learning how to regain trust after cheating often takes a lot more will power than the first time you trust someone.
Regaining trust means slowly being more and more vulnerable with your partner or others in general. It means you give more of yourself to others. You are willing to take the risk of being hurt because you know those connections are worth it.
Regaining trust after cheating is about letting go of the anger and holding onto the commitment. It means persevering to build relationships or rebuild a specific relationship.
Broken trust makes you question everything. It turns you against yourself. It makes you doubt your own choices and everyone around you. So, regaining trust after cheating takes a lot of focus and patience.
Learning how to regain trust after cheating is not an uphill battle, but a fight with the ocean. There are ebbs and flows. You will have moments of strength and moments of weakness. But ultimately, all of that will make you better.
Learning how to regain trust after cheating is mostly an internal battle. If you are working on a specific relationship, it will require a lot of communication and matching actions.
I also recommend therapy for those trying to reestablish a relationship after cheating. A professional can offer tailored guidance for your unique situation. Therapy can also help you if you are trying to regain trust within yourself after being cheated on.
But, if you are in the early stages of learning how to regain trust after cheating, follow some of these guidelines.
#1 Mourn. Make sure you’ve properly dealt with the betrayal. Cheating is not something you should be able to just get over. Face that pain. You may be able to talk it out with a partner or you may need to face it on your own.
Talk to friends and family, and be sad. It is okay to let all that out. It is cathartic and will help you get to a place where you can regain trust.
#2 Forgive. Forgiving the person who cheated isn’t about them. It is about you. Once you forgive them for cheating, you can start to find peace within yourself. If you can forgive them, you start to let go of the foul feelings involved and rebuild your emotions in a positive way. [Read: How to let go of resentment and stop feeding the hate you feel]
#3 Positive self talk. This sounds cheesy, but trust me, it works. Cheating makes you call everything into question, especially yourself. You doubt yourself in more ways than one. To combat this and trust your gut again, remind yourself that you will be okay no matter what happens.
When the pain is so fresh, we often convince ourselves we cannot handle anymore. Your mind and heart are protecting themselves by foreseeing a pattern. Remind yourself that you can trust yourself. This is a step closer to trusting others, even those that may have hurt you, so it is scary.
#4 Accept reality. The reality is that no matter how much time you spend regaining trust after cheating, there are no guarantees. You have to come to terms with that. Yes, you could be hurt again, but so what? You survived this time and you will survive again.
Trust is part of human relationships. Building a relationship, even a friendship requires trust. It is something you will be at a loss for if you don’t regain. Accept that it has its flaws and risks, but you are better off with it.
#5 Focus on the trust you do have. After cheating, trust seems like a thing of the past. Maybe romantically it is gone for now, but trust is not just in romance. Look at the people in your life you do trust. Look at the trust you have with your parents or friends or even coworkers.
#6 Take baby steps. When I was cheated on, I took a long break before getting back out there because it is what I needed. And when I did, I took my time. I didn’t dive right in or push myself. I let myself have a crush. Then, I let myself get excited for a first date.
But when it didn’t work out, I would crawl back into my shell of distrust. I had moments of happiness and trust and disappointment. At the time it felt hopeless, but I made it through the ups and downs.
#7 Put it all out there. Eventually, you’ll need to regain trust after cheating. Maybe a few months later or maybe it’ll take nearly six years like it did for me. But, eventually, you must let go of the fear and be vulnerable.
Before being cheated on, I told my partner I loved him the moment I felt it. I just needed to get it out. With my current boyfriend, it took me weeks to admit it when I knew I felt it. I was terrified of being rejected. Instead, I let all my old fears get in my head. Then I realized that it wasn’t him I was wary of but myself. I knew how he felt about me, I questioned my judgement.
But if I couldn’t take that risk and say it out loud, I wasn’t ready for that relationship. But, I knew I was. Those doubts still creep in from my past every once in a while, but as long as I can keep reassuring myself that they are part of the past and not the present, I do just fine.