Trust is one of the fundamental pillars of marriage, right alongside love, respect and loyalty. However, when one of these pillars is weakened and shook, the others automatically take a hit. When your partner strays outside the bond of marriage and has an affair, a severe blow is dealt to the very core of the relationship and trust is the first to take a hit. If you’re grappling with the question of how to rebuild trust in a marriage after your partner has cheated, know that it is going to be a slow, long-drawn process.
Related Reading: How To React To Your Partner’s Extramarital Affair
Broken trust is one of the hardest things to mend, especially when there is infidelity involved. One incident can change your outlook toward the marriage and it may even feel as if the damage is beyond repair. Sometimes, you and your partner may find yourselves caught in the classic one step forward, two steps backwards pace of improvement. Hang in there, because even though it may feel impossible in the beginning, it’s not. Provided you are both willing to do the hard work.
How to Rebuild Trust in a Marriage? Embrace the Reality
The world we live in today is very different from the traditional couple dynamics that patriarchy prepares us for. Today, the man is not the sole breadwinner of the family and women are no longer just homemakers. A majority of them are empowered, financially independent people with careers and social lives of their own.
Even if they’re homemakers, the lifestyle and responsibilities of the modern woman are markedly different than the life led by women in the previous generations. Add to that the prevalence of the internet and social media, and it is not unthinkable for a married woman to reconnect with an old college sweetheart at the click of a button.
Let’s say your wife developed a crush on a co-worker or reconnected with an old crush at a school reunion, and things spiralled out of control, leading to an affair. Maybe you read the signs that she was cheating or she confessed to the affair on her own; either way, the cat is out of the bag and you have to live with the consequences.
Accepting the fact that affairs are a lot more common today may help you come to terms with the reality of your wife’s affair more easily. A recent survey suggests that 55% of married people in India have been unfaithful at least once, and out of which, 56% were women.
As long as your partner is ready to make amends and you don’t want to do down the messy path of divorce, embracing the reality of what has happened is the first step toward rebuilding trust after cheating.
Related reading: 6 reasons why women have an affair
How to Rebuild Trust in a Marriage
A man once wrote to us just about learning of his wife’s infidelity upon her being diagnosed with an STD. Even though his world turned upside down in a single moment, the couple sought professional help and worked on their marriage to rebuild a connection all over again.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are 7 steps that will help you learn how to get over insecurities after being cheated on and rebuild trust in your marriage:
1. Change your thinking
Blame it on patriarchy or years of conditioning, the men grow up believing they need to be the dominating one in the relationship. So while your wife’s affair may have caused you a great deal of emotional hurt, it is only natural that your male ego is massively bruised too. If you’re struggling to find out how to regain trust after being lied to, denouncing this patriarchal outlook toward relationships and gender roles may be a good start point.
Related reading: This is why married couples don’t get to have daytime sex
2. Be honest with yourself
The next step in how to rebuild trust in a marriage is being honest about your feelings and emotions to yourself and your partner. It is only natural to feel sad and angry and even distant from your partner, especially in the initial days. But is the resolve to stay in the marriage stronger that these feelings of hurt?
Give yourself time to get in touch with your emotions and understand how you feel about the situation. Taking a soul-searching trip alone to comprehend your emotions may be a good idea, as the distance will give you sounder perspective
3. Understand her feelings
Once you have decided to forgive the affair and move on, it is time to reconnect with your spouse. Is the affair is over? Are there any chances of her going back to the other man? Is she willing to be an equal partner in the relationship rebuilding process? And most importantly, does she still love you?
Related reading: 6 things men can do to win women’s trust
4. Was it just sex?
Was it an emotional affair or a purely physical? It is important to know this, as a momentary physical passion is always easier to get over than a deeply emotional affair. You must create an environment where your wife feels comfortable sharing these details with you. If you both cannot seem to make headway on your own, seeking help from a professional therapist can help.
5. Analyse your relationship
A crucial part of how to rebuild trust after cheating is to analyse your own relationship. It is possible that your wife’s affair was the result of some underlying, unresolved issues in your marriage. Maybe she felt unappreciated or lonely. While it may be difficult to look inward when it is easy to place blame on the other person, you need to find constructive ways to bridge the distance and cultivate real communication. Of course, couple therapy is always a sensible route to take in such situations.
Related reading: 5 women share their experience of one-night stands
6. Create new memories
A grand gesture such as going on a second honeymoon always helps in making a fresh start. It gives a couple the perfect opportunity to creates new memories, which may help in wiping out old, hurtful ones. To make sure that these positive feelings are sustained in the long run, make sure you and your spouse practice continued meaningful communication, find new activities to pursue together and invest quality time to make your marriage stronger.
7. Leave the past alone
Most importantly, let the past bury its dead. Once you have come so far in understanding how to rebuild trust in a marriage, don’t let the urge to snoop around your wife’s phone or cross-check her whereabouts all the time ruin all the hard work you’ve done. That said, it is only natural that you’ll develop an instinct to look out for signs of trouble. It’s perfectly okay as long as that behaviour doesn’t take on an obsessive turn.
Once you’ve come this far, the rest of the going will get easier, as long as both you and your spouse hold up your end of the bargain.