We’re not going to sugarcoat it: the path to rebuilding trust in a marriage is an uphill one. If you have cheated on your spouse, you have broken their trust and caused them a lot of pain. Though regaining trust after cheating may seem impossible, we’re here to tell you it’s not.
If you’ve managed to weather the storm that came after the initial admission of guilt, or even if you’re still trying to figure out how to break the news to them, understand that patience is going to be your best friend. A lot of empathy, a lot of communication, and an added layer of mutual respect might all contribute to gaining trust after cheating.
Of course, it’s not really as easy as that, though. When the going gets tough, we look toward those who can guide us better. That’s precisely why we turned to psychologist Aakhansha Varghese (MSc Counseling Psychology), who specializes in relationship and divorce counseling, to help us figure out how to regain trust after lying.
12 Ways To Rebuild Trust In Your Marriage After Cheating
In a marriage, both partners look to each other for a sense of calm and security. However, when cheating rears its ugly head, these feelings are disturbed and replaced by a sense of uneasiness, self-doubt, trust issues, the list goes on. When your partner sees you, all he/she sees is your betrayal. It is difficult to regain trust and make the marriage work.
When it comes to recovering from infidelity, your partner’s reaction might be poles apart from what you had expected. Some might turn a blind eye, hoping that fixes it. Others may choose to vent out their feelings and talk them out. For some, it might just be a dealbreaker. No matter how sorry you are, rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is like an attempt to stack uneven stones on top of one another carefully, trying to ensure that they don’t tumble down again. It requires small steps that will lead your partner back to you.
“Of course, gaining trust after cheating is challenging. The first thing to remember is to have patience, for yourself and your partner as well. Give your partner as much space as possible, to think and process whatever has happened. Trust in your partner to be able to come back to you with an answer or a suitable conclusion to everything that has happened,” says Aakhansha, telling us the very first step to how to regain trust after lying.
Emotions are definitely running high, your commitment might’ve been questioned several times, and the tears just end up making it harder for everybody. When all is said and done, however, it’s possible to get back to a place of love and unwavering trust. Here are 12 ways to rebuild trust after you have cheated in your marriage:
Related Reading: 9 Ways To Fix A Relationship After Trust Is Broken
1. Break all ties with your fling
The first step is to sever all ties with your affair partner. If you want your partner to see that you are trying to mend things with him/her, do it by showing them that the affair is behind you. By ending an affair, you have taken your first step toward regaining your partner’s trust.
This is especially important if you’re trying to regain trust after emotional cheating. Since that dynamic wasn’t even really about sexual gratification, communication is what must’ve made it thrive. And unless you put an end to the communication, your partner, whose trust has been broken, will never be able to take you seriously.
Once your partner sees that the threat is gone, he/she will feel a sense of relief and will start to think about you, your efforts, and your marriage. This is the foremost step that you should take when trying to regain your spouse’s trust.
2. Be accountable for your actions
At times, when cheaters get caught, they start playing the blame game. Playing the blame game doesn’t justify your actions; it just drives your partner away. It was you who cheated, not your partner, whatever the reasons for your extramarital affair.
“By being accountable, you let your partner know that you are owning up to your mistake, you’ve accepted that you’ve done something wrong and you’re willing to work on it. It shows that you are courageous enough to accept responsibility, instead of blaming someone else.
“The first step in regaining trust after cheating is to accept the mistake, and the second step is to plan on how you’re going to move forward. Hopefully, the planning can come into play once your partner sees you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions,” says Aakhansha.
Tell your partner every detail of how and when it started. Tell him or her you regret your actions, and how you’d like to rebuild the trust that lies shattered. Owning up to your mistake will make your partner think about giving you another chance.
3. Let your partner vent it out
After your partner comes to know about the affair, they might find themselves unable to react. By not reacting to such a huge blow, your partner is suppressing their inner feelings, which will just keep piling up until it’s too late to recover from them. Talk to your partner and allow them to take out all those boxed-up feelings.
“When you let the person who has been cheated on vent it all out, they may end up saying that might hurt your sentiments. Of course, it’s not fair that they’re using them, but rather than taking it personally and being defensive, understand that it’s not really about you at that moment.
“It can act as a tiny step toward the journey of regaining trust after cheating. When you give a person safe space to vent, they’ll appreciate the opportunity and will start to feel more secure. Being more supportive than defensive will help too. Naturally, when a person feels heard, they start to heal,” says Aakhansha.
Whether you’re trying to regain trust after cheating on your boyfriend or on your girlfriend, one of the most important things to do is to remember to make them feel heard. You too need to know about how much damage this affair has caused to your marriage and your partner and empathize with your partner. Only once you hear them out will you be able to understand what they’re going through.
4. Become as transparent as possible
Whether you are going out with your sister or texting your colleague, tell your partner. Be back when your partner is expecting you. Don’t let the doubts creep in again. If you bump into someone, let your partner know about it. Ensure that you show full transparency from your side so that your partner sees the efforts you are putting in to bring this relationship back together.
Transparency is all about showing a responsible attitude toward regaining trust after cheating. It may seem like an invasion of your privacy in the beginning, but know that it’s only temporary and much needed. Cut your partner some slack, and don’t hate them if they’re looking at you with suspicious eyes because you texted a colleague at 7 p.m.
5. Take it slow
Rebuilding someone’s trust isn’t an easy job. It requires baby steps — making small changes, one at a time. Don’t expect your partner to forgive you immediately after you close the chapter of your extramarital affair.
“Pressuring your partner to give you an answer in a day or two is quite unfair to them. In a lot of cases, it backfires as well. The person who has been cheated on sees that they aren’t given any space, and they may end up taking a few steps back. This can have a lot of unpleasant consequences. Take things slow, it’s not something you can rush,” says Aakhansha.
Your partner is in a vulnerable situation where even the smallest mistake could make them withdraw from the relationship. You have to understand that. Give them the time and space to process their feelings. Give your partner the time he/she requires to feel that sense of security again. Sooner or later, your love will lead your partner back to you.
6. Have “the talk”
You and your partner may be avoiding talking about what happened because of embarrassment or the fear of losing each other for real. “It felt as though everything I was doing was wrong, I had no idea what to do,” says Jeff, speaking about how he struggled with regaining trust after cheating on his girlfriend, Kayla.
“While I was planning grand romantic gestures, she thankfully told me that all she wanted me to do was talk to her and tell her what I’m feeling. To regain your girlfriend’s trust after cheating can solely rely on the type of conversations you have with her, so don’t beat around the bush,” he adds.
Improving communication between two partners is very important when it comes to infidelity. It helps both partners to address the issue and take steps to work on rebuilding the marriage.
7. Honesty is the best policy
As difficult as it may seem, the only way to win back your partner is by telling him/her about your secret sexcapades. The past has a way of coming back to haunt you in the worst possible scenarios. If your partner comes to know about these things from another source, regaining trust after cheating becomes that much harder.
“When you’re trying to regain trust after lying, be honest with yourself as well. Accept that you’ve made a mistake, forgive yourself in the process too. By holding regret or resentment toward yourself, you’re only making the job of rebuilding the relationship a lot harder,” says Aakhansha.
Especially when you’re figuring out how to regain trust after emotional cheating, you’re going to have to have conversations with your partner and lots of them. Don’t let anything be left unsaid. It may seem difficult to speak of some of the things you have done, but being honest is the only way you’ll pave the way forward.
Related Reading: How To Heal After Being Cheated On And Stay Together
8. Try to reconnect, both emotionally and physically
It is important to reconnect with your partner again so that both of you can feel some sort of bond between you and can rekindle the same connection that you felt before the blow of infidelity left your relationship standing on thin ice. Simple ways of showing affection can make your partner feel loved and wanted and ease out the insecurities, apart from making your relationship stronger. It is important to revive that lost love.
By physically connecting with your partner, you will be able to reach out to your partner in a way that will help trigger his/her emotions for you. “Reconnecting with your partner is a culmination of accepting your mistake, giving the other person space, and having patience. Both partners must mutually agree on why they want to continue the relationship.
“There’s no doubt that physical intimacy in a couple can suffer quite a setback due to infidelity. In such cases, both partners must have patience and must understand that it’s temporary. Counseling can be incredibly beneficial, and perhaps a sex therapist will help you to retrieve the intimacy,” says Aakhansha.
Whether you want to regain trust after cheating on your boyfriend or your girlfriend, you’ve got to be patient with the setbacks that you may have suffered.
9. Try to start afresh
Maybe your relationship had too many problems, which led you to fill the void elsewhere. This could have triggered the affair. But now you know where you stand and you want to rebuild trust in your relationship. Address the issue and try building your connection by focusing on what it lacked.
Starting afresh by avoiding those mistakes that you made before the affair will prevent you from going through those paths all over again. You can now focus on your marriage as a new and more mature person. You know where both of you went wrong. Focus on correcting that and try to start afresh.
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10. Avoid walking down the same road to infidelity
You know the events that led to the affair. It could be a moment of weakness, a rebound, a medium to reduce your stress or frustration, a one-night stand, your ex or just some old habits. There are many tempting roads to infidelity, but you know your weak spots and you need to avoid them. Ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Take steps to not land in the same situations that may cause you to have an affair and hurt your partner again. If you have serial cheater tendencies, then go for counseling and address them. This is vital if you want to rebuild trust in a relationship.
11. Seek relationship counseling
Couples get so entangled in individual issues that they don’t listen to what their partner has to say and ignore their perspectives. In such cases, the advice of a professional can help you both focus on “us” instead of your individual problems.
“When there are challenges with communication that seem impossible to overcome, couples therapy can come to your aid. A trained professional can help tremendously in helping a couple see things in a new light,” says Aakhansha.
Your partner would be more inclined to listen to a professional who doesn’t remind him/her of you or your infidelity. If you’re looking for a professional relationship counselor to help you out during these trying times, Bonobology has a multitude of experienced counselors who would love to come to your aid.
12. Set some rules in your marriage
At times, you need to make ultimatums or set rules for “in the event of” something that could threaten the relationship. It could be things like your previous flings, drunken weakness, too many fights, issues with spending time or even physical intimacy issues. All possible threats could be thought of and both of you can decide beforehand the way these situations can be handled in a way that your marriage doesn’t get hampered.
Related Reading: I Had Blind Faith In My Partner But Now I Can’t Trust Him
When you’re trying to regain your girlfriend’s trust after cheating, or anyone for that matter, the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that you need to be patient. Agree on what it is that drove you both toward each other in the first place, and don’t let your wavering trust distance you two from each other.
Speaking on how to regain trust after lying, Aakhansha advises, “For regaining trust after cheating, one has to realize the trust comes and goes. It’s not constant. Just keep the basics in mind, don’t play any games, make sure the communication and conversation is clear and transparent. Have patience, and trust in the process.”
Yes, it’s entirely possible to regain trust after cheating. Though it will require the utmost commitment and dedication from both partners. Be patient with each other, provide a safe space to vent and honestly communicate, and make sure you do all you can to remain faithful henceforth.
How long it takes to rebuild trust after cheating completely relies on how a person responds to cheating. The time frame will be different for everybody, but a good