Rebuilding trust is hard, but possible. It takes both, you and your significant other to put effort in the healing process of your relationship. If you decided to forgive, here’s what you can try doing.
You found out that your partner cheated on you. You feel shocked, mad and hurt and you want to hate your partner so badly and never forgive the infidelity. And it is very hard to let go of those negative feelings. However, you really don’t want to leave him because you still love him and can’t imagine your life without him. And you’re confused because you don’t know how to forgive.
Forgiving your partner who cheated on you can have a healing effect on you. Hate and anger you might feel will just poison your personality and won’t benefit neither you nor your partner.
You cannot control whether your partner will cheat on you again. It’s up to him or her to make the choice not to be unfaithful again. But you can choose whether or not to trust your partner again.
Many people decide to break up or divorce their partner after they discover an affair. Nevertheless, if you still have feelings for your partner you’ll probably ask yourself: “How do I trust my partner again after he/she cheated on me”. Rebuilding trust is hard, but possible. It takes both, you and your significant other to put effort in the healing process of your relationship.
If you decided to forgive, here are some tips to keep in mind
1. Decide Whether You can Forgive or Not
The first step in rebuilding trust is deciding whether you should or can forgive your unfaithful partner at all. Try to reflect and decide if your relationship is worth working on it. Talk to your partner openly to figure out the reasons for his/her affair. Forgiving the cheater may be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done. Therefore, it is not the same if your partner’s affair was one moment decision and happened only once as opposite to the affair that lasted for months or even years.
Furthermore, try to make out if your partner is truly sorry and determined not to cheat on you again. Is he or she sorry, full of regret and sincerely depressed? Or your gut is telling you she/he might do it again?
Also, if you are at the beginning of a relationship, and your partner has cheated on you, ask yourself is that relationship is worth fixing it. On the other hand, a long and healthy relationship before your significant other was unfaithful puts things into a different perspective.
If you feel that you have something special that can be revived, then it is probably worth trying.
2. Take Some Time to Cool Off
Don’t make any important decisions in regards to your relationship right after you discover an affair. Take a deep breath and take some time to think and figure out what to do next. You may desperately want to talk, cry or scream at your partner. Try to refrain from that, though. If you try to talk about what happened before you processed your feelings, you may make things worse.
Spend some time alone instead. Go for walks alone or spend time in your room.
If you and your unfaithful partner live together, may need to physically remove yourself from the whole experience for a few days of even weeks. Take as much time as you need. Explain your partner that you need to be alone and reflect on the affair on your own before you decide to forgive. Stay with a family member or a friend for some time. Or book a hotel in another city if you have to.
3. Stay Focused on Present
It may be extremely hard to stay present-orientated after the significant other cheated on you. All you can think is past. Your past together before the affair, and especially the infidelity itself. You may be questioning both, your partner and yourself: “Why did you do this to me?”, “Should I have done something differently?”, “Could I see this coming?” and similar. You have the right to feel sad, angry and hurt. However, try to focus on present moment and the things that can be done to rebuild trust.
Practice mindfulness. This is a type of meditation where you stay focused on present moment without judging or interpreting it. Try mindful breathing technique. Concentrate on your breathing while sitting or lying in a comfortable position. This will help you relax and stay emotionally balanced.
Analyze and acknowledge your feelings and talk to your partner openly. Acknowledge your partner’s feelings as well. Staying concentrated on present doesn’t mean you should not talk about past at all. But remember, the best way to let your wound heal is stop touching it. Inability to let go of negative emotions may be a sign that your relationship is not worth working on it.
4. Communicate Openly
After your trust has been shattered, you will need to learn how to rebuild a healthy communication with your partner. At this point you may want to seek help of a marriage counselor. Couples therapy or counseling can help you improve your communication and rebuild the trust gradually.
You will need to learn how to talk honestly without bringing up the past and accusing your partner. Listen carefully to what your partner has to say. Be straightforward when you communicate your needs and feelings. Your spouse needs to understand the despair and confusion you are going through.
Pay attention to what your partner needs. Understanding their feelings is important part of moving on as well. Discuss the things you can do together to make your relationship work. Try to stay focused on building something new together.
5. Think About the Future of Your Relationship
When you calm down after the initial shock, you should reflect on your relationship and the future with the partner who cheated on you. Can you imagine a future without that person? Be sincere to yourself while answering these important questions. What makes your relationship special and worth keeping it alive? Was that really a great relationship or your true reason to forgive is a fear of being alone?
Do you have children together? For most people kids are the main reason to forgive the infidelity and stay in a marriage. Be honest to yourself though when deciding whether children are the only reason for forgiving your spouse.
6. The Cause of Infidelity
It is hard to think of reasons that led to infidelity without accusing and blaming. However, try to find out what led your partner to cheat on you, without blaming yourself or accusing him/her. Was it a fight that you had that caused your partner to cheat on you? Maybe it was the routine your relationship fell into that initiated the infidelity?
7. Try Marriage Counseling
It may happen that you want to forgive your partner who cheated on you but you simply don’t know how. If you feel that you lack the skills to cope with the current situation, suggest marriage counseling to your partner.
If the significant other who cheated on you doesn’t feel comfortable with couple’s therapy, you may agree to do it individually in the beginning. In addition, you can chose an online marriage counseling as a more fitting option and speak to a counselor anonymously any time you find convenient.
8. Make a Plan of Your Relationship Recovery
Discuss with your significant other what you can do as a couple to make things work between the two of you again. Make a strategy for rebuilding trust and relationship recovery. That may include agreement to be honest to each other about your feelings and needs or a decision to start seeing a couple’s counselor. Furthermore, planning small steps towards boosting the quality of your relationship such as spending more time together or doing certain things together also may help.
Decide whether you want to tell your families and friends what is going on. Ask your partner if he/she feels comfortable with you sharing the details with other people and vice versa. Also, you may have to ask your spouse to cut the ties with his acquaintances, for example, if they were the ones who introduced the person your partner was cheating you with.
Or have your partner consider quitting her/his job if a person she/he was cheating you was a co-worker. These may be hard decisions to ask for, but sometimes necessary in order to make things work between you two.
9. Infidelity is not an Excuse for Abuse
Forgiving someone who cheated on you may be very challenging process, filled with mixed feelings, doubts and confusion. Rebuilding your relationship can be frustrating for both of you. However, keep in mind that your partner’s cheating mustn’t be an excuse for abuse of any kind from your side.
Although you may ask your partner to abandon some of the connections or behaviors linked to the affair, you should never demand that they share their social media passwords or their cell phone call history with you. Only thing you can and should do is deciding whether you can trust your significant other or not again. If you decided to rebuild the confidence, you will simply need to have a little faith.
If you’re going through something similar in your relationship, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. You can speak with ur expert marriage and relationship counsellors online anonymously at Askmile.com.