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How to Rebuild Trust After Cheating: Challenges and Tips

We all want to have a happy, sincere relationship, but what happens when we come to know our partner has been having an extramarital affair behind our backs? Is it possible to have a normal relationship after the blow of infidelity? Is it worth giving a chance to your partner after cheating?

We are going to look at the challenges that come when a person cheats in a relationship and the important tips that help to rebuild trust after cheating.

Key Takeaways

  • Various reasons for infidelity include revenge, loss of spark, opportunity, unmet needs, boredom, low self-esteem, etc.
  • After taking professional help and making appropriate efforts, it is possible to have a normal relationship after infidelity.
  • It can take 1-2 years to build trust after cheating.

Cheating in a Relationship and Trust Issues: Understanding the Challenges

cheating in a relationship and trust issues understanding the challenges

Unfortunately, many people cheat in marriage, and cheating is one of the biggest challenges a marriage can face. Cheating is not always about sex; in some cases, there can be an emotional attachment, which can result in emotional cheating

Lack of love, incompatible sexual needs, revenge, boredom, etc., are some of the reasons why both men and women cheat. No matter the reason behind the infidelity, the actions come with their challenges and can break a marriage

Even if the cheater decides to come clean, the road ahead in the marriage would be quite challenging as it would not be easy for the betrayed partner to forget about the cheating and the betrayal.1

Cheating in a relationship can break the trust between the partners, and it is natural for the betrayed partner to have problems trusting others as not only would they find it difficult to trust their cheating partner again, but they would also find it difficult to trust their own judgment

The betrayed partner will constantly think about the times their partner told them they were in an important meeting, while in reality, they were with their affair partner. This will make it harder for them to believe their partner in the future, even if they decide to give the relationship another chance.

However, if cheating is not a habitual thing and is a one-time occurance, then with various efforts and counseling, trust can be rebuilt in the marriage over time. 

How to Know If It's Worth Giving a Chance to Your Partner After Cheating?

If the cheating was a one-time thing and your partner is remorseful of their actions and is willing to make the efforts required to fix the relationship, then you can consider giving your partner a second chance. If your partner was a good husband and you loved each other before the infidelity, you can try putting the cheating episode in your past.

Before you make your decision, make sure the cheating partner has cut all ties with their affair partner, and there is no more lying. If they take accountability for their actions and give you time and space to process your feelings, the marriage can be saved.

It is also vital that you discuss the reasons that led to the cheating so that you can work on the issues and ensure that the cheating does not happen again. In the end, as you are the victim, it is up to you to decide if you are able to put the past behind you and give them a second chance.2

11 Tips to Rebuild Trust After Cheating

Cheating breaks one’s trust in the marriage. To deal with the issues that come after the betrayal, do not ignore the problem and stay future-oriented. If you have decided to give your marriage another chance, read the below tips that will help you through the process.

1. Communicate openly

communicate openly

Open communication is vital for a healthy relationship; however, communication becomes all the more critical when looking at how to regain trust after cheating

One partner’s infidelity can shatter the other partner’s trust in the relationship, and making the marriage work can look like a challenging process. However, an open and honest talk about what led to the situation can prevent cheating in the future.

Having tough conversations about infidelity will no doubt be painful, but communication about the intense feelings experienced by both parties without the blame game will make the relationship stronger. 

Understand that avoiding the subject of infidelity will only result in further distress, so it is best to address the underlying issues and create new boundaries if required. It would help if you could communicate your romantic feelings to your partner and discuss if you both love each other enough and if the relationship is worth saving.

2. Let the deceived partner vent

Cheating can have a negative impact on both partners; however, nobody will feel as angry, deceived, hurt, and frustrated as the victim. If the hurt partner does not vent out their feelings, it can take a toll on their physical and mental health. Therefore, it is wise to let them take out all their frustration and share how they feel.

Of course, in anger, the deceived partner can say hurtful things, but rather than taking them personally, you should consider it an opportunity to show them you understand that you were wrong. Letting your partner vent will give them a safe space and will make it easier to rebuild trust in the relationship.

Remember, once you come clean about your actions, it is no more about you. Your partner is trying to process the big blow, and it would help if you could provide them with a safe space to heal.

3. Trust yourself

To start rebuilding trust in a relationship, you must trust yourself first. 

After infidelity, the betrayed partner often loses trust in themselves as they start doubting their actions. They blame themself as they could not see clearly when they were being deceived. In such a situation, the betrayed partner should consider reminding themselves that they cannot be fooled again and again and should try to learn to trust their judgments.

Both the cheated and the cheating partner can find it challenging to trust themselves and fear that the cheating will happen again. In such a situation, it is important to trust your own feelings and show trust in yourself.

4. Try to find the reason behind the betrayal

try to find the reason behind the betrayal

It is natural to feel hurt if your partner cheated on you in the past. However, if you have decided to forgive your partner and look for ways to rebuild trust in your marriage, it would help if you could understand the motivations that led to your partner’s infidelity. 

Knowing the reasons that led to the cheating can help you decide whether or not you want to give the relationship a second chance.3

Use this tool to check whether he actually is who he says he is
Whether you're married or have just started seeing someone, infidelity rates are on the rise and have increased over 40% in the last 20 years, so you have all the right to be worried.

Perhaps you want to know if he's texting other women behind your back? Or whether he has active Tinder or dating profile? Or worse yet, whether he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool will do just that and pull up any hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more to hopefully help put your doubts to rest.

5. Maintain mutual respect before you start rebuilding trust

Love and respect are the essences of any healthy relationship. You should consider giving your marriage another chance only if you respect them even after they had an extramarital affair. If you have lost all respect for your partner after they cheated on you, no amount of effort will help you with rebuilding trust.

Indeed, infidelity is one of the biggest mistakes someone can make in a relationship. Still, when rebuilding trust after emotional infidelity or a physical one, you should try not to forget the loving nature of your partner and respect them for how they treated you before their extramarital affair.

6. Accept responsibility

If you are the one who had an affair while still being in a relationship, it is important that you take responsibility for your actions. Now, you might feel that it were your partner’s actions that made you cheat but in reality it was you who made that decision and had an affair. It’s not wise to put the blame on your partner.

Not taking responsibility for your actions can only hurt your partner’s feelings more and make it difficult for them to trust you. So tell your partner you regret your actions and show them your willingness to do anything to regain their trust.

7. Regaining trust after cheating is a slow process

Even after you have ended your extramarital affair and asked for forgiveness from your spouse multiple times, you cannot expect your partner to forgive you in an instant. Understand that to regain the trust of your partner, you will have to take baby steps, and the process will take time.

The person who has been betrayed would need some time to process their feelings. The extramarital affair might have broken their trust in the relationship, and it is only wise to give them some time to decide if they want to break up or give the relationship another chance. 

Pressuring your partner to forgive you will only make them feel frustrated and as if their feelings do not matter. So be patient and try to make your partner feel loved and secure in the relationship.

8. Ask for forgiveness

After a partner cheats, the other partner goes through the trauma of betrayal. Taking accountability and apologizing for your mistake will be the first steps towards building trust. Be patient and understanding while apologizing to your partner, and be prepared for their wrath.

After getting cheated, it might take months or even years for the hurt partner to rebuild trust in the marriage, but if the love is real, accepting your mistake is one of the healthy ways to prove you are guilty of your actions but willing to work on them.4

9. Do things that both of you love

do things that both of you love

Rebuilding trust after infidelity is a slow-moving process, but if you love your partner, you should not lose hope. You can rebuild trust again in the marriage by doing things that you both like. 

For example, if you are not ready for physical intimacy yet, you can take tiny steps to get back on track, like spending time with each other or watching a movie together.

It surely hurts when your partner cheats; however, talking about it repeatedly will not make things better. So focus on dedicating some time to doing things that both of you enjoy.

10. Do not talk about the past

If you were cheated on by your partner, forgetting about the betrayal wouldn’t be easy. However, by clinging on to the past, you are only making things difficult for both of you. 

You have every right to feel hurt, angry, and betrayed, but if you have decided to give your marriage a second chance, you should try not to talk about infidelity once everything has been cleared out.5

Fight your temptations to mention infidelity every time you have a fight with your partner, and try to live in the present moment. If you are finding it difficult to move on, then it is best to end your relationship.

11. Go to counseling

Dealing with infidelity in a marriage is never easy; however, visiting a professional counselor can help you find the healthiest way to sort your feelings. You can either go for an individual therapy session or opt for a couple’s therapy where you can be honest about your feelings and share how the betrayal made you feel.

You can talk to your therapist about whatever you want and together you can take steps toward restoring trust in the relationship.

FAQs

How long does it take to rebuild trust after cheating?

Every relationship is different, and the time it takes to rebuild trust after cheating depends on your situation and how much effort the partners have taken in rebuilding the trust. However, generally, we’d say it takes around 1-2 years to rebuild trust after people cheat.

Can a relationship go back to normal after cheating?

Yes, a relationship can return to normal after cheating, provided both partners still love each other and are willing to work to fix their relationship. It is difficult, but not impossible. There are examples of many couples who have rebuilt their relationship after it was broken by a betrayal.

Conclusion

Spouses cheat because of various reasons. Rebuilding trust in marriage again after infidelity can be difficult but not impossible. Taking accountability and accepting your mistake after an extramarital affair can help you slowly rebuild trust.

What are your experiences? Have you ever been cheated on, or have you cheated yourself? How did things work out? Were you able to forget and move on? Let us know in the comments.

Remember, dealing with infidelity is never easy. If you know someone in this situation, show your support by sending them this article.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.

5 Sources:
  1. Yabin Tang, Jason D. Hans, Laura M. Vowels. (2023) Comparison of Indirect and Direct Approaches to Identifying an Unfaithful Partner. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 49:3, pages 287-298.
  2. Abrahamson, Iona, Rafat Hussain, Adeel Khan, and Margot J. Schofield. 2012. What helps couples rebuild their relationship after infidelity? Journal of Family Issues 33: 1494–519.
  3. Russell, V. Michelle, Baker, Levi R, & McNulty, James K. (2013). Attachment Insecurity and Infidelity in Marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(2), 242–251.
  4. Fye, M. A., & Mims, G. A. (2019). Preventing Infidelity: A Theory of Protective Factors. The Family Journal, 27(1), 22–30.
  5. Hertlein, K. M., & Blumer, M. L. C. (2013). The couple and family technology framework: Intimate relationships in a digital age. New York, NY: Routledge.
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