Marriage is based on trust. If you and your spouse are struggling to rebuild trust after an affair, it’s essential you are both committed to repairing your marriage.
When your spouse is unfaithful, it is devastating to everyone involved. As a victim you feel betrayed, shattered and empty. You’ll question every aspect of the relationship. The spouse who cheated feels guilty and shameful.
Children will feel the tension and witness the pain that both of their parents go through – even if they don’t know what is going on. In family pain, one person’s pain is everyone’s pain.
Many people look at a relationship that is recovering from an affair and place the burden of everything onto the unfaithful spouse. That person should be responsible for rebuilding the trust, they say.
That person should have to prove their remorse, their intent to be faithful from now on, or whatever they feel that person owes the other. And, yes, while that person does have some proving to do, many affairs are the result of underlying problems. The affair is just a symptom.
It’s possible to climb out of this chaos if both of you cling to the conviction your marriage will survive. Statistics prove it’s probable once the healing process is complete your marriage will be healthy and happy.
You must take it one day at a time, for a very long time. Healing harm is not like making a cup of instant tea. Dysfunctional marriages don’t just get healthy with “I’m sorry” and “I never meant to hurt you”.
Divorce is the common solution for today’s unhappy marriage. About 50% of couple’s divorce and begin again with a more pleasing mate. So, while we commend you for having the grit to mend your marriage, the cheater must understand, a bunch of empty promises does nothing to rebuild trust after an affair.
The Devil’s In The Details
Will talking about details help rebuild trust after an affair?
Most victims of betrayal want to know details of the affair while the cheaters may be reluctant. Often this becomes a huge obstacle for both parties to overcome before deciding to move forward.
While it has been proven that marriages stand a better chance of survival when couples openly discuss details, some counselors stand by the notion that the risks outweigh the benefits.
But According to Marriage Expert – Dr Frank Gunzburg from the Break Through Learning Institute; it can be and is very effective (discussing details) but not before working through your internal struggles. Talking about details too soon or in the wrong setting can dramatically set back the healing process.
Individual Healing Must Come First
Learn first the techniques to develop control and understanding of your emotions, thoughts and behaviors brought on by the affair. This is a huge step in the healing process. After which, you may or may not find the details important like you originally thought.
There is not a clear cut path at this point – some victims feel they need details to move forward, some won’t need them.
As a victim it will help you to understand this is something that cannot be reversed. So it is paramount to be very careful about what you think you want to know.
The cheater should not ever instigate a discussion about details but rather understand that answering questions from the victim at this point can go a long way towards demonstrating honesty, transparency and even loyalty.
How can the Victim Work to Rebuild Trust after an Affair?
We emphasize with your pain. Heck, we even understand your primal need to wallow in feelings of embarrassment, hatred, abandonment, resentment and self-doubt. We know you feel like someone stuck a knife in your gut and twisted it.
Take time to be gentle with yourself. When you are ready, a little self-examination is in order:
What is your partner’s motivating factor? Is s(he) motivated to change? Or, is s(he) motivated to get out of trouble and ease his/her guilt feelings?
Is this just one more betrayal in a long line of affairs?
However, if your spouse committed adultery for the first time, s(he) isn’t demonstrating a negative behavior pattern. It was a big, bad mistake.
Can you find it in you to forgive your spouse?
Most people think forgiveness is for the benefit of the person who inflicted harm. You are not being magnanimous when you forgive. You are actually being selfish. Because what you wish for your spouse, you are actually wishing for you.
You see, forgiveness is love in action. If you have the willingness to forgive, you’re half-way over the hurdle. Look at it this way; you can love him/her without liking his/her actions at this moment.
Forgiving brings acceptance. You will accept the horrible events that happened in your marriage. You can’t change your partner’s unwise decisions; you can’t go back and request a do-over.
If you want a healthy, happy marriage, forgive yourself by getting your thoughts in harmony with divine law and order.
If you can sincerely give love, peace and wish all the blessings in life for your spouse, you will receive countless blessings. You can no longer be hurt when you realize you are the master of your thoughts, reactions and emotions.
How can the Cheater Work to Rebuild Trust after an Affair?
You have seriously mucked up.
In the heat of passion, you didn’t worry about consequences. Maybe you thought your spouse would never find out, excepting in some-kind of- way he/she did. So, you ended the hot connection and in the cold aftermath, you realized you’re dangerously close to losing the best thing that ever happened to you.
You had no desire to hurt your partner, your lover, your friend. You love him/her. You’re willing to do anything to rebuild trust after an affair. But, what can you do?
Now you must seriously grovel!
To fully realize the damage you caused you’ll need to see and feel your actions as your spouse sees them. This is part of a truly humbling process leading to you asking for forgiveness. You’ll need to give a genuine heartfelt apology that could actually thaw your partners icy feelings toward you.
From this moment and for a long, long time afterward, it’s all about your spouse. Don’t even consider making excuses about the affair. Just take responsibility for your actions. Be genuinely remorseful, express regret and consistently reassure your mate of your love and devotion.
These things can only happen when you change within. The change within happens when you feel what your partner felt about the affair and everything that came with it. Then you’ll understand the depth of commitment needed to be the person who would do never do that again.
Keep the lines of communication open. Prepare yourself to have many dialogues about your betrayal. Hold him/her while s(he) cries. Show him/her you have learned this life lesson. Call if you are running late. Always be found where you said you would be.
What Can We Both do To Rebuild Trust After An Affair?
It is important for both a cheater and a victim to learn how to see things through their partners eyes.
With something as difficult as an affair – this can be extremely challenging. Who would want to voluntarily do something painful like that? Yet it is necessary.
This is where you’ll learn the communication techniques to understand how to meet your partners needs.
An affair is like a little death to marriage. When a big death happens, all the seasons must pass while healing takes place. Consider this as is a good milestone. Give your marriage serious time and attention before you expect to totally rebuild trust after an affair.
Think of us as your cheering section as you work to rebuild trust after an affair. May your cup runneth over with goodness and light!