It might seem impossible, but you can learn to trust again when your partner has been unfaithful.
It may have all started with a flirtation, a simple flirtation. A harmless friendship — a simple shoulder to cry on when things weren't going right in your relationship — suddenly crossed the line. Innocent, flirtatious text messages soon led to anticipation for the next contact, and one night after one too many drinks, you took things further and ended up compromising your relationship.
This mistake whether it was one time or a long-term affair, was hidden, pushed aside, or buried under lies, because you knew you were wrong and didn’t want to lose your partner. As you attempted to keep your relationship on track and stay connected, reality soon hit and your partner found out about the affair.
Facing the consequences of your actions and learning to rebuild trust after infidelity may feel never-ending, but hang tight — it doesn’t have to be like this forever. Simply because the relationship is in a tragic storm now doesn’t mean that you won’t make it through to sunlight again.
It is possible to build trust after infidelity.
It is very important to show your partner that you are trustworthy. Here are some quick tips to build trust after infidelity:
- Follow through. If you tell your partner that you will be home by 8:00 p.m., come home no later than 8:00 pm. If you are going to be late, call them and let them know ahead of time. Always follow through with what you say.
- Be realistic in your promises. Avoid saying that you will “always” have your cell phone on, or that you will “never” turn your phone off. This is unrealistic because sometimes your phone’s battery will die, you might forget it somewhere, or you just might not hear it ring. Instead, tell your partner that you will try your best to answer the phone whenever he/she calls.
- Let your partner in. If you have a wall up, it hides things and creates suspicion in your partner. Avoid these behaviors and be an open book. The more open you are, the more safety you will create and the more trust you can build.
- Keep your eyes on your goal. If your goal is to build trust, then your actions have to show it. Body language speaks louder than words … and so do your eyes. If you are talking to your partner and a beautiful woman walks by, keep your eyes on your partner.
- Make time for communication. Open communication creates a safe and comfortable environment in your relationship. The more comfort and safety, the more trust you can build. Keep communication lines open at all times.
- Repair it. Often people say “leave it in the past” or “don’t bring up old wounds,” but there does need to be time to actually repair what was broken. Instead of sweeping it under the rug, bring it out from time to time to show your partner that you are serious about fixing things.
If you have a history of trust being broken in your relationship, it might take more than adjusting these behaviors. You will have to resolve the past so it doesn’t interfere with your current behaviors. Working with a professional therapist can help.
To learn more about how to build trust after infidelity, or to book an appointment with Jennine Estes call (619) 558-0001.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653