How to build trust with your partner after infidelity


Victims of infidelity can feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster. Most couples caught up in the tragedy of an affair tell me that they have never felt such intense emotions.

For example, many betrayed partners ruminate on infidelity and ask, “How could my partner do this to me?” or “I have so much anger and resentment that it scares me. I can never trust them again. “

On the other hand, the wayward partner often says: “I used to beg my partner to pay more attention to me and I get that from my lover. I’m not sure my spouse will trust me again, no matter what I do to prove myself. “

Learning to trust again

Learning to trust again after betrayal is a slow and extremely challenging process. That said, there are reasons to be hopeful under certain conditions. However, both partners must first accept that they each have work to do to recover from the pain.

In “The Science of Trust,” Dr. John Gottman explains that restoring trust is an action rather than a belief. It’s about more than your partner does it what they tell. According to Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW, author of “Healing from Infidelity” and Dr. Gottman, both partners must take certain crucial steps to overcome mistrust and resentment after betrayal.

The Traitor’s Tasks

The cheating partner must:

  • Be honest, fully disclose the matter, and find a way to atone or express remorse
  • Deal with traumatic feelings after discovery and be willing to ask and answer questions.
  • Adventure must end
  • Be willing to sincerely apologize for cheating and promise not to repeat it.

Also, if you are the traitor, you should focus on transparency and restore your partner’s faith in you. This can range from daily check-ups to reassuring them by saying things like “I love you and I won’t cheat again. I do not want to lose you “.

If you are a traitor, ask yourself: what can I do to restore my partner’s trust? This could mean apologizing frequently or giving details about the betrayal. Above all, you should show empathy by saying things like, “I get it. I understand why you would feel this way. If I was in your position, I would be in trouble too. “

The tasks of the betrayed partner

The partner who is betrayed must remember to be kind to himself, especially when he is having a bad day and brooding over his partner’s infidelity. For example, you could be cleaning your closet and see the shirt you wore when you found out about the betrayal and suddenly plummet. During these times, try to remember that recovering from the trauma of betrayal takes time and is fraught with inevitable ups and downs.

In addition, the betrayed partner must:

  • Express your feelings to your spouse, but be sure to avoid accusations. Try using “me” messages like, “I feel deeply hurt by your actions and I’m not sure I can trust you again.”
  • Avoid repeating all events related to the adventure. Marathon talk sessions can deepen the wounds.
  • Find a way to forgive or at least accept your partner’s actions and work to forgive.

Lastly, remember that anything you think or feel after experiencing your partner’s infidelity is normal, according to Weiner-Davis. She says, “In a way, learning about infidelity feels like learning about the death of a loved one. You are in shock. And he is grieving over the loss of the dream he treasured of a loving marriage with a faithful partner. Lies, deception, betrayal, all go a long way to destroying trust and hope. “

Tasks for both partners

  • Both partners should discuss intense feelings with respect, without blame, judgment, criticism, or contempt.
  • Couples must find a way to connect emotionally and sexually or to become attached at the risk of greater physical intimacy. Dr. Gottman explains: “Without the presence of sexual intimacy, that is pleasant for both of you, the relationship cannot start over.”
  • They also need to be more in tune and spend time together regularly. This includes connection rituals like daily walks or eating without screens.

Ways to move forward with self-compassion

Many of the spouses I have spoken with who have endured the trauma of infidelity have benefited from a consistent and relaxing self-care routine. Everyone’s ideas on this are different, but generally include taking care of your body and some form of mindfulness practice, such as meditation or yoga.

Additionally, recovering from an affair always requires the expertise of a trained therapist and a willingness to express hurt feelings in a safe environment that can facilitate healing. Find a trained Gottman Method specialist near you.

Has your relationship experienced a sexual or emotional affair? The Gottman Institute is seeking partners for an international study on recovering from love affairs. For more information, click here.

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