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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    What are some ways to build trust after a partner has been unfaithful?

    When your romantic partner is unfaithful to you it can rock the foundation of your relationship and leave you feeling crushed and heartbroken. You may feel betrayed, confused, or helpless and wonder how you can ever trust this person again. The path to rebuilding trust in a relationship after someone has been unfaithful isn’t easy or clear-cut, but there are some steps that you can take to help make things right.

    First, get to the root of why infidelity occurred. Ask your partner, if you haven’t already, what led them to act in a way that was unfaithful. It’s important to remember that this answer may not be provide a clear explanation, because the reasons people choose to be unfaithful are often complex. However, you may still find comfort in knowing that they expressed an apology and shared what they believe motivated their actions.

    Second, take a look inside yourself and see how the situation has impacted you. Being cheated on can cause you to feel a range of strong emotions, including sadness, anger and resentment. Gently explore these feelings through journaling, talking with a counselor or trusted friend, or engaging in yoga or meditation. No matter who broke the trust, only you will be able to decide when and how to heal.

    Third, anticipate and address “trigger points” that remind you of the affair. These triggers could involve anything from similar conversations you had before the betrayal to seemingly innocuous memories associated with the time of the infidelity. If you don't feel up to directly addressing these triggers with your partner, use other outlets such as writing in a journal, talking with trusted friends or speaking with a therapist to help navigate these difficult moments.

    Fourth, depend upon the other sources of support in your life, like friends and family members. Particularly if your partner was previously your closest confidant, having a few extra close friends in your corner during this period can be a great source of strength.

    Rebuild trust slowly, piece by piece. Depending on the individual dynamics of your relationship, this rebuilding process may look different for every couple. Consider the ways in which your partner expresses their nonsexual affection—such as holding hands or clear expressions of their emotions—and find comfort in the authenticity of those interactions.

    Rebuilding trust after a partner has been unfaithful can be a tough road ahead—but it's not an impossible journey. With patience, kindness and a commitment to communication, couples can make strides to move past betrayal and create an even stronger bond.

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