Regaining your partner’s trust after you cheated on them may be one of the hardest things to do, but if you truly love that person with all your heart, it will be well worth the time and effort.
You’ve made a terrible mistake. You cheated on your partner, and now that the affair is over and has been revealed, you realize you may have ruined one of the best things to have happened in your life – the love and trust of your primary partner. You realize you want to work on your primary relationship, and while most people find infidelity an unforgiveable sin, your partner miraculously agrees to give you a second chance. If you are determined to fix it, be prepared for the hard work ahead of you. Remember that aside from love, trust is the very foundation of a strong relationship. Nothing shatters trust more than betrayal, and you just committed the biggest of them all. The good news is that trust can be rebuilt, but it takes time, commitment and patience.
Take responsibility for your actions.
It may be tempting to blame the affair on the other person you cheated with (“She/He pursued me and I had no choice”), or even your primary partner (“You drove me to it,” or “You weren’t giving me enough attention”), but blaming your indiscretion on others is one of the worst ways to handle the situation. Also, avoid giving tired excuses (“It just happened,” or “I didn’t mean to do it”). Cheating is 100% your choice and you have to own it as such. There may have been underlying issues with your relationship with your significant other, but you could have dealt with it honestly and tried to work it out with them instead of cheating. Take a long, hard look at yourself and why you cheated and how you can make sure not to make the same mistake again.
Avoid falling into the same patterns that led to your affair.
Whether your infidelity started with a seemingly harmless flirtation on social media, being surrounded by attractive people at the pub, or having someone misinterpret your friendliness at work, do all that you can to avoid whatever led you down that dark hole in the first place. Talk to your partner and find out what sort of people, behaviors and situations make them uncomfortable, and then stay away from those in order to help relieve your partner’s worries.
Be consistent and reliable.
Make sure that your words and actions line up. This means keeping any and all promises you make to your significant other. Your partner needs to see that everything you’re doing and saying come from a place of integrity. When you are consistent with your actions and actually follow through on your promises, it sets the tone for what your partner can expect from you from this point forward. Coming up with an action plan together which focuses on rebuilding your partner’s trust – and keeping within the boundaries established in that plan – will show your partner that you are serious about your efforts.
Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings.
Putting yourself in their shoes and exercising compassion will help you get your partner’s trust back. It can be difficult for you to see the situation from your partner’s perspective, to understand what they are going through and why they’re reacting the way they are, but you need to try. A betrayal of this magnitude can wreak havoc on a person’s self-esteem and cause them to think and act irrationally. One day, it may seem like your partner is finally getting over your infidelity, and the next day, they are ranting and railing at you again. Something that you may deem as innocuous, such as going to the bar with your friends or attending a company party, can trigger your partner. Anticipate how tough it will be for your partner to come to terms with your betrayal and that there will inevitably be setbacks and storms you need to weather. This way, you will be prepared to remain calm in the face of the emotional roller coaster your partner will be on, instead of being shocked and overreacting.
You can’t force forgiveness or demand a timeframe for your partner to make up their mind about you. They will need time to let everything sink in and process their feelings, and it will take a lot of effort on your part to prove that you are worthy of their trust. Moreover, you can’t expect your partner and your relationship to be in the same emotional and physical state as it was before the affair was uncovered. In some ways, you are entering into a new relationship with your partner. You are starting all over, which means that you will need to woo your partner into falling in love with you again. Think about how your relationship started before – you had to show your affection and prove your sincerity and love in order to build and strengthen your trust in one another. You must patiently and consistently prove to your partner that they are a priority in your life and that you value them. Shower them with attention and affection, but also respect their wishes if they need time and space to process things. Be prepared to take things slowly and to take your cues from your partner, taking care to determine their level of comfort and readiness, before moving on to intimacy.
When two people are committed to staying in the relationship, working on it together, and staying strong through the tough times, it is possible to come out of the other side of infidelity with a healthier, stronger and happier relationship.