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Surviving Affairs

Trust Rebuilding Tips After YOUR Past Affair

By Susie and Otto Collins

Tiffany doesn't know if she can ever trust her husband again. The irony is that Tiffany is the one who cheated.

Several months ago, she finally admitted the affair to her husband, Paul. She immediately stopped cheating after her confession.

Since then, Tiffany and Paul have both been working to repair their marriage. One thing that has surprised Tiffany is how much mistrust she now has about Paul.

She keeps expecting to catch him in a lie and, inevitably, to find out that he's having an affair. Tiffany feels embarrassed to be suspicious of Paul-- without any proof.

After all, she's the one who messed up and cheated.

If you had an affair and you and your partner are now trying to rebuild trust and restore your love relationship or marriage, you may be just as surprised as Tiffany is to discover that you are having a difficult time trusting your partner.

There may be no real proof to back up your suspicions and doubts about your mate, but you feel mistrusting anyway.

This phenomenon could be occurring for various reasons including...

You might feel as if you somehow "deserve" to be cheated on because of your own infidelity.

You may believe that it's only a matter of time before you both have affairs.

You might expect that your partner will cheat as a way to "get back" at you for what you did.

You may also be feeling mistrustful of your own self. Because you had an affair once, you could be worried that you'll have one again sometime in the future.

All of this mistrust, doubt, suspicion and guilt can cause even more problems in your relationship that may seem fragile and uncertain.

If repairing the damage from the affair and moving ahead to a desirable future is what you ultimately want, you're going to need to address your expectations, beliefs and feelings.

Here are 3 ways to do that...

#1: Forgive yourself.
You might not feel as if you deserve forgiveness for having an affair. Even if this is the case, we encourage you to consider forgiving yourself.

Forgiveness is often a process and just opening
up to self-forgiveness is an important first step.

The reason why it's absolutely essential that you open up to the forgiveness process is because it will help you take a new and clearer approach to your current relationship.

Continually feeling guilty, ashamed or embarrassed will only keep you chained to the past.

You will go on re-living what happened regarding the infidelity and you will be less able to make
completions with the past and bring the improvements you desire.

Take the time to really feel what you are feeling. Write in a journal, come up with rituals, talk with family, friends or a coach-- do whatever you need to do to process your residual thoughts and feelings about the infidelity.

Next, open up to forgiving yourself.

You can use your writing, rituals and talking with others as part of this process. You could start out by selecting specific things that you feel guilty about that you are more willing to forgive yourself

This could be something "small" such as snapping at your partner, for example.

However you can approach forgiveness, do it. Build up to forgiving yourself for the affair and anything else that seems "big" and difficult to let go of.

#2: Prove your trustability to you.
Notice it when you show that you are trustable. Again, you can start "small" and build from there.

Recognize it when you speak the truth about something, even when it's difficult to do.

Give yourself credit for following through on a promise.  Acknowledge it when you engage with your mate in an authentic way about some topic that has led to arguments in the past.

Too many times, people who have previously lied or cheated, don't see the improvements that they are making.

They become so caught up in their residual guilt that they can only see how they are disappointing or letting down their partner.

Noticing where you ARE trustable may be helpful to your mate too. 

Without being defensive or discounting your past decisions, you could tell your partner that you are trying to rebuild trust by noticing the ways that you-- and he or she as well-- IS demonstrating trustability now.

A powerful effect of deliberately noticing trustability is that your fears and suspicions can be proven false when you actually see your
partner's trustable actions.

#3: Be more present-oriented.
Rebuilding trust really comes down to where you place your focus.  Yes, of course, if you cheated you're going to need to take ownership for your decision. Learning from what happened so that it doesn't happen again is essential.

At the same time, you can most easily and effectively move forward in healing as a couple and re-connecting when you make completions
with the past and focus more of the time on the present moment.

Just as you can make a deliberate decision to look for the ways that you and your partner are proving your trustability, you can very consciously place your attention on what's going on right now.

What is it that your partner just said?

How do you feel in this moment about what he or she said or did?

What is your need at this time?

How open or closed are you to the interaction you two are having right now?

As you ask yourself questions like these, don't add in your thoughts about what your partner said or did days, weeks or months ago. Refrain from living and reacting from the past.

All of these strategies will help you to more clearly, openly and authentically rebuild trust and re-connect with your partner.







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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-568-8282.
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