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3 Steps to Rebuilding Trust
After Your Spouse Cheats

By Susie and Otto Collins

Many of us have seen the "Star Wars" movies where certain characters are enticed to go to the "dark side" and join forces with the bad guys. One character makes this choice and ends up as the film series' ultimate bad guy Darth Vader.

If you are in the aftermath of finding out that
your spouse cheated, you may feel like your once beloved partner made a similar choice.

After all, when your mate started having an affair, he or she betrayed your agreements and trust. The cheating probably also involved lying, deceitful and hurtful behaviors. This, to you, can certainly feel like the one you fell in love with has entered the "dark side."

You may even feel surprised at what your spouse, whom you thought you knew, is capable of.

You may be wondering if you can ever trust this person again.  You may be also wondering if you can ever love and respect him or her again.

If you are asking yourself these questions and perhaps even feel like you're married to a Darth Vader, consider these 3 steps to rebuilding trust.....

Step 1: Decide if you want to rebuild trust with this person.....
Try your best to step back from the raw and intense feelings you are probably experiencing right now and think about whether you want to enter the process of rebuilding trust with your spouse.

As hurt, betrayed and angry as you
may feel at this moment, set aside those feelings and look at whether you can find within yourself a glimmer of love for your partner despite what has happened. Is there a morsel of hope or a willingness to devote any more of your energy to this relationship?

These may be tough questions for you but they are vital to begin thinking about. You may choose to take some time apart and revisit these questions a later point or to end the relationship completely. Or you might decide that as upset as you feel, you want to give it another try.

Even if you decide that it's time to end this
relationship, we encourage you to do what you need to do in order to heal from this hurt and rebuild your sense of trust when it comes to love relationships in general. Our book How to Heal Your Broken Heart may be helpful.

Step 2: Acknowledge that we all have "dark sides".....
No matter what you decide in terms of continuing or ending your current relationship, acknowledging that we are all capable of hurtful acts may be a useful practice. Even in the "Star Wars" movies, Darth Vader was not always committing the violence and manipulation that we see in the
character's later years.

In fact, if you watch the entire series, you will notice how a series of losses contributed to his becoming Vader and, in the end, he even redeems himself in a very dramatic way.

We believe that while we all have urges and impulses that are in conflict with our values and agreements, some choose to act on those urges and some decide not to.

When we recommend that you acknowledge that we all-- including you--
have what might be called a "dark side," we are NOT indicating that your spouse's cheating is acceptable.

What we do encourage you to do is to open up and see that everyone is a mixture of what we might label "good" and "bad." In many ways, it is part of being human. This understanding will probably not wipe away the hurt you feel, but perhaps it can allow you to begin to shift toward
rebuilding trust.

Step 3: Widen your view.
As you begin to notice the complexities of the urges, impulses and decisions we humans might experience, your view of what happened and your relationship itself may also widen and expand.

Again, even if you choose to end your marriage,
a wider view and deeper understanding of what happened can help you to let go and move on toward what you want. If you are trying to rebuild trust with your spouse, this is even
more important.

From this wider, expanded view, you might also be able to acknowledge that just as we all have "dark sides"-- even if we don't act on those impulses-- we all also have sides that are inherently compassionate, caring, loving, and what might be labeled "good."

Even your spouse who cheated has this "good" side.

When you are committed to recovering your relationship, opening your eyes so that you can see the decisions that he or she makes that actually help rebuild trust is vital.  You don't even have to compliment your partner on these
trust-building actions, but you can if you'd like to.

But be sure you are making the effort to notice what's going right between the two of you and how your spouse is positively contributing.

Rebuilding trust after your spouse cheats is often a process. Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or not, it is important that you turn toward letting go of what happened and allow for healing to take place.

This work will help you more quickly get to a place where you can enjoy love and closeness again.







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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.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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