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Surviving Infidelity

Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity: Why It Can Be Important To "Go There"
By Susie and Otto Collins

If infidelity has happened in your love relationship, you and your partner may choose not to "go there." Either one or both of you may have made the decision to avoid talking, thinking, or even acknowledging the cheating that occurred.

Believe it or not, the path to rebuilding trust may first require you to heal from the past affair before you can move forward.

This decision not to "go there" could be because your relationship appears to be on a more even keel right now and you don't want to stir up trouble again. It might be that your partner refuses to talk about the infidelity because
it's just too painful for him or her. Or it may be you who wants nothing more than to act as if the cheating didn't happen and forge ahead.

"What good can come of looking at the past anyway?" you might think to yourself. Actually, there are many benefits to be enjoyed from clearing the past as you open up to the future you want.

Despite the fact that you or your partner don't want to "go there" and deal with what happened, the aftereffects of the infidelity may be driving an ever-increasing wedge between the two of you. Perhaps you still feel doubts and fears when you and your partner are apart.

It might be that you are just waiting for more evidence to surface proving that he or she is having another affair. You spend much of your
time anticipating the next time your partner will cheat.

Conversely, you may feel that you've made amends for your cheating but your partner seems unable to believe anything you say or do. He or she may check up on you and continue to treat you with suspicion and hostility. The anger and resentment that may have led to the affair in the first place, has not gone away.

Trust was probably broken when the infidelity happened, and ignoring feelings and habits that don't bring you two closer together will not rebuild trust. What can help is a willingness to take a second look at what happened and how you both are feeling.

We're not suggesting that either of you have to relive the actual events of the infidelity. Instead, we're encouraging you both to explore the
unresolved emotions and residual beliefs that relate to the affair and perhaps even began before the infidelity.

Decide what you need to release and move on.
Take some time individually to "go there" within yourself. When you think about the infidelity, what thoughts and feelings are still intense and raw for you? Is there further information that you need to know before you can let go of what happened and move on?

When you think about yourself, your partner and your relationship as it is today, what intense and raw feelings and thoughts come up for you?  It might be helpful for you to write down your answers to these questions (or your further questions) and other issues that may occur to you.

You don't have to know the answers to these questions right now. What is perhaps most important is for you to acknowledge the places within yourself that need attention and extra care.

 For example, you might realize that you have an expectation that your partner is going to cheat on
you again. Perhaps you've always believed that this would (and will) happen-- it's just the way men or women are.

Having a clearer understanding of your beliefs and
expectations can be a step toward rebuilding trust. From this new place of greater clarity, you can decide what thoughts and habits don't serve you and then move toward letting them go.

Ask your partner to join you in releasing and turning toward the future you both want.
When you share with your partner what you have learned about yourself by inwardly posing these questions, he or she can join in with you. What you learned by going within may help your partner answer questions he or she has.

Just as you want to be listened to without judgment, do the same for your partner. This is not about re-establishing guilt or blame, but it is both of you becoming clearer about what needs to shift in order for trust to begin to rebuild.

Let's say that you share with your partner your newly discovered expectation that men or women will always cheat-- to you, it's just the way that gender is. This information can clear up questions your partner may have had about you and your actions.

As painful or uncomfortable as it may be
to admit to this belief, it might open the door to you choosing to let go of the limiting expectation and, together with your partner, establishing a new belief.

This is not about casting any judgments-- good or bad-- on either of you or the affair either. Instead, this practice can help you and your partner to hone in on how you each feel and what you each need to do to begin to rebuild trust.

When you find the courage to "go there," you are
symbolically opening a door to clarity, communication, and the eventual release of the past as you both heal.







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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 614-459-8121.
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