Trust After Infidelity: Why It Can Be Important To
By Susie and Otto Collins
If infidelity has happened in your love
and your partner may choose not to "go there."
or both of you may have made the decision to avoid
thinking, or even acknowledging the cheating that
Believe it or not, the path to rebuilding trust may
require you to heal from the past affair before you
This decision not to "go there" could be because
relationship appears to be on a more even keel right
you don't want to stir up trouble again. It might be
your partner refuses to talk about the infidelity
it's just too painful for him or her. Or it may be
wants nothing more than to act as if the cheating
happen and forge ahead.
"What good can come of
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
Despite the fact that you or your partner don't want
there" and deal with what happened, the aftereffects
infidelity may be driving an ever-increasing wedge
the two of you. Perhaps you still feel doubts and
when you and your partner are apart.
It might be
are just waiting for more evidence to surface
he or she is having another affair. You spend much
time anticipating the next time your partner will
Conversely, you may feel that you've made amends for
cheating but your partner seems unable to believe
you say or do. He or she may check up on you and
to treat you with suspicion and hostility. The anger
resentment that may have led to the affair in the
place, has not gone away.
Trust was probably broken when the infidelity
ignoring feelings and habits that don't bring you
together will not rebuild trust. What can help is a
willingness to take a second look at what happened
you both are feeling.
We're not suggesting that
you have to relive the actual events of the
Instead, we're encouraging you both to explore the
unresolved emotions and residual beliefs that relate
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
When you think about the infidelity, what thoughts
feelings are still intense and raw for you? Is there
further information that you need to know before you
go of what happened and move on?
When you think
yourself, your partner and your relationship as it
what intense and raw feelings and thoughts come up
It might be helpful for you to write down your
these questions (or your further questions) and
that may occur to you.
You don't have to know the answers to these
now. What is perhaps most important is for you to
acknowledge the places within yourself that need
and extra care.
For example, you might realize that
have an expectation that your partner is going to
you again. Perhaps you've always believed that this
(and will) happen-- it's just the way men or women
Having a clearer understanding of your beliefs and
expectations can be a step toward rebuilding trust.
this new place of greater clarity, you can decide
thoughts and habits don't serve you and then move
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
yourself by inwardly posing these questions, he or
join in with you. What you learned by going within
your partner answer questions he or she has.
want to be listened to without judgment, do the same
your partner. This is not about re-establishing
blame, but it is both of you becoming clearer about
needs to shift in order for trust to begin to
Let's say that you share with your partner your
discovered expectation that men or women will always
to you, it's just the way that gender is. This
can clear up questions your partner may have had
and your actions.
As painful or uncomfortable as it
to admit to this belief, it might open the door to
choosing to let go of the limiting expectation and,
with your partner, establishing a new belief.
This is not about casting any judgments-- good or
either of you or the affair either. Instead, this
can help you and your partner to hone in on how you
feel and what you each need to do to begin to
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.