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Surviving Infidelity

Steps to Rebuilding Trust after Infidelity
By Susie and Otto Collins

Trust is kind of like the air in bicycle tires. When you hop on your bike, it is the pressurized air in those tires that keeps your ride smooth and insulated. Low air in tires or a flat means a much bumpier ride that can damage your bike or cause you to lose balance and fall.

Trust in your love relationship is much the same. You may not think about trust, unless you are experiencing difficulties.

And when trust is weakened or broken because of infidelity, your relationship will not operate smoothly if it functions at all.

If your partner had an affair, you might still be reeling in the shock, a sense of betrayal, anger or other emotions. But if you also had an affair, the effects can be doubly debilitating.

Not only did your partner violate your agreement to be faithful to one another, you did as well.

You may have had an affair after discovering your mate's infidelity or it could have happened the other way around. Either way, you may be feeling mistrust not only of your partner, but also of yourself.

You might even feel like both the victim and the wrong-doer at the same time. It can
be confusing to know how you feel and how to heal from what seems like a big emotional mess.

No matter how hurt and unclear you feel right now, you can take steps to rebuild trust with your partner.

If you two decide you want to continue your relationship, you need to start putting the past behind you and begin making new agreements for your future together.

Cyndi and Brett walk around one another as if they were in a field of landmines. It's been several months since they discovered that they were both having affairs.

And while they've each ended their extramarital relationships and have decided to give their relationship another try, neither really knows how to proceed.

It seems that everything Brett says or does reminds Cyndi of his betrayal. She feels like she never would've responded to the sexual advances of a co-worker if she didn't suspect, and rightly, that Brett was cheating on her.

They both feel guilty and fearful that this will happen all over again. There have been some happy moments and they are reminded why they love one another.

But these moments are always dampened by the past and the infidelities.

Clean up and let go of the past.
A primary step in rebuilding trust after an affair is to clean up and let go of the past. We're not suggesting that you ignore the affair or pretend your relationship is the way it was before the infidelity.

Instead, we want you to take a look at what you are still holding on to.

Do you cling to your role as victim or as the one who "messed up" or perhaps as both? It's time to make peace with what happened and move on.

You don't have to wear a scarlet "A" for the rest of your life to make amends for your affair. And neither does your partner if he or she is the one who cheated.

Cyndi and Brett decide to clean up their hurtful past by writing each other letters in which they share how they are feeling right now and even why they think the affairs happened in the first place.

Neither of them places the "blame" for the affairs completely at the other's feet.

They each acknowledge that a complex dynamic probably led Brett to cheat and then a similar dynamic contributed to Cyndi's choices.

In their letters to one another, they each also talk about what they've learned about themselves and each other through this experience.

Both express how sorry they are that this happened. After reading their letters to one another, talking, hugging and crying, Cyndi and Brett decide to burn the letters in a bonfire. This, for them, symbolizes a cleansing and letting go.

Make new agreements.
After their sharing and letter writing ritual, Cyndi and Brett sit down together and make some new agreements for their future.

They both realize that letting go and building trust may take some time; but they each begin to feel excitement about what's ahead.

In this list of new agreements, Cyndi and Brett definitely include a promise to be monogamous and faithful to one another. Recognizing some of the issues that contributed to the infidelity, they also agree to communicate with one another more clearly and openly.

Holding back and secretiveness has always been a challenge for them. They decide to work with a relationship coach to help them with these and other issues.

In the aftermath of infidelity it can feel like there can be no future together free of suspicion, doubt and fear.

But it doesn't have to be that way!

Once you and your partner decide to stay together and turn away from the past, you can rebuild trust and end up with a closer, deeper connection than you had before.







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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.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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