Tips: 4 Ways to Get Started Rebuilding Trust When You're the
One Who Cheated
By Susie and Otto Collins
When you were a child and you told your parents a lie and
then got caught, it may have felt to you like a big deal.
You might have been punished and you might have cried and
said "I'm sorry."
As an adult, if you broke trust in your relationship by
having an affair (or in another way), it probably also feels
like a big deal to you.
Perhaps the last thing you wanted to do was to hurt your
partner-- but through a succession of ill-made decisions,
you did anyway.
Now trust is diminished and you know that simply saying "I'm
sorry" isn't going to be enough to rebuild your connection
There are, of course, no guarantees that any relationship
will last-- even if there is no infidelity. Cheating, as you
probably already know, undermines trust and puts an added
strain on all involved.
If your partner is willing to stay with you and try to work
things out, this is your chance to do whatever you can to
Although rebuilding trust falls largely on your shoulders,
it is not completely your responsibility.
In fact, in order for a relationship to rebound, both you
and your mate need to be actively working. You both will
need to learn from what happened, identify disconnecting
habits that might have pre-
dated the affair and make changes.
Here are 4 ways to get started rebuilding trust...
#1) Be transparent and honest.
This is absolutely essential.
If your desire is to do your part in helping to rebuild
trust, make it clear to yourself and your partner that you
will be as transparent and honest as you can possibly be.
This means that you are upfront about where and with whom
you've been and that you are willing to provide proof to
back up your claims.
It might feel uncomfortable to you to be transparent and to
possibly make your private e-mail and phone records open to
your mate, for example.
Keep checking in with yourself about this and remember why
you are being so open.
This shouldn't be about you being punished, instead make it
about rebuilding the foundation of trust in your
relationship-- one step at a time.
#2) Listen to what your partner needs.
After saying "I'm sorry" and taking ownership for the affair
(or other betrayal of trust), ask your mate to let you know
what he or she needs from you.
There is a lot of internal healing work that your partner
has to do that may even involve past experiences.
But there are probably many specific actions that you could
take to help prove to your partner that you can be and are
If your mate cannot think of anything you could do to prove
that you are trustworthy, be patient. You might make
suggestions and you could also refer him or her to resources
What your partner might need from you most of all for a
period of time is space. He or she may want to process
feelings and get a clearer perspective of what the next step
#3) Listen to what you need.
No matter how desperately you want to make things "right" in
your relationship, don't agree to anything and everything
that your partner requests.
Think about it first.
Is this action something that you are truly willing to
follow through on and do? Does this feel like a reasonable
request to you given the circumstances?
It's vital that you listen closely to your own needs. The
reason that you cheated in the first place could very well
be because certain needs of yours were not being met in your
This is not about blaming your partner for not satisfying
you in some way.
Instead, it is about you taking responsibility for
determining what it is you want and need from your
relationship and then being honest with your mate.
Stay open to finding the ways you both can feel satisfied.
Continually beating up on yourself for having an affair will
not help you meet your own needs and will not help rebuild
trust between you and your mate.
Keep working on forgiving yourself and continue
to focus on the future you desire.
#4) Make rebuilding relationship trust a priority.
If a healthy, close, and trust-filled relationship is what
you want, keep that vision at the forefront of your mind.
Do whatever you can to keep pointing toward that goal.
Talk with your partner about what a trusting relationship
looks like to each of you and then come up with ideas for
how the two of you can
create what you want.
If you find yourselves falling back into the
habits that drove you apart in the past, notice what you're
doing and then make a shift.
Every time that you follow through on being transparent,
every time you and your partner have an open and honest
discussion and every time you act in a way that helps
rebuild trust, commend yourselves.
Build on this appreciation and recognition as trust