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These five steps towards trusting your partner again are inspired by Ann Landers. If you need to know how to rebuild trust after an affair, you have to start at the beginning.
One of the first steps is to find out why he cheated. Books like The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It are helpful because they give an objective perspective (which you and your husband don’t necessarily have).
It’s also important to remember that it takes a long time to learn how to rebuild trust. After an affair, both you and your husband may be confused, insecure, and unwilling to just jump right back into the thick of things again. That’s why getting marriage counseling might be one of the most important things you do after infidelity.
These suggestions for rebuilding trust after an affair are inspired by a reader’s comment: “My boyfriend and I have been together for three years,” says Liz. “I just found out he has been talking to three other girls on the internet. He says he won’t do it again but I am still not sure. I don’t know what to do anymore. What do I do?” – from How to Forgive Your Husband After an Affair.
Rebuilding Trust After an Affair
“If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold you head high, look it squarely in eye and say, `I will be bigger than you…” ~ Ann Landers.
It’s important thing to remember that trouble — including cheating in marriage, betrayals of love, miscommunications in relationships, and arguments with spouses — are a normal part of love relationships! This doesn’t mean that cheating and other marriage problems are acceptable, of course! It just means that trouble is part of life.
If your share of trouble involves a cheating husband, you’re probably struggling to forgive and trust him after he cheated on you. I hope these tips help…
Learn why your husband cheated
If he cheated because he wasn’t getting something from you or your marriage, then it may be easier to rebuild trust because you can change your relationship! It isn’t easy, but you can work together to rebuild marriage trust. But, if your husband cheated because he was bored or it’s in his nature to roam, then it may be more difficult to rebuild trust. The reason he cheated may help you know how to rebuild trust in your relationship.
But remember: you can’t do all the work in figuring out why your husband cheated, how he can overcome the problem, and how to get your marriage back on track. He has to step up and be a man — which means admitting he cheated and working to make your marriage better.
Decide what you need to rebuild trust in your relationship
If your husband travels for work or spends a lot of time on other activities, you may need him to put you first more often. If your husband isn’t willing to talk about his feelings, reasons for cheating, or your marriage, then you may need him to open up more. Before you can decide if you can rebuild marriage trust, you need to figure out what you need from him.
If learning how to rebuild trust is difficult for you, read 8 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship.
Ask your husband what he’s willing to do to save your marriage
After you figure out what you need from your husband, ask him clearly if he’s willing to give you what you need. Will he spend more time with you? Go to couples counseling with you — or get online help from a marriage coach? Start individual counseling for himself, if he needs to work through his issues? Read books about rebuilding marriage trust after an affair? If your husband isn’t willing to work towards saving your marriage, then you shouldn’t trust him again. You can’t save your marriage by yourself.
Learn how to tell when your husband is lying
Gary Neuman is the author of Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship; he was recently on the Dr Oz show.
Neuman and Janine Driver of the Body Language Institute discussed several ways to discern if someone is lying about cheating – and I describe their tips in 5 Signs Your Husband is Cheating and Lying About His Affair. It’s worth a read, even if you don’t think your husband is lying to you.
Don’t let fear or insecurity trap you in a bad marriage
Both men and women stay in bad marriages because they’re scared they’ll never be loved again. If your self-esteem or self-confidence is low, find ways to boost it without relying on your husband or marriage. Getting as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as possible is more important that deciding if you can rebuild marriage trust after an affair! The healthier you are, the easier all your decisions in life will be — including your most important decisions about your marriage.
Ann Landers says,”All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest – never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principle of equal partners.”
When you’re saving your marriage and rebuilding trust, don’t be afraid of healthy battle. And, it’s worth noting that marriage coach Mort Fertel says husbands who cheat are less likely to cheat again. If you need to hang onto something while you’re learning how to rebuild trust after an affair, hang onto that!
I welcome your thoughts on rebuilding marriage trust after an affair below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but sometimes it helps to write about what you’re experiencing.
May you find peace and forgiveness in your relationship as you seek to rebuild trust.