For most people, cheating on your spouse is the ultimate deal breaker – it’s not the sort of thing anyone can just come back from. A couple who chooses to try and patch up their relationship after one of them has been found to be unfaithful will face a long, hard road composed of several challenges, the first and most important being how to rebuild their trust in each other.
While there’s no quick and definitive guide on how to get your partner’s trust back after you’ve been caught having an affair, below are a few guidelines that may help ease the process a little:
If you’ve already been caught cheating by your partner, putting up any sort of pretense or piling on lies on top of more lies is not the first step you want to take in the road to reconciliation. Stop rubbing salt into the wound and don’t insult your partner’s intelligence by continuing to dispense untruths.
Honesty also goes both ways – the cheating partner stops lying and the aggrieved partner should also be allowed the freedom to air out their grievances without filter or judgment. It’s equally important for the truth about the affair to come out in a way that is productive for both parties. The couple needs to be able to feel as though they are being heard and that each of their concerns is validated.
Don’t Be Defensive
Be mature enough to own up to your mistake instead of shifting the blame to your spouse who is most likely already suffering from enough heartache just catching you in the act. Drop the ego and the bravado if you want to keep the relationship afloat, and be genuinely contrite and remorseful.
You must also be prepared to bear witness to your spouse’s grief process – after all, your infidelity has caused all of this to happen, which means that you should be prepared to face the consequences that your unfaithfulness has brought into the relationship.
End the Affair
This should go without saying, but in case it does: cut ties with the person whom you were having an affair with. It will be hard for your spouse to swallow the idea of you keeping the person you cheated on them with in your life, as well as sending a very confusing message to boot. Don’t try to have your cake and eat it, too.
Removing the other man or woman from your life is one way of making your partner feel slightly more at ease and assured that you truly do not want to make the same mistake twice, and that you are willing to rebuild your relationship from the ground up.
Open Yourself up to Scrutiny
Accept the fact that anything you do from this point forward may be asked after or scrutinized a little longer than you’re used to – after you cheat, everything you do comes into suspicion. You will no longer be able to come and go as you please if you want your partner’s trust back; you have to let them in even on the smallest of things, like why you’ll be late coming home from work or who you’re heading out to drinks with. You may be subjected to more frequent check-ins, so accept that and respond without belligerence.
It’s Not up to You
How long your partner takes to trust you again or complete her grief process is not on you to dictate, and you should never try to take control of it. Cheating is a serious offense and how spouses react to it vary – some may be able to forgive you easily, while others may require a bit more time to process the events and start to heal.
Considering that you are the instigator of these feelings of pain and heartache to start with, it is not up to you to say when the other party should heal. Be respectful and mindful of their boundaries and don’t push them to get over it. They may never be fully over it, and things may never go back to normal, either. Give your spouse the time and space to heal themselves and try to acknowledge the pain they are going through, and be respectful of it.