Discovering your partner committed infidelity was heart-wrenching. Now that you’ve had some time to process your thoughts and emotions, you’re feeling angry and hurt. Likewise, you find yourself questioning his words, intentions, and behaviors. However, you’ve asked yourself if you want to remain together, and the answer is yes. You believe you have the ability to trust again, but you don’t know how. Is it possible to learn how to trust again after infidelity?
Simply put, infidelity is when one partner cheats or violates the high level of trust within the relationship. Your heartache, anger, racing thoughts, and questions of why torment you night and day. How do you start moving forward toward forgiveness and healing if you can’t trust your spouse?
In this article, we’ll talk about a successful method that may help you learn how to trust again after infidelity.
What is Infidelity?
First, it’s important to define infidelity. What is it? The broad, simplistic definition is being unfaithful to your spouse or committed partner. However, the not so simple definition is specifically defining what infidelity means to you as a couple. For example, do you and your partner feel the same way about what constitutes cheating? After all, if one of you believe viewing porn violates trust, but the other doesn’t, there could be a conflict, right? You may have different opinions about chatting with someone you had a relationship with back in high school.
So, the first step toward restoring trust will be defining what infidelity means to the two of you. This step is crucial because it helps to ensure you both have the same expectations. Likewise, it can help lay the groundwork as you begin to restore the foundation of trust into your relationship.
Is there hope for restoring trust after infidelity?
There are many factors to this question that will influence the answer of yes, or no. First, a question to authentically ask yourself is, “If you could trust again, would you?” In other words, at some point, will you be able to completely forgive your partner? Having the ability to wholeheartedly forgive your spouse will be a critical piece to restoring trust. Why? Because if you can’t forgive, it will be impossible for you to truly heal. Forgiveness is vital to your healing. Likewise, the relationship can’t heal from infidelity if forgiveness isn’t possible.
Next, another question to ask yourself and each other is how committed both of you are to the process of healing? Do both of you want to remain together? While you may not trust your partner’s words right now, you can trust your own. So, it’s ok to take some time to ask yourself if you genuinely want to work toward regaining trust. If both of you answer yes, then yes, there are many reasons to hope that your marriage can survive and thrive after infidelity.
How Do I Learn to Trust Again After Infidelity?
Dr. John Gottman, a world-renowned psychology researcher, has developed a Trust Revival Method. This highly studied method helps couples rebuild trust after infidelity. Likewise, this three-phase method has a fairly high success rate. Let’s talk about how this method can help you learn how to trust again after infidelity.
The first phase is Atone. In this phase, your partner will take full, non-defensive responsibility for the betrayal every time it comes up. This includes every moment when you express anger and hurt regarding the infidelity. Likewise, you deserve complete transparency when asking questions. Although this phase is difficult and painful, it is critical for healing your relationship.
Keep in mind, if you can’t forgive your spouse for the infidelity, trust is not likely to be restored, regardless of the efforts your partner makes.
Phase 2: Attune. This phase focuses on building a new relationship.
In this phase, both of you will focus on fixing issues within the relationship and learning how to better meet each other’s needs.
As both of you shift your focus to building back better, you’ll begin to find ways to communicate with one another. Likewise, you learn how to share deep and vulnerable feelings.
Attunement is a step beyond empathy and can increase feelings of trust and intimacy within a relationship. As a result, this phase helps to restore trust after infidelity.
The final phase is Attach. The intent of the third phase is to focus on sexual intimacy within the relationship. This process takes place through conversations around sex. Discovering each other’s likes, dislikes, and desires can promote good communication and safety. As you focus on building a secure attachment within the relationship, intimacy can become safe and enjoyable for both of you.
(Reviving Trust After an Affair (part 2), 2021)
I’m ready to heal, where can I begin?
The process of healing and learning how to trust again will look different for everyone. At bloomforwomen.com, we provide a platform for women in your situation. Infidelity can impact your life in so many ways. We want you to feel safe and supported through your process of healing. As a result, we provide free resources that may help you find information and validation. Our network of over 40,000 women can connect you to others who are on their journey of healing after betrayal and infidelity. Visit our website today to learn more.