As you probably know, people are not perfect. 23% of men and 19% of women admitted to having cheated on their partners. But other numbers are way more interesting. 70% of couples that see a therapist after infidelity stay together. In this article, we will tell you about how to work on your relationship so you can gain back the trust of your partner.
We has collected some recommendations that psychologists often give to couples where one of the partners cheated. Both men and women cheat, so these recommendations will be useful for both partners in the relationship.
1. Don’t try to minimize the pain.
A person who was betrayed needs to know how it really happened. When you are trying to answer all questions fairly, you might inadvertently hide some details without even realizing it. You may even give some really general answers and you won’t feel like you lied.
However, your partner will feel like you are hiding something. And some details could emerge with time and turn your partner’s life into a nightmare. They will keep the image of what happened in their heads for a long time.
But avoiding the conversation is also not a good idea. Don’t hide anything. To overcome this difficult time you need to feel the pain, otherwise the wounds won’t heal. Don’t try to minimize the suffering, because in this case time is the best cure.
2. Tell the whole truth.
Trust in a relationship is very fragile. If you have been caught lying once, the best course of action is to tell your partner the whole truth.
Psychologist Robert Weiss says that restoring trust is possible only if you make your relationship completely transparent. The same goes for the smallest details. If you are going to the bar with your friend, tell you partner. Don’t make up less “dangerous” locations to tell your partner about.
3. Do not attack.
The person who needs to earn the trust will have a hard time. Listening to negative reactions aimed at them will be their everyday reality at the beginning of the path. Both partners need to overcome this.
Do not attack. When you tell your partner “You’re not ideal, either,” you are just trying to justify yourself. This is a perfectly normal reaction. But think about what you will get in return. Your partner’s anger is understandable. Don’t say mean things to them if you are trying to save your relationship and not destroy it.
4. Don’t play the roles of the accused and the prosecutor.
When the worst part (admitting deceit) is over, the most difficult stage starts. If you’ve decided to stay together, don’t play the roles of the accused and the prosecutor. This behavior doesn’t build trust, it has the opposite result.
“The prosecutor” will always try to express their anger, they will come up with new quests and tasks for the one who destroyed the trust. “The accused” will try to be forgiven, and they will be angry every time the attempt fails.
The best decision in this situation is to stay calm and tell your partner that you are ready to do the work, but constant reminders won’t help.
5. Don’t involve other people.
Both of you made the decision to stay together after the betrayal, so both of you are responsible. This is why you should never involve other people in this process: your friends, your relatives, or your children.
The same goes for both partners. The conversations about what happened should only be between the partners without a third party. Psychotherapist Joe Kort is convinced that the only person who can be the third party is a family counselor.
6. Give your partner more access.
Let your partner into very personal parts of your life: social media, text messages, calls. If you have decided to be honest, you have nothing to hide anyway. This step will help your partner calm down and trust you more.
Over time, your partner will realize that there is no need to check on you all the time. And when the trust is fully restored, they will stop completely.
7. Make symbolic gestures.
Dr. Jim Walkup, marriage, pre-marital, and infidelity recovery counselor, recommends that his clients make symbolic gestures. It can be something that made both of you happy when you just started dating and were happy.
You can go to the movies late in the evening, walk in the park, or feed swans in the pond. While doing something like this, don’t accuse each other and don’t think about what happened. This will help you make new, good memories together.
For those who love something more extreme, there are options too: you can go on a trip or move to another city or country. This is a big emotional shake and can be a new beginning for both partners.
8. Don’t expect instant forgiveness.
Don’t expect to be forgiven right away and don’t press your partner. It won’t lead to anything good. The best thing you can do is start noticing your partner’s feelings and needs. The pain they are going through is very strong and it won’t just disappear instantly. This is normal.
When partners decided to save their relationship after infidelity, they should be ready for things to be different than before and that it will be hard to be together in the beginning. However, the statistics that claim that 70% of couples stay together after this type of issue gives couples hope.
Have you ever been betrayed in a relationship and were you able to restore that trust? Share your experience with us in the comment section below!
Illustrated by Leonid Khan for BrightSide.me