How To Rebuild Trust After An Affair

This blog post was written by Recovery Help Now’s Cindy Nigro, MFTi.

Sexual intimacy with someone other than your spouse or partner can cause significant damage to a relationship.  He or she may feel betrayed and deceived, which typically requires a long recovery process. Rebuilding trust in any situation takes time but rebuilding trust after an affair is especially challenging.  Rebuilding trust is possible when both partners are committed to the process. Here are some tips:

1. Take responsibility

When the affair becomes known, be honest in admitting what happened so that you can begin to inspire renewed trust in your mate. Be willing to admit your wrongdoing and ask to be forgiven instead of avoiding or blaming. Only then will the relationship have a fair chance at redemption and the possibility of a second chance.

2. Recognize the triggers or issues that led to the affair

Many things can contribute to infidelity, including substance abuse that leads to impaired judgment, putting yourself in the path of temptation, and refusing to acknowledge warning signs of sexual attraction or emotional vulnerability. Discuss with your mate any problems or weaknesses in your relationship. Some affairs stem from an individual’s actions or attitude toward the committed relationship, such as boredom, frustration, or irritation. Your mate will appreciate your efforts to build a better relationship and possibly begin to regain trust in your commitment.

3. Consider counseling

If your relationship has serious or longstanding issues and you feel that staying faithful is going to be difficult, make an appointment with a counselor to discuss how to proceed.  Possibly one or both of you could benefit from individual or joint sessions where key issues are explored. Getting to the root of your problems may help with other issues that are unrelated to the unfaithfulness but still important to your relationship.  Your significant other is likely to sense your eagerness to solve problems and prevent infidelity from recurring as well as strengthen your commitment to each other when you take the professional route.

4. Join a support group

If your susceptibility to having an affair continues to be a problem, consider finding a support group, especially if your temptation to infidelity stems from personal behavior problems like substance abuse or emotional issues. Groups like AA or SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), not only have ways of helping you manage behaviors that can lead to an affair, but they can help you keep your life on track as well as work on rebuilding trust in your spouse or significant other.  Another advantage to a group therapy approach is that you won’t feel as alone and isolated in dealing with your problem.

Although it takes time to rebuild trust after an affair, remember that you are rebuilding your character and your relationship at the same time. These things can’t be rushed. So take it slow, giving it your all to show your partner how much you really care about them and the relationship.

Elana Clark-Faler
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