Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity
Your spouse is devastated to learn that you have been unfaithful, but you are determined to save your marriage. You’ve apologized profusely. You take full responsibility for your actions. You promise that it will never happen again. Your spouse forgives you.
These steps, while necessary, are not enough. Many couples make the mistake of believing that after the initial shock, hurt & anger over an affair has worn off, they can simply “pick up the pieces” & get on with their lives.
Only later do they discover that lingering feelings of betrayal & mistrust slowly - but surely - destroy their relationship.
If you sincerely want to regain the trust and intimacy that you & your spouse once had, you must follow certain steps. They are not always easy. They don’t guarantee that your marriage will be saved. But these steps can go a long way in healing the hurt the affair has caused, & putting your relationship on the right path.
1. Be completely honest with your spouse from now on.
You must be truthful & open about anything your spouse has a reasonable right to know. This includes your work schedule, your activities with friends, your spending habits, and so on.
Of course, if you had followed this step all along, the affair probably would not have occurred. You might be tempted to think that telling a “white lie” now and then is harmless, especially if it has nothing to do with being unfaithful.
But your spouse is more likely now to detect any signs of deception or evasiveness on your part. And if you get caught in a lie, no matter how trivial, your spouse will wonder what else you may be lying about.
2. Answer whatever questions your spouse has about the affair.
Yes, this will be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It’s normal for you to want to put the affair in the past and “move on.” Besides, you think, your spouse is already hurt and angry. Wouldn’t learning all the details make those feelings even worse?
Perhaps. But unanswered questions and doubts can linger on for years, making it very difficult for your spouse to truly forgive you and trust you again. And it is far better that your spouse get the information from you, rather than hear it from someone else.
3. End all contact with your ex-lover.
You might protest that this step is unreasonable, especially if you see your ex-lover at work or some other place where running into each other is unavoidable. However, the temptation to resume the affair may prove too strong, no matter how well-intentioned you are.
Furthermore, your spouse will never be comfortable knowing that your ex is still in the picture. So, do whatever it takes to avoid that person, even if that means changing your job or moving to a new area.
4. Make amends to your spouse.
This crucial step is overlooked far too often . Maybe you think that merely saying “I’m sorry” is sufficient. Or you believe that nothing, really, can make up for the hurt you have caused.
But that is no reason not to try. The best way to make amends is simply to ask your spouse what you can to make it up to him or her. Ideally, it will be something that reaffirms your love and brings the two of you closer together.
Perhaps it will something that your spouse has always wanted from you - being a better listener, for example - but that you somehow failed to provide.
The purpose of making amends is not to punish you for your misdeeds. However, if making amends requires extra effort or sacrifice on your part, this may cause you to think twice before being unfaithful again.
Recovering from an affair takes commitment and effort by both spouses. Following these steps will help make that recovery more lasting and meaningful.
by an Alumbo member
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