3 Ways to try to rebuild trust after an affair

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By Debbie Harrower

He had an affair

What a thing to have to deal with. Devastated, broken, alone, jealous and confused are just a few of the emotions you will be feeling.

I will never forget the first time I found out my ex had cheated on me. It made me feel sick. I cried for days.

Everybody is different and how you choose to handle the situation is completely up to you. I stayed – every time he cheated, I chose to stay. I desperately wanted things to work. I wanted to believe he would change.

Looking back I can’t believe I was so stupid, but on the flip side, and looking at things from a positive point of view – if even one single thing in my life had played out differently, I would never have met the man I am with now.

Do I think that if he cheated once he will do it again? Yes. I do believe that. BUT, that is what my life lessons and experiences have taught me. It’s different for everyone.

As with anything in life, there are going to be exceptions to the rule. There are some men out there who will make a mistake, learn from it and never do it again.

I also know that no matter what anyone says or does, a woman is going to do what she feels is best and right for her at that time and nobody has the right to judge her.

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Deciding to stay

For some women, packing up and moving on the instant they find out their partner has cheated is an easy, cut and dried decision. But, I’d go as far as saying that MOST women find it incredibly difficult – especially if there are children in the mix.

Sure, there is massive anger and hurt. Your ego is literally shattered into a thousand pieces. Your heart might be broken but it still loves and cares for the person who has hurt you (crazy hey?).

Communication must be cut – on every level! 

Ask your partner to give ‘the other woman’ a call. In front of you – and the phone must be on loud speaker.

He needs to let her know that he will not be contacting her ever again and that she is not to contact him either.

He must block her on whatsapp.

Delete her number.

He must also agree to you randomly checking his phone, emails and even his Facebook account if he has one.

He also needs to promise to let you know if she tries to make contact with him (she will more than likely try).

Policing your partner is not cool, but that’s in a normal, healthy relationship where the trust is intact. When someone you love breaks the bond of trust you once shared, and they want you to forgive them, they have to agree to being ‘policed’ by you until you start to feel some sense of security again.

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Honesty – raw and complete 

Some people say that they don’t want to know the details. And, if you are happy with that and feel you can move on without knowing anything, then that is cool. Personally, I want to know. Not everything (spare me the gory details), but things like:

When did it start?

Did you try to stop it at any stage?

What was going on in our relationship that made you feel “weak” or that it was okay to cheat on me?

How often did you see her and what lies did you tell me in order to make these ‘hook ups’ possible?

Did you ever feel pangs of guilt?

Did any of our friends see you with her?

Did you confide in anyone?

How do I know this won’t happen again?

Therapy

Making-up after an affair is extremely difficult. It’s probably one of the hardest things you will ever do. But,  If you have chosen to stay and try make things work, you are definitely going to need some outside, professional help.

Even if you go once a month (my ex and I went once a week for about two months) it will be money well spent.

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