How To Learn To Trust Again After Infidelity
When your partner cheats on you, it can feel like the end of the world. Someone you love and trust has committed the ultimate relationship sin, and now you’re in freefall.
A partner’s infidelity can often leave you with trust issues. While you might view this as a form of self-protection, it’s important to learn to trust again. Without it, your later relationships will be worse off for it.
With that in mind, read on to learn to trust again after infidelity today.
Work on yourself
While this might seem counterintuitive (your partner is the one in the wrong, not you), working on yourself after infidelity can help you learn to trust again. As relationship therapist Connie Omari describes: “As women, we have been normalized to feel responsible for the behaviors of others. Therefore, when we are betrayed, we often internalize this as some error on our part.”
Think of it this way: while your partner’s infidelity is their own fault, you are the one damaged by it. That damage lasts, and you want to heal yourself before you fall for someone else again (or if you want to give it another go with your partner).
They say you can never learn to love someone else until you love yourself, and that’s especially true after being cheated on. Life goes on, so live it. Eat healthily, treat yourself to some new clothes, or take some new workout classes — improve yourself and become someone you would want to love.
Allow yourself some introspection
After you’ve been cheated on, you might feel broken and alone. Even if you decide to stay with your partner, you might feel isolated. This is the time to look inwards and spend some time focused on yourself.
In a podcast interview on Orion’s Method, the relationship expert Idit Sharoni outlines three stages to healing after infidelity: initial shock, reattachment, and rebuilding. It is during this initial shock phase that your emotions are most turbulent:
“This is where all the emotions are heightened, this is where you want to divorce, this is where you hate, this is where you love, this is where there’s a lot of conflicting emotions, your trust basically is not existent. There’s a lot of things that are going — it’s a crisis.”
Meditation, walks in nature, or just a long bath by yourself in silence — these solo activities are perfect for you to probe yourself and think about your partner’s cheating. This helps you overcome the shock and get to grips with the enormity of what happened.
After this period, you can make a decision about what you want to do: stay together, or move on.
Give yourself time to mourn the infidelity, but remember to draw a line. A wallow can be beneficial, but if it goes on for too long, those scars will never heal.
Surround yourself with friends
While some introspection is good for the soul after being cheated on, if you spend too much time in your own head you can end up doubting yourself. You might even end up blaming yourself for your partner’s infidelity.
Avoid shutting yourself away for too long. If your friends ask you out for dinner or drinks, accept — even if you’d rather curl up on the sofa watching repeats of Friends.
Force yourself to go out and socialise. You don’t even have to discuss the cheating if you don’t want to. Just giving your mind a distraction from your pain is enough.
Forgive but don’t forget
This is perhaps the hardest thing to do on this list. Forgiving the person who cheated on you might seem like the last thing on your mind, but it’s an important step on the way to trusting again.
Forgiveness means acknowledging that your partner made an error and then moving on. This doesn’t mean letting your partner off or condoning what they did. It’s about letting yourself move on, rather than holding onto the past.
Remember: forgiving someone doesn’t mean forgetting. You can still remember what happened and use it to improve yourself and become a better person. But you have to let go, for your own sake, and forgiveness is part of that.
A partner’s infidelity can leave damage that lasts for years. But it’s important to move past it. If you fail to do so, the only loser is you. Follow the tips above and start your journey towards trust and happiness today.
© 2020 Laura May