Let me take a wild guess…
You’re here because the regret you’re feeling after having an affair is unspeakable. You desperately want your partner back. And, your legs are almost buckling under the gigantic bolder of crushing guilt that you’re carrying.
But, believe it or not, the fact that you had an affair doesn’t mean that your relationship is over.
In fact, you may be shocked to hear that I’ve helped clients who realized that an affair was critical in cementing their commitment to their partner.
The bottom line is, the affair forced them into a position where they had to be completely honest, open, and transparent. As a result, these clients experienced a level of passion, love, aliveness, and closeness that they hadn’t believed was possible.
But, don’t get me wrong, these clients only came to that realization after years of working their balls off, shedding tears, and sweating blood.
Want to discover the rock-solid formula that these clients used to rebuild trust after cheating?
Thought so, lets get down to it!
How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating Starts By Confronting Uncomfortable Truths.
Can I be completely honest with you?
You’ll find that rebuilding trust after cheating is one of the scariest challenges you’re likely to face, for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll stumble over painful truths about yourself as you navigate the stony path ahead. Secondly, you’re not guaranteed to reach the desired destination of rebuilding trust with your partner, because ultimately the decision to give you a second chance rests within their hands.
Why am I kicking things off by warning you about the stony path ahead?
Let me say it straight… You’ve been lying to yourself, you’ve been avoiding facing uncomfortable truths, you’ve been playing games. And so, now is the time to get real, to dig down deep, to find the courage to get honest.
You start by asking the right questions because the right questions will inevitably reveal the truth. Therefore, how to rebuild trust after cheating starts by giving careful consideration to the following:
- Do you truly and honestly want to be with your partner?
- Are you 100% committed to doing the necessary hard work for the next 1 to 3 years to rebuild shattered trust?
- Are you ready to take complete ownership because you had an affair and for the emotional pain you’ve caused??
If you answered with a definite YES to these three questions, then you’re ready to proceed to the next step.
However, suppose deep down in your gut, you experienced a moment of hesitation. In that case, you’ll want to slow down and consider your next step carefully. Because unless you’re motivated by anything other than a pure desire to be with your partner, then you should consider alternative options. Personally, I’d hate to put in three years of hard work merely to realize that I’m not with the right person.
But don’t worry! If you conclude that your relationship is over, you won’t want to miss out on 6 Easy Ways To Bounce Back From A Breakup.
Reveal The Root Cause For the Affair.
In How To rebuild Trust After Cheating And Heal Your Relationship, Coach Adrian over at Happilycommitted.com highlights a critical step for couples after infidelity. Basically, he recommends uncovering the unfulfilled emotional, sexual, physical, or spiritual need that drove you into someone else’s arms. Essentially, discovering the root cause for the affair will provide you with insights into the areas you’ll need to address within your relationship.
Allow me to walk you through an example so that you’ll have a clearer understanding of how to rebuild trust after cheating by uncovering the root cause for the affair.
Mary and Stephen’s sex life had gradually dwindled since having their first child back in 2007. As a result, Mary had become less sexually available as she was juggling the demands of a successful career and being a new mum.
However, Stephen felt as if a chasm was opening between them because making love was how he experienced the peak of emotional intimacy. As a result, he began a sexual affair with a woman he met at a conference.
Do you see where we’re going with this?
The root cause for Stephen’s affair was an attempt to fill an emotional void left by his diminishing sex life with Mary. Consequently, this insight provides the couple with a critical key to how to rebuild trust after cheating. Put simply, Stephen & Mary will need to prioritize sexual intimacy.
How about you?
What is the root cause that rests at the heart of your affair? Specifically, what were the unfulfilled emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, or sexual needs within your relationship that resulted in you seeking this out with someone else?
How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating Calls For Extreme Ownership.
Want to know the most significant difference between the guys who are successful at rebuilding trust after cheating and those who sadly end-up throwing their relationship away?
The essential difference which distinguishes these two groups of fellas all boils down to extreme ownership.
Yes, let me expand upon the notion of extreme ownership by firstly pointing out a big mistake that lots of guys make when they’re desperately struggling with how to rebuild trust after cheating.
On the face of it, these guys own-up to the fact that they had an affair. But, that’s where they stop, which is a huge mistake. Because they’re not taking full ownership for the consequences of their actions, such as the fact that their partner is pissed-off.
For example, Let’s imagine that your partner is standing in front of you with arms tightly crossed, lips pressed together into a thin line, and a glower that could burn a hole through steel.
Now, I’m going to offer you two possible ways to respond to the tsunami of bitter resentment that is about to head your way. Furthermore, I’d like you to consider which of these options will communicate your willingness to take ownership of your actions.
Your placating hands come up as you desperately try to hold back the angry tirade. Eventually, your face starts to redden as you defensively shout back, and your jaw tightens with frustration because she keeps throwing the affair in your face.
Your feet are solidly planted as if you’re an oak tree that is standing strong amid a raging storm. Also, you gaze with compassionate eyes beyond the anger and into your partner’s hurting heart. Finally, you lean into her pain and say:
“you’re right, I messed up. I’m so sorry for the pain I’ve caused you. I promise from this day onwards that I’ll do everything in my power to become a better man”.
Here’s the bottom line, your relationship will only begin to heal once you take extreme ownership of the affair. So, own the fact that you cheated,
Own the fact that your choices have caused your partner pain, and own the fact that you broke her trust.
Complete Honesty Is The Key For rebuilding Trust After Infidelity.
Think about broken relationship trust as if it’s a rickety, lonely, and abandoned house built upon a sandy beach.
Now, let’s suppose that the sandy foundations become gradually more eroded every time the sea comes washing in.
What will inevitably happen to the house as a result of this erosion process?
You got it, the house will eventually subside into its foundations, and the sea will erase the crumbling debris.
In “After Cheating, Restoring Relationship Trust,” Dr. Robert Weiss provides an incredible piece of advice regarding how to rebuild trust after cheating. Quite simply, Dr. Weiss proposes adopting a policy of complete transparency and honesty with your partner.
Dr. Weiss argues that if your partner catches you in telling even a little white lie, this will be like the waves that gradually eroded the house’s foundation. In other words, a seemingly minor fib will rip open the trust wound that was just beginning to heal. As a result, your partner will question if you can be trusted, and she’ll worry about whether you’re slipping back into old ways.
If you’re committed to rebuilding trust after cheating, then I encourage you to immediately adopt a policy of total honesty. For instance, if your partner wants to check your social media activity, then give-up your password without a moment of hesitation. If she wants to read through your recent text messages, then smile and put your phone into her hand. And, if she asks you whether her bum looks big in these jeans, then say to her, “no honey, it’s all those chocolates you’ve been scoffing that’s making your bum look big” 😉
The big idea here is that your seemingly insignificant trust-building gestures will accumulate over time. Consequently, you’ll be sub-communicating an attitude of complete openness and that your partner can trust you once again because you have nothing to hide.
Want to learn two super simple tips that you can start using today to stay committed to a life of complete honesty and transparency?
- Pick a quiet moment when the two of you are calm. And, say to your partner, “My highest priority is for you to feel like you can trust me again. So, I’d like to talk about what you need me to demonstrate to make that happen?”.
- At the end of each day, rate yourself on how honest and transparent you’ve been on a scale from 1 to 10. Next, write down a few notes about how you can work on communicating more honestly tomorrow.
How To Rebuild Trust After Cheating Requires Mental Strength.
Why is healing broken relationship trust so dammed hard?
The answer is that most people are driven by a psychological need for security. Therefore, your partner’s trust tests are partly an unconscious attempt to evaluate the degree of security they feel about you. Needless to say, you’ll feel as if you’re riding an emotional rollercoaster in the initial stages of rebuilding trust after cheating. For example, you’ll have days when you’re wallowing in sadness, hopelessness and you’ll want to give up.
Naturally, your self-care will begin to slip during these painful times because we men have a tendency to neglect our welfare when times get tough. So, I want to encourage you to introduce habits and routines that will strengthen your mental wellbeing.
Think about your mental wellbeing as if it’s a jug that is filled to the brim with water. Furthermore, let’s suppose that every time you argue with your partner, it’s as if the pitcher is tipping up and liquid sloshes out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fighting every day will result in a jug that is drained, dry, and empty.
It’s not. In fact, I’m betting that you’re already experiencing a degree of mental, emotional, and physical fatigue.
Hence, I’d like you to start introducing healthy habits and routines that are focused upon replenishing your mental wellbeing so that you have the reserves to keep moving forward.
Want some quick & easy suggestions that you can use right now for replenishing your mental wellbeing?
Great, here you go:
- Take a 20-minute walk, preferably in the sunshine and somewhere green and leafy.
- A massage is an excellent way for releasing tension.
- Schedule time in the afternoon for decompressing, reducing stress, and relaxing*
- Eat plenty of whole foods, including fruits and veg, to optimize your mood and energy levels.
- Aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
*If you’re looking for an excellent strategy for stress reduction and relaxation, then I highly recommend you try out Progressive Relaxation. I’ve included a video below that will walk you through this process.
The One Thing That May Make All The Difference To Your Trust Building Efforts.
In “Why Some Couples Can Recover After Cheating and Others Can’t,” Korin Miller proposes that couples counseling can be a superb strategy for rebuilding trust after cheating. Basically, Korin suggests that Couples Counselling can offer a safe space where your partner can ask all the questions that need to be expressed so that they can start to move forward.
If you’ve never worked with a Couples Counsellor before, then here are four excellent benefits that could make all the difference to your trust-building efforts.
- You’ll be working with an in-partial and non-judgemental professional who can help you address the route-cause for the affair.
- You’ll learn new emotional and communication skills that will make the process of relationship healing far less painful, quicker, and more comfortable.
- You’ll receive specific guidance, support, and help for the pair of you to answer the question of how to rebuild trust after cheating.
- You’ll clarify and implement strategies intended to protect your relationship against the possibility of future temptation, which we’ll be returning to in the next step.
Bulletproof Your Relationship Against Temptation In The Future.
Suppose you diligently and consistently apply the previous steps. In that case, eventually, the trust will be re-born like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
However, your journey towards rebuilding trust after cheating isn’t over yet, because you’ll also need to bulletproof your relationship against infidelity in the future. In other words, you’ll take a step back from the fact that you had an affair and objectively identify the causal behaviors that lead you to stray.
Put simply, causal behaviors are all the contributing factors taking place at the time of the affair. They’re different from the route-cause you identified in step 2 because the causal actions indirectly influenced your choice to stray.
Another way to think about causal behaviors is as if they are individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Strictly speaking, if you have a pile of individual puzzle pieces, then all you see is a chaotic and jangled mess. But, if you slot the different parts together, then suddenly you’re able to perceive a fuller and bigger picture.
Let me give you a few examples of causal behaviors that I’ve helped clients identify while they’re rebuilding trust after cheating. Again, taken as separate pieces, these factors initially appear not to have an effect. But, if you slot all the pieces together, then a fuller picture of why they strayed suddenly becomes clear.
- Watching porn 3-14 times per week
- A recent bereavement that leads to grief and/or depression
- Growing up in a household where one or both parents had affairs.
- Connecting and flirting with old flames on social media.
- Childhood sexual abuse.
Now, it’s over to you…
What were at least three causal behaviors that indirectly influenced your decision to proceed with the affair?
The point of discovering the Causal Behaviours is to highlight the subsequent actions you’ll take to bulletproof your relationship against temptation in the future. For instance, if you identified that regularly watching porn has affected your way of viewing sex, then your resulting action would be to reduce your porn consumption.
So, now that you’ve discovered three causal behaviors, what’s one subsequent action that you’ll take for each that will result in this no longer having an effect upon your choices in the future?
An Affair Was A Terrible Mistake, But…
Your final step in how to rebuild trust after cheating is to forgive yourself for the affair.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking…
“Forgive myself for the affair? No way, what I did was inexcusable and unforgivable”.
Admittedly, that’s a fair objection because if you were to forgive yourself, then surely that would mean letting yourself off the hook, right?
But, consider forgiving yourself for cheating from a slightly different perspective…
Yes, the fact that you had an affair was a terrible mistake. But, this fact doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person, it doesn’t mean you’re a monster, it doesn’t mean you’re evil.
In fact, the simple truth is that you’re a fallible human being, who has made lots of mistakes in the past, and you’ll go onto make lots of mistakes in the future. Therefore, consider forgiving yourself for having poor judgment, learn from your mistakes, and focus your efforts on making amends.
But don’t get me wrong, because I also believe that forgiving yourself for cheating is an emotion you’ll need to earn. Put it this way, forgiveness without gaining the insights and wisdom that you require to avoid making the same mistakes in the future would be better described as foolishness.
The bottom line here is to ensure that your forgiveness is heartfelt because you’ve done everything within your power to heal your relationship. As opposed too, forgiving yourself as a box that you’re intellectually ticking off.
See the difference?
If your affair is relatively fresh, then you most likely won’t be ready for heartfelt forgiveness. Therefore, you’ll want to consider returning to this step at a later time. However, I’d like to encourage you to think about gradually cultivating an attitude of forgiveness while you’re putting in the hard work of rebuilding trust after cheating.
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You’re Ready To Drop The Bolder.
You’ve been staggering and reeling under the crushing weight of a gigantic boulder.
A bolder that has squeezed the air from your lungs and caused sour bile to scorch the back of your throat.
To make matters worse, your bolder of guilt, of shame, of pain, has caused you to stumble drunkenly along the path of how to rebuild trust after cheating.
You’re now equipped with eight rock-solid steps that possess the power for healing your relationship, for restoring hope, for strengthening emotional bonds.
What’s more, if you embrace and act upon the lessons we’ve covered in this post, then eventually, your bolder will shrink to the size of a pedal.
So, are you ready to drop the bolder and take your first step towards a level of relationship aliveness that you never new was possible?