Ask any survivor of infidelity and they will tell you that restoring the broken trust and rebuilding the marriage takes a huge amount of patience and of course time.
Are you the betrayer who has realized you have made a terrible mistake? I know, I know! It happened so quickly and you felt so good that you didn’t want it to stop. You probably didn’t even pause to consider the consequences of your actions. Well, whatever happened, happened. If you intend to make things right once again, you have to take some serious and honest measures.
Since you here, I am guessing your partner discovered it and you can’t believe you have lost their love and trust. If they have decided to give you a second chance, you are lucky. But wait, don’t expect your partner or the relationship to become stable in a nick of time.
Rebuilding the trust means you must first understand what your partner felt and experienced because of you and prove to them that you are truly sorry for it. And you may have to do it over and over again. You also need to show the willingness to change. You can’t just say ‘I want you back’ and expect them to take you right away. Would you ever take another chance of working with a business partner who betrayed you? No, right? Your partner is hence in kind of the same situation here.
Matthew Hussey, a relationship expert, says that cheating in a relationship is a huge break of trust. Even if you overcome it, it still plants a seed in your partner’s mind that keeps growing. It is traumatic for someone who never even fathomed their partner would cheat. Hence, it becomes a constant possibility in their head. No matter what justifications you give for your actions whether you were feeling insecure or you felt the relationship was becoming a mess – you have shown your partner the reflex response to those emotions. They will be terrified that any time you feel like that again, you will cheat.
Does that mean there is nothing you can do to win their trust? To be honest, your partner will have to take a leap of faith to give you a second chance, but it is not going to work unless you put your share of efforts.
Here is the course of action you must adopt:
1. Own your mistake
Own what you did without deflecting the blame. It is only when you own your mistakes, you become empowered to change your attitude and in the current crisis, this is the first reassurance your partner needs before even thinking of trusting you.
2. Apologize without making excuses
Your apology matters even if they are not ready to accept it. Never say things like: ‘I am sorry I cheated on you and I will never do that again,’ ‘I am really sorry I hurt your feelings,’ or ‘I did it because I was upset.’
The last thing your partner wants to hear is an apology with a ‘but.’
Perhaps, start with a written apology. Write a detailed letter that shows you understand the sorrow that you have caused. Verbal reassurances and promises mean nothing after you have cheated. You have to prove that you have heard and understood your partner on the deepest level. You should cite specific examples of how you have hurt them and with your actions, prove that you will never do that in future.
3. Establish the root cause
Matthew Hussey also says that the perpetrator must ask himself why he cheated and then tell the whole story to his partner. Healing begins with communication. If you want to reassure this does not happen again, you must first figure out the root cause. You need to figure out where you went selfish or what made you weak. After all, you can only stop the problem from reappearing if you know its cause.
4. Make a trust pact
This is an absolute necessity. Here is the pact should state:
‘I know I will have to bend over backward to rebuild the trust, I know what I must do to keep you, but I need only one thing from you: Give me your trust again.’
Is it ok to let them snoop on you?
In the desperation to get another chance, some perpetrators even propose the idea of letting the partner monitor them. They might be snooping anyways so why not allow them yourself? It’s easier in advanced times like today to use tracking and monitoring apps for intercepting calls, reading text messages, tracking location, etc. But wait, isn’t snooping in a relationship bad? Not if you both mutually agree to it and it’s healthy monitoring just for the sake of rebuilding the trust. In fact, I know a lot of couples who use this popular app called Xnspy to keep track of each other’s whereabouts.
If that’s what it takes for your partner to trust you, then a little monitoring isn’t bad after all. Xnspy will give your partner a complete trail of your phone call history, text messages, GPS location, emails, web browsing history and lots of other information on a smartphone without even touching it. Your partner could use it as means to reassure you have cut all contacts with the mistress or evaluate your habits to see if they can trust you again.
However, spying can become an obsession too, so you have to be careful before proposing this idea. I recommend coming with up a contract that defines healthy spying and what time would be best to eventually stop relying on it.
Trusting you is a risk but if your partner doesn’t take this risk, they may be cutting themselves off from a very meaningful relationship. Sure the past hurts, but if you can show them what you are willing to do and how much you are willing to change, they may accept your apology.
This journey to healing can take months and even years, depending on the deceit. Sometimes, it is going to feel like you are moving two steps forward and then taking three steps back. In times like these, don’t overact or get perplexed, remember that the road from distrust to trust is going to take patience, perseverance, time and commitment.