Whether you catch your partner in full-blown infidelity or just a set of lies or secrets, disloyalties can be devastating. And rebuilding trust in a relationship can be the biggest challenge a relationship will ever have to face. Not only do you have to get over feeling hurt, but you have to forgive and then move forward. Moving forward is the real challenge because you feel like you've lost all of your relationship groundwork and are starting from scratch. It can feel exhausting.
But you need to rebuild trust if your relationship if you want your relationship to recover, and how to do that is between you and your partner. When your relationship hits a rough patch, everyone has something to say. "Studies show that many divorced persons report being influenced by input from family and friends when agonizing over whether or not to remain in a marriage," Psychotherapist and Relationship Expert in Private Practice in NYC, Denise Limongello, tells Bustle. "People often express strong opinions on the topic of infidelity, as research also suggests... if you choose to salvage the marriage after infidelity, it might be beneficial if no one else knows what happened so that negative opinions or resentments aren't harbored against the cheating party."
So you need to stop listening to what everyone else has to say and focus on the two of you and what you need to move on. And how do you do that? Here are seven tips for rebuilding trust. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. Know How To Say Sorry
Actually say it, you have to say the words: "I'm sorry." Whether you're the person who's effed up or not, you may both probably have some things to apologize for. Taking accountability to however you've contributed is the first step towards moving forward.
2. Get It All Out There
If there are have been secrets, lies, anything — you need to get it all out. There's no point in rebuilding trust and moving forward to only have one last fib come out three months later that undoes all your hardwork. When you start rebuilding, you need a truly clean slate.
3. Commit To Keeping The Past In The Past
One of the hardest things to get past, when there have been lies or infidelity, is getting so paranoid that it's going to happen again that you end up driving yourself crazy. Whether you feel the need to snoop, cringe every time their phone rings, or are constantly trying to poke holes in things they tell you, you're never going to regain trust if you're constantly second-guessing your partner. I know it sounds impossible but moving on means you have to leave the past behind.
4. Make Communication Part Of Your Routine
Instead of quietly dwelling and winding yourself up, make communication a normal part of your routine. You need to just check in on how the other person is doing. Making yourself present and showing you're invested in each other is the best way to move forward.
5. Take Your Time To Heal
As much as you need to put everything behind you, you need to come to terms with it first. And the processing can't be rushed. Don't feel like forgiveness happens immediately. It's only genuine when you take the time to really work out what the breach in trust means and how you feel about it. Take the time, or else you won't be rebuilding your trust on a strong foundation. "People often report that sometimes when a marriage is tested, the true strength of the relationship can be revealed," Limogello says. "Although infidelity can be devastating to many, people often report that the break that can ensue as a result of it can lead to each party coming to a clearer perspective on their commitment to each other. Taking advantage of time apart as a result of infidelity can be an excellent opportunity to reflect and, possibly, arrive at a greater level of commitment in the long run — particularly among couples who married young, as research indicates."
6. And Then Get In Some Quality Time
One of the best ways to get over a relationship blip is to take spend a lot of quality time together once you're ready. First off, because it helps you get back in touch with the positive side of your relationship and secondly, because you just need a reminder that you can move along.
7. Be Realistic About Needing Help
Sometimes to salvage a relationship, you need some help. That's totally fine. In fact, your relationship can be better off for it. "Studies show that couples who take the time to see a therapist, even when nothing is necessarily wrong, report higher levels of satisfaction in their marriages than couples who don't." Limongello says. "An infidelity might be the impetus for seeking out a therapist, which could lead not only to saving the marriage after the heartache from the infidelity, but also lead to improved communication patterns, problem-solving, and solidarity on the long-term."
So it could be what makes or breaks the relationship — and if you're having trouble getting over it on your own then you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. Rebuilding trust is the only way for your relationship to last, so be sure to give it your best shot if that's what you want.
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