If your partner had an affair, or betrayed your trust in some other major way, it likely came as
quite a shock — especially if you were thinking they might be "The One." Following such a betrayal, you might decide it's best to move on. And that's certainly OK, if that's the route you decide to take. But if it still feels like your partner is the right person for you, you may want to know how to make a relationship work after cheating took place. And if your partner truly seeks your forgiveness and wants to rebuild your trust, it is definitely possible.
"Affairs are the end of your relationship as you know it. But, if you want, they can also be the beginning of a new chapter together,"
couples therapist Theresa Herring, LMFT tells Bustle. "Healing from infidelity requires couples to restructure their relationship in a way that fosters intimacy, connection, and communication." It'll require lots of work — and maybe some discussions with a therapist or loved ones — but it can be done. And the same rules apply for other betrayals of trust, whatever they may be.
So, if your partner still feels like "The One", they very well may be. This is especially true if you're noticing some of the signs below, which can point to their desire to make amends. Is your partner your favorite person? Do you vibe on a level that's hard to describe? Then it may be worth it to work things out, and do what you can to create a healthier relationship for the years to come. Here are 11 reasons experts say your partner may still be "The One," even if they've cheated or broken trust.
You Can Still Imagine Your Life Together
Once there's been a betrayal of trust in your relationship, it'll be important to ask yourself if you're willing to move past it. "If your partner has cheated on you, your biggest challenge is to look at yourself, not your partner,"
clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, tells Bustle. "What do you want? Where do you think your life needs to be? That must be done first. If the picture you paint in your head includes your partner, then it is worth considering moving forward."
You Both Want To Work On Things
While betrayals of trust can make you questions things, it's a good sign if you still have love for each other — even if others are urging you to move on. "Just because your friends and family tell you to leave doesn’t mean you have to," says Herring. "If this is someone you love and you both agree that you want to work it out, it’s worth seeing if you can fix things."
You should, however, take other people's opinions into account, since they likely have your best interests at heart, as well as an outside perspective. And if they are warning you that
the situation may be toxic or unsafe, it may be best to listen and seek support in leaving the relationship.
They're Making A Clear Effort To Change
Has your partner had a major breakthrough since they betrayed your trust? Have they given you a sincere apology and have made an active, ongoing effort to change their ways? If so, it could be one way to know a long-term relationship is still possible.
"[N]ot all people learn from [their] mistakes and change their behavior,"
certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "If your partner has broken your trust, but has truly changed and proven that change is lasting, [they] could still be 'The One.'"
And They've Taken Full Responsibility
It's also a great sign if your partner is taking full responsibility for their actions because this can show that they're making changes. "When many people cheat, they make excuses and are only upset when they are caught," Bennett says. "However, if your partner broke trust, but came clean, took responsibility, and has been living in honesty and trust ever since, it shows good faith for the future."
You Feel Much More Comfortable Communicating
In order to rebuild trust, and have a long-term relationship, you'll have to work on your communication skills as a couple. "If you are able to establish trust and have open communication, it is possible to move past cheating," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle. So, take it as a great sign if you both feel comfortable chatting about what happened, and being more open with each other in general. If your partner is going out of their way to be more transparent with you, take it as an indication that they are trying to atone for their actions.
You Have The Same Core Values
While your partner may have had a lapse in judgment, do you strongly believe they share your values now? As therapist
Irene Schreiner, LMFT tells Bustle, if your partner generally shares your views and values, it is a good sign you're compatible, despite your partner's actions, and could also be an indication that you will be able to work things out.
They're Willing To Go To Couples Therapy
In some circumstances,
therapy is often necessary following an infidelity, or other breach of trust. So if it's something you want to do, take it as a great sign if your significant other is willing to commit to the process of therapy.
"Investing time and money in therapy indicates that your partner is committed to doing something different," says Herring. "Therapy can help you and your partner figure out why the affair happened and how to prevent it from happening again."
With professional help, you will be better able to navigate the recent breach in trust, learn form it, and grow as a potentially stronger couple.
They Validate Your Feelings
You're likely going to struggle with questions and leftover feelings of doubt about your relationship after a partner has broken your trust, so it's important to be with
someone who validates all those emotions. As Hershenson says, "It’s important your partner doesn’t shut down your feelings and makes it easy for you to express your emotions." If they let you vent, answer any questions you might have, and give you plenty of space as your relationship adjusts, they're likely a keeper.
Hershenson says accountability is another trait to look for in a long-term partner — especially after cheating has occurred. Do they show up when they say they'll show up? Or call when they say they'll call? If so, this shows your partner respects you and your relationship, and is willing to be the type of partner you'd like to be with long-term.
They've Figured Out Why They Cheated
"While it's true that when a relationship is not in a good place people are more susceptible to cheating, the majority of
the reasons that people cheat have to do with them," says Schreiner. So make sure your partner is taking steps to figure out and fix whatever led to breaking your trust in the first place. That way, you can rest assured it won't be likely to happen again.
They've Figured Out What Went Wrong
When your partner cheats, it's usually because of an issue they grappled with in the relationship, Stef Safran, Chicago-based dating expert at
StefandtheCity.com, tells Bustle. "If you are able to discuss your issues and understand what went wrong, your relationship can be stronger than ever. Sometimes cheating can make you deal with the issues that you had kept hidden."
By supporting each other, and rebuilding trust, you certainly can stay with someone, even after a major breach of trust. If this person feels like "The One," and they are going above and beyond to rebuild trust and your relationship, experts say there is still a fighting chance.