This kind of access needs to be granted with genuine willingness in order for it to be effective in rebuilding trust. If the person who cheated feels pressured to be transparent, resentment and more disconnection can develop.
It can also be healing for a couple to set an intention to be transparent in other ways. The two could agree to share what's on their minds, even the difficult stuff. They speak their own truth and ask for what they want.
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This might be uncomfortable, but it can be done in ways that support connection.
Even if your partner is unwilling to give you full access to his or her private life, you might make a request like, “Please help me to understand why you will not be completely transparent with me.” Then listen to your partner's response. There could be a reasonable reason why. You can also notice the ways in which your partner may be more transparent than he or she was before.
#3: It feels like you're both on the same team.
This is similar to the exercise we suggested above for remembering how different it feels when you and your partner are open with one another and when you're closed. Become aware of what it's like when you two are working together and when it seems as if you're on opposing “teams.”
We're betting that when you're both on the same team, you don't dismiss or ignore one another's ideas. You acknowledge that you can really learn from your partner, even if you have a unique way of handling a situation and even if you make a different choice than what your partner wants.
Being on the same team is all about open communication and it's all about your overall view of your partner. It's less important to prove that you're right or that your way is the best than it was before. There is greater appreciation for one another (this doesn't always equal agreement, by the way).
#4: You can see signs of improvement.
Being more open, feeling like you're on the same team and transparency are all signs of improvement in your relationship. The tricky thing for couples rebuilding trust after infidelity is that the improvement might actually be happening, but one person (or both) is not seeing it.
It's easy to become fixated on what happened in the past and become blinded to the positive changes going on right now.
If you're trying to figure out if it's safe to trust your partner again, one dependable way to do so is to make sure you're assessing your relationship from a present moment perspective. It's not healthy to deny the emotions that you might have about the affair or other hurtful experiences. At the same time, it's inaccurate and harmful to live in the past.
Get into the habit of noticing it when you react to a situation from a past-orientation. When you do, take a deep breath, pause and return to the present moment. Ask yourself if your perception, words and actions are a fit for what's happening now.
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Being more present-oriented will allow you to see and appreciate the improvements that are possibly going on in your relationship.