How can I be sure infidelity won't happen again?
It was probably quite painful and difficult to discover that your partner was having an affair. If you two decided to stay together and rebuild trust, you are aware that the healing process can take time, patience and care. No matter where you are in this relationship rebuilding process, you might be experiencing jealous fears.
You may remember vividly the raw and intense emotions that came up for you around your partner's infidelity. Perhaps you even made a promise to yourself that you will not tolerate your mate cheating again. You are forgiving him or her this time but have made it clear that there won't be a “next time.”
Even with these firm boundaries set and the strides you two have made to improve your relationship and begin to turn trust around, it could be that you are frequently worried and jealous.
If so, you aren't the only one who has felt this way!
The first step toward feeling ease and opening up to love and rebuilt trust in your relationship is to be gentle with yourself. Criticizing yourself for mistrust or a jealous habit will not point you toward letting go of the fear.
Ric feels like he's followed all of the steps you're supposed to take after your partner has cheated. Carrie, his girlfriend, has taken full responsibility for the affair she had a few months ago and has expressed to him many times that she is willing to do whatever is necessary to earn Ric's trust again and rebuild their relationship.
It does seem to Ric like Carrie is trying hard to prove to him that she is trustable and committed to their relationship. But no matter how good he is starting to feel about loving Carrie, Ric cannot seem to get past the gnawing fears in the pit of his stomach.Carrie had an affair with a business associate and now just about everyday she is at work, Ric worries that she will cheat again.
When you trust someone-- especially your mate in a love relationship-- you take a risk.
In order to trust and be trusted, you have to put yourself “out there” to a certain degree and assume that your partner will uphold promises and commitments you two have made to one another. When turning trust around after infidelity, if you want to stay with the same person, you are still going to have to take risks.
But rather than blindly or naively trusting no matter what, we advise you to take conscious and aware risks. Base your willingness to trust (and rebuild trust) on the moments you are experiencing right now. Allow yourself to see and acknowledge what's happening in your present moment.
Learn to stay present.
Especially after experiencing the betrayal of an affair, it can be difficult to stay present. Perhaps the events around your mate's cheating seem lodged in your mind. When you continue to give your attention to those past events that are so upsetting, it is understandable that jealous fears can develop and grow.
Ric realizes how much time he spends recreating Carrie's affair in his head. Sometimes, as Ric sits at his desk at work and thinks about Carrie interacting with co-workers at her office, he imagines her becoming sexually involved with yet another business associate.
Clear images of this potential scene crowd his mind and interfere with Ric's ability to do his own job. Sometimes he even calls Carrie and asks her very pointed questions about who she's been meeting with, did she talk with any men during her coffee break, etc. Carrie tolerates his interrogations because she knows where they are coming from, but Ric does not like being ruled by his fears or by jealousy!
Experiment with different techniques that can help keep you rooted in this present moment and in your relationship as it is right now.
Start out when you are not feeling jealous or other intense emotions to learn how to bring yourself back to this moment in time. Some people find it helpful to take a deep, belly breath and feel into their feet touching the floor or ground. Others use written notes or affirmations to come back to the present.
Practice listening to your gut, not your fears.
Ric discovers that a particular song helps him break out of his jealous imaginings about Carrie having another affair. He finds that when he plays this particular song, he can tune in to the melody and lyrics that are uplifting for him and then his jealousy seems less strong.
He can then more easily question his assumptions from this new place and feel more confident about which perceptions derive from fear and which derive from awareness.
When you can come back to the present moment, you can begin to more clearly differentiate between your fears and your gut feelings. When you are focused in on the past, it's really difficult to tell the difference!
Again, deep breathing can be helpful. Some people report that, even when what their gut is telling them is uncomfortable, they experience a certain calm assurance around that information. Conversely, a sense of agitation and upset often accompanies fears.
Part of rebuilding trust in your relationship after an affair is re-learning how to trust yourself.
When you are feeling jealous, look at the emotions that are fueling your jealousy. If there is fear, explore what's behind the fear and do what you need to do to bring yourself ease.
There are no guarantees that your partner will not cheat again. But there also are no guarantees that your partner WILL cheat again. Focus in on today and realize you can choose the boundaries you set and the commitments to connection that you make from this present moment.
Trying to rebuild trust after your partner's past affair? Get help in this free report to rebuild trust after infidelity.