Repairing the damage of an affair isn't easy, but if both parties commit it can happen
You've probably heard stories of how a couple worked together in the aftermath of an affair in their marriage or relationship, and actually came out closer and more connected than before.
These are amazing and inspirational stories, especially if you have also experienced cheating in your relationship. They provide a beacon of hope and an example that it really can be done.
But you've also probably heard and read about the countless couples whose relationship could not overcome the damage that an affair wreaked.
So which is it?
Sheri asks herself this question just about every day. It's only been 3 months since her husband Pete admitted that he was having an affair. Sheri still feels nauseous when she remembers that awful day. Although she feels sure that he's stopped cheating with the other woman, she wonders how she will ever trust Pete again.
Both Sheri and Pete have decided to give their relationship a second chance, but Sheri is having a difficult time envisioning a future with Pete that, for her, doesn't include worry, fear and a shroud of suspicion.
Focus on YOUR relationship and life.
Ultimately, you don't know what will be true for your situation. At some point, you, your partner, or both of you may choose to end your relationship.
On the other hand, you may find a way to re-grow trust and find yourself more in love than you ever were. We suggest that rather than worry about what statistics or anyone else has to say, you stay focused on the decisions for the future you and your partner have made.
Give your attention to what you feel inside about what has happened, where you are now, and what direction you want to go.
Some of Sheri's best friends have also gone through their husbands' or boyfriends' cheating. When she shared with them about Pete's affair, each of her friends recounted the experiences they had in their relationships—usually terrible and gut-wrenching accounts.
Finally, Sheri realizes that hearing about her friends' relationship woes due to infidelity is not making her feel any better and is certainly not positively contributing to the commitment she and Pete have made to rebuild trust.
For the time being, Sheri has decided to steer conversations she has with her friends away from the topic of affairs and on to different subjects that are neutral or helpful.
Look for opportunities to foster trust.
Sometimes, it's all about where and what you focus on. If you say you want to trust your partner again, yet you keep looking for proof that he or she really is not trustworthy, then you'll probably get the proof you're seeking out.
Instead, what if you look for opportunities to foster trust between the two of you?
Are we suggesting that you deny information you might receive that's telling you your partner is cheating again? Of course not.
We encourage you to stay aware of what's going on and listen to your feelings—not just fears, but your gut feelings.
You might start with small ways that you can rebuild trust with your partner.
For example, begin to notice how your partner follows through on promises about projects around the house or plans to meet for lunch.
You can begin to feel improvement in your relationship when you notice and acknowledge to yourself of your mate's seemingly insignificant trustable moments.
Pete has been making a real effort to prove to Sheri that he has re-committed himself to their relationship and their agreements.
Before the affair, communication was often a prickly area for the two of them. Pete used to guard his privacy and felt that he shouldn't have to "report in" to Sheri about his plans. But now Pete is following through with his intention to be more open about his activities and he has even begun to ask Sheri to share with him more about her day.
They are also scheduling more time together, which is an improvement.
With clarity and awareness, make note of what's going right between you and your partner as you rebuild trust after infidelity.
Rebuilding trust can take time, but you may just be surprised to find that you two can not only survive the affair, but, eventually, your relationship can actually thrive!
Healthy trust is a crucial part of the foundation of a lasting and happy relationship. You've got to have trust! Whether you and your partner are trying to rebuild trust after an affair, another form of betrayal, or years of trust-eroding habits, we can help. Check out our brand new Trust Triggers tool.
This article was originally published at http://www.relationshiptrust.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.