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How to Rebuild Trust: To the Spouse Who Was Unfaithful

Posted By Center for Mediated Divorce || 31-Mar-2015

Choosing to commit an affair is no easy decision. Most spouses wrestle through frustration, guilt, and bitterness even in the midst of an affair. If your spouse has just found out that you cheated on them, all of these feelings may be rushing to the surface, with shame or regret becoming increasingly overwhelming. While it may seem like your world is turned upside down with no course of relief, this is not always the case.

It can be very upsetting and anguishing to see your spouse go through so much pain at the revelation of your affair. They are likely going to be very angry, confused, and extremely hurt during this time. Though you may feel like there is no possible way to save your marriage, this is the time for you and your spouse to rebuild trust and strengthen your relationship, despite the seemingly dark days ahead. In an article recently posted by Dr. Kathy Nickerson, she provides helpful counsel on how to save your marriage. We will discuss the helpful insight gleaned from this article below.

Can I really save my marriage after an affair?

Whether you were living a secret life with another individual or made a one-time mistake with an old fling, it can seem like there is no recourse for saving your marriage after an affair. Your spouse may be emotionally shutoff, may be taking their anger out on you at all times, or may be simply broken down. Whatever the case, there are ways to restore your marriage. However, before this can happen, you must both be willing to recognize what occurred and ready to come up with a smart plan for fixing your relationship.

Remember, just because you had an affair does not mean you are a terrible person who has no chance of a happy life. Yes, you did something very hurtful to your spouse and damaged your relationship. Though your choice may have been bad, that does not mean you are. Once you have acknowledged you made a mistake and chose not to be defined by this mistake, you and your spouse can begin to move forward.

Transitioning from Betrayer to Healer

Even though you were the one that hurt your spouse, that does not mean you cannot help to heal them. In fact, you are the one person who is most qualified to do so. You know your spouse better than anyone else and can provide the best support to them.

Focus on doing the following in conversations following an affair:

  • Offer to discuss matters, but don’t push or demand a conversation
  • Always remain apologetic, gentle, and focused on listening
  • If matters get heated, take breaks, but don’t leave the house
  • Stay as transparent as possible and act like an open book
  • Be quick to volunteer to do things if it will help prove your honesty
  • Encourage your spouse to ask any questions they have

At the end of the day, the revealing of the affair really only gives you one option if you want to restore your marriage: be as honest, transparent, and truthful as possible. If you continue to withhold information or wait to share more details later after giving a different answer before, it will only continue to hurt your spouse and deteriorate your marriage. Once the foundation of trust and commitment has been repaved, you can begin to work on building up your marriage again.

If you have been cheated on, read this blog for insight on how to respond.

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