One of the fastest and easiest ways to destroy trust in a relationship is cheating; it’s a huge violation of the partnership and shifts the dynamic of the couple in ways that can cause permanent damage. There isn’t a sure-fire cure that can make the pain go away or image out of your head, but there are ways you can learn to trust your partner again after being cheated on. We process emotions differently, so one couple may not bounce back from a cheating scandal and another may work it out sooner than expected. Whatever position you’re in, one thing is clear: it’s not going to be an easy process whether you choose to stay or leave.
While the nature and degree of cheating involved can contribute to the success of trusting your partner again, it does mean your relationship won’t be exactly as it was before – but it some cases can become stronger and more resilient. If you can’t be with that person and decide to move on, you won’t be able to trust someone new as easily as you once did.
Before you go down the rabbit hole and make a decision to stay or leave your relationship, take a look at these six ways to trust again after being cheated on, with or without your partner.
Let’s face it, being cheated on is really shitty and you don’t need to try and hide your emotions for anyone, but that doesn’t mean you should turn to destructive behaviors. Observing how you are feeling and letting your emotions control you are two very different things; by observing your emotions, you let them pass by when you’re ready, rather than stew in them and control your decision making.
You’re in control of yourself and move on to the next steps of the trust process.
Cheating can break the trust you have for others, but it also damages the trust you have within yourself. You start to question your own worth and value because of what happened but in the end, you need to accept the cheating wasn’t your fault and is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them. Come to terms with the fact that you might not have known who they were even after years, but that doesn’t mean the next person will treat you the same way.
While the motto “forgive but never forget” is valuable, you should be forgiving them for the right reasons and that reason should be for your own peace. Often we hold onto grudges because it makes us feel powerful and in control of our anger, when in fact this has the complete opposite effect. By not forgiving someone’s wrongdoing, you’re holding onto that person and situation for much longer than you need to – you’re restricting yourself from moving on by letting them take up unnecessary rent in your headspace. It’s time to channel your inner Elsa and simply “let it go”.
Or should we say, learn to love yourself again? This step works whether you’ve stayed in the relationship or not because being cheated on can give your self-esteem and confidence a good beating. During a cheating scandal, you’ll feel lost and that it’s all about your partner when the focus should actually be on your wellbeing and mental health.
Doing what’s best for yourself, whatever that is, should be your priority over your partner right now. Take time to learn who you are and start to do things that bring you joy and self-love; by being able to get to your true self, you’ll find it easier to trust your own decisions and others in time.
Being around people you trust will help you remember the benefits of trusting loved ones, plus surrounding yourself with a good support system can help distract you from feeling alone. They’re the best distraction to be around and will help you rediscover yourself and what trusting someone feels like. Try not to spend every hour you have with friends talking about your cheating partner (or ex if that’s the case), remember you’re their friend too. Listen to them and they’ll listen to you, trust is a two-way street after all.
Whether you stay or leave the relationship, the important thing is to not rush yourself or let anyone else tell you how you should be feeling or progressing. Everyone works differently when it comes to trusting again, so do what feels right for yourself and listen to your gut instincts. If you’re trying to work it out with your partner after cheating, let them know you need to come to trust them on your terms, not theirs.
The same goes for a new partner if you’re having trouble trusting them in the beginning; simply explain what happened in the past relationship that might cause you to take longer to fully trust them, and it has nothing to do with who they are. Trust yourself, and trusting others will follow.
While you’re here, check out Dr.Lurve’s insider tips on how to make the best out of your Valentine’s Day if you’re single.