Is It Possible To Love Again After an Affair? How To Rebuild Trust After Being Cheated

 / 

,
How To Rebuild Trust After Being Cheated

Have you ever tried to love your partner again, after they had an affair? Affairs can be truly heartbreaking.

Is it possible to love again after an affair? Is it possible to rebuild trust after your partner has been unfaithful?

The loss of the relationship you envisioned can cause intense rage, jealousy, and sadness, and also raises many questions. Should you stay? Will things ever be the same?

One thing is certain: learning to love again is a slow process.

Although regaining trust offers extreme challenges for both partners, there is reason to be hopeful.

Over time, the unfaithful partner must be willing to put the relationship first and demonstrate trustworthiness through their words and actions. In The Science of Trust, Dr. John Gottman posits that trust is an action rather than a belief – more about what your partner does than what they say.

Below are three questions to help you decide whether to end your relationship after an affair:

1. Would you want to be committed to your partner if you trusted them again?

In other words, do you have enough admiration and respect left to salvage the relationship? Be honest and ask yourself: Do we still have fun together and enjoy each other’s company most of the time?

What should you do if confronted with infidelity? Read Surviving Infidelity Together: 5 Ways Couples Can Move On From The Pain

2. Have you let go of your anger and resentment about your partner’s betrayal and are you able to move forward?

Can you imagine ever feeling happy in your relationship or wanting to be close or intimate with your partner in spite of their actions?

3. Can you forgive your partner for their actions?

This does not mean condoning their actions but simply not letting them have power over you. Research suggests that a willingness to forgive can help heal marital problems, both big and small. In fact, marital therapists have found that forgiveness is an essential ingredient of healing from infidelity and contributes to a long-lasting, successful marriage.

If your answer to one or more of these questions is “no” and you think it is time to take the next step, you owe it to yourself to tell your partner you want a divorce. At the end of the day, you are the only person who knows if your marriage can survive infidelity.

If you decide to stay with your partner, be optimistic. Not all relationships can be saved after infidelity, but in What Makes Love Last? Dr. Gottman forecasts hope for couples determined to heal and willing to follow certain steps.

Shawn and Vanessa: Learning to Trust Wisely

In his late thirties, Shawn contacted me after undergoing six months of individual and couples therapy with his wife, Vanessa, who betrayed him by having an affair with a co-worker. Even though Vanessa initially denied committing adultery, she finally admitted it when Shawn brought copies of emails with graphic details of her sexual activities with her lover to their therapy sessions.

In Here’s What Pushes Someone to Leave a Cheating Spouse, therapist Amber Madison says that people tend to categorize cheating in two ways: either as a horrible mistake their partner won’t repeat or as a habit they’ll have to put up with if they decide to stay in the relationship. She advises people to determine whether cheating was a mistake or part of a pattern and to assess the quality of the relationship outside of infidelity.

In Shawn’s case, he believed that Vanessa’s unfaithful and disloyal behavior, while extremely hurtful, did not mean that their eight-year marriage had to end. He still cherished her and was willing to extend trust because he believed she would not make the same mistake again. Most importantly, he let go of his anger and resentment and was ready to forgive her.

How to love again after an affair? Read Does an Affair Mean the End of A Relationship? How To Recover from Infidelity

What Your Partner Must Do

During couples therapy sessions, Shawn was also able to be vulnerable and tell Vanessa that there were certain things she needed to do in order for him to stay married to her and begin the process of healing.

The following steps summarized from the “Gottman Trust Revival Method” can help you recommit to a healthy, trusting relationship after infidelity. The system is founded in Dr. Gottman’s lab results which confirm its effectiveness.

Phase 1: Atone

The cheater must first express remorse. Rebuilding a relationship after infidelity is not possible without this action, according to Dr. Gottman. He writes that, “The wounded partner will feel the stirrings of new faith only after multiple proofs of trustworthiness. Atonement cannot occur if the cheater insists that the victim take partial blame for the affair.”

Honesty and Full Disclosure

It is critical that the cheater understands their partner’s feelings and accepts responsibility without defensiveness. There can’t be any more secrets and the cheater must confess. While full disclosure is painful, it allows for transparency, verification, and vulnerability.

Couples healing from the pain of infidelity need to gain insight into what went wrong without accusing. While it’s true that some partners will feel angry, hurt, and betrayed when they learn their love interest has done something unacceptable to them, honestly confronting issues is the best way to regain trust and intimacy.

In order to do this, the cheater must become more aware of their vulnerabilities and explore their reasons for returning to their partner. For instance, Vanessa realized that she had been unhappy in her marriage with Shawn for some time and wanted a more active sex life without blaming him for being distracted or not initiating sex more often.

There Won’t Be a Second Chance

The person who is unfaithful must put an end to the affair and end all contact with his or her lover. This no “second chance” rule may seem harsh but it’s a huge disincentive to straying. For instance, Shawn felt strongly that he would not be able to forgive Vanessa if she was unfaithful to him again or had any contact with her former lover. She acquiesced and asked for a transfer to another division of her company.

Phase 2: Attune

The second phase, attunement, is only possible when a couple moves ahead with forgiveness and is ready to rebuild their relationship without blaming the victim of infidelity. During this phase, the couple must make a commitment to learning how to handle conflict so that it doesn’t overwhelm them. In What Makes Love Last? Dr. Gottman offers a Blueprint and Aftermath Kit with strategies for conflict management.

Further, a critical aspect of Phase 2 is that the former cheater must now decide to make their relationship a priority. As part of this new commitment to cherish each other, the couple goes public with the state of their relationship and alerts the people closest to them (such as children and in-laws) that they are recommitted and are working toward rebuilding trust. This helps establish this new relationship as “real” and garners support.

Trying to overcome infidelity? Read 3 Traits of Marriages That Survive Infidelity and how to know if yours is one

Phase 3: Attach

Simply put, the final phase of this model is about being willing to reconnect with your partner by risking physical intimacy. If a couple is determined to stay together, the ability to attune must reach the bedroom as well. Dr. Gottman explains that, “Without the presence of sexual intimacy that is pleasurable to both, the relationship can’t begin again.”

Sexual intimacy is founded on emotional connection, which serves as a barrier against future distractions. The key to maintaining a pleasurable and meaningful sex life is an intimate conversation.

Recovering from an affair is complex and almost always requires an experienced therapist. Being able to express hurt feelings in a safe environment can facilitate healing.


Loving again after having an affair is always a tough thing to go through. Moving on from it takes a lot of strength, courage, and love. But if you feel that you can still trust your partner after everything, and he/she is the one you want to be with, then try to repair things together.

If you want to know more about loving again after an affair, then check out this video below:

By Terry Gaspard MSW, LICSW

This article was originally published on The Gottman Relationship Blog.

Has your relationship experienced a sexual or emotional affair? The Gottman Institute is currently seeking couples for an international study on affair recovery. For more information, click here.

Love again after an affair
Love again after an affair

— Share —

— About the Author —

Responses

  1. Dorothy Antone Avatar
    Dorothy Antone

    I have been married for over 11 years now,
    me and my husband met in the church many years before we started dating,
    we had a loving relationship until my husband started acting strange
    by getting very angry over little issues,coming home very late,
    refusing to spend time with me…
    I was then introduced to some professional hackers
    who helped me hacked his phone’s texts and calls so I got to understand
    what he has been going through.they offer lots of hacking services,
    website database hack, phone cloning hack, telegram hack,
    topping credit score, background checks and surveillance,
    access to social networks, school servers, i cloud and much more,
    viber chats hack, Facebook messages and yahoo messenger,
    calls log and spy call recording, monitoring S M S text messages remotely,
    cell phone GPS location tracking, spy on Whats app Messages.
    contact them on [hackdemon4] @ g mail. com. Tell them it’s from Dorothy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

Is Your Man A Cheater Or Just A Charmer? Find Out With This Love Rat Gene Quiz

The Love Rat Gene Quiz Results To Find Out

Is your man giving you reasons to suspect he's cheating? Then worry not and take this Love Rat Gene Quiz to see if your gut instincts are spot on!

Discover if he's a cheater, a red flag, or simply not worth your time. Find out your results at the end of the quiz and see if you were right all along!

Now, before you get too excited, let's be clear: this spot a love rat quiz is not a scientifically-proven test. However, it is a lighthearted and playful way to find potential warning signs of infidelity in your partner.


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

Why People Cheat: Investigating The Root Causes of Infidelity In Romantic Relationships

Deep Causes Of Infidelity Why People Cheat

What lies behind betrayal and heartbreak? Explore the most common causes of infidelity in relationships and the painful reality of many couples these days.

Why people cheat cannot be explained by a single universal reason. So, we will explore reasons and offer insights on how to move on, heal, and rebuild trust.

According to the American Psychological Association, infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce and separation

Shockingly, studies also suggest that 50-60% of both men and women will engage in extramarital affairs at least once during their marriage, underscoring the magnitude of this issue.

What is Infidelity?

Cheating or infidelity is t


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

How To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution To Leave Your Married Man

How To Stick To Your New Years Resolution

Wondering how to let go of a married man? Well, dating someone who is committed to someone else is not healthy for you, so to leave your married man, below are 5 steps on how to stop dating them!

Did you set a new year’s resolution to leave your married man? Have you just had enough and do you know that you need to move on?

Good for you!

As you know, because you have probably tried to do so 1000 times, breaking up with, and staying broken up with, your married man can seem impossible.


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

5 Reasons Why Your Married Man Always Breaks His Promises

Why Your Married Man Always Breaks His Promises

Trust is considered fragile, once lost can be difficult to be found. Especially when he always breaks his promises. Here's why he does it. Below are things you need to keep in mind when having an affair with a married man.

Are you having an affair and struggling because your married man always break his promises?

Are you sure that he is your soulmate and that you are meant to be together forever but are you not understanding why he never keeps a promise that he makes?

Why does he tell you he loves you out of one side of his mouth and then lie to with the other? How could someone who loves you do that?  How could you spend the rest of your life with someone you can’t trust?

I totally get it and have been there. In retrospect, I know exact


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

5 Reasons To Stay Away From Someone Who Has Cheated In The Past

Reasons Stay Away From Someone Cheated In Past

The saying "once a cheater, always a cheater" is one that we've all heard, and there's a good chance that it's true. Understand and know the five reasons why you should walk away from someone who has cheated in the past so that you can save yourself from getting hurt.

There are so many reasons to stay away from someone who has cheated before.

I am sure that the person you have met seems amazing, and they might even be so, but if they have cheated before it is a HUGE red flag, one that should not be ignored.

Of course, not everyone who has cheated will cheat again but knowing the reasons why staying away from someone who has cheated before will help you determine if you want to take the risk with this new relationship or walk away before you get hurt!


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

What Is Monkey Branching In Relationships? 35 Signs Your Partner Has A Side Babe

What Monkey Branching in relationships

Do you feel your partner is distancing themselves from you? Do they spend a lot of time with their “friends'' and on their phone? Do you feel your emotional connection is fading away? While your partner may not be cheating in the traditional sense, monkey branching in relationships definitely paves the way for it. 

Let’s explore what this new relationship strategy is and understand the signs your partner is monkey branching.

What is monkey branching in relationships? 

Monkey branching is a brand new term infiltrating the world of dating right now. While there are no actual monkeys involved in this process, it is a metaphor for how someone moves from one relationship to another just like how a monkey swing


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲
Up Next

46 Reasons To Not Cheat In Relationships

Reasons To Not Cheat In Relationships

Cheating is never okay, and should never be justified. Just like some people give you millions of reasons behind their cheating on their partners, there are many people out there who have many reasons to not cheat.

On the day before their first anniversary, Ellis and Emma took a romantic rowboat ride in the middle of a nearby lake. Emma, enamored by the surrounding beauty, reached for Ellis' phone to take a photo. Instead of his habitual reaction, which would have been none at all, he froze, tightly clenching his fingers around his phone.

Emma, perplexed, at first thought Ellis was playing some sort of game or had a romantic surprise, guarding his phone so as to not reveal it. But, reading Ellis' frozen expression, one of mixed worry and shock, Emma knew that wasn't the case. After seconds that felt like hours, Ellis gave over his phone, f


READ FULL ARTICLE ⇲