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Infidelity in Marriage: Moving Forward and Rebuilding Trust

A married couple wearing their wedding rings.
How does one overcome infidelity in marriage? Decide whether you want to rebuild your trust or leave.

There is no universal formula for the perfect marriage. However, there is one important factor that binds a couple together: Trust.

As much as it serves as a strong foundation in marriage, trust can easily be lost. Oftentimes, all it takes is just one lie or broken promise.

Although one may have justifiable excuses for their actions, they cannot make up for the damage left as a result of infidelity in marriage.

So, when it happens, all these small cuts and scratches become one huge wound.

In some cases, one partner won’t admit to their fault. But out of guilt, will end up admitting to cheating years later. For some who got cheated out of their dream of a happy and committed marriage, infidelity calls for a divorce.

Meanwhile, others have plenty of reasons not to divorce after infidelity. Whether it be because of their children’s future, the fear of being a single parent, the social stigma of being a divorcee, or being hopeful about rebuilding their marriage, they choose to stay despite the hurt.

Regardless of whether you’re the first person or the latter, you must learn to trust again.

That being said, here’s how you can move forward in your life and relationship.

What Is the Importance of Rebuilding Trust after Infidelity?

Think of trust as the glue that holds you and your partner together. With it, you feel confident that they will be with you in both the good times and the bad. You will also feel secure as it allows you to share your vulnerabilities without being judged.

Moreover, like gluing two pieces of paper together, trust is easy to establish. However, if you come out from something as traumatic as infidelity, regaining your ability to trust is difficult.

But rebuilding trust after infidelity is important if you want to try forming new relationships or mending your broken one. Otherwise, it will be difficult for you and your partner to grow.

Instead of relying on or confiding in them, you grow suspicious of their actions and imagine them doing the worst. You can’t let your guard down and you become unforgiving of their mistakes.

Because of this, you try to take the reins and keep your partner within your line of sight.

However, your partner is their own person. You need to be able to trust them to make the right decisions in their life and your relationship.

The question now is, how?

A couple rebuilding trust after infidelity
Rebuilding trust after infidelity is difficult. But do this for yourself to form new relationships or mend what is broken.

How to Rebuild Trust After Infidelity in Marriage

People say that trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

Although the saying mostly applies to those who have broken someone’s trust, it also serves to target those who want to learn to trust again.

In this case, the word “forever” might make you think that regaining your ability to trust is an impossible feat. However, know that if you are willing to commit to it for your betterment, then it can be done.

Here are some tips that can help you.

Forgiving Infidelity in Marriage

If you decide to start new relationships or try to mend your current one, you first need to forgive your partner.

It’s a choice that you’re making for yourself rather than for them.

Doing so can help release you from the pain, anger, anxiety, and fear that you felt due to their actions. In other words, it allows you to live your following days in peace.

However, don’t rush it. Forgiving infidelity in marriage can be a long process. So, have your own space and take the time to assess your feelings and the situation.

Also, remember that forgiveness does not equate to reconciliation.

You can choose to forgive your partner without trying to reconcile with them afterward. This is especially important if you think that doing so won’t be a good choice for your mental health or your future.

Not Holding Contempt in Marriage After Infidelity

Whenever there’s pain, there’s also anger.

It’s natural for you to feel angry towards your partner and the other person involved. However, if you’re trying to mend your broken relationship, figuring out how to rebuild trust in a marriage after infidelity starts with not letting your anger turn into contempt.

Contempt in marriage after infidelity hinders you from moving on from all the negativity.

If your partner makes a mistake (e.g., forgot to pay the bills), you dwell on issues surrounding them rather than the problem itself. You become condescending towards them, call them names, or resort to sarcasm.

Doing so is toxic and will make your relationship impossible to mend.

Meanwhile, when moving on to a new relationship, the contempt you feel for your ex partner will manifest in your current one.

You will find yourself focusing on their similarities and making comparisons.

Ultimately, you won’t be able to see your new partner for who they are. Instead, what you will only be able to see is your past.

A couple arguing due to buildup of contempt in marriage after infidelity.
Contempt in marriage after infidelity is never healthy. Don’t let it poison your new relationship or the one you’re trying to fix.

Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations

It can be frustrating to ask yourself when you will be able to regain your ability to trust.

However, like relearning how to ride a bike as an adult, you can’t expect to be good at it again in one go. Compared to your first time learning, this time, you’re more cautious. You don’t want to get hurt because you know how painful it is.

When it comes to rebuilding trust after infidelity in marriage, be patient with yourself. It’s okay to relearn how to do so one day at a time.

Remember that progress is still progress. Eventually, when you compile all of the things you’ve learned, you can see how far you’ve come.

How to Move Forward in a Marriage After Infidelity

If you chose to stay and rebuild your trust in your partner, the question for you now is, “How should I move forward?”

If you and your partner are both committed to making it work the second time around, here is what you can do.

Bury Your Past Relationship

Think of moving forward as something similar to ripping out a draft and starting on a fresh page. You can’t erase the mistakes and the hurt caused by your partner. But you can choose to start all over again.

This time, you and your partner can put in your best efforts. Learn from your mistakes, care for each other, and have the same passion as you did at the start of your relationship.

However, don’t take this as a “forget and move on” type of situation. Starting anew means that you learned from your past and choose to do better in the present.

Don’t Seek Revenge

Your anger is justifiable. However, seeking revenge isn’t.

If you truly want to move forward, avoid encouraging a never-ending cycle of hurt in your relationship. Avoid following in the footsteps of your partner by seeking temporary pleasure in humiliating them on social media, talking about their infidelity in your marriage, or getting even with them by cheating as well.

Remember that you’re starting a fresh page in your relationship. So avoid doing anything that will tarnish it again.

A couple walking forward hand-in-hand
Do you think your partner deserves a second chance? If so, here’s how to move forward in a marriage after infidelity.

Acknowledge Your Feelings, Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Although you can rebuild trust, there is no such thing as fully healing broken trust in your marriage after infidelity.

You will find that certain situations will trigger you to remember what your partner did. In turn, negative emotions towards yourself and your partner will resurface.

However, to move forward, you need to be able to identify these triggers and catch yourself before you doubt your partner or stir up conflict.

For example, say you found out that your partner was cheating on you during those times they said that they had to stay late for work. So every time they tell you they have to work, unpleasant memories automatically start to resurface.

In this case, you need to learn how to acknowledge your feelings and avoid jumping to conclusions.

Avoid immediately thinking about questions like who is your spouse most likely to cheat with at their workplace or assume that them staying overtime or going on a business trip are guaranteed signs of cheating.

Set Up Boundaries

By choosing to trust your partner again, you do your part in mending your relationship by avoiding doubts and jumping to conclusions.

Meanwhile, your partner should also do their part by adhering to the boundaries you set up.

Examples of boundaries in marriage after infidelity are cutting off communication with their affair partner, allowing for marital separation whenever you need your space, limited physical intimacy, and a “safe space” time whenever problems arise.

These boundaries will prove to be beneficial as they provide clarity as to how both of you will proceed with your interactions.

Moreover, on your part, it provides security and can help in lessening the negative thoughts that plague your mind.

A couple figuring out examples of boundaries in marriage after infidelity
Know where to draw the line. Look for examples of boundaries in marriage after infidelity.

How to Move Forward Towards a New Relationship

Despite having a painful experience in love, you still believe in it and long to find someone who can be there for you.

However, getting back into the dating scene after divorcing a cheating wife or husband isn’t easy. After all, it’s tough to know if you have already moved on and are ready to be with another person.

But once you think you’ve found someone, here’s how you can move forward towards a new relationship.

Don’t Live in the Past

As someone who has been cheated out of a happy marriage, your goal is to form a thriving relationship with your new partner. And to do that, you need to stop living in the past.

Your new partner is a different person from your ex. So avoid comparing your new relationship to your previous one.

Put Yourself First and Be Open to What You Want

You’re now going to share your life with another person. However, know that being with them does not necessarily mean that they complete you. So, live life the way you want.

Understand and fulfill your wants, needs, and goals. Moreover, don’t be afraid to set boundaries you think will benefit your mental and emotional health and your current relationship.

Afterwards, communicate these with your partner. That way, there will be awareness and understanding, which in turn creates a safe space for both of you.

Seek Help from Your New Partner

A relationship is a journey. Just like when traveling, there are bound to be bumps on the road or challenges that will try to keep you from reaching your destination.

As you’re facing these problems, you may feel your negative emotions starting to resurface. In this case, don’t hesitate to seek help from your partner. Let them be your new safe space.

Also, make sure to inform them beforehand of your triggers. This way, they’ll be able to avoid accidentally provoking you.

A happy couple that got cheated out but are moving on
Work on your journey to happiness. Seek help from your partner when dealing with negative emotions and triggers from your experience with infidelity in marriage.

How to Avoid Infidelity in Marriage: Rules You Can Set with Your Partner

Whether you’re in a new relationship or staying in your current one, surely you don’t want to experience a repeat of your partner’s infidelity in marriage. That said, it’s only right that you set rules that will protect you and your relationship.

Here are some of them.

Practicing Honesty at All Times

Lies are often the main cause of distrust. And for someone who got cheated on, it can be traumatic to know that your partner was lying.

Set up a rule where both of you practice honesty at all times. Emphasize with your partner on how important it is for you to be open and sincere to each other.

Being Disciplined

It’s not possible to be by your partner’s side at all times. And that’s where the factor of trust comes in.

In this case, ask your partner to maintain disciplined behavior whenever they’re out.

Whether they’re drinking with their friends or at work, highlight how they should be careful when interacting with the opposite sex.

This includes avoiding being in tempting situations and disclosing too much about themselves (aside from the fact that they’re married).

One tip is to encourage them to ask themselves whether they would be doing or saying anything different if you were there.

Setting Time for Reconnection

One effective way to prevent infidelity before it even begins is to maintain the emotional connection you have in the relationship.

Make it a point to spend time in a meaningful conversation where you talk about your future and things you can improve on in the relationship.

You can also plan for a weekend getaway or plot days where you can do activities related to your shared interests.

A couple spending an afternoon biking around the neighborhood.
Want to know how to avoid infidelity in marriage? Reconnect with your partner and spend more time with them.

Starting Anew

Infidelity in marriage may leave you feeling hurt and traumatized. But whether you choose to stay or look for a new love, the key to starting anew is rebuilding your ability to trust.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. It can be easily broken but difficult to regain. So take your time being in your own space.

Once you feel you’re ready, that’s when you can move forward. As you do, tread lightly and base your decisions for your relationship on what’s good for your overall health.

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