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Healing After Betrayal

Rebuilding Relationship Trust

If you’re like many betrayed partners, the worst part of the cheating is not the actual sexual or romantic behaviors your partner engaged in. The worst part is the loss of relationship trust. You love your partner and you want to trust him, but after finding out that he cheated on you, it’s almost impossible to believe a single thing he says or does. And this makes you feel like you’re unsure of almost everything. One moment you love him as much as ever; the next moment you can’t stand the sight of him.

Unfortunately, you can expect this emotional rollercoaster to continue for longer than you might like. Usually, it takes a year, give or take, before things will start to feel normal again – and that’s if your cheating partner gets honest with you, makes necessary behavior changes, and stays honest with you. If his personal process of healing progresses in fits and starts, the repair of your relationship will also heal in fits and starts.

Tips for Healing

As you begin the process of rebuilding relationship trust and emotional intimacy, we suggest the following to both you and your cheating partner.

  • Put your relationship into a safe harbor for at least six months. When you are in the heat of pain and mistrust, that’s not a great time to make decisions that will affect you and your family for the rest of your life. At the six-month mark, you’ll be in a better frame of mind when it comes to major decisions.
  • During the process of healing, do not rely on your partner as your primary source of emotional support. Instead, turn to a therapist, friends, or empathetic family members. Yes, you both need emotional support. But neither of you are in a place where you can provide that to or receive that from your partner.
  • Take a time-out from sex. Sure, it may feel like make-up sex is the best sex the two of you have ever had, but sex is not relationship glue. Sex is what got the two of you into this situation. So give it a rest and focus on the process of rebuilding trust and healing your sense of connection.

Getting Support for Yourself

Your cheating partner has a lot to work on if he wants to save his relationship with you. He will need to start therapy, break through his denial, identify and change his problem behaviors, and become fully honest with you. He will also need to understand and feel the pain he has caused you. And he will need to do these things for a year or so before you stop living in fear that he will cheat, keep secrets, and tell lies to you again.

But what about you? You’re not the one with the problem. You’re not the one who caused this mess. So why should you think about getting help? Our response to that is that you’re absolutely right to have those thoughts. You are not the one with the problem, and you are not the one who needs help. But you have been hurt, very badly, and you deserve to receive some knowledgeable, empathetic support.

To that end, we suggest the free online support we offer through our SexandRelationshipHealing.com website. Groups for betrayed partners such as yourself include:

You might also want to pick up a copy of the book Prodependence, written by Dr. Robert Weiss to help partners of addicts. Lastly, we suggest you check out SexandRelationshipHealing.com for webinars, blogs and podcasts created specifically to help betrayed partners.

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