How Can Couples Rebuild Trust After Infidelity?


    How Can Couples Rebuild Trust After Infidelity?

    Navigating the delicate path to rebuilding trust after infidelity is a challenge many couples face. To offer guidance, we've gathered six specific strategies from experienced Relationship Coaches and Clinical Psychologists. From practicing complete transparency to prioritizing open, honest communication, these professionals provide a roadmap for healing and strengthening relationships.

    • Practice Complete Transparency
    • Embrace Emotionally Focused Therapy
    • Foster Healthy Communication
    • Commit to Unwavering Transparency
    • Exercise Empathetic Patience
    • Prioritize Open, Honest Communication

    Practice Complete Transparency

    To rebuild trust after infidelity, couples need to practice complete transparency. This means giving regular updates about your whereabouts, sharing passwords, and giving each other access to personal gadgets. When you're completely open with your partner, and they know you have nothing to hide, they'll begin to trust you again.

    Jennifer Dagi
    Jennifer DagiRelationship Coach, Blogger and Content Writer, Moments With Jenny

    Embrace Emotionally Focused Therapy

    At my practice, we use a model called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples. It involves helping couples recognize the patterns of behavior that have precipitated the infidelity and how each has contributed, including the partner who was cheated on. It helps couples realize two very important things. The first is that their relationship, as is the case with any relationship between two people, is co-created. That means that the conditions that allowed the infidelity to happen were also co-created, even if the infidelity was an individual action. The second is that their partner is not 'the enemy'; rather, the problem itself is the 'enemy.' To that end, helping them realize that it is not one versus the other but both of them—as a unit—versus the problem inspires more cohesion.

    Ang Romulus
    Ang RomulusClinical Psychologist, Create Outcomes

    Foster Healthy Communication

    Creating and nurturing healthy communication is crucial in the process of mending a relationship after betrayal. Establishing open dialogue and constructing a safe environment where both partners can share their feelings and thoughts vulnerably—ensuring each feels seen, heard, and understood—are foundational steps. Through such conversations, you can discover ways to support each other during this challenging period. While addressing the betrayal is necessary, dwelling on the past shouldn't be the focus of your rebuilding efforts. Instead, the key is to find ways to nurture your relationship, if what you both want is to make it work. Fostering growth in your relationship by exploring new activities together, such as a cooking class or a fitness routine, can enhance your connection.

    Matchmaker Rebecca Cooper Traynor
    Matchmaker Rebecca Cooper TraynorRelationship Coach, Match Me Canada

    Commit to Unwavering Transparency

    Infidelity shatters the very foundation of trust and security. When someone abandons their commitment to their partner and seeks emotional or physical comfort in the arms of another person, it can feel like what I might call 'emotional murder.'

    For some, the agony of such betrayal is comparable to the grief experienced from the loss of a child—that's how impactful it can be.

    The journey to rebuilding trust is a long one, often extending up to and even beyond a year. The victim of infidelity must witness unwavering transparency from the unfaithful partner—a commitment to complete openness in all actions.

    Aside from severing all connections with the other person, which must happen, it's crucial for the one who cheated also to embody genuine remorse, dedicate themselves entirely to mending the relationship, and practice near-permanent humility.

    Not only that, the unfaithful partner must always allow a safe space for their partner to express all their anger, hurt, and sadness whenever they feel the need to do so.

    The road to healing from infidelity is paved with obstacles, but there can be a happy ending when both partners are dedicated to making it work.

    Paul Colaianni
    Paul ColaianniBehavior and Relationship Coach, The Overwhelmed Brain

    Exercise Empathetic Patience

    In addition to the basics—finding an experienced couples therapist or relationship coach, leaning into positive communication skills, like active listening—the strategy I recommend most is empathetic patience.

    he unfaithful partner benefits from expressing empathetic understanding to their spouse by acknowledging that it will take time to rebuild trust and by giving their beloved that time. That same partner also benefits from self-compassion for having hurt their beloved. The spouse on the receiving end of infidelity can use empathetic patience to understand that it's normal to have paradoxical feelings—love and anger, hope and betrayal—and it will take time to trust again.

    While couples sometimes push toward trust quickly and rush the process of healing, or they worry they'll never trust or be trusted again and give up trying, empathetic patience normalizes the roller-coaster ride of infidelity and the time and effort needed for healing.

    Rhona BerensRelationship Coach, Rhona Berens Coaching

    Prioritize Open, Honest Communication

    A key strategy for couples struggling to rebuild trust after infidelity is open and honest communication. This involves creating a safe space where both partners can express their feelings, concerns, and needs without judgment. Additionally, practicing active listening is crucial; each partner must truly hear and understand the other's perspective.

    Establishing clear boundaries and expectations for the future is also important for rebuilding trust, as it helps to rebuild a sense of security within the relationship. It is also essential for both partners to demonstrate genuine remorse and commitment to repairing the relationship. This may involve individual therapy to address underlying issues contributing to infidelity and to develop healthier coping mechanisms.

    By prioritizing empathy, patience, and mutual respect, couples can gradually rebuild trust and strengthen their bond. Finally, seeking professional help from a qualified therapist experienced in couples therapy with infidelity can provide guidance, support, and tools for navigating the complex emotions and challenges that arise during the healing process.

    Jessica Lasater
    Jessica LasaterClinical Psychologist, The Connected Psychologist