Is It Possible To Rebuild Trust After Cheating?
Eyes were rolled across the Internet when Cardi came to the Grammys with her husband Offset in tow–and when she brought him on stage for her historical Grammy win. After all of his cheating, many questioned why he deserved to share such an important moment with her. The short answer is: he’s Cardi’s husband, and she’s chosen to stand by him for better or worse.
Despite his stepping out, Cardi wants to stay with her husband. For women in her position who have made the same choice, it might be possible for them to regain the trust they once had in their spouses. However, a lot of that work is dependent on how much the cheater is willing to do to save their relationship.
When Cardi announced that she and Offset were breaking up due to his numerous affairs, I began timing how long it would take her to take him back. We’ve seen this story play out tons of times with famous couples. Famous husband cheats; famous wife kicks him out; husband makes a grand gesture; public criticizes cheating husband; wife defends him; husband and wife spotted together; famous couple officially reunites; cycle starts again. Cardi and Offset are no different. Now that they’re back together, the question is whether they reestablish trust in their relationship. That’s going to be a daily battle, but it will require each of them to put in the work. That work starts with a few essential steps.
1. Be Honest
According to Psychology Today, one of the key ways to repair trust in your marriage after cheating has occurred is to be honest. A cheater needs to come clean about their infidelity and everything else in their life from that point forward. Cheaters need to be an open book in a brightly lit room if they want to repair and restore their primary relationships. The focus on their honesty should be centered around their behaviors and actions–things they have done (or have established a pattern of doing). Lies got you in this mess in the first place, and honesty is going to get you out of it.
2. Apologize and Be Accountable
Never underestimate the power of sincere apology when trying to reconcile with your significant other. Just saying “I’m sorry” won’t be enough, though. As clinical psychologist Dr. Janis A. Spring told Your Tango, a written apology is far more powerful. “Verbal reassurances, promising you won’t do it again, that means nothing after cheating,” she said. “They have to prove they’ve heard and understood their partner on the deepest level, and that means citing very specific examples of how they’ve hurt them and then taking actions to prove they will not do so in the future.” Along with that, The Huffington Post recommends that cheaters take full responsibility for what they did and acknowledge the hurt that their actions caused.
3. Go to Couples’ Counseling
Seeking professional help may not be the first step a fractured couple takes towards reconciliation, but it needs to be something they do quickly once they’ve decided whether they’ll stay together. Having a mediator might help each partner to fully process their feelings and what led to the infidelity, which might be a major key for patching things up. Not only that, but having a counselor offers couples a neutral space to work through their issues.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is one of the main building blocks of trust. By showing your partner that you are consistent in your behavior and your actions towards them, it helps to reassure them of their place in your life.
5. Give It Time
“Time heals all wounds” may be the mantra you want to repeat while working to rebuild trust in your relationship. Cheaters should not expect their significant other to forgive or forget overnight. That’s an unfair expectation to place on someone who has been so deeply betrayed. Those who have strayed need to remember to be patient and give their partners the time they need to heal so that they can reach a space that allows them to forgive and move forward.
Just as it is up to the cheater to extend themselves while working things out, victims also have their responsibilities in reconciliation. They need to find it in themselves to forgive their partner, and they have to give up the desire to hold a grudge for the infidelity.
We’re not advocating that everyone who gets cheated on should take their significant other back. That’s something that only the two people involved can decide for themselves. A lot of us (myself included) may not agree with Cardi’s decision to go back to Offset, but it’s not our place to determine what’s right for her life.
Many couples decide to split up after an affair. But, if both partners want to stay together and work things out, it’s possible to rebound from such a devastating betrayal. No matter what decision is ultimately reached, both partners have to be fully committed to the process moving forward together.