One of the most damaging actions that can take place in a relationship is the destruction of trust. Affairs kills trust. There are a lot of resources out there on why people cheat. This blog isn't going to dive into that. Instead, let's look at how to rebuild trust after an affair. But important to know, trying to rebuild trust after an affair is hard and not always possible. Let's look now at the first 3 steps:
1. hold yourself completely accountable! Which means, no excuses, no reasoning, no justifying, no making excuses and no minimizing. I will be honest with you by saying most couples that I have worked with after an affair breaks down on this very first step.
2. acknowledge the hurt you have caused and show genuine remorse! Let's look up the definition of genuine remorse: "Remorse involves self-reproof, admitting one's own mistakes, and taking responsibility for your actions. It creates a sense of guilt and sorrow for hurting someone else, and leads to confession and true apology. It also moves the remorseful person to avoid doing the hurtful action again."
3. answer the questions! This is a tough one, but in order to rebuild trust you must be willing to answer whatever questions your partner has, as often as your partner wants and whenever your partner asks (within reason). No attitude, no negative tone, no sighing and rolling of the eyes. If you want to rebuild trust, this is a must. I just don't see how it can be otherwise. So when your partner wants to know the details of when you cheated, with whom, how the events unfolded, were you in love, and all the other very uncomfortable questions, you need to stay focused. You can share with your partner that you are uncomfortable, but that cannot be an excuse to not answer.
There are many steps to rebuilding trust. These are, in my opinion, the first three. I have seen couples rebuild trust and become a much happier couple, but only after they did the work.