When you make the difficult decision to stay together after an infidelity, it often seems that your betrayed spouse will never recover. Sometimes they will even tell you that they feel that way. It’s easy to believe that it’s hopeless. Many involved partners decide to work hard to save their marriage, but when it comes to rebuilding trust …they just don’t know where to start.
Here are the 7 essential pathways to rebuilding trust with your betrayed spouse:
Do you truly want to keep your marriage and family intact? Then you can’t be ambivalent or wishy-washy.
There can be no hidden agenda or Plan B. Commitment is the bedrock of rebuilding trust, and there is no affair recovery without commitment to the process.
This openness may extend beyond the affair and may touch upon old wounds in your marriage, or even your family of origin. Being transparent and open isn’t about being facile or glib. You may genuinely struggle with the question of your infidelity. Do so openly with your betrayed spouse.
But self-confrontation is more than the notion “I did something terrible.” Self-confrontation asks challenging questions.
“What did my affair mean? Who was I trying to be? What did my affair partner mean to me? Why was I vulnerable? Was I just feeling entitled, or was I emotionally disconnected from my betrayed spouse?”
This is tricky work that is best done with a skilled couples therapist. One of the most challenging aspects of affair recovery is that it essential bulldozes the BS that was the “before” picture of your old marriage.
Integrity and congruency build on openness and transparency. It also displaces toxic shame with a healthy acknowledgment of the pain that resulted from your decisions.
What needs to be different? Why was your marriage vulnerable? How do you need to be with each other instead? Couples who can find their “instead” recruit the experience of infidelity and tear their marriage down to the studs and rebuild it completely.
Your betrayed spouse lives in a world that has been completely upended. They are watching you carefully to see what you’ll do. Consider Working with a good, science-based couples therapist who can help you follow these 9 essential pathways to rebuilding trust with your betrayed spouse.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.
We schedule three double sessions with you in total. You complete an extensive online relationship questionnaire. In that final meeting, we spend almost two hours with you explaining, from a science perspective what's working in your relationship, what's not, and how to fix it.
It's all done online, either week-by-week or over a weekend.