Unfaithfulness: Can You Ever Trust Again After Being Cheated On?

Mackenzie Wright's picture

Cheating is one of the most traumatic events that a relationship can go through. Oftentimes, it tears a relationship apart and can make the life you both built together come crumbling down into rubbles. Even worse, being cheated on is something some people carry with them for life— finding it hard to ever truly trust or love again.

The reality is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, being cheated on is a terrible thing. But terrible or not, it’s important to learn to get past it and move forward.

Deal With the Emotions

Aside from the emotions of anger and betrayal, there may be a lot of other emotions that cheating will bring up in you. A lot of these emotions stem from childhood— they are deeply rooted feelings that a trauma like cheating can stir up and bring to the surface. These emotions may include things like fear of abandonment, feelings that you’re not worthy of love and respect or a host of other insecurities.

Yes, being cheated on is a terrible thing. But terrible or not, it’s important to learn to get past it and move forward.

You may even wonder if —somehow — the cheating was partially your own fault, because something about you is ultimately unlovable.
These are the emotions you really have to deal with, because when the anger and shock of the event subside, they’re the ones you’re going to carry with you.

You have to really get it through your head that your spouse made his own choices, and nothing about who you are deserved to go through that. You have to remember that we all have faults, but that doesn’t give your partner the right to dishonor a commitment. None of your faults make you unworthy of love, respect or faithfulness.

Don’t Accept or Rationalize It

It’s important to remember that it was uncalled for, and that it was your partner’s fault. Don’t try to downplay your partner’s responsibility in the choice to cheat. Trying to chalk it up to a “slip” or “accident” or as something your partner “couldn’t help” is going to make it very hard for you to stop worrying that he’s going to have another little accident again.

Your partner has to take responsibility for the choice, and you have to hold him accountable for it if you are ever to truly forgive him. That doesn’t mean holding it over his head forever; but by recognizing it was a really bad choice, you both recognize that your partner is, in fact, in control of his choices, and can choose to never do it again.

If your partner betrays you repeatedly, it may be time to cut your losses. You have to realize that you need to be treated with dignity and respect, and you’re not getting that from this person. If you yourself will settle for anything less, that’s what you’ll get. It’s time to move on.

Put it In Perspective

Yes, cheating is a horrible betrayal of trust. But it doesn’t mean your partner, or all your future partners, are going to be terrible people. Sadly, human beings can make monstrous mistakes, and still be good human beings.

If you decide that your overall relationship has been good, and you’re willing to move forward with your partner, you’ve got to learn to put the infidelity into perspective. One way to start to remember that your partner can be trustworthy is to list all the other ways you’ve been able to count on him. You have to see him as a whole— good and bad — to start rebuilding your trust bond with him.

If you are moving on, you have to remember that everyone is an individual. Your future partners should be selected carefully, of course, but when you do find someone deserving of your trust you can’t hold your former partner’s transgressions against this new person.