One of the most difficult challenges to overcome in life is a loss of trust in someone who has betrayed you. If a life partner or spouse has cheated on you, surviving infidelity can be a life-long challenge, leaving you unable to trust them ever again.
Yet, as a human being, you need to be able to trust others if you ever hope to have a meaningful relationship – even a meaningful friendship. Trust is the foundation of all relationships; from work to friends, from family to lovers. Without being able to trust others, that your boss will pay you on time and your friends will be supportive, that your family and partner will be there for you, you cannot hope to interact with them in any meaningful way. Living like this can only leave you alone and lonely.
Overcoming a Loss of Trust
For those who experience infidelity by a spouse or life partner, rebuilding the ability to trust is especially difficult, since the betrayal seems so unimaginable; as if the very foundation of your life has crumbled beneath you, making it impossible stand on your own. Overcoming such a devastating “Punch to the gut” is not easy, but it can be done.
The first step to overcoming trust issues is being able to forgive the betrayal. If, after a period of rational thought and evaluation of your situation you find this to be impossible to do on your own, it may be time to seek counseling. If you believe the relationship is worth the effort, then it’s time to begin the process of forgiving – first forgiving yourself, and then forgiving your partner.
You will also need to stop blaming yourself, as do so many victims of infidelity. While it is true that it “takes two to tango”, it is the person who cheated made that poor decision, and who needs to take responsibility for it.
Of course, infidelity by either partner is a sign that your relationship is unhealthy. And, as a partner in the relationship, you should feel empowered to investigate why the affair happened, and to correct your role in the relationship not being healthy. If it is all about blaming the cheater, no real change will happen, because both partners need to reflect how your relationship got to this point.
Ultimately, it is a combination of forgiveness and doing work on the relationship to see why it is not working: usually finding time for each other, poor communication, lack of understanding each other’s needs, and having a life that is too busy to connect.
Learn to Forgive Betrayal
Next, you must let go of your fear of future betrayals. While forgiving your partner and working to strengthen the relationship is certainly no guarantee against future betrayal, living in fear is counterproductive and harmful. Instead, focus on rebuilding your ability to trust, by learning to first trust yourself, and the choices you’ve made.
To help you in this, take time to reflect on the other people in your life whom you know you can trust; friends and family who support you and love you, regardless of the way you’ve been betrayed. Spend time with people who respect your confidences and the choices you’ve made; people who’ve honored their commitments to you; people who’ve stuck with you through good, bad, and indifferent. In short, people who’ve proven themselves trustworthy, and whom you can take pleasure in having trusted.
The simple knowledge that you continue to have people in your life whom you can trust will go a long way toward helping you rebuild your trust in others who may have let you down in the past. Doing this will allow you to begin trusting your need to trust following a betrayal.
If you live near our Littleton office, and are finding that surviving betrayal is harder than you imagined, contact us today for a consultation.