Infidelity occurs for a number of reasons. No matter the reason, if you’re the one who’s been unfaithful, it’s important to own the blame. You are the one who made the choice to cheat. Blaming anyone but yourself is the quickest way to end your marriage. If you want to restore your wife’s trust in you, you will have to do a lot of work. Be prepared to do this work for a lot longer than you think. Breaking someone’s trust takes but an instant–restoring trust can take months or even years.
Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Even if you have to tell your wife over and over again, be honest. Never lie. No matter how small the lie. It is still a lie, and further confirmation that you cannot be trusted. So patiently re-answer her questions no matter how often she asks them. She is trying to understand what happened. If she thinks you’re keeping details from her, she won’t trust you. Even if you’re ashamed or embarrassed by your actions, showing your wife that you trust her with your indiscretions will help her trust you again. Restoring trust is a team sport.
End the relationship and provide proof when possible. If you have continued contact for any reason, tell your wife. Whether you work with your paramour or she tries to contact you after you end the affair, you must keep your wife fully apprised. Tell your wife about any and all contact, however mundane and harmless it may seem to you. Being totally transparent about who you are with and what you are doing at all times is key to restoring trust after infidelity. If your email or phone or any other personal things are password-protected, share your passwords. Restoring trust after infidelity means being an open book.
Understand that it is up to the injured spouse to decide when to move past the betrayal. Restoring trust can only happen on her timeline, not yours. It won’t happen overnight. You may be spending more time on the couch than you’d like. Let your wife come to terms with what happened. She has to process everything, which may take some time.
Apologize with total accountability. Don’t get defensive–she may blame you for other things that you don’t feel accountable for. Take the blame. Understand she may transfer her feelings to other areas of your relationship as well. It’s temporary.
Restoring trust after infidelity isn’t just about recommitting to physical and emotional monogamy. Live up to your wife’s expectations, no matter how high they may be. If you promise you’ll pick up milk on the way home from the store, do it. If you say you’ll mow the lawn on Saturday, follow through. Re-devote yourself to building a quality relationship with your spouse.
If you’re struggling to restore trust after infidelity, it may be a good idea to invest in couples therapy. Lisa Ryan is an experienced infidelity counselor who has worked with many couples to restore trust after infidelity. Let her help you rebuild a quality relationship with your spouse. Call (203) 226-8800 for help restoring trust after infidelity.