Our guest this month is Mrs. Bethany Williams from CAP Counseling! Bethany posted on FTHC's blog last year for our 20 Days to Better Relationships Series! You can find her post here. Bethany is an amazing therapist + friend! She works with millennial women + she is accepting new clients!
They Cheated..You Stayed...Now What?!
6 Ways to Re-Build Trust After Infidelity
It hurts. You feel betrayed, disappointed, pissed off + confused all at once. The hurt caused after a spouse cheats may not change the fact that you still love them. You want the relationship to work + you may make the choice to stay.
But wait...now the trust is broken. A simple trip to the store or to a friend's house may look suspicious when you otherwise would have never thought anything of it. How do you handle that? First there are questions you have to ask yourself...
1 // Is your spouse willing to do the work to rebuild trust again?
2 // Do you see a willingness in them to change, to be completely open, to be vulnerable + upfront?
3 // More importantly, are you willing to be patient + are you willing to forgive?
If you don't have a partner who is willing to try + willing to make very intentional decisions to behave differently, your efforts will be null + void. This post cannot help you. On the other hand, if you're both willing to do the ground work to stay together, read on.
6 Ways to Re-Build Trust After Infidelity
The most important + most obvious - be honest - a cheating spouse will often open the door for vulnerable discussions. Be honest with your partner about your wants, your needs, your desires + encourage the same from them.
What needs to be said NOW, that either of you has been afraid to say before? Use this as an opportunity to develop a new level of connection + communication with your spouse.
Be transparent. What do either of you need access to in order to no longer feel left in the dark? Does your spouse need to give you passwords to their social media accounts, emails or phone records? Should they now make more efforts to call you when they would have otherwise been "unavailable?"
Have a clear discussion with your spouse about the level of transparency you need to move forward.
Your spouse should, in turn, honor reasonable request to access parts of their life that they've previously hidden from you. If your spouse has no plans to continue cheating, this will not be a problem for them. Yes, it's true...access to their Facebook account may not keep your spouse from cheating if they really want to, but it will allow you to see their willingness to change + their level of openness + transparency.
Be patient. There is no timeline or deadline for re-building trust. It's a process + you will get tired of it. You will have good days + bad days. Days in which you trust your spouse + days in which you question staying. Your spouse may want you to simply "get over it" especially if they've done all that you asked of them. It's important for them to know that although their behavior may have stopped or changed, the scars of betrayal, dishonesty + disloyalty take time to heal. Stick with it.
It. Takes. Time.
Be willing to forgive. Deciding to forgive doesn't mean the betrayal + pain didn't exist. It does mean that you're no longer allowing the past to control your future. There is no way you can move forward without bitterness + resentment if have not fully decided to forgive your spouse for hurting you. Saying the words, "I forgive you" is important for progress + what's more important is finding a way to feel forgiveness in your heart.
Be committed. You're essentially starting over, from the ground up. You've been exposed to a new side of your spouse + your relationship will never be the same because of it. You may be surprised to know that relationships can actually be better after infidelity with the right tools + a mutual commitment. However, flip-flopping on whether to stay or leave, depending on your mood or the day, can be damaging to your relationship + to your own healing. Once you make the decision to work it out, stay committed to that promise.
Get help. Speaking with a professional to better your relationship doesn't mean you've failed. It means you're taking the necessary steps to care for yourself + strengthen the love you've built together. Therapy can provide you + your partner with a much deeper understanding of one another + give you tools + resources for growth + a long future together.
Bethany Williams is a Psychotherapist with a practice for women + couples in West Colombia, SC. She's on a mission to help millennials, 20 + 30-something adults, develop healthy relationships, courageous confidence + create purpose-filled careers.
Bethany is also currently employed as a Counselor + Forensic Interviewer with a non-profit agency in Camden, DC. There Bethany provides Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to survivors of sexual abuse. She also interviews children for the purpose of crime investigations, who may have experienced or witness sexual/physical abuse.
To hear more from Bethany on life, love + relationships, subscribe to her email list here.
www.capcounseling.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | 803.216.5823