Forgiving and trusting your husband after he cheated on you is a daily effort – it’s not a one-time thing. These tips for healing your marriage when trust is broken will help you reconnect with your husband and rebuild your marriage.
“My husband cheated on me with his coworker, who has since left the company,” says L. on Is Your Marriage Over? “How do I forgive him after the affair? I can’t look at him, much less let him touch me. How do I trust him after he cheated on me? I want to forgive and move on but it’s so hard.”
Here’s what a marriage counselor says about cheating:
“It’s best to come clean as early as possible,” says Gary Neuman. “Be honest with your partner when you’re just beginning to become interested in someone else.”
If your husband is hiding his affair from you – or trying to make you feel crazy for thinking he cheated – then forgiveness and trust will be MUCH more difficult. But if he’s honest about why and when he cheated, you might find trusting him again easier.
Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken: Finding Forgiveness and Restoration is one of the most popular books on forgiving and trusting your husband after an affair. It’s a long process that doesn’t happen overnight – it can take years to forgive him after he cheated.
Here are a few more tips for saving your marriage…
How to Trust Him After He Cheated on You
If you’re coping with an online affair, read How to Survive an Internet Affair.
Remember that trusting after an affair does not happen overnight
Learning to trust again after a betrayal such as an physical or emotional affair doesn’t happen once, nor does it happen overnight. Rebuilding trust is a process that involves ups and downs – even if you’re the most forgiving person in the world!
You will eventually learn to trust him after he cheated on you — but you have to work on it. And he’ll have to earn your trust.
Realize that whether you can forgive and trust depends on what you can live with
You need to decide if you’re willing to live with your boyfriend or husband as he is — because some people never change. You can try to support your partner through the worst parts of marriage – and it’s especially effective when both of you are equally commited!
But if both partners aren’t willing to work towards forgiving and trusting after cheating, then you need to accept your marriage for what it is…and not expect more.
Prepare for a lot of hard work
There aren’t any easy answers after a physical or emotional affair. It takes time, effort, and energy to build a healthy strong marriage that includes forgiveness and trust. You need to be honest about your needs, and know from the bottom of your heart that you can trust him not to cheat on you again.
If you need something that he can’t give you, then you have to decide how to meet your needs. If you think he should give you what you need, read 7 Signs Your Marriage is Over.
Remember that men and women perceive affairs differently
Remember that men think physical affairs are worse, and women feel emotional infidelity is more upsetting, according to a study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. This seems to hold true in “real life”, too.
One of my friends’ husbands had a physical and emotional affair with her best friend, and she said it was so difficult to forgive and trust him again — but they held it together. She said saving her marriage would have been easier if it was “only” a physical affair. But he was in love with her best friend.
Know that “happily ever after” DOES exist!
I believe in happily ever after — but I know that it take effort, energy, time, and commitment. It’s hard enough building a happy marriage when nobody cheated, but forgiving and trusting after he cheated on you is super duper difficult.
That said, however, it is possible to build a better marriage. And your marriage may be stronger, happier, and healthier because he cheated. Many relationships are stronger because of infidelity – and the couples DO live happily ever after.
Remember that love isn’t just about saying “I love you”
In fact, that’s the easiest, laziest part of love! Anyone can say “I love you.” Real, committed, healthy, romantic love is about how you treat each other, whether you respect one another’s wishes, if you can talk about your problems, if you’re emotionally and spiritually connected, and if you have the same goals for the future.
Accept that the occasional romantic fascination or attraction for other people is normal
Instead of fighting your feelings or attraction to another person, accept how you feel. It’s OKAY to be attracted to other people, even if you’re married. But, acting on those feelings of attraction can destroy a marriage and lead to divorce.
If you don’t know if you can trust your husband after he cheated on you, look for signs you can trust a man after an affair.
If want to save your marriage, talk to a marriage counselor
Untangling emotional issues is very difficult, and a trained counselor can make a big difference. Marriage counseling doesn’t have to last for years or even months; sometimes it just takes a session or two to see what the issues are and how to resolve them. Then, it takes dedication to saving the marriage and the effort to love…
For marriage help from a counselor and author, read The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It by M. Gary Neuman — he’s currently writing a book about women who aren’t faithful.
For more suggestions on forgiving and trusting your husband after he cheated on you, read Marriage Crisis – Surviving When You Have Nothing Left.
Could you forgive him after he cheated? Comments welcome below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.