After a betrayal; after you begin to pick up the pieces; the process of rebuilding trust begins.
These are commonsense steps necessary to heal, rebuild and redefine your relationship. I am not only referring to the betrayal of an affair but to betrayals of all types. The steps to healing are similar and overlap.
If you cannot commit to never repeating this behavior, never hurting that person so deeply again then walk away! Yes this sounds harsh yet no one has the right to hurt another repeatedly especially if they know this is likely to happen again.
If this was the betrayal of an affair break off all connections with that person.
Block them from your phone, email and all social media.
Do not frequent places you know they frequent.
Do not frequent places the two of you frequented.
Do not put yourself in the position of possibly running into them.
Delete all messages, correspondence and pictures.
Discard all gifts, cards etc and receipts for any gifts you may have purchased for them.
You do not want to put your partner in a position that will trigger their pain.
Stop lying! No more secrets! Take full responsibility for your behavior without excuses; betrayal is a choice, a conscious decision. Expecting responsibility to be shared only negates remorse. I have said repeatedly a betrayal shines a light on either a flaw in the character of the person or in the relationship. There is ample time to explore this – not when you are picking up the pieces.
Lying encompasses omission. Trying to avoid an argument by omitting incidents, behaviors etc will only cast doubt on your commitment to the relationship. If you had a few drinks with your co-workers at lunch share it. If your partner finds out down the road they will wonder why you didn't? Was there something going on that would be upsetting? You never want to plant this seed. If you happen to run into your ex-lover or if they somehow contact you tell your partner! Tell them how it happened and how you handled it. If it comes out later it will create more problems if the incident is withheld.
Follow through on your word. If you tell your partner you will be right home after work yet you decide to stop to get your nails done, let them know where you are and how long you will be. Your partner's greatest fear is being hurt again. They require and deserve constant reassurance that this will not happen.
Be present and available. This includes being aware of the pain you caused and available to shoulder it.
Be open and transparent. Your partner may need to prove themselves wrong repeatedly prior to starting to trust again. So leave your phone in full view – without a password security lock! Leave your email account open on your laptop. Correct any secretive behavior you had engaged in during the affair keeping in mind any behavior that will not benefit the relationship should be stopped.
And finally, make the person you hurt understand and believe that regaining their trust, rekindling the relationship and making this your number one priority is your only focus.
Nothing can stand in the way of this commitment.
I have witnessed first hand the healing of painful betrayals. It is possible. Find a professional to help you through this process. Grounded and healthy support can make the difference between healing and destroying a relationship.
I offer a helpful Relationship E-Series which offers helpful advice and strategies to cope with the multifaceted issues facing all of the relationships in your life. Be sure to head over to my Library & Resources page for additional FREE information!
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