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How to Help Your Partner Trust You Again, Part 1: Giving Them Patience and Reassurance

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Waiting for your partner to trust you again will test your patience

How long must I pay for this? When do we get to be happy again?

In the aftermath of betrayal, the clients I work with often struggle with their partners’ recovery process. You’ve confronted the shame you feel around it and you’re committing to be faithful moving forward. At this point, you’re over it – maybe you’ve been going to therapy, and you’re find yourself resenting the amount of time it’s taking for your partner to forgive you and to trust you again. It is frustrating to you that they are still stuck in their pain and hurt, and you’re ready to move on.

Your relationship is over. Now it’s time to build a new one.

I often say the above words to couples who find themselves in this predicament. A betrayal such as infidelity is a violation of the relationship contract, whether that contract is spoken or unspoken. In order to repair that violation, your relationship will need two things: Patience and reassurance.

Reassuring them often that you are here and you’re not going anywhere can give your partner the sense of safety they desperately need.

Let’s start with reassurance. Your partner is likely oscillating between relief that you’ve decided to stay and feeling paranoid or even terrified that they will get hurt again, either by another future betrayal on your part, or by discovering that there is more to the story. In addition to your continued presence, they need verbal confirmation these things are not true, and they need a lot of it. And if there is more to the story, it might make sense to mitigate the possibility of future discoveries by coming clean to them. While this might sound scary, it could be the link that helps restore their sanity.

As for patience, we know from research on betrayal recovery that most couples will spend about three years grieving together! That’s the average time it takes most people to grieve just about any major loss or trauma, such as a death in the family. Worse than that, any additional discoveries your partner makes of ongoing betrayal – or even of other past betrayals – will likely set the clock back again, sometimes restarting it altogether.

"If your partner is going to learn to trust you again, they need radical honesty from you moving forward."

This is where patience and reassurance meet: Because of these potential setbacks to the grieving process, recovery therapists often warn against a “staggered disclosure” of slowly revealing your indiscretions over the course of days, weeks, or years, rather than a more formal and complete one. No matter how much reassurance you give them, each additional discovery your partner makes reopens the wound and can retraumatize them. If your partner is going to learn to trust you again, they need radical honesty from you moving forward. Formal disclosures are carefully crafted with the help of a therapist and they include every relevant detail (and exclude irrelevant details), and are usually necessary in cases of repeated infidelity, years of addiction, or multiple affairs.

"It can help to have a knowledgeable guide by your side when you’re struggling to find the way on your own."

While there are no grief “hacks” that can help you or your partner “crush grief” faster, there are things you can do to help the process along and make the experience a lot more bearable and healing for everyone. Additionally, if you found this post useful, you may benefit from individual and/or couples counseling; it can help to have a knowledgeable guide by your side when you’re struggling to find the way on your own. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to schedule a consultation or appointment. And check out Part 2 of this article series, "The New Model of Accountability," to learn more about how you can help your partner trust you again.


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2007 N Collins Blvd #409

Richardson, TX 75080

(469) 759-0253

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