How can you move on when your partner has lied to you, cheated on you, or betrayed you in some other way?
You’re still hurting from what happened, but you want to save your relationship.
Is that still a possibility?
In short, yes, staying in a relationship with someone who has hurt you is possible, and you can heal from the pain and let go of the past. You can be a happy couple again, despite what happened.
However, this will depend on you, your partner, and your willingness to work on your relationship.
Here’s what you can do to trust them again after they’ve hurt you:
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1. Be okay with being vulnerable.
It’s normal to feel vulnerable after you’ve been hurt by your partner. Don’t try to pretend that everything’s fine when it’s not.
Instead, be okay with being vulnerable. Open up to the people you trust, such as your family or close friends, and let them provide a safe space for sharing your feelings.
Remember to show your vulnerable side to your partner too. You shouldn’t pretend that their actions didn’t hurt you. Don’t be too proud to share the truth about how you feel with your partner. Sometimes the person who has hurt you is the only one that can take that pain away. Let them know how you feel instead of faking indifference.
You can also talk to a therapist about how you feel. Whatever you do, the important thing is not to run away from your feelings or bottle them up inside. Acknowledge and express the way you feel, even if you feel hurt, betrayed, depressed, and broken.
Whatever it is that you’re feeling, you have every right to feel that way, and people in your life should know about it.
2. Let yourself grieve.
Now that you’ve acknowledged the way you feel, what do you feel like doing about it?
It is okay to cry, quietly sit in the dark, or be angry at your partner. You had trust in your relationship, and that trust is gone.
It’s okay to mourn the loss of what you had, even if you’re going to have it again eventually. Don’t let your feelings boil up inside you—find a way to let them out.
Go through the grieving process instead of denying yourself the opportunity to mourn the loss of trust. Your feelings won’t go away by trying to pretend that they’re not there.
Don’t forget that time heals many wounds, though not all. So, take enough time to grieve the loss of trust in your relationship; cry or yell about it before you’re ready to rebuild that trust once again.
Your relationship can survive this, but what happened has changed it, and you can’t ignore that. It is not the same relationship it once was, even if it recovers from this loss.
3. Take as much time as you need.
When you take time, you can process your feelings, gain a fresh perspective, and look at things again once you’ve healed.
You don’t owe your partner forgiveness right away. Take as much time as you need to feel like you’re ready to try again. Don’t let them rush you into deciding how you want to proceed.
You have every right to take some time and space before talking to them again. You also have the right to be unsure about the relationship or even to consider ending it.
Thinking about what you want after what has happened will take time, and your feelings could be clouding your judgment. So, take things slow and let yourself process everything at your own pace.
4. Don’t blame yourself.
What happened is not your fault. Your partner lied, cheated, broke their promises, or betrayed you, but you did not deserve this in any way.
Don’t blame yourself for their mistakes. They had a choice, and they chose to risk losing your trust. You didn’t have anything to do with this decision.
Maybe there are some other problems in your relationship that you are at least partly to blame for. However, the action of betraying your trust is entirely on them. They need to apologize and make up for what they did, and they have no right to blame you for it.
If your partner tries to blame you for cheating on you or betraying you in any way, this is not fair to you. They should own up to their mistake and take responsibility instead of pointing fingers.
Don’t believe that something you did caused them to break your trust. Again, there are probably some things that you could improve on, but they can’t justify your partner’s mistake.
5. Take some space.
It’s okay if you also want to take some space from your partner until you’re ready to talk to them again. This is especially true if you live together and you have to see them every day.
If seeing them only reminds you of what they did, move out for a while or ask them to spend a few nights elsewhere.
You don’t owe your partner forgiveness right away. If you first need some distance to clear your head, that’s okay. It’s alright if you’re still considering whether to give them a second chance or not.
Your partner should respect and understand your need for time and space after what they did. Don’t let them rush you or push you into living with them if you’d prefer to be apart for a while.
6. Talk to them about it.
You need to talk to your partner about what happened. And, no, it won’t be pleasant.
Let them know how you feel and why, but also point out what they could do to restore your faith in them.
Make sure to think about the reason why they broke your trust. When they lie to you and you know the truth, think about why they are lying. They are probably trying to protect themselves, but are they also trying to protect you, help someone close to them, or leave you out of a stressful situation?
People lie, but they rarely do it to hurt your feelings. In fact, and ironically, deception is often used to avoid hurting your feelings.
Maybe your partner didn’t want to upset you with some bad news or risk losing you entirely, not just your trust.
Talk to them about what happened, but know that it will take more than one conversation until you can hash this out. If you get upset, return to the conversation when you can talk calmly.
Make sure to also take note of your partner’s reaction. Maybe they’ll apologize and ask how they can make things right again. Or, they might get defensive, deny everything, or even blame you for what happened.
Open channels of communication encourage both parties to share their thoughts and emotions. By discussing what led to the circumstances in question, you can take the first few steps toward healing the bond of trust that once existed between you.
7. Hear them out.
Don’t forget to listen to their side of the story. This is very important if you want to understand the reasons behind their actions.
Maybe they’ll defend themselves and give you excuses, but you will also get to see things from their perspective.
Don’t let them blame you, but be willing to hear them out and give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they lied to protect you, or there was something in the relationship that was missing and now they’re ready to let you know about it.
This conversation can lead to significant improvements in your relationship because you’ll identify what exactly went wrong. All that’s left is to figure out how to fix it.
However, your partner might not own up to their mistakes. They might try to keep lying to you, and you’ll need to trust your gut. If you still can’t trust them, don’t force yourself, because you might be on to something.
8. Forgive them.
When there’s no trust in a relationship, you must rebuild it if you want to salvage things. The first step is to forgive your partner for what they did.
If you don’t forgive your partner, you will hold onto a grudge and resent them for a very long time. This would ruin your relationship.
Even if you don’t want to repair your relationship or you’re unsure about it, you should still learn to forgive your partner for what they did instead of holding onto a grudge.
Forgiving them is going to be easier said than done, but it will help if you understand your partner better. Learn more about their personality and what motivated them to break your trust. Talk about the situation they were in when they did it and hear their side of the story.
An apology is a good first sign of their commitment to you and your relationship, but actions speak louder than words, so be sure they mean it by watching how they behave around and toward you now. True remorse and regret tend to be easy to spot.
If you want to forgive your partner, you should also try to focus on your happy memories. When you think about what they did, remind yourself of the positive sides of being in a relationship with them.
9. Forgive yourself.
You need to forgive them to get over the betrayal, but you also need to forgive yourself.
Don’t keep thinking about what you could have done differently to prevent them from breaking your trust.
Nothing you did caused them to betray you. Don’t blame yourself for what happened, and if you do, forgive yourself for what you think your part is in all this.
Maybe you also need to forgive yourself for not noticing their suspicious behavior earlier or not talking to your partner about the way you feel. Whatever it is that’s troubling you, let go of it and forgive yourself.
10. Let go of the past.
Accept that you can’t change the past. What you can change is your future, and you can work on it with your partner, despite what happened.
To truly forgive both them and yourself, you will need to make peace with what happened and let go of the past.
What this means is that you can’t use what they did in some future argument against them. Resenting them will just make you use the betrayal as a weapon against them—it will make you bitter, and you won’t be able to trust them again.
So, choose to leave what happened behind you. Don’t bring it up whenever you get mad at your partner again. Take all the time you need before you’re ready to forgive, but once you’re ready, really leave it behind you.
11. Make plans for the future.
Now that your past is behind you, you can look forward to your future. For the sake of that future, you should work on rebuilding the trust, even if you don’t stay together in the end.
If you let this betrayal tear you apart, you will end up as two bitter individuals that can’t have a proper conversation.
Is that what you want in your future? Consider what kind of future you can have with your partner and without them. Either one you choose, make sure to rebuild the trust between you and forgive what happened.
If you plan to stay with your partner, talk about what kind of new, happy memories you are going to make. However, also make sure to talk about how you are going to work on your relationship, with actual examples of steps that you’re going to take to improve things.
12. Don’t lose your trust in people.
Don’t let this experience make you lose trust in people in general. Even if you can’t trust your partner again, you shouldn’t assume that the same thing is going to happen with someone else. Don’t start thinking that everybody lies just because your partner lied.
This experience could easily leave you with trust issues, but you need to fight against that. Remind yourself that most people don’t mean to hurt you. Avoid generalizations such as “all men/women lie” because, besides being untrue, they are also unhealthy.
Don’t lose your trust in all people just because you had a bad experience with one person. Most importantly, don’t assume that this is going to keep happening to you. Don’t start doubting other people in your life—like your family and friends—just because your partner broke your trust.
13. Let them earn your trust again.
If your partner wants to make amends and save your relationship, they will work on earning your trust again. Let them. Don’t keep doubting them and mentioning what happened.
Give them examples of what you’d need them to do to earn your trust again. Work on this together as a couple.
Make sure to appreciate the efforts they make. Even if you are not ready to trust them again, let them know that you appreciate their efforts to regain your trust.
Maybe your partner broke your trust by cheating on you. It will be difficult to trust that they’re not going to do it again, but don’t obsess over what they’re doing and who they’re with. You can’t control whether they’ll cheat on you or not. It’s difficult, but you just have to trust them.
14. Trust yourself again.
Besides trusting your partner, you also need to learn to trust yourself again. If your partner lied to you, your trust in yourself has taken a hit. You believed in something that was wrong, and now you’re doubting your instincts. Don’t.
Trust yourself again, and don’t let this shake your confidence. Whatever it is that you want now, trust that you’re making the right decision and that you’re going to make it work. Whether you want to fix your relationship or get more time and space, trust yourself and know that you’ll make the right choice and survive this.
Your convictions and inner strength shouldn’t suffer the consequences of your partner’s decision to break your trust. If your relationship was the center of your whole life, your world could be shaking now, but it shouldn’t. Regain trust in yourself, and trust your choices.
15. Set clear boundaries and consequences.
You need to talk to your partner about boundaries. What is unacceptable to you? Your partner should be very clear on this. Give them specific examples of unacceptable behavior because transparency is key to them not overstepping the mark unknowingly.
If your partner cheated, you will likely be concerned about their behavior in the future. It’s natural to find other people attractive, but you should discuss how you will approach this issue before it happens.
When you set boundaries, it’s also a good idea to set consequences. What if your partner disrespects your boundaries? There should be some sort of consequence for such behavior. This is not about manipulating your partner; it’s about respecting yourself enough to stick to your boundaries.
16. Don’t play the victim.
Being the victim means that you let things happen to you instead of taking action and making things happen on your own.
Yes, something bad happened to you, and it was out of your control, but now you’re the one who gets to choose how you want to move forward.
Don’t label yourself as the victim or tell yourself that bad things always happen to you. Take control of your life and be a survivor instead of a victim. Yes, for a while you will probably wallow in self-pity, but snap out of it eventually and take charge.
After you’ve forgiven your partner, don’t play the victim card with them in future arguments. Come out of this stronger instead of letting it make you depend on external validation.
17. Work on the relationship together.
You need to work as a team to rebuild trust in your relationship. Work on the other issues in your relationship too. This problem probably shined some light on other aspects of your relationship that need improvement.
You both need to be willing to put effort into making this work if your relationship is to survive. This could involve going to couples counseling as well as actively working on your relationship on a daily basis.
Let this experience bring you closer together instead of driving you apart. You can do this by learning from it and starting to treat each other better from now on.
Don’t hesitate to invest some time into counseling where you can learn some trust-building exercises. Reconciliation is possible—be a team and move past this together.
18. Make new, happy memories together.
After a negative experience such as this one, you need positive experiences to reconnect. Make happy memories together by trying new things, going on regular date nights, and taking up a hobby together.
Invest time into creating happy memories again and it will bring you closer together in the process. Maybe you could even go on a vacation or at least on a weekend getaway trip.
Remind yourselves that you can have pleasant experiences together and rekindle the passion by trying new things. Maybe you want to travel to some exotic location. You could test out the cuisine or learn the language together in preparation for the trip.
Make plans for quality time together, even if it’s just a regular weekly date night, but don’t hesitate to think outside of the box and plan something big too.
19. Work on your self-esteem.
Your self-esteem has probably taken a hit by all this, so you should invest some time into personal development too.
Regain your confidence and increase your self-esteem by engaging in something you enjoy. Become successful at your hobby or start a new self-care morning routine. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good in your skin and proud of who you are.
Remind yourself of who you are outside of the relationship and the situation that you’ve found yourself in. You are not just someone who’s been lied to or cheated on—you are so much more.
If your partner cheated, don’t assume that it has anything to do with the way you look. However, if you are unhappy with the way you look, do something about it to make yourself feel better. You could start going to the gym, change your hairstyle, or refresh your wardrobe.
20. Try counseling.
Regaining trust is a long journey, and you could benefit from someone to guide you through it. Trust issues are where counseling can really help, with things like trust-building exercises and a safe space in which to share things with your partner that you’re not comfortable talking about alone.
Consider suggesting counseling as one of the ways your partner could make up for what they did. Counseling can even help if you’re unsure about the relationship or if you’re struggling to forgive your partner for what happened.
Give your relationship a chance by letting someone in on what you’re going through. When that someone is a trained professional, they can give you advice based on the specifics of your situation. Tell them everything that happened as you would tell a trusted friend, and let them give you pointers on how to proceed from here.
21. Talk to a counselor alone.
You could also talk to a professional alone. If you’re unsure whether you want to stay in the relationship, or you can’t forgive your partner, it might be best to talk to someone on your own first.
A counselor can help you even if you want to end your relationship. Doing so will prevent you from bringing trust issues into your future relationships. However, they can also give you more ways to work on saving your relationship.
You could start talking to a counselor alone and include your partner when you’re ready to try rebuilding trust with them again. Until then, share with someone about how you feel and know that they’ll provide a safe space and useful advice.
HeyRitual can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. It includes regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert and tailored videos, advice, and exercises via an app. Learn more about HeyRitual and start your journey today, either individually or as a couple—get 20% off when you use the code RETHINK20.