How to Build Trust & Intimacy After Cheating
Cheating on your partner is a devastating affair. It isn’t a small matter to break intimacy with a person who loves you deeply. After finding out, the mind is devastated and the body responds with intense contraction, especially in the heart area. They may feel a crushing pain in their heart centre. They may experience many physical symptoms as stress hormones fill their body, such as nausea, tension, fluctuating temperatures and exhaustion.
The breech of trust occurs at the deepest level of your partner’s mind. It makes them question everything about their self, you and the relationship.
If you are one of the lucky people whose partner is willing to work through your betrayal, you may have hoped your apologies and promises would help heal the chasm between you. If their heart is still closed to you, it will definitely take time to build trust and intimate heart connection between you.
Ultimately, until they feel a heart connection, they will not open to you in the same way as they did before. The good news is that some couples can have a stronger relationship and even deeper intimacy after an affair, but it takes time and willingness on both sides.
Restoring sexual intimacy is an important part of healing the break in intimacy for both of you. It isn’t enough for you to just sit back and wait for your partner to get over things. You have a role to play in helping connection get reestablished. Be aware, restoring sexual intimacy does not mean that emotional intimacy has been healed. An incredible amount of healing needs to be done. They may be having sex due to a fear of losing you or as an act of ensuring you won’t cheat again.
If your spouse chooses to open sexually with you, let go of the idea that everything is reconciled within them. When you have sex, choose to cultivate lovemaking sex rather than passionate disconnected sex.
What can you do to help rebuild emotional and sexual intimacy?
If you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, to build trust:
Take 100% responsibility for your actions without shaming yourself. It is normal to feel sorrow, sadness, and grief for your actions when you’ve betrayed a person you love. Shame and guilt undermine any healing by keeping you stuck in non-action and powerfully block you from resolving the break between you and your partner. Stay in the energy of love for your partner and for yourself. You’ve taken actions that have been hurtful and painful, but you are not a bad person. Use your situation to learn and grow and to have a better relationship with your spouse.
Have compassion for their suffering and cultivate empathy. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’ve cheated is making it all about them feeling so guilty and ‘bad’ that they are unable to be fully present for their partner’s feelings. The other mistake many make is that they think their partner should get over it quickly. What you do in the first part of healing, determines the longevity of your relationship. It will take a lot of work. Trust me, it would have been far better for everyone if you had never had an affair.
Ask your partner what it will take to reestablish connection. They may not know in the beginning, as they may be lost in grief. If they allow you, be there for them in their grief. Acknowledge their sorrow, anger, sadness, confusion, and hopelessness. Let them know you are open to discovering this with them.
Resolve within yourself to be faithful. If you haven’t already, break all ties with the person you’ve had an affair with, by informing them in a compassionate way that you will not be involved with them again. Apologize for involving them in your mistake. Be clear that you will be taking full responsibility by no longer involving them. Give them the chance to say what they need to say without taking it personally or arguing with them. Then let them know that you will not be communicating further and wish them the best in their life.
Get help. In this process of healing, I recommend that you see a therapist or access Rapid Transformational Therapy to get to the root of your issue. Figure out why you cheated. Be honest with yourself. What led you to choose to cheat in the first place? Do you have unresolved issues from your childhood? Were your emotional or sexual needs being met by your partner? What did you get from the affair that you weren’t getting from your relationship?
In addition to a personal therapist, find a qualified relationship or couples therapist for both of you to see together to assist you to navigate through the fall-out and rough road ahead.
Practice radical honesty and transparency. Answer all their questions without going into specific details, even if they ask the same ones.
Invite them to do non-sexual activities that create connection, like going for walks or attending concerts or activities that bring their joy. When non-sexually intimacy begins to be established, offer to touch their non-sexually by cuddling with their or massaging their feet or shoulders.
Be honest, humble and patient with your partner. Trust their timeline for healing. However, do not allow them to use your affair to punish you, make you feel guilty, to attack you with when any other issue arises or to make you do things you normally wouldn’t do. If there hasn’t been an improvement in connection between yourself and your partner after a year or they are just not able to get over what you’ve done (even with the help of a counseller), you may want to discuss the possibility of a separation.
The last bit of advice that I’ll share is, develop a vision or plan of healing with your partner. Establish what you both want as the main goal of healing. Let that be the guiding light for both of you.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
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