This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship
Dear Neil: Could you address how to rebuild trust after an affair?
Reader From New Zealand
Dear New Zealand: What we actually mean when we say “I need to be able to trust you again” is really “I need to feel safe around you again.” So rebuilding trust is akin to restoring the feeling that you’re honorable, honest, truthful, trustworthy and safe.
The other relationship has to be completely over. No repair work is going to happen if your spouse/intimate partner is not confident that the affair has stopped. This is particularly challenging when the other person is someone you regularly see at work. But if you’re going to make your spouse feel safe, you will have to do whatever s/he needs. This includes you honestly confessing, telling the whole story with as much detail as your partner asks for.
Second, sincerely apologize. A sincere apology is not simply saying “I’m sorry.” A sincere apology acknowledges wrongdoing, accepts accountability for the behavior, conveys genuine sorrow that you have hurt the person you love—and communicates that you will go to the end of the Earth in order to make things up to him or her. You must include an inviolable promise that you will be honest, transparent and open about your dealings with other people from here on out, and that you will never keep a hurtful secret from your partner again.
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