Jennifer is unsure.
She doesn’t know if giving her boyfriend a second chance after he cheated was a good idea. Her mother and sister call her naive and her friends have told her their concerns as well.
It seems that everyone around Jennifer thinks she’s making a big mistake. They’re worried that she’ll get hurt again.
She has the same worry.
Even though Jennifer’s family and friends caution her about trusting her boyfriend too easily, it does seem like he’s trying to change.
He’s told her that he’s sorry over and over again. He texts and emails with her throughout the day. He lets her know what he’s doing and who he’s spending time with when they’re not together.
Jennifer appreciates her boyfriend’s efforts, but there is still nagging doubt. She is afraid that this is all temporary and, at some point when she least expects it, he’ll cheat again.
Stay awake and aware.
If you are with a partner who lied or cheated in the past, it’s important to stay awake and aware. We do NOT advise you to make it your goal to catch your mate in a lie, but we do recommend that you pay close attention.
Pay attention to what your partner says and does. Notice how open or how closed down and distant he or she is with you. This is a time to really focus in on the reliable proof you have– proof that you’re being told the truth or proof that something is not adding up.
Re-teach yourself how (and when) to trust.
Rebuilding trust after an affair can take time. After giving your partner a second chance, you probably aren’t going to wake up one day and all of your hesitation will magically be gone. It rarely happens this way.
Instead, you’re going to need to re-teach yourself how to trust. You’re going to want to be wise about this and, as we said, stay awake and aware of observable information you have about your partner and your relationship.
Make sure you are giving your mate credit when he or she does do something that is trustworthy. Too often, the betrayal of the past is held onto and it overshadows what’s going on now…which might actually be hopeful and positive.
Don’t cling to your anger and resentment about your partner’s cheating. Take the time to process your emotions and let them go. Keep reminding yourself of what your partner is doing right now and how he or she has possibly changed recently.
Ultimately, we advise you to be wise. There is no guarantee that your partner will not betray you again (or that he or she will). But, you can watch your partner and listen to your own inner wisdom. Make the decision about whether or not to trust based on what you observe.
3 signs that it’s wise to trust again:
#1: Your partner’s words match his or her actions.
It is oh so true that actions speak louder than words. It can be comforting to hear your partner say, “I’m sorry” for the affair, but it is truly healing to see consistent actions that show your partner is making amends.
When you see that your partner is keeping promises and agreements that the two of you made, this is significant.
If there seem to be inconsistencies between your partner’s words and actions, look a little deeper before making an accusation. Because of the past cheating, your suspicions might come up more quickly. Ask yourself if it is possible that there are other valid reasons why your partner didn’t keep his or her word.
#2: Your partner is honest when it’s difficult.
Keep in mind, sometimes inconsistencies don’t mean that your partner is having another affair. If your relationship has been strained, your partner might lie as a way to avoid jealousy, a fight or looking guilty (when actually innocent).
It can get tricky to know what’s true, so try not to jump to conclusions.
This is why it is a really big deal when your partner IS honest and upfront with you about a difficult topic. When your partner admits that he did get a text from his ex or that she did run into that guy from work who flirts with her, give credit for the honesty.
The temptation might be to hide something that could seem suspicious, but your partner chose to tell you about it instead. Keep your cool and acknowledge this. Again, look at the verifiable facts and ask yourself whether or not what you’re being told makes logical sense.
#3: There is a new openness.
Remember, when your partner is honest about conflicting or painful emotions or about opinions that are different from your own, this is another demonstration of trustability.
In so many cases of infidelity, there was a distance between the two people before the cheating occurred. While it was your partner’s decision to cheat, you may have played a role in this distance forming.
When you experience a new or renewed sense of openness in your relationship, this is another sign that it’s wise to trust again.
The openness might relate to practical matters– like your partner being transparent about actions and people he or she has been spending time with. There also could be an emotional openness.
Your partner might do some soul searching about why he or she cheated in the first place and share that discovery with you. He or she could confide in you about some deep feelings that you didn’t know about before.
This sense of openness is a gift that you can also give in return, as you are ready.