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  • Five Qualities Needed in Rebuilding Trust after Infidelity

    By: Staci Lee Schnell, M.S., C.S., LMFT

    Rebuilding the trust lost in a marriage after one’s spouse has been unfaithful is hard work and can be very challenging. Trust can be rebuilt and the relationship can be even stronger, if you take time and have patience. A highly trained Marriage Therapist can facilitate the work needed after such a significant breach of trust.

    Trust is an important part of a healthy relationship.  Without trust in oneself and one’s partner, you can never be truly certain that your relationship is true and authentic. Trust allows you to be able to have the deepest level of confidence in your spouse and their feelings for you.

    Trust in the marital relationship is about feeling safe, secure and committed with another person. Relationships need to be built on implicit trust for them to be successful.  When infidelity occurs, trust is greatly eroded.  It takes significant time and effort to reestablish the sense of safety and security needed for the marriage to thrive and be a solid partnership again.

    In order to regain trust, one must show their understanding of their partner’s feelings and the unfaithful spouse must prove true regret. Showing willingness to change is a start in earning back a spouse’s trust. Proving one is serious, honest, reliable, and safe to love again is the goal.  Rebuilding the trust in a marriage means rebuilding the credibility with one’s spouse. Some ways to begin to rebuild trust include being humble, kind, affectionate, appreciative, loyal, and loving.

    The following five qualities are essential in rebuilding trust after infidelity. 


    Being sincere in the apology is important, as well as in the acceptance of the apology.  Sincerity is said to be a mix of seriousness and honesty. Being open and transparent in your communication with your spouse helps rebuild the lost trust. If communication is sincere, trust will occur.  Showing sincerity shows one is being serious, kind, and truthful.


    Consistence shows a harmonious agreement within a relationship. Being consistent can imply a positive sense of dependability. If one shows consistency, they are showing their partner that they are dependable and trustworthy again.  Building trust doesn’t happen quickly. It takes consistency for someone to believe it is safe to trust again.


    Integrity is regarded as honesty and truthfulness.  Having integrity shows one’s partner that they are doing the right thing in a reliable way and adhering to the moral and ethical principles to which they are committed.  Don’t keep secrets or sugar coat things from one another. Have open and honest conversations with integrity in order to rebuild trust.


    Reliability shows the quality of being dependable and trustworthy. Partners must know that they can count on and rely on one another. Demonstrating a pattern of dependable behavior over time increases and rebuilds trust.


    An act of commitment to rebuilding trust binds a couple intellectually and emotionally. Commitment shows the dedication each has in the act of repairing the relationship.  The couple needs to be committed to the improvement of their marriage and be patient in the process.

    Together, a couple should set specific goals utilizing the essential five qualities discussed above for getting their marriage back on the trust track. Talking openly about these goals and checking-in regularly to make sure the relationship is back on the correct path is fundamental. Communicate regularly, to establish you are on the same page about the expectations of your marriage.  This will help renew the commitment needed to rebuild the trust broken from infidelity.

    Find a Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in affair recovery to assist you on the path to healing.

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