Forgiving your boyfriend’s affair is easier if you can rebuild your trust in your relationship. Here are five signs you can trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you, plus tips on how to forgive.
These tips are inspired by a reader’s question about her boyfriend’s affair with his closest female friend. “He spent alot of time with her but I didn’t think anything of it because I trusted him,” says Miri on 10 Warning Signs of Bad Relationships. “He didn’t confess that he cheated on me, I found out by scanning through his text messages on his phone. She texted him that she loves him but she doesn’t want to keep cheating with him even thought she is single. My boyfriend swears he’ll never cheat on me again, that I can trust him, and that we will always be together. He said it was an accident and he was drunk. He loves his friend just as a friend. Part of me wants to walk away from this relationship but a bigger part wants to stay because I love him. How do I know if I can trust my boyfriend after he cheated on me?”
Nobody can tell you if you can trust your boyfriend, or that he’ll never cheat on you again. You need to listen to the still small voice inside you, and take a leap of faith. Maybe that leap of faith is trusting your boyfriend after he cheated…or maybe it’s letting him go. Only you can make that decision.
What is your intuition telling you? I know it’s confusing and scary, but you really have to lean in and listen. Deciding if you can trust your boyfriend after he betrayed you is one of the most difficult – and perhaps one of the most important – decisions you’ll ever make. You need to combine what your gut instincts are saying with what your boyfriend is telling you.
5 Signs You Can Trust Your Boyfriend After He Cheated
Here are five tips for trusting your boyfriend after an affair – or even “just” online chatting with other women. After all, cheating often begins with the five stages of flirting.
1. Your boyfriend is willing to work to win back your trust
Don’t allow yourself to get trapped into doing all the work to rebuild trust in your relationship. You won’t be able to figure out why your boyfriend cheated, or the truth about your future with him, or how to get your relationship back on track. Your boyfriend has to take responsibility for the affair. What does this mean? He has to admit that he cheated and be willing to work to make your relationship better.
It’s not your fault that your boyfriend cheated – it was either a really bad choice on his part, or a lack of moral character. If it was a bad choice, then you might be able to trust him again after he cheated. If he’s just a bad guy, then you shouldn’t trust him. He’ll cheat again.
The best and most important sign that will tell you if your boyfriend will cheat again is your own gut feeling. I know what you WANT to believe…but you have to trust your gut.
In After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, Janis Spring offers proven strategies for surviving the crisis of an affair and rebuilding love relationship. Read this book, and you’ll learn if you should trust your boyfriend after he cheated. Ask him if he’s willing to read the book, too. That’s a huge sign of how trustworthy he is! (If he’s not willing to read about how to rebuild your relationship, then he’s not worth trusting again. In my opinion.).
2. He knows why he cheated on you
If he cheated because he wasn’t getting something from you or your relationship, then it may be easier to rebuild trust because you can change your relationship. It isn’t easy, but you can work together to rebuild trust after cheating. But, if he cheated because he was bored or it’s in his nature to roam, then you might not want to trust him again.
The reason he cheated may help you decide if you can trust him again. In How to Heal Your Heart Without Relationship Closure, I discuss how difficult it is to heal when something like an affair isn’t discussed. If your boyfriend doesn’t know why he cheated – or if he doesn’t care about talking about the affair – then it’s a sign you can’t fully trust him. He has to be self-aware enough to know what he was thinking. Knowing your boyfriend’s reasons for the affair will help you decide if you can trust him again. It will also help you heal your heart, whether or not your relationship continues.
3. You know what you need from your boyfriend
What do you need him to say or do? If your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you, maybe you need him to pay more attention to you. If he travels for work or spends a lot of time with his friends, you may need him to put you first more often. If your boyfriend isn’t willing to talk about his feelings, reasons for cheating, or your relationship, then you may need him to open up more.
If you need help moving forward...
Before you can decide if you can trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you, you need to figure out what you need from him. if you feel like you’ll never be able to trust him, maybe there’s nothing you need from your relationship. Maybe there’s nothing he can do to win your heart back.
4. Your boyfriend is willing to do anything to save your relationship
After you figure out what you need from him, ask him if he’s willing to give you what you need. Don’t hesitate or play mind games with him, and don’t hold back from being totally honest. You may have to be vulnerable here. You may have to be so honest it hurts. You may even have to trust him with your deepest fears and insecurities. If you can’t trust your boyfriend enough to tell him the truth about yourself, then you have a huge warning sign that you can’t trust him with your heart.
Do you need him to spend more time with you? Go to couples counseling with you — or get help from a marriage or relationship coach? Start individual therapy for himself, if he needs to work through his emotional issues? Read books about rebuilding trust after an affair (even if that affair was “just” talking to other girls online)?
If your boyfriend isn’t willing to work towards saving your relationship, then you should think twice about trusting him again. If you want to give him a second chance but you’re scared you can’t trust him, read How to Guard Your Heart in a Relationship.
5. He isn’t making you feel insecure or confused
Is your boyfriend trying to reassure you? Is he helping you trust and rely on him? Both men and women stay in bad relationships because they’re scared they’ll never be loved again. If your self-esteem or self-confidence is low, find ways to boost it without relying on your boyfriend or a love relationship.
Getting as emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy as possible is more important that deciding if you should trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you! The healthier you are, the easier all your decisions in life will be — including your most important decisions about love and relationships.
Remember that trusting your boyfriend after he cheated doesn’t happen overnight. Rebuilding trust is a process that involves good and bad days – and good and bad discussions with your boyfriend! But, if you’re both willing to work on your relationship, you can rebuild trust and strengthen your love and commitment to one another.
Help surviving an affair
The Chump Lady Survival Guide to Infidelity: How to Regain Your Sanity After You’ve Been Cheated On by Tracy Schorn is a fantastic way to come back to yourself. When your boyfriend cheats on you, you start to doubt yourself.
When you’re trying to read the signs you can trust your boyfriend after he cheated on you, you question your self-worth and lovability. Worrying that your boyfriend might cheat again is normal – and so is not being able to rebuild trust overnight. The Survival Guide to Infidelity will help you move forward and regain trust in yourself.
Follow your heart, but take your brains with you.
Books like The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It by Gary Neuman are helpful because they give an objective perspective (which you and your boyfriend don’t necessarily have).
Gary Neuman is also the author of Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship. Neiman is a marriage counsellor who I first “met” on the Dr Oz show.
He and Janine Driver of the Body Language Institute discussed several ways to discern if someone is lying about cheating – and I describe their tips in 9 Ways to Tell if Your Husband is Lying About Cheating. It’s worth a read, even if you don’t think your boyfriend is lying.
I welcome your thoughts on these signs you can trust your boyfriend after he cheated. I can’t give you advice or tell you if he’ll cheat again, but if you write your thoughts, you may feel better. Writing really does help you process your emotions and clarify your thinking, which will help you make a better decision.
May you follow what your heart is telling you to do. May you listen to the still small voice despite the fear you feel, and second that you be true to yourself. I pray that you do what you need to do, and don’t be manipulated by your boyfriend or your own insecurities and fears.