It’s the million dollar question: when should you trust a cheater?

Every cheating victim’s situation is different, but there is one truth that is universal that can be applied in all situations.

In this blog, we’ll look at that universal truth, so you will have a way to gauge when is the right time to trust your cheating spouse. I’ll give you tips for how to get the cooperation you need from your cheating spouse. Read on…

Regaining Faith in a Cheater: Is it Possible?

Victims of cheating have long struggled with the question of how they can feel confident that what they are hearing from their cheating spouse is the truth. After all, they once believed everything the cheater said was the truth—and they were deceived.

How can you know you won’t be deceived again?

When you are dealing with humans, anything can happen. There certainly aren’t any guarantees I this life beyond the cold hard fact of death and taxes. When it comes to human nature, you can expect behaviors that run the gamut anywhere from the deepest depths of depravity to the sublime of the spirit.

There is no guarantee that your cheating spouse will not deceive you. There’s no guarantee that you won’t at some point in the future deceive your cheating spouse—though no doubt the very thought makes you sick.

But once you understand there is no 100% answer as to whether or not your spouse will deceive you and break your trust once again, you need to look for a plan b. In this case, the next best thing to feeling confident that he or she isn’t cheating.

The Closest You can Come to A Trust Guarantee

The answer for when to have faith in a cheater is this: only when you feel confident that you have as close to 100% transparency as humanly possible from your spouse. And, they’re doing it with a smile.

That last point is not to be funny. There are occasions when a cheater who may not be fully remorseful, or is feeling particularly stubborn, will balk at the thought of sharing all of their comings and goings to you.

You may get pushback. The cheater may say:  “Well, Mom, I am going to the store now,” in a sarcastic tone.

Or, he or she will sigh, roll their eyes, or in some other non-verbal way “show” their displeasure—as if they are being put out.

Other spouses will struggle with what to share: “Oh, did you want to know who was going to be at that work event?” or “That charge you saw on the credit card statement for lunch… that’s right, I went to lunch with one of my clients.”

Here are some tips to help you get to the point of 100% transparency from a cheater:

Tip #1: Don’t be Bullied

In the case of the “reluctant” spouse who balks at being transparent, be prepared for those times when he or she may be sarcastic or otherwise nasty about sharing with you. He or she may be trying to push your buttons, get you mad enough so you’ll say “forget the transparency thing” and back down.

Don’t lose your cool, and don’t back down. If a cheating spouse is truly sincere about wanting to make amends and regain your trust, they know they’ve done wrong and they will do whatever is required to get back in your good graces. They don’t have to like it, but they shouldn’t give you a hard time while doing it.

Tip #2: Define Transparency

Have a calm discussion with the cheater about what transparency means to you. Maybe you don’t want a full report of their entire day at work—but you want to know about shared time with people during lunch, or at after-hours events.

Let the cheater know that it’s better , when in doubt, to just be open than to make assumptions of what you don’t want to know.

Tip #3: Remind the Cheater What You’re Trying to Accomplish

Let the cheater know that you didn’t ask for this to happen to your marriage. But once your trust is broken—this is no small thing. Remind them calmly that they placed themselves in this position, and that trust, once broken is harder to regain than it is to maintain it in the first place.

Tell the cheater that the outcome you hope for is the ability to trust in them again, that this is difficult on your part, and that this will be a process that requires great patience until you once again feel secure enough to trust.

My best to you as you regain trust in a spouse who has betrayed you.

Has your cheating spouse offered 100% transparency?

Have you experienced push back in asking for it?

Do you have an expectation for how long it takes to regain trust?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa

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