Before we get into the specifics about the first three steps in the process of rebuilding trust, we must emphasize that being honest with each other is absolutely critical. Both telling and hearing the truth are necessary when trying to reestablish a genuine connection between you and your partner. It’s through the process of sharing information, listening to each other, and creating solutions together that couples learn to trust each other again.

The process of rebuilding trust won’t be fun or easy. It’s like passing a hot potato back and forth. Holding a hot potato in your hand isn’t enjoyable—it hurts. If you take a step back and look at the situation from a distance, passing a potato between two people requires a lot of cooperation; you can’t pass a hot potato by yourself. Discussing difficult topics, like holding the hot potato, is unavoidable. Cooperating with your partner without giving up on passing the hot potato back and forth is the real goal.

Having honest discussions with your partner about an intimate betrayal is sure to trigger intense emotional reactions. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or you reach what feels like an impasse, try to do the following:

  • Acknowledge and honor your emotions.
  • Reflect on the goals you hope to accomplish.
  • Take your partner’s perspective into account.

If you slip up and fall into old, counterproductive patterns—such as yelling, blaming, or shaming—cut yourself some slack. You and your partner are bound to make mistakes during this process. What’s important is that you become aware of your slipups and get back on track as quickly as you can.