How to Trust Someone Again When You’ve Been Hurt Or Cheated On

Right now, you feel as though you can’t trust anyone.

You’re still hurting from a recent betrayal, and the idea of being vulnerable again terrifies you.

So, is this it for you?

Are intimate relationships reserved only for other people — or for those who haven’t been hurt by someone they trusted?

Part of you refuses to accept that.

You want to believe you can learn how to trust someone again.

But what will it take to get there?

How to Trust Someone Again After Cheating

If you’re wondering how to love again after your partner has cheated on you, you’re dealing with a deeply personal type of betrayal.

In order to move on with the same person, you have to want to heal the relationship and also make it stronger than before. It won’t be easy for either of you.

But here are the steps to take:

1. Give yourself time to grieve.

Everyone needs time to grieve what they thought they had or would have with someone who betrayed or abandoned them.

Don’t try to skip the grieving process, even if you don’t think you don’t know how to grieve and you’d rather just walk away without looking back.

Don’t cheat yourself of the chance to grieve. Even if you manage to save the relationship, you need to acknowledge what the betrayal did to you.

Admit it to yourself and to the one who hurt you. Or the buried pain will undermine whatever you try to build on the ruins.

2. Trust your instincts.

The fact that someone betrayed your trust doesn’t mean you failed to see it coming or that you should doubt your internal warning system.

It’s too easy to brush off those warnings, but that doesn’t mean you should blame yourself. You’re not the one who cheated.

And when you give yourself time to reflect on the relationship, you’ll likely see signs you dismissed before.

Everyone does this. There’s a reason we say “love is blind.” When you’re in love, you don’t want to see or hear anything that doesn’t agree with the way you feel.

Stop beating yourself up for “not seeing it.” When you’re ruminating on that, you’re more likely to miss what your intuition is telling you now.

You still need your instincts to get through this. So, thank them for what they’ve told you, even when you pushed their warnings to the back of your mind.

And be ready to listen to them as you work through your healing and decide how to move forward.

3. Choose to forgive.

This doesn’t mean letting people hurt you again; it means letting go of them and the pain they’ve caused, so you can heal and move beyond it.

To move on, you need to forgive yourself and to forgive those who’ve hurt you. But you don’t have to be friends with them.

Even if you forgive the one who cheated on you, the relationship doesn’t magically reset to its original settings.

You don’t have to forget what happened or to pretend nothing has changed.

Forgiveness means you want healing for both of you, even if you’re not sure you want to stay in the relationship — or even if you’re sure you don’t.

4. Create a safe space for rebuilding.

This could mean counseling. Or it could mean you arrange to sit down with each other every week or every few days and take turns talking.

Use a talking stick or some other device if it helps. Respect each other enough not to interrupt the one holding the stick, even when you desperately want to clarify something or argue a point. Wait your turn.

You can decide whether you want someone else to be there as your silent advocate or whether you’d prefer to keep the conversations between the two of you.

Just make sure you feel safe and respected, if you choose the latter.

5. Give your partner a chance to earn your trust.

This one is tricky. The cheater who wants to get back in your graces will be on their best behavior. But you're afraid that after you let them back in, they might cheat again.

This is not an obligatory step. It’s one you can choose after you’ve had some time to rebuild the relationship and after the one who cheated shows you a real commitment to being someone worthy of your trust.

There’s no deadline for this, either. Whether and when you take it is up to you. No one gets to force it on you or guilt you into giving them “another chance.”

6. Give yourself all the time you need.

This is a follow-up for the last point. No one gets to rush you to forgiveness or to guilt you into making yourself vulnerable again.

You know you want to move past this, but don’t take that to mean you have to rush right back into a burning house. If you still see flames, or if your instincts are NOT giving you the all-clear, love yourself enough to stay clear of it.

Take all the time you need.

7. Decide how the relationship will be from here on out.

After you’ve had some time to work on rebuilding the relationship and to get a sense of what you can expect from the one who cheated on you, you’ll decide what “moving on” looks like for you.

You’ll decide because you’re responsible for your own choices. You’ll be taking a risk by staying in a relationship with this person — even if you’re taking a step away from intimacy and choosing a platonic friendship.

You’re not forcing the other person to conform to your idea of how the relationship should evolve. You’re letting them know what you’re comfortable with.

And if they truly respect and love you, they won’t push for more.

8. Establish Clear Boundaries 

Setting boundaries is not a way to control or manipulate your partner. Rather it shows that you understand your needs and value yourself enough to expect better treatment from others. 

When discussing the boundaries, be very specific about what is acceptable and unacceptable. Whether it is in regard to social media, communication with exes, or any other behavior you feel uncomfortable with.

Additionally, setting consequences for unacceptable behavior is important — it shows that you are serious about your boundaries and will not tolerate them being crossed. This can create a safe zone that allows both of you to be vulnerable and rebuild trust again.

9. Seek Professional Help

A therapist or counselor can provide a safe space to talk through what happened, plus offer insight and approaches to help repair your relationship. 

Guided sessions can also help you see things from different angles – both objectively and emotionally – which always helps in recovering from pain caused by another person. 

You'll also receive tools for building trust within a partnership during these sessions. Furthermore, they can provide information on setting boundaries and understanding the behaviors that can lead to emotional distance.

The Process of Trusting Someone Again

Where do you begin learning to trust again when the deepest wounds haven’t yet healed?

It might sound counter-intuitive, but the healing process begins, in large part, because of what you do.

It depends less on what the person who hurt you does to atone for their betrayal.

Not to downplay the importance of making amends — for their sake as well as yours an apology is necessary.

But the real healing begins when you decide not to be defined or limited by the pain of their betrayal, and you take another risk.

That’s all fine, you’re thinking, but just deciding not to curl up and die isn’t enough.

And what if that risk just leads you to more pain?

Because it might. And healing doesn’t require you to stop protecting yourself.

But it does involve risk.

How to Repair Broken Trust in a Relationship

If someone has gained your trust and then shattered it, you might doubt it’s even possible to rebuild a trusting relationship with them.

The short answer? It depends. And it will cost you both.

It’s true that with some people, deciding to trust them again is just setting yourself up for disappointment (or worse).

For example, the one thing you can trust a narcissist to do is to punish you for trusting them.

Catch them in a lie, and they’ll either tell another lie or play the victim and blame everyone (including you) for their acts of betrayal.

We’re not talking about them, though. Best to avoid narcissists.

Let’s focus on people who have hurt you and who are genuinely sorry for it. What can you do to rebuild something with a person who truly wants to not only save your relationship but make it better?

Is it worth the risk? Only you can answer that. But if you decide you want to see if this relationship can become something worth saving, keep reading.

Whether this is a platonic friendship or something more intimate, the steps you’ll take are similar. And don’t let anyone guilt you into taking any of them.

This has to be your choice.

How to Trust Someone Again After They Hurt You

Relationships with no trust feel less like relationships and more like tenuous agreements not to attack one another. And sometimes, you don’t even have that much.

One of you does something the other disagrees with, and civility goes out the window.

Even when neither of you cheated on the other, if someone you care about has hurt you deeply, you need to acknowledge that and decide what to do about it.

  1. Acknowledge your anger and make time for grieving. — No one should expect you to act as though the hurt inflicted didn’t matter. Hiding your anger will only give it a deeper hold.
  2. Communicate with each other. — Open the lines of communication and be honest with each other about the words or actions that have violated your trust. Someone who loves and respects you will want to know what you’re thinking.
  3. Listen to your inner voice. — Your intuition is there to guide you through the darkness. When you can’t see your way forward, ask for help and trust that it will come when you need it.
  4. Commit to a plan for moving forward. — Decide on whether and how you’ll both work to rebuild the relationship. If the commitment isn’t mutual, don’t force the relationship to survive.
  5. Take it one day at a time. — Don’t rush anything. Take it one day at a time, one interaction at a time. Listen to your inner voice, and don’t commit to something you’re not comfortable with.

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How Can You Know When To Trust Someone Again?

Let's face it, trusting someone after being hurt is a difficult thing to do. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and scared that the same thing will happen again.

But what if there was a way to tell if you could trust someone again? Here are tips to help you develop an inner radar that will be able to detect when it's safe to trust someone again:

  • They show a consistency of behavior: Trust is built over time through consistent behavior. Look for a pattern of reliable behavior from the person in question. If they consistently demonstrate honesty, reliability, and responsibility, then they may be trustworthy. However, if they have a history of being inconsistent, unreliable, or dishonest, then it may be difficult to trust them again.
  • They genuinely apologize and show remorse: If the person has apologized for their past behavior and expressed genuine remorse for their actions, it may be a good sign that they are willing to change and make amends. But if they show no remorse or take no responsibility for their actions, don't be so quick to trust them.
  • They are transparent and open: Transparency and openness are key elements of trust. So the person who betrayed you should be willing to answer your questions and be open and honest about their intentions and motivations. But if they're secretive and intentionally try to hide things from you, you should distance yourself from them. They probably aren't trustworthy.
  • Time will tell: Ultimately, rebuilding trust takes time. It may take months or even years to regain trust, and you may still be unable to trust them fully. Be patient and observe the person's behavior over time to see if they are truly trustworthy. While giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their trustworthiness is essential, it's also important to be cautious and protect yourself if necessary.

Final thoughts

Learning to trust again is an important element of your personal growth.

Even if you never use the word, it’s too easy to identify yourself as the victim of the one who hurt you.

But victims don’t move forward. They stay rooted in the betrayal and keep reminding themselves of it, as though it were the one defining event of their lives.

You are so much more than that.

Being a victim allows you to keep blaming the other person for what you’re suffering. But ultimately, that attachment to blame does nothing but hold you back and keep you miserable.

This serves a purpose if you believe you don’t deserve to be happy. But what would you do if you believed you did?