Trust is a huge part of what unifies people in a relationship. Over time and through the difficulties of life, trust can erode. If a partner cheats on another, lies about their sexual history, or hides addiction, it can shatter trust. When this happens, rebuilding trust in your relationship is key to staying together.
Many couples experience the devastating effects of sex addiction. Rebuilding trust in a relationship after sex addiction is a part of the recovery process if you decide to move forward together.
Is Rebuilding Trust Possible?
Rebuilding trust after sex addiction is possible, but it requires commitment from both partners who agree to fight for the relationship.
“Rebuilding trust after sex addiction is possible, but it requires work from both partners. The man has to be in recovery. And the woman must process her trauma related to the infidelity and feel emotionally safe in the relationship,” said Matt Wenger, Clinical Director at Boulder Recovery.
“There is no way to overstate the pain of learning your partner has betrayed you,” he continued. “Some women feel rushed to reconcile and fix their marriages. But first, they have to give themselves time to process and heal from the shock of discovering their partner’s infidelity.”
Matt said, “Boulder Recovery wants to see marriages healed and hope restored to families, but this can only happen when the man with sex addiction takes steps toward sobriety.”
Laying the Foundation of Trust
Laying the foundation of trust is a challenging process. It requires both parties to commit to making it happen and focusing on healing habits like open communication and intentionality.
Communication is key in laying the foundation of trust. You can’t restore trust unless you discuss what they want out of the relationship, how you feel about each other, and what you’ve been through. Intentional methods such as journaling or meditation can help ensure both parties are clear on what they need from each other to create an environment where there’s no confusion or misinterpretation about expectations.
Intentionality means being honest about what you want from each other and genuine when asking for those things. It doesn’t mean one person should try too hard or take all the initiative. It means being honest about where you’re coming from so both people can understand their partner when making decisions about the relationship.
Rebuilding Trust in Your Relationship
If you have a sex addiction, you must fully commit to recovery and be transparent about the past before you can rebuild trust in your relationship. Once you’re in recovery and committed to leaving negative behaviors behind, you can work to rebuild your relationship.
Rebuilding trust in your relationship requires:
- Taking Charge of Your Recovery. Take responsibility for your actions and make yourself accountable for those actions. Avoid covering up or blaming others for your actions. Tell your partner what happened and how you will move forward. Be honest about your struggles and show a willingness to learn from your mistakes.
- Being Understanding. When living with addiction, your partner is experiencing pain and confusion. You may not understand what she’s going through, but validating her feelings helps her feel supported.
- Practicing Trustworthy Behavior. It can be difficult for someone hurt by a partner to trust or believe apologies and that the addiction is in the past. If you want to help your partner rebuild trust, it’s essential to practice honesty, respect boundaries, listen without judgment, and offer emotional support.
The Role of Partner
Finding out that your partner has a sex addiction is a traumatic experience. It’s vital for you to process what’s happened and heal yourself before you decide to move forward with the relationship.
“When your partner betrays you, you feel like your entire life is crumbling. You feel as though you’ve lost your safety and question your ability to succeed in the world,” Matt said. “If a large part of your relationship is a lie, you wonder what other things in your life are lies too.”
To move forward with your relationship:
- Heal Your Trauma. Sex addiction is an incredibly painful experience for everyone involved. If you want your relationship to thrive again, you must heal from the trauma of your partner’s actions.
- Determine Healthy Expectations. The goal is not to get back to where things were before your partner’s addiction — it’s to build something new and more whole than before.
- Communicate Your Needs. Be open about how you feel and what you need to feel safe and secure in the relationship again.
- Be Open About Your Feelings. You must be honest about how you feel. If they ask what’s wrong, don’t skirt around the issue or give vague answers — tell them exactly what’s bothering you. This openness helps your partner understand how their actions hurt you, which helps them make changes.
- Prepare for a Long Haul. Rebuilding trust takes time and effort from both parties. It may seem like there is little progress at first but remember, every step counts. Focus on building positive behaviors so they become habits.
- Focus on Your Individual Healing. It’s easy to get caught up in fixing things between you and your partner. Don’t neglect your own healing process.
Keys to Maintaining Trust After Sex Addiction
Maintaining trust after sex addiction is a two-way street. You must be accountable, honest, reliable, sincere, and vulnerable. It might seem like a lot of work at first, but rebuilding trust is possible once you put these keys into practice.
“Victims of infidelity trauma deserve emotional health, safety, and being heard,” Matt stated. “But they are often burdened with decisions about the future of their relationships and families while reeling from the traumatic discovery of unfaithfulness. This burden is profoundly unfair. While the betrayal occurred through no fault, they deserve support and healing.”
Get Help From Boulder Recovery
The foundation of any enduring relationship is trust. Sex addiction shatters trust. If both partners decide to move forward with their relationship after sex addiction, they may need help healing and restoring that trust.
Many resources are available to help support your efforts toward recovery and rebuilding your relationships. Attending a support group and joining individual or couples therapy are just a few options to help you and your partner rebuild your relationship. Contact Boulder Recovery today to explore your treatment options and begin restoring your life.