Infidelity in a previous relationship can affect future relationships, causing various problems such as distrust, misplaced anger and emotional distancing. You and your new partner can work together to overcome those trust issues, utilizing a mental health professional to get through the most difficult stages when you can’t do it alone.
It is difficult to trust others when you don’t trust your ability to make good choices. After your previous partner cheated, you may not feel that you are a good judge of character or able to see warning signs. Lack of trust in yourself and your partner can create distance, insecurity, negative communication and rejection of genuine love, warns clinical psychologist Melanie Greenberg. Assert your right to live free from abuse as you strive for your full potential and explore your fears.
Working With Your Partner
Create conditions that help you learn self-trust by practicing the Golden Rule with your partner. Be honest with your thoughts and feelings so your partner understands when you don’t feel safe or secure. Discuss your basic emotional needs with your partner, such as the need for conversation or knowing who she is talking to on a regular basis. Take small steps that bring you closer together, such as taking your time getting to know one another, spending time together and sharing non-sexual physical affection before you are ready for more intimate contact.
Giving It Time
Trust takes time to build, especially when your trust has been violated in the past. Repeated demonstrations of trustworthy behavior from you partner can help you learn to trust him. With gentle reminders, you began to see that your current partner isn’t the one who betrayed you and notice when his actions demonstrate genuine love, concern and authenticity. When you need extra assurance, ask for it, such as asking your partner to call when he will be late or talking openly about contacts with others.
Dropping Your Baggage
You can decide to forgive the cheater in your past and acknowledge steps you might have made that led to the betrayal, suggests Terry Mizrahi, president of the National Association of Social Workers. That does not mean you caused the cheating -- that was your partner's choice to betray you. Let your new partner know what actions trigger feelings of insecurity so she is able to avoid the landmines of your past until you have fully dealt with the issues. Talk openly about what behaviors are acceptable in your relationship and which are not, such as not exchanging hugs or kisses with others or exchanging extensive chats and texts with a member of the opposite sex. Agree to avoid behaviors that violate your agreement.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.