How to Trust Again After Infidelity and Divorce

Finding out your spouse has cheated is one of the most devastating ways for your marriage to end. It’s also one of the most common. Coping with infidelity involves many components- both physically and emotionally. Will the cheating affect your divorce? Do the kids know? How will you ever trust again? Unpacking all of those thoughts and emotions takes time, and giving yourself some grace during this period is very important to the moving on process. We want to help you down the path to learning how to trust again after infidelity and divorce.

Infidelity vs. Adultery

It’s important to note that there is a difference between infidelity and adultery. Adultery is the physical act of cheating on one’s spouse, while infidelity can include emotional cheating as well. In some states, adultery is considered a crime, although adultery laws are rarely enforced.

However, adultery could affect your divorce when it comes to custody (if the kids were involved/exposed in some way), the distribution of marital assets, and whether or not one of the parties receives maintenance. While many marital assets are distributed equally, if the cheating spouse used some of the marital assets to fund their cheating, the spouse that was cheated on may receive more in the settlement. Using marital assets towards the affair could also affect alimony payments.

Proving adultery can be quite difficult, and evidence can include everything from text messages to witness testimony. It can lead to a long, drawn-out court battle, one that may not yield the injured spouse anything more than higher legal costs. It’s important to consider all of the factors before deciding whether or not to bring adultery into your divorce case.

Moving On from Infidelity

Your ability to trust can be greatly impacted when you are cheated on. Your self-esteem can also take a big hit. Moving on and healing from something so traumatic is difficult, but not impossible. Focusing more on your needs and less on what your ex did is the first step.

You also need to grieve what happened, and grief involves several different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These emotions are normal, and there is no timetable when it comes to healing. There are a few things you can do to help the process along, though:

  1. Don’t stall the divorce process.
  2. Go through the steps of separating your lives, both physically and emotionally.
  3. Recognize your emotions and allow yourself to feel them.
  4. Try not to let your past affect your future relationships.
  5. Lean into the things and people that bring you joy.
  6. Find a good support system.
  7. Learn how to express your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up (therapy can really help with this).
  8. Don’t be ashamed of what happened. The cheating has everything to do with your ex and nothing to do with you.
  9. Forgive (for yourself) and let go of the anger.
  10. Set short and long-term goals for yourself.
  11. Take control over your life by not allowing your ex to constantly trigger you. How you react to them is where your power lies.
  12. No matter what, keep moving forward- even if the steps are small ones.

Learning to Trust Again

Once that trust is broken, it’s very hard to get it back- especially with the person who broke that trust. Moving forward in a new relationship can also be difficult, which is why it’s important to take some time to work on yourself and your own healing process before you bring someone new into the mix. While it may cure the loneliness for a little while, if you aren’t fully ready to open yourself up again to someone new, it will only bring you (and them) more pain.

Learning to trust involves being open with your feelings and expectations from the beginning. Separate your ex from your new love and make a conscious effort not to blame them for what your former spouse did. Most importantly, trust yourself first before you trust anyone else. Trust your judgment and trust your gut. Put faith in yourself that if something feels off in the future, you’ll respond to it appropriately and not push it aside because now you know, and knowledge is power.

More Resources:

Are you are ready to join our online Communitywe would love to have you! We have several experts in there waiting to help. Plus other divorcees you can connect and share stories with. Remember that you are not alone, even though it might feel like it at times. There are always people ready to support you- simply reach out your hand (or finger if you’re scrolling online!)

We get your struggles… We welcome you to visit our Support hub where we have created an informative and nurturing space using various modalities for you to get educated, emotionally supported and find your way. Our complimentary support groups like Coffee Talk and SOS: Support on Saturdays can be found here, along with many other helpful tools and resources.

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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