Ground Rules After Cheating:
What You Need To Know


After uncovering the affair, your world may feel like it is spinning out of control.

Things in your life and in your relationship feel like they need to change immediately!   


However, I encourage you to slow down your thinking before taking action.  


Sometimes our first responses aren’t the best ones… in fact what seems like a good idea in the moment could be hurtful or damaging in the long run.  


It’s best to create ground rules after cheating has occurred.  


Hopefully, this blog series will aid in that.  I don’t want you to regret the actions that you take that you only later regret.


After all, dealing with infidelity is hard enough… navigating through it wisely will be helpful for years to come.

If you missed the first blog post of the series, you can head over here to read it. 

Ground Rules After Cheating:

Don’t mistake transparency for trust

The betrayed partner may be wondering:  “I want to check phone messages, text messages, and apps for tracking my partner- should I do that?”



The unfaithful has to accept that if they want to heal via rebuilding the relationship, then some major changes need to happen- including being extremely transparent!  


To the unfaithful: 

Don't agree to let your partner check your phone or track you unless you believe that you will stick to your word.

  • I’ve seen some unfaithful partners do just enough work to get out of the doghouse. And then they either start getting irritated by the chronic checking or go back to repeat those same patterns.
  • Don’t do what the betrayed/counselor wants you to do… agree to do it only because you see the value in it and are willing to commit. 

To the betrayed:

It's easy to confuse transparency with rebuilding trust.

 Remember, you could have somebody watch your partner 24/7 and if your partner wants to be unfaithful they will still find ways.  So transparency by itself does not guarantee a relapse-free relationship.

I see transparency as a rehabilitative tool.

  • Really transparency is more of a (necessary) crutch.  It is a necessary crutch that you need until you see signs of the factors that led to infidelity fixed. The only way for the betrayed to rebuild trust is by truly understanding the factors that led to the affair happening and seeing the actual change of those factors. The unfaithful actions speak louder than their words.  Here’s the recipe for rebuilding trust:
    • actions that align with their word
    • 100% commitment to the relationship
    • Willingness to be transparent  
  • In healthy relationships, there isn’t a need for constant transparency because there is trust.  In healthy relationships, constant checking of your partner’s messages all the time isn’t needed (or appropriate). 
  • Again though, with infidelity trust was broken!  Unlike in a healthy relationship, the betrayed partner doesn’t know if the factors that led to the infidelity have ended. So the betrayed need an extra level of transparency until they see actual changes… day-in and day out for quite some time.  
  • The goal in rebuilding trust is to slowly move from active transparency and constant communication to connecting with each other while the unfaithful partner builds back trust.
  • I can’t emphasize this enough for the unfaithful partner: REBUILDING TRUST IS A SLOW PROCESS. 

Ground Rules After Cheating:

Exposing The Affair

The betrayed spouse may be thinking:  “I feel a strong urge to expose the affair. Will this make things worse or better?”


  • It is a common feeling for the betrayed to want to tell people about the discovery of the infidelity.  There are many reasons why the betrayed feel compelled to share this information with others- family, friends, or even kids. 
When we are dealing with a traumatic event we want to be able to process our feelings and share them with those close to us.
  • Sharing our story with others helps us to make sense of what happened.
  • You may want somebody to talk or vent to somebody.  Or you may want to tell family and friends because you know they might be able to help you with some advice about what to do about the situation.
  • The person you choose to vent to is going to have their own bias about affairs/you/your partner and they’re going to have their feelings about the situation.  Do you want a major decision- to stay or leave-  to be done by external influences and the opinion of others?
  • Whatever decision you ultimately reach regarding the decision to stay or go, ask yourself:  In the future, will I feel the urge to defend my decisions to others? 

Please remember, the person that you want to share your story with will also have the urge to share your story.


They will likely want to process what you are sharing with someone else.  So, please keep this in mind:

Once you tell one person, you give up control of your story.

Hopefully, after reading the first couple of blog posts in my series, you feel more empowered to make decisions that are based on what is best for your present and future.  I’ll continue to explore this topic in my next blog post… so stay tuned!

 Are you ready to give therapy a go?

Free free to contact me directly if you have questions or to schedule a brief call to see if I might be able to support you as you journey forward.


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