You can’t shake the feelings once you’ve been cheated on. The disbelief; the shock; the devastation. The disorienting sensation that you don’t know what’s true—all compounded by a surreal realization that you don’t know who your cheating spouse is anymore.
It’s an entirely bewildering experience. You might start questioning your every move. Am I being too demanding? Too needy? Too… understanding? Even if your S.O. is apologetic and wants to work on your relationship—your trust in him or her is eradicated. Snapping your fingers won’t bring the intimacy back, even if you desperately want to.
The good news is, this trust can be rebuilt. It just needs to be rebuilt intentionally.
Yet as that trust is earned, there are certain things you’re allowed asking. Here are 50 things you can ask for from your partner (in no particular order) that are essential in not only rebuilding trust, but also giving your relationship the fortitude to persevere in the future—stronger than ever. Of course, things questions aren’t meant to be forever. Once you have been fully healed, you and your partner can renegotiate what boundaries are necessary for you to thrive again.
1. You can ask for access to your partner’s phone and email.
2. You can ask for monthly phone records.
3. You can ask for proof that the affair is over.
4. You can ask for your partner to tell you immediately when the affair partner makes contact—so you two can decide together if and how to respond.
5. You can ask to use GPS location to know where your partner is—or to double-check that they are where they say they are.
6. You can ask your partner to send picture texts and short videos to prove they are where they say they are.
7. You can ask your partner to delete social media accounts—especially if your partner carried on an affair via social media.
8. You can ask your partner to “clean house” on social media, eliminating potential and perceived threats.
9. You can ask your partner not to delete their web browser history.
10. You can ask your partner not to empty their trash folder in their email accounts.
11. You can ask your partner to access to financials: credit card, bank, and investment account statements.
12. You can ask your partner to transfer assets into your name and/or create a joint bank account.
13. You can ask your partner to quit the club or membership that the affair partner belonged to.
14. You can ask your partner to initiate conversations and provide information without being asked or you having to dig for it.
15. You can ask your partner to move to another city with you.
16. You can ask your partner to quit and find another job – if the affair happened at your S.O.’s current job.
17. You can ask that your S.O. and the affair partner limit contact to business only and your partner tells you when they had contact – if the affair partner is at your S.O.’s current job.
18. You can ask that your partner avoids taking you to places they took the affair partner.
19. You can ask to visit your partner at work.
20. You can ask that your partner comes home immediately after work.
21. You can ask for an accurate itinerary when your partner travels.
22. You can ask that they limit work travel, or only make day trips, or limit overnight trips.
23. You can ask that they call and text more often—just because.
24. You can ask that they increase physical affection in non-sexual ways.
25. You can ask that they initiate sex more frequently.
26. You can ask that they spend more time in foreplay.
27. You can ask that they make you feel that you are the only one for them.
28. You can ask that they initiate and thoughtfully plans date nights.
29. You can ask that they talk to you about their feelings.
30. You can ask that they show interest in you—simply asking about your day or dreams.
31. You can ask them to join you in your hobbies and activities and vice versa
32. You can ask for them to soothe you after you share your triggers.
33. You can ask that they solve conflict directly instead of minimizing, shutting down, or withdrawing.
34. You can ask that they go to individual and couples therapy to figure out why they did what they did—and to uncover all of the variables that lead to their decision to betray you.
35. You can ask for a postnuptial agreement.
36. You can ask for the truth—even if it means hurting your feelings.
37. You can ask for their full attention when you talk.
38. You can ask that they read a self-help book with you.
39. You can ask that they buy a new mattress or bedroom furniture, if your S.O. brought the affair partner into your home.
40.You can ask for more verbal appreciation.
41. You can ask that they decrease drinking if alcohol was a contributing factor to the affair.
42. You can ask for a decrease in pornography use.
43. You can ask that they wear their wedding ring again—every day.
44. You can ask that they write you notes or letters.
45. You can ask that they decrease contact or give up a friendship—if the friend helped cover up your S.O.’s cheating.
46. You can ask that they get checked for STIs and go to your doctor appointment with you.
47. You can ask for them to tell you that they find you attractive.
48. You can ask for them to tell you they love you—and why they love you.
49. You can ask for them to answer all of your questions about the affair.
50. You can ask for them to show remorse for what they’ve done.
Anita Chlipala is the author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love. As a dating & relationship expert, she founded Relationship Reality 312 to teach singles and couples how to find and keep love. The one thing she might love more than love is her Chicago sports teams. To learn more, visit: relationshipreality312.com. This article was originally published on Marriage.com.
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Absolutely true. You should not be afraid of asking questions.
While I can see why every one of those items is valid, I’ll say this as the spouse who was cheated on: “If I have to spend the rest of my life checking things like this, what’s the point?” Add number 51 – “Ask for a divorce.” Really, no one who’s been cheated on deserves to live their life under this kind of dark cloud. Maybe one or two of the items, individually? How much of this can you realistically be on top of ALL of the time? Had I stayed married, this list of 50 items is very likely what I’d have been monitoring – constantly. – and fighting for her to provide. Misery. So. Not. Worth. It.
Today, I worry about none of that stuff, only that she’s making good choices when the kids are with her, but I know that’s not always the case – and there’s little to nothing I can do or say about that. The kids are comfortable when they’re with me, that’s all I can control, and that’s what they’re likely going to remember of their childhood. We make our own beds.
Really, if you have to ASK the cheater for this information or these actions, save yourself the trouble. If they’re truly remorseful and serious about the future, they’ll do it on their own. If they don’t, get yourself out from under the cloud of mistrust and send them on their way.
Byron read my mind and is correct about divorcing them. What’s the point, you can’t undo what they blew up. I was blindsided, and at a time when I needed him most, he chose to have an affair instead of honoring his vows. You can’t make them have character and integrity. Some people have personality disorders and that’s who they are, period. Leave them, they’ll only do it again. My ex felt entitled and wasn’t a bit remorseful and blamed me for his actions. That’s what a covert narcissist is. You should address the difference to help those, like my self, who never heard of this type of disorder. There is nothing you can do to change them, they lack any sense of emtional empathy, and they prey on good people.