How do you forgive and rebuild trust?


My fiancé cheated on me 3 months after he got home from Rehab with a girl he met at rehab. He lied to me for 4 months saying he didn’t even tho I saw the messages and caught him. I stayed with him because I love him but I caught him talking to another girl from his group behind my back. I don’t know what to do. He told her that I didn’t understand what he’s going through. But he doesn’t tell me… I just can’t help but feel like I’m not enough. I just keep getting angrier and angrier and more and more down and out. I have been wanting to drink and I’ve been feeling like giving up.



That’s hard. I often feel like my partner thinks I don’t understand what he’s going through, and I have a ton of thoughts/fears around him meeting women in treatment.

I can only speak from my own experience-the way I’ve handled this so far is to learn as much as I can about addiction so I can gain more understanding of what my partner is going through. I know that his addiction comes from a lack of knowing how to deal with his negative emotions and trauma he endured as a child. So when I can empathize with the cause of his addiction, it’s easier to see that he’s just struggling. He’s coping the best way he knows how and I don’t shame him for that.

I noticed a turning point in him when I started to focus on myself. I hired a life coach for myself, a woman who specializes in working with families of those struggling with addiction and she herself is married to a recovering addict. I learned how to communicate to him how I felt about his substance use in a neutral way that was not blaming or shaming him, and I was prepared to put some space between us. That was the first time in a year he called to inquire about getting treatment for himself. But that conversation happened after a year of me working on my self esteem and sense of self worth.

He also used to lie to me a lot, but this has changed drastically over the last year and a half. Every time he finally told me the truth about something he was ashamed to admit (using, cheating on me, etc), I reacted with empathy and love. Of course I was hurt, but I showed him that I wasn’t going anywhere - which was my decision, I’m not saying everyone should stay in that situation, but I chose to. That also relates to his background, he was used to being abandoned throughout his childhood, so he was perpetuating that cycle in his adult life by treating women poorly. But the longer we were together, the more I would work on myself and be able to create healthy boundaries, and that’s helped a ton. Now he’s very honest about how he’s thinking and feeling, and I know that’s because I’ve shown him that he can trust that I won’t judge him, shame him or leave him because of his struggles with substance use. I’ve become a safe space for him.

Those are the best two pieces of advice I can give: educate yourself on addiction as much as you can, and invest in taking care of yourself. And I can see that you’re doing both just by being a part of this forum, so congratulations on that! Keep it up.


In my experience that early post-rehab period is really tough to navigate as a partner! They are coming out like bambi on ice and we are so hopeful that things will be better. I was very nervous about relationships made in rehab that translated back out to our city and it was something I had to talk to him about a few times.

Ultimately i had to make it clear to him that if he wanted to build a relationship with me he had to put focus there versus with other female friends from rehab. It is a touchy subject so I totally get where you are coming from and I think it’s a really common result that many of us here have faced to some degree or another <3

Things do settle.