Selena and Trey have decided to give their marriage a second chance. After finding out that Trey cheated, Selena was ready to pack up her belongings and leave. She spent a week with her mother and decided that she isn't willing to file for divorce just yet.

When Selena returned home, she set down some strict ground rules with Trey. He would need to prove to her-- without a doubt-- that he truly broke off the affair. He would need to make his entire life accessible and open to her.

It's been three months and, even though Trey has followed every one of Selena's rules, neither of them feels like their marriage is improving. There is still a lot of tension and mistrust between them. They both tiptoe around when it comes to difficult topics because arguments seem to erupt and escalate easily.

Selena and Trey both wonder if they would be better off splitting up for good.

When you and your partner decide to rebuild trust and repair your relationship after infidelity, it can be a difficult process. It can feel risky to take back your partner who cheated. When you're not seeing the results you want, it can seem as if you made the wrong choice to stay.

It's true, there are cases where it is actually in the best interests of all involved for the couple to break up. Sometimes the damage and disconnection are too deep to fully heal.

You need to really listen to yourself and make this difficult decision based on what you know and what you want and not so much about what you think you “should” do.

If you still would like to rebuild trust in your love relationship or marriage, we encourage you to do one thing that might be slightly different than what you've been doing...

We suggest that you look at the whole story of your relationship and not just the affair.

We know, especially if your partner is the one who cheated, this is not comfortable or easy to do.

To rebuild trust you've got to see beyond just the affair.

Yes, we agree with you that infidelity can cause serious damage to a relationship. Yes, your partner who cheated needs to take responsibility for his or her choice to cheat and make amends to you.

At the same time, you're missing a lot of valuable information-- that is probably key to you two rebuilding trust-- when you mostly focus in on the infidelity.

Imagine that you pick up a novel and skip past the front ¾ of the book and only read the last couple of chapters. You probably wouldn't do that because the last quarter of the book would be confusing and nearly impossible to understand without all of those pages that came before.

The same thing happens when a couple who is trying to repair their relationship after infidelity hones in on the affair and ignores many other dynamics in their relationship.

When you look at the whole story of your relationship, you're NOT saying that it was okay that your partner cheated. You're NOT making the case that you somehow drove your mate into the arms of another.

Neither of these assertions would be helpful (and they're probably not true either).

When you look at the whole story, what you ARE doing is acknowledging that you and your partner were probably becoming more distant long before he or she had the affair. The whole story will allow you to identify those habits that drove you two apart and possibly contributed to the infidelity.

Look for recurring themes.

Do you tend to get jealous easily? Does your partner close down to you when he or she gets uncomfortable? Do you two have unclear agreements or differing understandings of your relationship agreements?

There are countless habits that you and your partner could have fallen into that created distance and conflict in your relationship.

Take a deep breath, set aside your need to assign blame or be right and courageously identify the tendencies in your relationship (both in the past and the present) that are simply not serving either of you.

You can do this by yourself or with your partner. If your partner refuses to try this exercise with you, do it anyway. What you learn can bring you clarity and will potentially help you two rebuild trust.

Once you've identified the recurring themes in your relationship, you can experiment with new ways to be with your mate. These might include creating new and clearer agreements with your partner. They could involve you learning and practicing different strategies for staying open even when the situation triggers you.

As you make changes to your behavior, your partner will undoubtedly learn from your example. Trust can rebuild and you two can re-connect as new, healthier habits form.

Author's Bio: 

Get help rebuilding trust after infidelity from Susie and Otto Collins' free trustbuilding mini-course.

Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the passionate relationships they desire. They have written these e-books and programs: Magic Relationship Words, Relationship Trust Turnaround, No More Jealousy and Stop Talking on Eggshells among many others.