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I hear different variations on these questions on an almost daily basis. I often hear wives say things like “I’m not sure if I will ever be able to trust him again after he had an affair.” Or “is it really and truly possible to restore the trust after his cheating?” One more example is “I really do want to trust him again, but I’m just not sure if I can.”
Trust is perhaps one of the biggest issues that couples face after an affair. It’s very difficult to have a fulfilling marriage when you don’t really trust in your partner. But, it’s understandably hard to do this when you’ve already been betrayed. You’re often faced with opposing arguments in your own head. One part of you might be telling you that in order to move on, you need to open yourself up again. But another part of you might be saying “are you crazy? How naive can you possibly be?”
This kind of second guessing and negative self talk can be very problematic because dealing with all of the issues surrounding the affair hard enough without beating yourself up. In the following article, I’ll discuss some things to think about when deciding if you can trust your husband again after he had an affair.
You Don’t Need To Decide Whether Or Not You Can Or Should Trust Him Again Immediately: Many wives feel as though they have to make a nearly immediate decision. This isn’t the case. I realize that you can feel incredibly pressured by your husband or yourself. It can feel as though if you just forgive or commit to trust, you will feel some relief.
But what you sometimes don’t anticipate is the nagging doubt that can come with trying to trust before you are really ready to do so or before it has legitimately been earned. You’re not doing any one any huge favors if you are only faking it but deep down know that you aren’t truly at peace.
There is nothing wrong with telling both your husband (and possibly yourself if need be) that you are open to restoring the trust but know that it is going to be a process rather than a split decision made before you have everything that you need to offer it.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Believing That Trust Must Be Earned After An Affair: I firmly believe this. if you don’t truly believe that your husband is rehabilitated and trustworthy, then this is going to come through no matter how much you keep hoping that the opposite is true.
And, a husband who is absolutely sincere about rehabilitation usually will not have a huge problem with this. Sure, most husbands would rather this resolve itself as quickly and as painlessly as possible. But that isn’t always going to be the case. A husband who is truly serious about your healing can usually be convinced to help you get what you need to ensure that the trust can return. This includes understanding that he must earn back your trust.
And, it makes sense that, after such a huge blow, you’re going to need to see behaviors and actions that happen over some period of time before you can believe that they are genuine. There is nothing wrong with this and nothing to apologize for.
Deciding What You Need From Your Husband Before You Can Trust Him Again: Your needs and your currency are going to be individual for you. Some women need less over a shorter period of time and some women need more over a longer period of time. There is no correct answer. This is not a test on which you get a grade. The right answer is what is the right sum for you.
Some women want to see long term remorse and ask their husband to go to extensive counseling. Others just want to see a lot of remorse and attention to the marriage over a satisfactory period of time. Some want full and absolute accountability so that they know that their husband does not have the time, inclination, or opportunity to cheat again.
Whatever your currency, make no apologies for it. Asking for what you need means that you are more likely to get it. Of course, there are no guarantees he won’t cheat again. But if you ask for and get for what you need and you make certain that he legitimately has earned this trust, then may allow you to feel as if they are more justified in offering it. My husband had to earn my trust over a long period of time. This was just necessary for me. And this helped give me peace of mind that he was really serious about his claims that he was trustworthy and sorry.
I know that working through the aftermath of an affair and forgiveness is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
Katie Lersch writes articles about moving past an affair.Â Her corresponding blog is at http://surviving-the-affair.com/