Affairs Happen Can Trust Ever Be Regained?
By Susie and Otto Collins
If your husband or wife has an affair, it can feel like a
crushing blow on many levels. You might be reeling after the
person that you love and probably depend on has betrayed
you. Additionally, the vows or promises you may have made to
one another have been broken.
Everyone's experience is different but there is often a
sense of loss or feelings of rejection mixed in with other
When you make the decision to stay together and repair your
marriage, you might question whether this is even possible.
Can trust truly be regained after infidelity? Will you
ever feel like you can believe what your spouse says? How
can you be sure that your mate won't cheat again?
These questions and concerns are quite common and
understandable in the aftermath of a marital affair. But if
you truly want to heal and rebuild trust with your husband
or wife, it is essential that you deal with how you're
feeling and make the shifts you need to make so that you two
can begin to move closer to one another.
Sandra absolutely regrets the affair that she had for over a
year. Her husband, Todd, was devastated to not only discover
that Sandra had been cheating on him, but also that the
affair went on for so long.
But now that Sandra has ended the affair, they've made a
commitment to try to rebuild their marriage. They are
receiving guidance from a counselor and Todd thought he'd
start to feel better about their relationship.
He wants to believe Sandra's renewed promises, but he holds
back and is often suspicious of her because he simply
doesn't want to be blind-sided
What does trustable mean to you?
Sandra and Todd's counselor asks them both to think about
and write down what being trustable or trustworthy means to
each of them. When they read off their lists, they contain
similar yet different things.
For example, for Sandra, to be trustable means that you
follow through on what you say you will do. There is also an
element of staying open and being honest about how you are
feeling included in her definition of "trustable."
Todd also included being honest and open on his list.
Following through on promises also showed up in his
definition of "trustable." Additionally, Todd expressed that
he sees trustability as something a person earns over time.
If a person has lied or betrayed trust in the past, he
thinks it needs to be earned all over again.
Consider talking with your spouse about what being trustable
or trustworthy means to each of you. There is not one
"right" answer. This practice can help you both better
understand the trust priorities of one another.
And, especially for the person who had the marital affair, it can
assist you in knowing where to place your attention in
Sandra now knows that working with Todd to make
completions about the past and figuring out ways she can
"re-earn" his trust might be beneficial.
What conscious leaps of trust are you willing to make?
Let's face it. As much as we all want guarantees that we
won't be hurt or feel betrayed in our love relationships or
marriage, there aren't any. You are most powerful living in
this present moment. This is one reason why making
completions and doing what it takes to release the past is
When you trust-- or renew trust-- it is a bit of a leap of
faith. Particularly if your spouse has had an affair, you
probably don't want to take that leap without clearly seeing
your situation. You want to make a conscious and aware leap
as you trust once again.
One way to consciously choose to trust your partner is to
take each moment as it comes. When you are faced with
doubts, focus in on the specific situation and tune in to
what you know to be true.
You might decide to ask your mate-- in a way that is not
accusatory-- for more information. Stay awake and informed
and feel your way into trusting moments from that place.
How can you expand your view?
Todd and Sandra have been communicating more about trust and
they've also been taking more care to act in trustable ways
with one another. This is helpful and Sandra feels like they
are starting to be connected more of the time.
Todd, on the other hand, feels like there are some small
improvements, but he continues to see Sandra as unfaithful
and somehow undeserving of his trust.
Their counselor encourages Todd to start noticing the ways
in which Sandra is keeping her word and being honest and
open with him. Todd is challenged to expand his view and see
more than the past Sandra who had the affair.
He can decide to also see the Sandra who is faithful now and
working to prove to him that she is trustable.
The pain of the affair might make it seem difficult for you
to expand your view beyond the hurt and worries that your
mate will cheat again. See if you can begin to notice just
one trustworthy act or word each day from your partner.
Just notice it and acknowledge the positive shift within
yourself and your relationship.
Pretty soon, it's likely that you'll find it easier to
notice more and more trustable moments in your
relationship. Be sure to celebrate this with your spouse.
It is a sign that you two are becoming more connecting and
that trust is rebuilding.