Affair Aftermath: How Can I Trust Again
After So Many Lies?
By Susie and Otto Collins
Pinocchio's nose grew when the puppet-boy from the famous
fairy tale told a lie. If your partner told you lies to
cover up his or her affair, you might wish that the
Pinocchio effect was real!
Even if the infidelity happened awhile ago and you two have
made strides putting your relationship back together again,
trust might still be weak.
You might still wonder-- in the back of your mind-- when
you'll find out your mate is lying to you again. If only
there was a way to really know if he or she is telling the
If you and your partner have decided to re-build trust and
focus your attention on healing yourselves and your
relationship, the last thing you probably want to find out
is that you are being lied to-- again.
At the same time, it's likely that you don't want to be
caught off-guard and surprised by deception and betrayal as
you were before.
It can seem like a tricky situation. If you keep your
defenses up and are always on the look out for signs that
your partner is lying to you, there will undoubtedly be a
wall of suspicion that keeps you two further apart and
stands in the way of healing.
But to completely open yourself up again may make you feel
quite vulnerable. It's probably your intention to never feel
that kind of pain or hurt again.
Jim and Keri have been working hard to re-build trust after
Keri's affair last year. She has done whatever Jim asked in
order to make amends for her actions, including giving him
access to her
e-mail account and cell phone records.
They have had countless talks together to better
understand the disconnection between them that contributed
to Keri's choice to cheat.
No matter how transparent Keri has tried to be during these
past months, she feels like Jim is never fully convinced
that she is being truthful with him. Jim often asks follow
up questions and sometimes requests the names of friends or
co-workers who could verify her "story" if he
chooses to investigate.
Many times Keri feels more like she's on trial being grilled
by an prosecutor rather than in a relationship that's
supposed to be about
re-connecting and love.
Jim is just torn up inside. He is well aware of how hard
Keri is working to prove that she is trustworthy. Many days,
he can see and appreciate the extra efforts she's making to
help build trust between them.
But just when he starts to relax and have fun with Keri,
remembering why heloves her so much, there is a clenching in
his stomach and a wave of memory of the day he found out
about her affair.
In those moments, he is transported back to the past and
it's almost as if the hurt is fresh and new.
At times like those, Jim wonders how he can ever trust Keri
again after so many lies were told to cover her infidelity.
Learn to trust yourself and your "gut."
When you've been hurt by lies and your partner's affair, a
first step is to learn how to trust yourself again. Yes, the
person in the relationship who cheated needs to learn to
trust him or herself again and believe that agreements can
be kept. But even the person who was cheated on has to
be able to believe what his or her "gut" is indicating.
There might be a lot of confusion within after finding out
that the relationship you thought you had, is based-- at
least in part-on lies. This feeling of the rug being pulled
out from under you that comes after discovering the lies and
the infidelity can cause you to doubt what you
And in some cases, it can leave you suspicious of
everything you hear or think you know to be true.
Begin to practice by tuning in to yourself when you are
feeling calm and relatively positive about your life. Take a
statement that frequently bounces around in your mind. Feel
into yourself and try to get a clearer idea of where that
statement is coming from. If you notice anxiety or fear
surrounding this statement, then perhaps you would benefit
from further information.
On the other hand, if the statement or thought seems to
spring from a sure feeling, from the "gut," then this might
be more reliable. Pay special attention to whether this
statement seems to come from a past experience or from
thispresent moment. Bring yourself back to the present.
Jim realizes that when Keri works late, he starts creating
scenarios in his mind about Keri having another affair and
lying to hide it. He tunes into himself and discovers that
this these scenarios definitely derive from his fears and
from what happened in the past.
Just recognizing this allows Jim to calm down and stop the
scenario. And from a less intense and fear-filled place, he
can ask Keri for more information about her workday.
How Jim feels and the degree to which he soothes his fears
can mean the difference between Keri feeling like she's
being interrogated or merely being asked questions from a
place of curiosity.
Take a reasonable risk.
After your partner has had an affair and you are aware of
the lies and betrayal that have happened, it is a risk to
Let's face it. Everyday is filled with risks
of all types and intensities. Walking down the street,
eating at a restaurant, undergoing a medical procedure, and
being in a love relationship.
When you are rebuilding trust after infidelity, you are
given the opportunity to love again. And you are given the
opportunity to take a reasonable risk.
Keri finally breaks down in tears one evening after Jim
slips back into his interrogating and suspicious mode. She
shares with him that she doesn't know what more she can do
to prove to him that he can trust her. She feels helpless
and even fearful that they will ever be happy again.
After this breakdown, Jim and Keri make an agreement that
they will both take reasonable and conscious risks during
this trust re-building process.
Jim and Keri set a new intention for their relationship.
They will now make it a point to look for signs that they
can trust one another. Jim will begin to notice when Keri
follows through on what she says. He will check within
himself before launching into checking up on her "story" or
Keri will acknowledge the times that Jim asks her about her
day from a place of curiosity and will take care to answer
without being defensive. They both will make note of the
ways that they connect and when they move closer together.
There are no 100% guarantees that your partner will never
lie to you again or even that he or she will never betray
you or break agreements. You can only know what you
determine to be true by tuning out your fears and tuning in
to your "gut."
Love is a risk. But it is a risk that many believe is worth
taking. Stay conscious and aware and allow
yourself to open more and more to connection.