My name is Eleanor. Here is a summary of my story, and my question for you …
My husband was addicted to porn and sex which resulted in several online affairs and a couple of hooks ups. He admitted this to me about 3 years ago. I know he is genuinely remorseful and has been working hard to put all of that behind him. He is very open with me today, and will always answer any questions I have. He appears to be completely accountable, and seems to be genuinely committed to helping me recover, and to doing whatever is necessary for me to trust him again. Basically, he seems to be doing all the right things, and for all the right reasons. If you asked me if I thought I could trust him today, I would say “yes”, and mean it.
But here’s my problem, although I think I can trust him now, I am afraid to trust him. I’m always on my guard, and am watching carefully, so that I’m never deceived again. Can you help me with my issues around trust?
Hi Eleanor, Thanks for contacting us.
Wow! You’ve been through a lot. It’s not surprising that you are finding it hard to trust. Your husband has shown you what he’s capable of, and those are memories that you simply can’t erase. They’re painful, traumatic memories. So, it’s very normal to be on high alert when you’re in a situation like this.
From what you’ve shared, it sounds as if you are being very wise in checking out all the evidence, to make sure your husband continues to be the person that he appears to be. This is crucial; it’s a healthy thing to do.
However, even if you’re trying to be objective and alert – and you it looks like your husband is trustworthy today – it’s almost inevitable that doubts will creep in, and you’ll find yourself playing the “What if?” game:
“What if he gets drawn back in again?”
“What if he meets someone that he can’t say ‘no’ to?”
“What if I relax, and I let my guard down, and he deceives me all over again?”
Those are very natural anxieties.
And how you answer those questions is important here – for it’s how you will quell your anxieties. Those answers hold the key to what you’re searching for (which is having peace of mind, and not worrying all the time).
In summary, your ability to trust your husband again is not so much tied into predicting the future, or in trying to control how your husband behaves. For neither of those are possible.
But what is completely within your control is your ability to handle what the future brings. Trust comes from knowing you are strong enough to survive receiving devastating news. It comes from knowing you can trust yourself to ‘not go under’, to ‘find a way through’.
So, maybe, let’s stop here, and think about this …
– You survived it before, and you’ve rebuilt your life. You have strategies to handle the trauma and the pain. And you likely have a strong support system in place.
– There are also other people who matter to you. Your husband’s not the only person in your life. (And there are many other people who you matter to, as well.)
– Also today, you’re well aware that your identity and worth are not tied in to what your husband does. You are independent people. You each make your own decisions. You are valuable and loved because of who you are. It has nothing to do with your husband at all.
So, these are the keys that enable you trust.
You are betting on yourself, and not on him.
“Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming.”