An Issue of Trust

One of the hardest things we’ve had to deal with lately about my emotional affair is that Linda is continuing to have a problem with trusting me and continually questions whether I really do love her.  It’s not a question of trust in the normal sense of Linda thinking I’m out on the prowl for women or anything like that.  I don’t honestly think she still believes I’m having an emotional affair with Tanya either.  Rather, it’s more that she has a hard time understanding how I could all of a sudden stop a relationship with someone else, and start loving her fully again.  She knows how I was deceiving her previously and thinks that I may just be pretending to be back in love with her because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do.

The day after Christmas Linda was somewhat distant, and I could tell that she was upset and depressed, and at one point she even lay down in bed and was crying.  When I questioned her about what was the matter, she said she wasn’t sure I’m really back since I “pretended” to be back last Christmas.   She is trying to understand what I was thinking of a year ago and why I chose to have feelings for another person.

I can tell you that these depressed moods that she gets into while concentrating on things that happened over a year ago, are becoming quite frustrating, though I do understand and can appreciate her feelings. I can’t think of anything else that I can do to make her believe that I’m back in love with her and I’m where I want to be, and that I don’t have any feelings for Tanya anymore.   I tell her that I love her, I don’t think of Tanya anymore, and that I want to be with her– often.  She remains skeptical.

It’s all an issue of trust.  But it’s a little more complicated than just making her believe that the marital affair is over, as I’m sure she knows that it is.  It’s trying to make her believe (trust) that I made the decision to end the affair and stay with her because I wanted to and not that I felt I “had” to because of family, or whatever other reason.  That being said, how can I reestablish the trust factor with Linda?  It’s something that is going to take time, which is understandable.

To help with this situation I referred to Dr. Frank Gunzberg’s book “How to Survive an Affair” and one of the tips really struck a chord with me.  As it pertains to my situation, one of the things  that I must do is to try to make her completely understand that I eventually came to realize exactly what I put at risk by my deceptive and deplorable behavior. It’s was very clear to me that all I’ve worked for, loved, and held dear was in serious jeopardy. And, when I looked at her or held her while she was sobbing, and realized how much I hurt and devastated her, it suddenly hit me very hard and made me realize I was a fool, and that I had been incredibly stupid and destructive.  I came to realize that I risked this almost 30-year long relationship for someone who was really a stranger to me.

For more information on rebuilding trust after an affair, check out our e-book “Journey to Trust:  Rebuilding Trust After an Affair” and learn how we were able to regain trust in our relationship.  There are also some great bonuses included where experts share some of their valuable  trust building strategies.  Click here now!

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10 Responses to An Issue of Trust

  1. JABNEY February 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    YAY DOUG!!!! Congratulations to you for understanding this piece. If the cheater can truly understand this and express this to their partner they have a much greater chance of putting their relationship back together~~GOOD FOR YOU!!!!
    “One of the things that I must do is to try to make her completely understand that I eventually came to realize exactly what I put at risk by my deceptive and deplorable behavior. It’s was very clear to me that all I’ve worked for, loved, and held dear was in serious jeopardy. And, when I looked at her or held her while she was sobbing, and realized how much I hurt and devastated her, it suddenly hit me very hard and made me realize I was a fool, and that I had been incredibly stupid and destructive. I came to realize that I risked this almost 30-year long relationship for someone who was really a stranger to me.”

  2. Charlotte March 16, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Wow – I read this article (having seen it tweeted!) and if I didn’t know better it’s written about my BF and myself. OK, so we’ve not been together for 30yrs, more like 1.5, but the love I feel for him and the pain and betrayal I still struggle with (He propositioned another woman on the weekend we were originally going to get married, but postponed it) is the same. Trust is a massive issue – knowing he called and talked to the women he propositioned like a horny schoolboy when I left him for a month does make me doubt his true commitment to me. Did he stay with me and tell me everything I wanted to hear because he really had regrets – or simply because I was pregnant and he had too much family pressure? Will I ever know the answer to that question? Time will tell but I live in hope! 🙂

    • admin March 16, 2010 at 7:45 am #

      Welcome Charlotte, and thanks for commenting! Yes time will tell. Or you can always do what Linda does with me–Ask! Once trust has been broken it’s tough to gain it back isn’t it?

    • Holdingon May 24, 2016 at 5:52 am #

      My wife of 23 years had an EA with her first love, there’s only been him and me, I don’t think I’ll ever be sure I was first choice, I have no proof but I believe he got what he wanted and dumped her, he cheated on her in their first relationship, they were each others first. Having an affair with a new person for the thrill of something new. But when you’ve been with 2 people and your ready to give up your H for what you had before, that’s hard to live with, she knew what we both had to offer and chose him, for a while anyway, she says she ended it, but the evidence I found seemed to show she was stalking him. I’ll never know the truth, so I leave or settle for being second choice.

  3. Kate June 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Wow, a lot of this strikes close to home. I’m just starting to read your site, from the last page to the first so I can get the whole story.

    My husband dropped a bomb on me Jan 1st, saying he didn’t think things between us were working out. We’ve been married almost 8 yrs, together over 12 total. No kids together, my 17 yr old daughter from a previous relationship has put us through a bit of hell though… We’ve always been best friends, have many common interests, share the same values and morals, enjoy each others families, etc. All of our friends called us the perfect couple, saying it is so obvious how much we each love the other.

    Considering I didn’t know anything was wrong, for him to say he hasn’t been happy for a couple of years and wanted to end our marriage completely floored me. We started a bit of counseling but didn’t get far because he couldn’t articulate what he felt was missing, just that he was sure our marriage was missing what it needed to make it work.

    About mid-March I found evidence (via snooping thru his email – I know, bad, but he started hiding his cell phone and being secretive about email so I knew something was up) that he was having an affair (mostly emotional, but some physical) with a woman who was supposedly one of our good friends. Talk about being hit by another bomb?!? Stabbed in the back by both my husband and best friend…

    Needless to say, our relationship is a wreck and so much of what I’ve read so far on your site sounds familiar. He gave the standard “I love you but am not in love with you” line, then told me he felt for her like he used to feel for me back when we first met, admitted he’d mentioned marriage to her, etc.

    He ended all contact with her as soon as I found out, but we are still living in limbo, as he “doesn’t know what he wants”. He’s not happy, he thinks its because of our relationship – that he cares for me but doesn’t love me like he should to remain married. At the same time, he hasn’t left, hasn’t initiated any moves toward divorce, still wants to cuddle/be intimate/hold me, etc.

    My life is currently composed of mixed signals galore, living without knowing if he loves me or am I just a friend, feeling totally lost and confused. I am just waiting for him to figure out if he wants to try to work things out between us or not, even when everyone who knows us (counselors included) say they can see he still cares for me and doesn’t seem to want to leave…

    If only he could come to the realization that you did… “I eventually came to realize exactly what I put at risk by my deceptive and deplorable behavior. It’s was very clear to me that all I’ve worked for, loved, and held dear was in serious jeopardy.”

    • admin June 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Kate and welcome, Yes your story sounds very familiar and you will find a lot of advice and comments as you surf around. Since your husband has ended contact with the other woman, you have a very good chance for your marriage to survive. It takes time and work, but you’re off to a good start. Thanks for visiting!

      Shameless plug here…If you want to get most of our earlier posts in one easy to read book, why not check out our Handbook?

      • Kate June 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

        Thanks, I made it through all the blog posts over a couple of days. Really good stuff you guys have here. I’ve read quite a few sites lately, much like Linda did, and I honestly think you guys are giving the best perspective of all. Real people, real life, real words.

        I’m feeling so drained but I keep just getting by one day at a time. Pretending everything is fine, but always wondering if I will ever hear “I love you” from him again…

        • Last2know June 21, 2010 at 7:22 am #

          Kate, I wish you the best, if you’re reading article etc. Remember right focus on yourself, you’re health. Confidence level etc. Understand what role you have played in this, in other words, what needs of your H are you not meeting and start meeting them now. Remember “Triple A” ADORE, ADMIRE and APPRECIATE. Tell him you appreciate his support with the unruly 17y/o and how you don’t know what you would do without him helping you raise her. Those kinds of things. If your friend knows about those issues in your family I can bet you she is using them to her advantage. Example: “I don’t know how you put up with Kates Kid”, you don’t deserve to be going through this”. “if it were me I would be so lucky to have you helping me raise my kid”. Are you getting my drift? He needs to hear all this from you. And if he is the step dad and she is living in your house he better have a say in her discipline whether she and you like it or not. I raised my stepson so I know how he feels from that perspective. He comes before your child. Your child will be an adult in 1yr and gone soon after and honestly until she is mid 20’s won’t give a rats ass about you. So right now your energy goes to yourself, your health and your marriage. Hang in there.

          • Kate June 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

            Thanks, Last2know! Luckily, to the best of my (thoroughly snooping) knowledge he is not in contact with the OW anymore and hasn’t been since D-Day mid-March. So what she may have said in the past is long gone… Now it’s just dealing with the fallout of the A and whether he wants to stay together or not.

            He says he was unhappy for so long that he just “checked out” of the marriage and was going thru the motions. When our “friend” expressed sympathy and was a good listener they ended up “falling in love.” Now that she is out of the picture, (he says he has no intentions of contacting her again and she is out of all of our social circles) he still doesn’t know if he wants to stay married.

            I think he is afraid of being unhappy in the marriage, and things being the same as they were before the A. Obviously, if we both are aware of our communication issues and the importance of not holding back our feelings we will avoid that kind of problem in the future. He just needs to figure out whether he wants to try or not.

            It’s exhausting – my job is stressful & I am unhappy there, my marriage is a wreck and my relationship with my 17yr old is nothing but stress-inducing too. I don’t have any part of my life that isn’t falling apart right now!

  4. unsure still July 10, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    My H had an EA last year. I knew it was coming following a text he received, while she was sat with her H in a pub on a works outing. At the time I told him she was too close and he said thats just how she is. They got closer over the next few months, even though she renewed her wedding vows during this time. They met up a few times but were then discovered by a family friend, and he told me about it because he had to. I confronted her in front of her H, and she denied it – what a surprise, then two days later she told her H it had happened. Meanwhile, my H had told me he had ended it that night and said he would have no more contact with her personally, only for work, but two days later told me she had told her H after telling me repeatedly that he had had no contact from, or to, her. They continued to have their EA through texts and calls, but didnt meet (as far as I know) until 6 weeks later, when I received a text from her “friend” informing me that they were meeting that night. He told me, when I got home that he had seen her to tell her it was all over as they had stuff to ‘sort out’. After that day, he said he only talked to her about work, but they still had lengthy phone calls and texts, that mysteriously disappeared from his phone, even though he hadnt erased them – yeah right!! – his phone, apparently, has a mind of its own and only erases her phone calls and texts. I came to end of my tether 5 months down the line and we had a huge row. Suddenly the calls and texts stopped, well, diminished as he was still working with her. He had told her he loved her, once – again, yeah right – but it was only words to fill in ‘gaps’ during a conversation. He had talked about leaving me and going to live with her, but never left. He has also said that he wants to be with me, but will not sever his links with the company she works for, and so has to talk to her. He cannot see that any contact with her drives me nuts and has told me to stop looking at his phone, I feel he should just stop phoning her. she works in an office, so why does he have to ring her mobile? We had, during the first 3 months, long conversations about where we were in our married lives, only for hi to be on the phone to her the next day for up to 40 minutes- was he telling her what we discussed? – I feel such a fool for what happened during that time, being a nymphomaniac, a loving, caring wife, continuing to do everything at home, only for him to continue having his EA. I am annoyed with myself for how I behaved and do apologise to him when I am like that.

    Now we’re a year on from D-Day and I still dont know whether or not he has feelings for the OW. He has always told me he loves me, even when he was seeing her, and continues to do tell me so, but now I wonder whether it is just words to fill in gaps. He says he is where he wants to be but does not know what he wants out of life, a midlife crisis is what is wrong with him – he says – and although I believe both men and women do go through a MLC, I also believe that is no excuse for an EA.

    He works with her and is in contact with her daily. I have asked him not to use her personal mobile, which he no longer does, but he still calls her works mobile, which I dont feel he should, he says she is nothing to him, the whole episode is nothing to him, however, my reaction, although I try to fight it, is that its nice to know such a nothing nearly destroyed us.

    I still dont feel like I’ve made a decision whether to stay or go yet, although for now I stay.

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