For couples who have experienced infidelity, trust is often the biggest hurdle to affair recovery and healing.  Sometimes trust eventually returns completely, sometimes it partially returns and certainly in many cases it never returns.

While doing some research the other day, we came across a statement made by Dr. Willard Harley (His Needs Her Needs) that we thought would be a good discussion generator.

Here is the statement…

“How can a spouse ever trust an unfaithful partner again? My answer is that the spouse should never have been trusted in the first place. I shouldn’t be trusted by my wife, and I shouldn’t trust her. The fact is that we are all wired for infidelity, and under certain conditions, we’ll all do it. The way to protect your marriage from something that has been common to man (and women) for thousands of years is to recognize the threat, and do something to prevent it from happening.”

Harley’s theories of building a strong marriage and affair prevention include such concepts as…

  • Basing a marriage on “Radical Honesty” which to quickly explain means to reveal to your spouse as much information about yourself as you know; your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.
  • Being each other’s favorite leisure-time companions, and not being away from each other overnight
  •  Meeting each other’s most important emotional needs
  • Avoiding “Love Busters”  (In short these include:  Selfish Demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, annoying habits, independent behavior, and dishonesty) and building an integrated lifestyle  free of secret second lives
See also  Discussion: Let's Hear Some Successes

With these and other measures in place, spouses end up ‘trusting’ each other because an affair becomes almost impossible to achieve.

Now, for the discussion, we’re not going to list a bunch of questions.  Instead we ask that you simply discuss Harley’s point of view and whether or not you agree or disagree, and tell us why or why not.  Citing some personal experiences is always appreciated.

Feel free as well to offer your opinions on trust building in a marriage and especially after an affair.

Thanks so much!

Linda & Doug



    48 replies to "Discussion – Should We Ever Have Trusted Our Spouses in the First Place?"

    • Gizfield

      I like it. I read or heard that one major reason people have affairs in the first place is “opportunity”. I also read that when you “trust” someone absolutely, that you you are letting them know you think they are not capable of doing something. Which then gives them freedom to do it. I dont think it is wrong to trust someone, just ill advised. Especially if they have lied repeatedly, over the course of weeks/months/years about a major issue that is harmful to you. like your cheater…

    • Gizfield

      To paraphrase Machiavelli, I think, “Absolute trust corrupts, absolutely”. Or Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the trust.” Lol.

      The original quotes are Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and You can’t handle the truth, for anyone who’s never heard them.

    • JennyN

      In my experience it was not a matter of trust of another that got me into trouble, but the inability to trust myself, and defer to another.

      If I did not agree with my loved one (I struggled with this in all relationships) I would assume I was wrong.

      This allowed me to see concerns, but not act in my own self interest (I don’t mean selfish, I mean interest).

      I hope for me this has changed because of the affair. I needed to learn it regardless, and I don’t know if I would have without such a significant lesson.

      Sometimes I don’t like the lessons, but the learning is invaluable.

    • Teresa

      I remember reading that over a year ago…and I agree! Trusting my spouse 100% is why I’m here in the first place!
      He used that trust against me! He even admits he took advantage of me and my trusting nature….I tend to see the “good” in everyone, and overlook the not so good!

      And after reading his comment about not trusting his wife and her not trusting him, it gave me a feeling of relief…because I will NEVER trust my H…or anyone else…like I did before, and I now know that’s ok!!

      • Paula

        Oh, yeah, taking advantage of the trust, mine also admits that was a really big thing for him, and at the time, although he was ashamed of using it, he was relieved I was so trusting, it made everything so much easier to cope with for him, like he believed I wasn’t being hurt if i trusted him? And my friendship with her made it “okay” in their screwed up minds, almost like I was okay with it all? I must be if I was friends with her, right? I know, it is crazy.

      • Recovering

        My husband, too, took advantage of the fact that I trusted him. He took advantage of the fact that I felt that he needed his time away “with the guys” to vent after work, as I knew he worked very hard. Well, apparently he didn’t work as hard as I believed or he wouldn’t have had time to have an affair with the ho from work!! I do NOT believe that we are all wired to have affairs, but I should not have trusted my husband 100% as stated. I think that if I had kept my guard up I would have not let things fly that I thought were off a bit, thinking he would never do such a thing… I maybe would have been more like I am now.. more attentive to his needs, instead of just assuming our love would get us through the era of his education after working full-time while I was going to school myself and being the mom AND dad since he was never home… I think I would’ve been more assertive in my needs for date nights instead of just whining how we never saw each other and hoping HE would do something about it.. I WONT ever trust him 100% again.. how could I when now I KNOW he is capable of such sick deceit? And maybe that IS okay… maybe I don’t have to feel so bad about being a bit suspicious… I just didn’t see the tiny signs that have become HUGE red flags about his personality before. I thought that they were endearing… Wow. And the fact that I did trust him 100% has been one of the hardest parts for me to deal with. I thought that I KNEW this man, that this man could NEVER do something so sick and twisted as to cheat on his wife…. It’s made me realize that you NEVER can stop doing the work, that you always have to woo your spouse and appreciate them. I love my husband more now than I did before the affair, which surprises me to even type, because part of me hated him so much for a while after… Now thinking about the affair just makes me sad, but also more appreciative that my husband WANTED to do the work! That he WANTS to be with me now. Either one of us could have left, but we didn’t, and there is no guarantee that either one of us will stay forever, so we just gotta keep working at it and not get too comfortable again! I do have to say, though, that though I don’t HATE the whore anymore that he was with, I would be happy if something bad happened to her – like a single car accident where only she died… THAT would be Karma… Then at least her children could have good memories of their mother and her husband would never find out what a whore he was married to… it would be kinder for all of us…

    • chiffchaff

      I also agree. I trusted my H too much before the discovery, it’s what I expected from marriage – that there would be implicit trust. I am gradually accepting that it is ok to not completely trust my H in the future. He doesn’t like that but knows it’s something that he caused to be destroyed.
      I think it’s healthier to not trust someone absolutely as it does absolve you of some personal responsibility in reality. It doesn’t mean that I don’t trust him to pay the bills etc. but I will always be wary of him being late home without explanation/going away to meetings/being secretive – anything that he did and lied to me about I will never trust without asking again. I ask him to prove or confirm such activities, provide details, be open and honest. He doesn’t seem to mind. He’s being an adult about it. He seems to accept that because of his bad actions in the past he needs to be accountable.
      Dr Hartley’s rules are sensible. It’s why I’m worried about the future where we may have to live apart for some months.

      • Strengthrequired

        Chiff, my h and I have been apart five nights acweek for many months now. I don’t like it one bit. The problem is I know for now while we get back on our feet financially we have no choice. We just can’t afford him to come home.
        Let me tell you it isn’t easy, at first I was so anxious each time, yet now, it seems to be easier.
        If I can do this once I see we are better financially again, simply, No. Well I guess, having no choice has forced me to accept how things are for now, and to give as much trust as I can.
        the hardest thing to do after being betrayed by your h, is being apart while trying to rebuild your marriage.
        People say with distance your heart grows fonder, I don’t agree with that, if not careful distance can cause distance and can destroy a marriage.
        I am hanging onto hope that things start changing for us soon.
        Good luck chiff

    • gizfield

      I’ll be honest, after the shit he has done, my husband is lucky his only negative consequence is to be held accountable for his time and whereabouts. That is the minimum that any married person should expect, in my opinion. If thats a problem, you really probably should not be married. If you’re insulted that someone doesn’t trust you, try reviewing your history and that should clarify it for you.

    • DJ

      I also used to believe that I could trust my husband completely. I never questioned his faithfulness, even when all the signs were there. It had to be thrown in my face before I would see it.

      Well, again like most people here, I will never trust anyone like that again. It felt like a loss to me for a long time, but I have come to accept that as life. The one who cannot accept it is my husband. He gets upset when I show any signs of not trusting him. He says if I cannot trust him in all things, then we have nothing. He misses the wife who saw him as her knight in shining armor.

      That knight turned around and gored me when he betrayed me. I learned the hard way to be careful. He is completely off-base to even think of saying that me.

      So yes, I guess I believe in Dr. Harley’s statement. I don’t agree with everything he says, but this one is ok by me.

      There is more to it, however, than the short statement above. Dr. Harley believes that we are all susceptible to sin, which is a basic Christian belief, but if we build the proper “hedges” around our hearts and our relationships, we will not have the opportunity slide down that slippery slope. It’s not that we have to be on constant alert; we just have to be careful in how we set up our lives and our marriages. Some examples would be never having lunch alone with a person of the opposite sex, or not going on business trips alone with a person of the opposite sex, even if you stay in separate rooms. Billy Graham was known for never doing these things. Some saw it as backwards. I see it as smart living.

      One of my husband’s business associates travels every year with her boss, a man about her age. We have dinner together whenever they come to town. It is obvious that they are very close, maybe a little too close. Red flags go up in my head whenever I see them. They are both married to other people. I told my husband, after finding out about his affair, that I found this unacceptable. I did not want him ever doing this with any woman. He threw a fit. He is still in denial of the depth of what he did and how vulnerable he is because of that.

      So a couple weeks ago, he went on a business trip and I later found out that he did exactly the same thing. They didn’t fly together because she was already at the site, but she picked him up at the airport and they spent the entire time together. Separate rooms, but together from breakfast until retiring for the evening, or so I was told.

      I am thinking about whether or not I should leave, for this and for many other reasons. He has been wonderful in so many ways. Mr. Acts of Service – he cooks, he cleans, he brings me lunch, he buys me gifts. After almost three years, he is still doing it. He says he will spend the rest of our lives treating me like a queen. I believe he will. He is affectionate and sex is great.

      But there is the other side, the side that insists I go back to being the adoring little waif who will allow him to do whatever the hell he wants and trust that he will always do the right thing. He goes into rages if I don’t and says mean, hurtful things. Instead of talking to me about things, he hides things – like that business trip – and deletes texts and refuses to talk.

      So again, yes, I believe Dr. Harley is right in this.

      • livingonafence

        Wow – we are married to the same person – I’m sure of it.

        I don’t need to respond – DJ did it for me.

    • gizfield

      Dj, I think you are absolutely correct in being upset with your husbands behavior. He has 1) snuck around, 2) lied about it,3) denied anything was wrong with sneaking and lying and 4) yelling at you about it. these are all red flags !! my husband did the same shit. Until they admit this is wrong, it doesn’t matter what else they do. If they dont think it is wrong, what wil keep them from doing it again? Thats right, nothing..

      • DJ

        You’re so right, Gizfield – and that is why I still struggle after almost three years, and why I am wondering if it is still worth that struggle. It’s good to have validation of what I’ve been thinking. Thank you.

    • Paula

      The first MC we saw told me straight out that I had what he labelled as “naive trust.” I agree, that fawning, this-man-is-incapable-of-hurting-fantastic-me type of trust. I knew everyone is capable, but somehow I did stupid things like letting him take an ex-GF overnight without me (I guess the presence of four kids made it seem okay, that, and the fact that we had talked and talked about this stuff for decades, I thought he was on the same page as me with regards to cheating, ugh.) I believed his explanations of things that I thought were “off,” and never thought twice about them. I asked him questions, and took his lies at face value, never dreaming he would lie if I asked him outright, he “wasn’t the type.” And we never spent too many nights apart, we hated being apart, A LOT!

      DJ, I agree with Giz, your H is being his selfish worst, and it is in NO WAY acceptable to put up with that, ever, but after affairs, no damn way. I wish you all the best in deciding what is best for you.

      • DJ

        Thank you, Paula. That means a lot to me. We are going on a trip tomorrow… it is the start of my school’s fall break. It was during this fall break three years ago that he left an email from her open on his laptop while we were on another trip, and my world fell apart. How life has changed since then…

    • Strengthrequired

      Honestly we may have been naive to trust the way we did, but you would think being with someone for decades, still being intimate, not liking being apart, so that was a rare occasion, sharing everything with this person, all the ups and all the downs, all the good and all the bad, that trust would be 100 percent both sides. Why wouldn’t we expect 100 percent trust from the one person we become one with each and every day of our lives. How can we ever have expected that our spouses of decades, who has been by our sides for so long, who would never have thought for a second of hurting us, especially after protecting us, our marriages for so long, who would stand up for us, just one day do a 180 and bring out a person as if a evil twin, who would look at us with hate and show utter disrespect, right out of the blue, just because some op got in their heads.
      I for one never dreamed that day would ever come to my marriage.
      We don’t go into a marriage expecting our marriage to not last forever, and to not trust and love completely for the rest of our lives.
      For me, I expect to trust completely my h, because if I can’t trust him completely in the future, I can’t see how we can remain together.
      I expect to be able to trust my h with my life and our children’s life.
      Sorry for the rambling.

    • gizfield

      I will say that I do trust my husband about a lot of things. It’s like there a lot of different categories, and there’s a percentage in each. I trust him to treat our daughter right, to not be a drunk or a drug addict, to try to provide for our family, to not hurt me physically. Considering my past relationships, these things are huge to me. I trust him not to act inappropriately with other women when I am around. I DO NOT trust him not to be in contact with a slut when I’m not around cause he did it behind my back for years. Pisses me off to even think about it…

      • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

        I appreciate this comment too. I could always trust my husband for many things. He was a good provider. He always washed my car. If we went backpacking, he would take care of everything, including the cooking and cleaning up afterward. I just could not trust that he wasn’t seeing someone else (and sleeping with them) during the past three years. I’m over it.

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      Strengthrequired, I am in total agreement with what you said, and it’s exactly that I’ve been battling in my grieving this week. Another thing I know I will struggle with in the future is trusting myself. Seems like an intelligent woman would not choose to subject herself to this kind of crap. Again. But I WANT to be able to trust that there could be someone who is actually trustWORTHY out there, who wouldn’t want to hide, who would not choose himself each and every time there was a choice to be made…I do believe that we are all capable of doing horrible things, and I am certainly not above reproach. But living this lie and lying to my face, not just letting me be after the first time around. Wow.

      • Strengthrequired

        Stl, I completely agree with yo too, I don’t trust my own judgement anymore, I also want to believe that there are people out there that are completely trustworthy. I am hoping to find that person back in my h.
        It’s hard to break your heart away from someone and completely stop believing that the person you knew for many years, who was able to give you no reason to not trust them isn’t still there.
        I guess time will tell.

    • gizfield

      Chiff and Strength, I feel for your situations, with having to br away from your spouses, especially at night. Shortly after I met my H, he started playing in a band. I went with him pretty much every time except rehearsal. After we had our daughter, I tried going a few times but really had no one to watch her and it was too much to stay up and then take care of an infant the next day. He tried to quit the band for a while but never found a replacementso he didnt. About the time our daughter was four, he met back up with his whore. Started inviting her to his gigs. He claims she never went but I think he is a liar. Most of the time I go with him now, but there are still times I dont. Like this past weekend they played two nights and I stayed home saturday. I do not like it, even though he texts me on his breaks and when he is leaving there. I still hate it ! Also, it is amazing how whorish the chicks in these clubs act. One of them had a birthday friday night, she got really drunk, and was literally rolling around on a couple of guys in the band, even though she knows they are married. It was disgusting.

      • Strengthrequired

        Thank you giz, I have to say it has been so hard trying to heal from this ea, when not really having my h around to do just that, heal.

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      Giz, the last night my H was away from me, he was supposedly at a major league baseball game in a city 100 miles away with ‘the guys’ who had ‘given him a ticket’ for a seat behind home plate. He was texting me and sending me pictures from the game, but the whole night I felt off and hated the way my gut was screaming at me. Next day, I happened to get ahold of his phone, and lo and behold! He had taken her, spent $200 on tickets, and she had said, “Best date ever!” He said, “Amazing fireworks, both at the game and elsewhere!” In his response to my petition for divorce he denied that our marriage is irretrievably broken. Really? It truly is disgusting, all the way around.

      • Strengthrequired

        Im sorry for all you have been through Stl. Hang in there.

    • Paula

      STL, you have been through the mill, backwards, forwards, sideways and inside out, I don’t know why your H didn’t leave you alone after your first divorce, all I think is that he did love you, in a fashion, a sick, I want to screw other women and lie to you fashion, but he loved the security and the innate “goodness” in you. You deserve love again, and when you find this elusive peace, it will come, I have no doubt. You’re right, he is disgusting, or at least, his behaviour is!

      • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

        Thanks, Paula. I appreciate you. I guess we’ve all been through the mill. It just amazes me, though, how a cheater suddenly lives on “Planet Them” where no one else matters. Everyone else who cares gets thrown under the bus, wife, partner, friends, family, children. All of it is disgusting behavior. The fallout is unreal. My only aim now is making it through, getting to the other side. I think my H loves having someone alongside who makes him look good and feel good about himself. He’s still seeing Ms. OW but won’t be seen with her. He tells people who don’t know about the latest turn of events, that he’s ‘in transition.’ Sweet.

    • tryinghard

      Thank God someone has finally said this!! I couldn’t agree more. I have been feeling so guilty for not trusting myself and my gut not to trust my H. We just had a small conversation about trust a couple nights ago. We were walking and he expressed how it was important for me to trust him again. It broke my heart to have to say no I will never trust you like that again. I also reassured him that I trust myself to know he is not actively having an affair or even looking to have an affair but he is more than capable of it. He proved that. It’s not only the affair but the capability to lie relentlessly. Although I haven’t seen any lies lately he has a proven track record. I cannot go on blind faith alone in this respect anymore. So can you have a relationship with someone you don’t naively trust? I believe absolutely you can because really we should never trust ANYONE naively as we did before. My “rose colored glasses” are off, permanently.

      Thank you for posting this Doug and Linda. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders. Now on to forgiveness and through listening to your recordings on the Higher Healing Site I think I have forgiven too according to Jeff Murrahs explanations of what forgiveness is. So glad I joined, wish I had done so earlier. I would LOVE it if my H would listen as well. So many great points.

      • Strengthrequired

        TH, I am hoping to trust my h completely again, I guess I feel I deserve to be able to have full trust. I have trusted him for so long and my belief system is hard to override trust as being anything less then 100 percent both ways. I know after more than two decades loving and trusting spthe same man, the level of trust from the moment we married had become stronger and deeper,as if engraved in stone, I guess that’s why I want that level of trust back, surely it has to return, right? I just don’t know if I can be with someone that I can’t completely trust years down the track. Which is what worries me, because I’m not ready to completely trust my h, what happens if I never do, will I be able to overcome the lack of trust I have for him, without it being too much for me to handle. I believe I deserve to trust completely again. I know I’m crazy, but not as deluded and crazymos my h ow. Lol

        • tryinghard

          If that is what you need and hope for, I hope you get it. I’m tired of feeling guilty about it. I’ve made a commitment to stay in this marriage and I want a good relationship with him. He’s a nice looking man, successful, presentable etc. Lots of women would go after him, OBVIOUSLY, and I know now that he has a weakness for flattery and a poor moral compass. I’m not trying to be snarky or smart about it I just need to accept what I have chosen to live with. It’s ok, not perfect maybe but who has perfect. I’m done living in fantasy land. I hope you get all you need and want.

          • Strengthrequired

            I admire you TH, your h is so very lucky to have you in his life. it is tiring isn’t it. I know I still have a bit of healing to do and wonder once I do get to feel better about myself and my marriage, will I be able to accept then, that just maybe I can live with not having complete trust in my h, honestly I don’t know, I would like to think things are so much better come that time and trust is complete, I truly don’t know. I think I won’t ever trust him with his family again, he has always tried to please them, he gave up for a long time, but I think him wanting to please his family is his failing when they can pressure him about what they wantnfor him, unfirtunately I wasn’t what they wanted. You know I have this constant battle I need to overcome since my h ea, and that is, will I ever be enough.
            I used to think I was but now, I would like to think I am but I’m not so sure. I’m tired, tired of all this, just want my life back.

          • Strengthrequired

            I agree completely, who really has perfect. You know I noticed as well, I am still so embarrassed about my h ea. I am embarrassed that he chose a cousin, what is wrong with me that he could choose a cousin and the ine cousin that I knew was jealous of our marriage, rumors that came knocking on our door over two decades ago. He always said he would never go there. Deep down it stills kills me from the inside. Funny I dont think I have written that down before, it really got me just now,

            • Karen

              We both seem to have a lot in common my husbands was with someone that I knew since I was 6. She told everyone we were best friends although I knew for years she wasn’t really a friend just felt after knowing her for so long I couldn’t dump her. We both knew she would do anything to destroy our marriage. We both knew how jealous she was of me and then he falls for her and thinks he loves her and that he’s special to her even though she was seeing five other guys in a two month period. I just can’t understand how some one giving you a compliment even when that person you know is not a very good person could all of a sudden be the love of your life. Sometimes I think it’s stupidity and low self esteem.

            • Strengthrequired

              I don’t get it either, definately low self esteem, and maybe being with someone with even lower self esteem makes them feel better about themselves. I don’t know.
              It’s funny how quickly they seem to be able to declare their love for these women, but let me say, that love they say that they had goes just as quick as it came.

    • Rachel

      My attorney sent me a copy of a letter that was sent to the ex’s attorney saying he needs to pay up or we go to court for contempt . Also he is not to use our son as the courier.
      Fingers crossed!!

      • tryinghard

        Oh yipee Rachel, I hope he ignores it and your next post is he’s texting the OW from the county prison!!!

    • Karen

      What about when its the second ea with the same person? Do you trust then? My h was involved with the same coworker he had an ea ( or maybe even more than that) with 18 years ago. I remember knowing that something was up back the but accepted his explanation, even after 77 phone calls to her in one month. This was before texting became popular. In light of his second ea, he admitted his first while in a fit of anger and verbal abuse over my questions. I have more evidence now than I did back then. So after the second time around with the same person, how do you ever trust again? I never will. I now question all the years in between the two ea’s…. He traveled a lot for work and had ample opportunity. 35 years of marriage and I’m feeling like its all been a big sham. Devastated. And the worst thing is that I feel he has betrayed me to the point of never trusting anyone for the rest of my life, making it impossible for me to ever get involved in another relationship. I am too afraid to trust anyone again. I hate what he has done to me… It will affect the rest of my life and I will probably not ever be able to have another relationship again.

      • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

        Karen, you can heal, with or without him. It is possible to make it through this devastation. There are resources available, but it isn’t easy and the pain can be unbearable at times. Just hang on, and be sure to take care of you.

    • CBB

      I’m not sure I agree on this one. I don’t feel guilty for trusting my husband. I’m just very sad I will not be able to trust him in that same way again. Maybe the only trust we shouldn’t have had is to have taken the marriage for granted. I was raised in a family in which that trust was actually something we were responsible for. It gave us a certain self-esteem. My parents taught me to respect other people , trust in the good and be responsible for what you do. I wasn’t expected to tell my parents everything, I had the right to my one privacy. Everyone makes mistakes ..That did not give me the permission to break that trust without bearing it’s consequences. I’m willing to give my children that same trust. Some people have broken that trust and usually it’s in the way they deal with it that makes the difference. Maybe we had different expectations, different boundaries .. But if the reaction is “you’re just jealous”, “my needs not met are the reason I have the right to cheat” “you’re exaggerating”… than I’m afraid that type of trust is gone. I’m sure a marriage can live on this more cautious trust but I would have preferred it otherwise. I’m sure his upbringing (full of lies) makes that he probably never had that “full trust” and never learned how to live up to it. My MIL lies constantly, to fulfill her own needs for attention, the OW lied and even started war just because she could not take responsibility. If they would have; maybe I would trust them that way again. If they would have done the right thing just faking it than he would be out!

    • Rachel

      Haha, trying hard. Still no $$! My friend said that his attorney is so sick of him he wants him to get in trouble.
      Karen, I totally understand what you are saying. I think all of it will take time. Hopefully we will be able to trust again.
      I don’t feel all guys are dogs like the one I married.

    • exercisegrace

      I don’t equate taking steps to protect your marriage as having no trust for your spouse.

      I don’t think MY problem was an issue of trusting him too much. It was an issue of trusting him blindly. It was a mistake for BOTH of us to not set clear, concise and very strong boundaries. SPECIFIC boundaries that we have in place now. No talking about marriage, family or personal issues with member of the opposite sex, for ANY reason. No going somewhere alone with a member of the opposite sex. And so on. Could he have blown past those even if they were in place prior to the affair? Yes. Would it have been harder for him to HAVE an affair if those were in place? Yes. If you don’t know EXACTLY where the boundaries are, it can be VERY hard to tell when you and your partner are skating over them. I let a number of things go, one piece at a time, when I should have put my foot down faster and harder. Doesn’t make it my fault, but there it is.

      Again, to me there is a huge difference between trusting your spouse, and blindly trusting your spouse.

    • suziesuffers

      Trust….I feel the same Karen….35 years…he had multiple affairs….or ea’s and pa’s ..or just inappropriate interactions with women…always looking….I was constantly interrogating him after 2 years of the last and most devastating affair…EA/PA…and seeing the withdrawal from that woman killed me….and she was an alcoholic/gambler (he’s recovering alcoholic/pot smoker…met her at AA)….AA and Alanon …desperate women seeking compassion and charm from the next man that comes along…and he didn’t profess that he had a great marriage….instant intimacy at these meetings because they talk about their vulnerablities and that they seek their High Power….alcoholics are expert liars…and their charm many times is what got them thru…..BUT the most disturbing part of this discussion is that we have to hold back trusting the person we loved more than ourselves……….strange that none of us are talking about how wonderful it must be for our husbands that before and after the affairs and the total destruction of our inner beings……..THAT THEY CAN STILL TRUST US 100%…..they don’t have to worry about how much they can trust us….or whether they have to be vigilant in discerning their actions in order to protect their heart….probably the only person they can’t fully trust is the OW….since she is as big a liar as he is……..My husband left me….telling me I was questioning him to much….which I was because he was continuing to be honest when he wanted and his truth was if he didn’t tell me something….he wasn’t lying about where he was…what he was doing and with who……truth by omission…sometimes the worse lie their is…….it makes you question everything because you know you are getting the truth and you feel like you have to investigate in order to protect yourself from the next slam down…..I’ve lost trust in my intuition…maybe I was just in denial….he was a high functionaly alcoholic/addict for our whole marriage until the last 5 years….and he hid it well…..he had LOTS of excuses for everything…but being self employed…he had LOTS of free time and I worked to make up for all his inability to earn a decent living (well maybe he did and just blew it all on addiction and women!!!!)….But trusting another person….that’s really hard…I don’t even trust myself anymore…I was so wrong in trusting him EVER….my fear is that I don’t see this in men now……and I feel like I’m always suspicious that they are just like him…..that there are no men out there that are decent..they all have the same gutless cowardice cheating lying brains as my husband did….he didn’t waste any time moving on…even before we divorced he was scanning the Alanon rooms…looking for the next wealthy good looking woman…tried hooking up with a couple of them…just like in AA….but they dropped him when they found he was poor as a mouse…although he lied to them too….telling them we hadn’t lived together for years!!!…finally found a dumb whore in Alanon ….codepedent woman that has a house (since he had no place to live and no money!!!)….which is when he left and ran out of money after the affairs always wanted to come back…..comfort and easy……….And as stupid as I am….I still miss what I thought we had…..a fantasy I guess in my mind……..Missing what was the person I thought I would be with for the rest of my life…….but he was never there….I was the one that was trustworthy…honest….moral…..and had integrity…. Someone said about how this happens in the family….My ex MIL….is a seventh day adventist addict…shoved it down my ex’s throat his whole life while she was married 14 time!! Lied about the father of her last child because she had an affair with a married man that eventually left his wife and she divorced her husband and they married!!! So she actually would endorse her son’s affairs….saying to me she understood how he needed someone to love him because I was so mean to him (mind you this was during his addict years!!!)…..I guess the apples don’t fall far from the tree….she is the biggest liar I have ever met….so I guess he had a good teacher….When they say…LOOK at the parents of the person you are marrying!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that should be a prerequiste….if they are NUTS…the kids are probably nuts too…My ex’s dad left him and his sister when they were 2 and 6 months….married his affair partner….ADOPTED her two kids and really never made an attempt to see his own kids….but his dad cheated on the New wife throughout the 20 years married…till they divorced and then he ended up married again and separated….living alone until he died of alcoholism at age 65……SAD……something was very wrong in my ex’s life…….for a long time before I met him….but I thought coming from a very trusting…..loving family myself, i thought all he needed was to be exposed to that….all that happened is he destroyed me in the process…….I became suspicious….loss my self esteem…..lost trust in myself….and saw my children wounded from a man that didn’t care about anyone but himself….and yet……..

      • Karen

        And yet … probably are finding it hard to let it go, just like me, especially if you have been married as long as I have. If you put the high school dating years and the college years in with the marriage, we’ve been together over 40 years. It’s hard to let go of that much of your life. But I am learning that I probably always love him, just will have to love him from a distance. But as for trusting myself to choose a man whom I can trust???? Don’t think I will ever be able to do that. And I’m 10 months out from confrontation day, so if things were going to get better, then they should have done so by now. I am resigned to knowing that trust in men will always be an issue for me. Sad.

    • John Galt

      All of the issues raised in this blog and in the comments above are legitimate concerns.
      However, the book that Dr. Harley authored for recovery from an affair is Surviving an Affair.

      His Needs, Her Needs is not for affair recovery and really for preventing an affair.
      For those couples that have experienced or are battling adultery, the book is Surviving an Affair.

      Dr. Harley also has a free forum on his website where people can go for help using his methods. It is on the Marriage Builders website.

      • Doug

        Hi John, Thanks for the comment. We’ve mentioned Surviving an Affair several times on this site along with the Marriage Builder website and support many of his methods.

    • Butterball

      Our problem is a bit of the opposite at the moment. While we both trusted eachother, his trust in me was probably greater than my trust in him. He trusted me more than anyone, even his mother. He trusted me 100%. Now that he is in MLC I feel he doesn’t trust me anymore and that hurts because he acts suspicious of me. Or maybe it is a reflection of knowing he broke my trust and is projecting it on me.

      • Ivy

        If he cheated definite projection.

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