do you trust your partner“Trust is a huge factor in a marriage or relationship and that fact is brought to light when one spouse cheats. Trust is shattered and is extremely difficult to regain.”

We’ve both been incredibly busy lately at work and with family stuff.  So needless to say, we were quite thankful when we received an article from our friend Dr. Huizenga, author of Break Free from the Affair that we could post today.

Rebuilding trust after an affair has always been the top struggle that couples go through, based on our surveys. In the following article Bob discusses trust and how the need system of each spouse makes trust quite fragile.

He also gives us a neat little exercise that will allow you to analyze the characteristics of trust in your relationship and could potentially lead to some worthwhile mental shifts and breakthroughs.

Do you trust your partner?

By Dr. Bob Huizenga

Do you trust your spouse?

Trust is a function of predictability.

You trust your spouse, when s/he responds and acts predictably.

That sounds very simple, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not.

Trust is a huge factor in a marriage or relationship and that fact is brought to light when one spouse cheats. Trust is shattered and is extremely difficult to regain.

The underlying need system of each spouse can make trust a fragile commodity.

I’ve encountered very few in my 30 years of private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist who initially were aware of their personal need system.

As with most, your personal need system rules. Your personal needs are extremely powerful if they dwell under your immediate awareness.

Personal needs vary from person to person: the need for attention, need for power, need for control, need for excitement, need for affirmation, need for love, etc. The list is long.

If you or your spouse unconsciously feels that your personal needs are not met, the internal turmoil may erupt and you or your spouse may experiment with other ways of acting which you believe might calm the turmoil (such as an affair.)

You or your spouse no longer is predictable (in the eyes of the other.) You think: “What in the world is happening?”…as you fear losing your world as you once knew it.

Trust and the predictability of the relationship are in jeopardy.

And, you revert to old ways of emotionally protecting yourself be they, withdrawal, conflict, overeating, over-drinking, excessive spending, working out, compulsive socializing, etc. etc.

Your marriage loses its warmth and the possibility for affection vanishes. Affection is a by-product of trust.

Once you trust, once your martial or relational world feels safe and once you experience predictability, you and your spouse move closer.

Consider these characteristics of trust and affection:

  • I trust my spouse as much or more than anyone else in my life.
  • I know that I can count on my spouse’s word.
  • I keep my word to my spouse; if I see an obstacle I express it as soon as possible.
  • I am careful about what I promise; I do not set my spouse up for disappointment.
  • I respect my spouse’s friendships with attractive people; I do not worry or get jealous.
  • I look for opportunities to keep our love fresh and exciting.
  • I receive all the kind of affection and touch I want from my spouse.
  • Our marriage has moments of tenderness, kindness and gentleness.
  • I can laugh at my own humanness and can tease my spouse lovingly.
  • I like the amount of lightness and play between us.

Now, here’s what I want you to do.

Copy this list. Print it out and take it with you.

Spend two days reading it periodically. Paste it on your fridge. Make it desktop on your computer. Tape it to your mirror. Keep it in front of you, just for two days. Think about the list. Reflect on the list. Allow the list to sink deeply in to you.

Then, put it aside for a week.

Come back to the list a week later and see what shifts have taken place in your mind or in your relationship. Describe how the list has impacted you and your marriage. What did you do differently? What new attitudes do you now possess? What mental breakthroughs did you make, if any?

If you are separated, divorced and/or single, feel free to use this exercise targeting any relationship of significant emotional investment.

 

For more of Bob’s great insight on infidelity, marriage and relationships, check out his website at Break-free-from-the-affair.com

 

    63 replies to "Do You Trust Your Partner?"

    • gizfield

      I’ve thought about this before, and I don’t believe in a big giant “blanket” of trust. I’m not sure I ever really did. I break it down into areas, like dependability, honesty, and different categories like finances, personality, parenthood, etc.

      And contrary to what some people think, I believe most Cheaters had actually earned trust by their actions before the adultery. And that they used their good past record to their advantage. My husband certainly did. I will never fully trust him again and he knows this. I would say my trust level of him is probably 80 or 90 percent, at best.

      It’s not a matter of forgiveness, like some people think, it is a matter of your opinion of a person changing. Sorry, no, buddy your actions around whores will always be under scrutiny. And it’s all on you that it is that way, not me.

    • forcryin'outloud

      Ive been on this journey for several years now and I don’t believe I will ever trust my H like I did. He showed me what he is capable of and all the MLC excuses won’t take my new found viewpoint of him away. He and we have made great strides along with a good many changes in our behavior but sadly the level of trust he once had will never return again. For example just last week he gave me a very sweet card along with a present for no reason. After initially being grateful I thought – I hope this isn’t for guilt over something he has done. Sad but true.

      I remember early after d-day our MT told me I would never trust him completely again. After thinking she must be joking I thought that would wind up being a deal breaker. Well it hasn’t. Yes it does make our relationship not as great as it could have been but that’s on his shoulders. But I do believe I will never trust anybody like I once trusted him. The damage is just too deep.

      • Strengthrequired

        Fcol, I doubt very much if I will ever be able to trust my h like I used to. I gave him complete trust, and it was thrown in my face. I tried to give hm the benefit of the doubt time and time again after dday, yet that too was just thrown back into my face. How do you look at someone with the same amount of respect and trust you once had for them, after hurting you so deeply? Yet the amount of trust we had in our husbands didn’t happen overnight, it took a long time to build, maybe it will take just as long to rebuild. Trust is earned..

    • theresa

      There is a scene in the Indiana Jones THE LAST CRUSADE, where Indy must make a giant “leap of faith”. He must place himself in God’s hands. He trusts God. He has faith in God’s will.
      And God is reaffirming his trust in us.

      Circumstances may test this faith..
      I start to ask questions I never had before. why, how could you, why is he punishing me, What is His purpose.
      Is HE real,
      Is my faith misguided?
      Am I not worthy?

      After you work through these circumstances, this emotional tsunami, when reality returns and you are no longer consumed by this poison, God is still there. My trust returns.
      Do I trust my spouse? No?
      Will I ever trust him again? I Don’t know.
      I trust in God. I trust what I can not see. I trust God’s love for me.
      I’m not expecting to get any where near this level of trust I have in God with my husband.
      Indeed, this is unrealistic. There is no comparison between trust in God and trust in my husband.
      .
      It is foolish to have absolute blind trust in anyone. Man is imperfect. There will be unsettled times. You will have questions.
      I had a justifiable expectation of honesty for him. This is implicit when there is a committed relationship. Did it need to be spelled out? No, the vows took care of this issue. Promises were made. Promises have been broken. Trust has been fractured.
      I have faith in God’s goodness toward me.
      I don’t have have this faith in my husband. I don’t feel cared for, nourished, respected. I don’t trust in his goodness toward me.

      Do trust myself. That was gone for a while. It’s back.

      I will use Bob’s program. For me

    • theresa

      … I can’t take that “leap of faith” right now.
      Maybe someday.

    • Jim

      Mort Fertel who advertises on this site, teaches to reverse the process. He encourages you to act in a trust worthy way and act as though you trust your spouse completely even though you don’t necessarily feel it at the time. He believes this makes the WS want to be trustworthy back….he quotes Ghandi… “Become the change you want to see.”..something like that… I have tried it, not very successfully for a long period of time. I end up getting triggered by her actions, i think she is still in in touch with her EA partner….although I have seen a lot of progress since she started seeing a therapist/psych doctor. I believe she is working hard to end it/get out of the fog….just cant get her to NC, which we all know is ground zero of recovery….

    • exercisegrace

      I have struggled with this concept a lot. Prior to his affair, my trust was total. It was a complete, blind trust and looking back I can see that it was unrealistic. It made the assumption that because we had a good (and long..20+years) marriage and a strong connection, we were immune. I never stopped to consider that the perfect storm of negative life events might collide with an opportunistic and determined whore, who would pursue him (in her words) “aggressively”. I never gave it a thought he might actually succumb in the depths of his depression. I felt blindsided and shattered when the tsunami hit.

      In general, I don’t check up on his phone or his whereabouts. But I AM aware of who he spends his time with and his level of interaction with other women. The boundaries are FOREVER changed. Intimacy building opportunities such as lunches or dinners out alone with ANY other woman are off the table. Traveling alone with another woman is also out of the question. If this ever becomes an issue with his job? It is up to HIM to figure out the work around. Trust is returning slowly but it will always be a verified trust. If he doesn’t like that, he is free of course to leave. Actions birth consequences and he will have to live his out. At the same time, I am more than happy to offer the same. My phone, email and social media accounts are all open books to him and he has the passwords. I have never abused the privilege and I have nothing to hide.

    • theresa

      eg

      Great post
      I think you may have coined a new phrase!

      “INTIMACY BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES”

      I think this is a perfect description of a sometimes ethereal concept.
      (New anagram. IBO ?)

      • exercisegrace

        HA! Yes, I have come to realize that I was far too trusting and far too accepting of him engaging in certain activities with his “friend”. If you don’t want to be a cheater, don’t put yourself in a place of temptation. Certain situations and circumstances just need to be avoided out of respect for your marriage. Will society think you are crazy? Probably. But I’m not married to society and when their relationships fail, mine will still be around because we are now VERY careful to protect it.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Do I trust him???? That is the million dollar question isn’t it. Even a small lie, totally unrelated to the EA is a huge trigger. It happened yesterday and of course I find myself in a pretty low place.

      I’m not sure he really understands how badly the betrayal of the EA damaged my trust and how untruth of any kind becomes a major stumbling block.

      Doug how long before you really understood that? So many things are going quite well but the trust issue is huge.

      I too, had given him complete trust. This loss of trust (over forty years), feels foreign and painful….but there you have it, I don’t trust in the same way.

      • Doug

        SI, I’m pretty bad with timelines and such but I think it’s safe to say that that understanding didn’t come to me until the EA was over and my head was completely out of my ass. As a side to that…After talking with so many people over the last five years it’s apparent that many of them have been in relationships where lying was a normal, regular occurrence. Big, lies, little lies, white lies, etc. were all part of the marital landscape by (usually) one of the partners. It’s amazing to hear some of the silly stuff that people lie about. It’s become a habit to them it seems.

    • Jim

      Initially I had 100% trust in my wife of 15 yrs. of course there were a few hiccups along the way, but the devastation of learning of her affair that started 10 months ago tore every shred of trust I had. I still have faith she will find her way back to me but the thought of fully trusting 100% again seems so frightening and unrealistic. Makes feel lost, that I will never feel secure again. I have read many successful R’s. I can only dream of it now…..

    • Patsy50

      Do you trust your partner —- Yes I do, to an extent. He will never have my trust 100% ever and that’s the way it will be. I took a chance or a leap of faith in the beginning as he worked for the same company as his AP. He was close to retiring and that was not going to interfere with that. He had a responsibility to control himself around her and keep boundaries and show me he was worthy of the trust I was giving him. That was four years ago and will be retiring end of January. He has showed me over and over again that he could be trusted.

    • CA

      I had to stop reading at the “I trust my spouse with attractive people who they have friendships with” Oh hell no….made that mistake one time!! Sorry but it is not worth my angst. No friendships with women. period. Attractive women that I don’t know (work people) never again. Be friends with the men.

      • Bluebird

        After 3 years (today was D-Day) of taking from this life-saving website I decided to comment for the first time! I guess it has taken me this long to finally feel that I have something positive to contribute. My marriage did survive but trust has a new meaning for me. I know what my husband is capable of and I will never again give 100% of myself to him or anyone else. He had an EA with a 26 year-old, damaged girl that he of course thought he could “save”. It turns out that 45 year-old man loved the attention and overnight he became someone I hardly recognized. It took him 6 months to stop all communication and walk through the fog. We have been in counseling together and separate since October of 2011. It is by far the worst pain I have ever felt…..I will never forget it. I allowed it to destroy my self esteem and I look back now and I don’t recognize that pitiful person. So for those of you just starting the journey stay strong…..you will get to the other side! And no…you will never trust your spouse the same way ever again. But then again, we should never allow ourselves to be that vulnerable.

        • Doug

          Bluebird, Thanks for finally coming out of the closet! 😉 Excellent words of advice as well.

    • exercisegrace

      I will also add this was an odd looking list to me. If you have cheated on your spouse, some of things just won’t ever be there again. Certainly not the way they once were. While I don’t check up on his whereabouts, it does cross my mind at times to wonder if he’s really where he says he is. As far as friendships with “attractive” women? Affairs aren’t about sex and my husband certainly proved that with his choice of affair partner. She was NOT attractive, and they were so mismatched it is unreal. She used to tell him how proud she felt to be seen in public with someone like him. Ugh. Any friendship with a member of the opposite sex should have WAY different boundaries in the post affair world. It’s insulting to the betrayed spouse to suggest that “attractive” friends should be the cause for concern.

    • Strengthrequired

      My cs has a Xmas party coming up for him to go to. One of our suppliers invited him. He said he is going to find out if he can take me, as he is unsure if he can or not. Only states him on the invitation.
      I asked him, if he would still be going if he can’t take me? He said, yes most probably, because it’s people he works with, all the time.
      I told him, that I felt uncomfortable that he goes on his own, that he should say no.
      He didn’t like that he shouldn’t be able to go. It looks like he still doesn’t get it. Looks like it is still about what he wants or doesn’t want.
      Why is this so tiring, it’s just so exhausting.

      • Blue

        Oh Strengthrequired, I feel for you! You are such a devoted person. I wish a reformed Cheater could give us advice on what to do in situations like this, although every cheater is different, there’s so many similarities.

        Venting: I have come upon this situation so many times in the last few years and still every once in a while, in fact retirements and Christmas lunches are coming up for my husband too. I always feel like the wet blanket that ruins his fun. I always said Go- have fun! I’ll pick you up if you want to drink. The one thing that bothers me is how defensive he gets when I get triggered (and usually for good reason) Recently, he asked to go to a retirement party- that’s one of the type of occasions he used to leave sneakily with the OP (coworker) to go park&screw. They truly don’t ‘get it’. I’ve been quite unhinged lately as this retirement party is coming up, he invited me because she’d be going, I said ok, then later on he said we shouldn’t go. Fine with me! That day he has to be out of town and now I’m panicking if he’ll be stopping by on the way home and not tell me. What a crappy way to feel that I don’t trust him, that I’m married to someone that I have to watch my own back- that I don’t know if he’s doing that.

        He’s very loving, attentive, seeming open (i have access to his phone and work email) and involved in our marriage. He acts all sulky when I hesitate to trust him, have a trigger, he gets defensive. He’s says he’s changed though!! and sometimes I just feel like a fool that I’m trying to trust him. In my opinion there’s been red flags, and I don’t know whether I’m overreacting. With the retirement party (is he going to sneak and go?) looming I’m actually researching phone spy software with a gps. It makes me shake just thinking of doing this. Has anyone every used this? I just want to know whether I’m paranoid or if he’s still a sneak- because if he’s a sneak he won’t tell me.

        I’m so horrified and totally saddened if I have to break up my family. Everyone loves him, my family, friends, his collegues, but no one really knows what his dirty secrets are and how mean he was after being caught. My kids who are in college and finishing up high school would be devastated- so would I. I’d have to act like I still ‘like’ him, tell them we just aren’t suited but I would feel so much anger and hurt and wouldn’t be able to tell them the real reason.

        Good luck to you Strength and to me too and all of us.
        Rachel, you are the lucky one that broke away from the bullcrap. You see, a lot of us BS stayed, or took them back and we live in fear of being lied to. We’re all going through the pain of being lied to and betrayed but you don’t have to worry that he can cheat on your marriage again. Stay strong because cheating, lying behavior is the personality flaw of the Cheater.

        This is going to be a heck of a week.
        ‘It’s not what’s done to you but how you choose to react to it’

        • Strengthrequired

          Blue, I feel for you too. I feel terrible that I don’t trust my h, I hate how he was able to show his ow a side of him, that was somehow excited, to see or hear her voice. I hate how he would drop everyone and everything for her, because he hated being apart from her. I had wanted that side of him for so long, yet I still don’t get that side of him. He told me that I was being selfish for not wanting to let him go out on his own. He told me how he hasn’t been out with his mates for a long time now and he could have gone out with them but didn’t. Apparently his mates keep asking him to go out. What gets me though, is we don’t see each other, as he is always working, so for me I would expect him to want to spend the time he has spare, with us, and if he was able to go out of a night without being too tired, then why not take me out, so I get a break. Yet I’m the selfish one.
          He said, just because I don’t have friends to go out with, I shouldn’t stop him from being with his friends. ( btw, my h affair, had me turn away from everyone I was close to, my family and friends, his affair affected me more than anything ever has, yet he was able to hold onto all of his friends.he really lost nobody. I guess the humiliation didn’t affect him near what it did me.)
          As well, I am sure most of his friends don’t know what type of person he was, during his cheating period, I am sure he wasn’t about to tell them that part, so no one judges him. So I carry that burden with me.
          I told my h that I feel we are drifting apart, that I feel he wants to live the life of a single person, do the things he wants, but still have someone waiting for him at home. I told him that to him, he doesn’t have to worry about who is going to look after the kids, he will say, I’m going out and he will. I can’t do that. I always have to consider someone else, and even if I did, when I have the chance to go out, I want to spend that time with my h.
          His reply is that I am just being selfish, for not wanting hm to go out with hs mates. He just doesn’t get where I am coming from. After being pushed aside for years, because of his work, then his man dates, then his ow, and now back to his work and his man dates, just doesn’t make me feel important. I be seen how he treated his ow, I felt how it was to watch hm drop me for her everyday for a long time, and I deserved that attention, being the mother of his chodren, his wife, and I fought for my marriage and family, proving my love for him, when I shouldnt have had to, and here I am still feeling undeserving of his precious time, he wants to spend with others.
          He tells me I have issues, of course I have issues, he gave those issues to me, that feeling that I deserve that feeling of just being wanted to be around, not just because I’m the babysitter.i just want to feel important and appreciated, and missed. It’s not that I don’t want him to spend time with his friends, but think of me first, before jumping at the chance. Just to be considered. I truly just feel like the babysitter.

        • Tryinghard

          Yes I used GPS that went on his car and the I downloaded it. It’s awesome. I know lots of folks say no but seriously it erases a lot of doubt, or confirms it. There’s no guessing. It’s cheap too. I haven’t used it in months but I would if I thought I needed to.

          It’s a simple device to use. I put it under the car seat front or back but really you can put it anywhere I could track for about a week then download to the program on my computer. Very easy

    • Rachel

      Exhausting strength yes.
      This thursday is d day for me. Three years ago my ex admitted he was in love with his ex girlfriend and not me. He was leaving me and my boys to be with her.
      Wanted a life of freedom and no responsibilities. Time to think of himself??
      Although she didn’t leave her husband and family, he then wanted me back.
      No revolving door in my house.
      I am in a much better place but those words still haunt my brain.
      I think I have issues with abandonment .
      My youngest is out of state for college and I just lost my dad to cancer.
      Just a sad time.
      Thanks for the venting zone.

      • Tryinghard

        Hi Rachel. How you doing girl? Is your son coming home from college for thanksgiving? It’s a tough time the holidays especially after losing your father. Did the ex show up at the wake like he said he was going to? Anyway sending you hugs girlfriend

        • Rachel

          Trying hard,
          Yes my son is coming home in less than 48 hours!!!! I am over the moon!!
          Trying to get all his favorite foods in the house so I can start cooking.
          We are all going to my brothers house for thanksgiving this year.
          My parents use to come to our house. My dad loved coming here after the ex left. So relaxing and no stress.
          So it will be a bit easier not looking at my dads empty chair.
          Of course the ex showed up at my dads funeral! My oldest told him “don’t let the family see you, don’t go to communion and do not get into the receiving line at the end of mass.
          I guess a show was performed at mass because his precious mother came to the funeral as well as his sister. They told him that it was time to leave the church and he refused. Jerk didn’t realize that my friends were all sitting there and saw his academy award performance. Two people asked me recently if he was an alcoholic ? Don’t know I replied, not my problem!
          Thanks trying hard. Hope you are well!!
          Sending hugs back to ya!

          • tryinghard

            Rachel
            Awww I remember those days. It will be good for you two to be together for a while.

            It’s good you’re shaking up the tradition right after your father’s passing AND all the other crap with the ex. Holidays can be so hard. Heck I’m thinking of volunteering at WalMart to work just to avoid them 🙂

            I can’t believe the X actually showed up. Rachel I hope you truly get that this guy is a bonafide narcissist. Who else but a narcissist shows up at a funeral and makes it about him??? My Narc MIL came to my parents funerals and laughed, both times!! Narcs are the worst. He may be all that on the outside but you are right it’s a facade like a movie set, no character, no heart.

            Mark my words as he ages and has NO ONE to care for him he is going to come to you for help in his old age. UGH I hope you have the strength the turn a cold shoulder to him. Also I’m sure your friends have seen him in action before and probably wondered why a lovely woman like you was still with him. So what if he tells folks you wouldn’t reconcile! That statement coming from a Cheater just makes him look more idiotic and I bet most respect you for it.

            I’m reading Codependent No More, so is EG. I’m telling you it is so applicable to those of us who have given and given to these Narcs in our life. It’s on Amazon and a pretty quick read. You might be interested in looking at it.

            Well Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I’ll be keeping you in my good thoughts and prayers.

            • Rachel

              Trying hard,
              Thank you for your kind words. Happy thanksgiving to you as well.
              Which book is it I noticed 2?????

            • tryinghard

              Rachel
              It’s called Codependent No More:How to Stop Controlling Others and Take Care of Yourself by Melody Beattie. It’s very good. I think you will see some of yourself in it. I know I have. It’s kinda scary in a good way because it’s like “damn shit, yeah”! It really focuses on us being rescuers and fixers and caretakers and HOW TO QUIT DOING THAT! Because we do it to our own detriment.

              I’m all about taking care of me these days. LOL maybe I’ve turned into a Narcissist!!! I’ve quit the why questions to my H and in my head. They were truly making me nuts. I think I’ve moved on past the affair and have accepted it however I’m still not sure I’ve accepted that I want to continue living with an asshole that has totally disrespected me. He’s been great I must say. His actions and words are very loving and supportive. He’s done pretty much everything right during reconciliation. I just still feel too much damage was done and maybe it is time to move on?? I’ve got time so I keep reading and learning how to make myself happy no matter what direction I go. This life shit isn’t easy!!!! But it’s good and wonderful and I have love and support from so many people. I am truly grateful!

            • Gizfield

              Trying hard, I think I am about where you are. Honestly, there is not a day that goes by I dont consider ending my marriage. All sense of commitment has left me and I dont even care. I dont even wear my wedding ring anymore and am considering selling it. I get these almost overwhelming desires to fling it out the window or flush it down the toilet.. I feel like he shit on our marriage and flushed it down the toilet, and the ring is a symbol of that.

            • Gizfield

              I do wear the ring some days but end of putting it on my purse cause I dont want to wear it. he lost his ring last weekend. He sold the original one two years ago when we were split up. He bought another and lost it, maybe this summer. Now hes lost this one. I told him he sure is hard on rings, and that I will never forgive him for selling his. He didnt have any response for that.

    • Strengthrequired

      Rachel, I have the issues, so I get told. Yet those issues where handed to me, by him. In many ways, I feel abandoned too. I was traded in for a more “classier” model for a while. I have never fought so hard for anything in my life, than what I did for my husband and family. I have to admit, I wonder why at times, when I feel so crappy. I would love to say that I feel like I come first in my h eyes. If I say I don’t feel wanted by him, I get told that I don’t understand how hard he works, that I just put more pressure on him, because I say what I say. Well that certainly makes me feel important.
      I am so tired, I just want to be cared for and loved, I just want to feel like he made her feel.
      I know it seems unreasonable, I know he works hard, but as I told him, it doesn’t mean you forget who is waiting for you at the end of your day. It doesn’t mean you don’t consider my feelings before jumping into other commitments. It wasn’t hard for him to do when she was in the picture, he considered her in everything he did, everywhere he went. He just wanted her around him. Why don’t I feel that?
      I am so happy for you Rachel, you have your new man now giving you all the love and attention you deserve. I just wish my old man, would be the man I need him to be. I need him to want me around, without me being told I am just being selfish, because I want that time.

      • theresa

        SR., why should you feel bad about expecting him to treat you like someone he values, respects, loves? Does he treat you like you are the most important thing in his life? Does he respect you and have confidence in you to raise his, no YOUR children?
        I can empathize. I do not beg for his attention any longer. My plans are just that, MY plans. Me and my children stopped making plans based on his availability. We make plans and invite him, if he is busy, oh well, his loss. And it is truly his loss.
        His Inattention is not an acceptable example of family values. The kids also feel his disregard, and this may damage their self worth. Do you see them trying “extra hard” to gain any of his attention? And do you see how his behavior makes them feel about themselves?
        You are responsible for your happiness. No one else. How many more do overs does he get?
        One thing I learned is that he is not responsible for my happiness, but his actions, disdain should NEVER make me feel worse about myself.
        You are not punishing him by persuing happiness for yourself and your children. It’s his choice. He’s not choosing you.

        • Strengthrequired

          Theresa, my h is a wonderful father, he adores his children, there is no problem there. For me however, I know he loves me, but I believe since he has had his affair, and I know he can give more of himself to some ow, then what he has me in such a long time, I expect to see it, and just feel somewhat crushed at times, when I feel he doesn’t. He works so hard, and because of his affair and almost losing everything he works even harder. So I wait for things to get better, when I can get the man that shows me that he wants us as much as I want us. If that makes sense.
          My h hasn’t been out since I moved back here 3 months ago, and I am so proud of how much he has done to get us back to where we are now, but I want that emotional side of him. The reasons he topic of him going out with friends came up was because of him being invited to a Xmas party, and if I wasn’t invited with him, then he would consider going on his own. Now that brought back to me all the times he pushed me aside, during his selfish stage, to be with her, or if his friends called he wouldn’t say, no, he would just go. so it is somewhat a sore point for me,. Yet what I don’t understand is, if a friend wants to go out, why can’t they take their wives and everyone goes, why does it only have to be them? That’s what I don’t get. I just get abit emotional when I feel he would still chose others over me, if he had to choose. So it was more a vent really. I guess I still need reassurance from him, that I can count on him to not hurt me again.

      • Rachel

        Strength,
        I was told I had issues too by the ex and I now know it’s not me with the problem.
        They try to get into our heads and twist their problem into ours. Blaming us for their lack of control and needing their ego stroked continually.
        I pity my ex. He can tell whom ever he wants that I didnt want him back because not for a minute would I go back to that life with him. Five minutes with that jerk and all will know what a controlling idiot he is. He has beautiful clothes, is nice looking and a fabulous job. But that is a shell. All fake. This insides are all black and he is missing a heart.
        I was truly unhappy and just stuck it out for the kids.
        Use to cry in the shower so they wouldn’t see me. He made me feel lime such a lousy person and yes I let him!!! That doenst make me happy but I do realize that now. Never will I have to deal with him making me feel like that again.

    • Strengthrequired

      I guess I should be just grateful that I get to spend nights in bed next to him and one full day a week, most of the time with him. maybe I have just become more demanding and unreasonable.

      • Blue

        Strength, Do you ever just go out together without the kids and have a fun evening?
        This is really important to do. I’m not saying it’ll save a marriage but you need to go out and have fun- without kids sometimes. You have small children though and I know this is a strain on finances.

        • Strengthrequired

          Blue, we do go out without the kids, we are lucky we have older kids that can look after the younger ones. Yet we have to fit it into their time tables also. ATM, my h is working, busiest time of the year, yet I have to say, he really hasn’t had much of a break for a few years now, trying to get our finances back on track, so he it just seems so long since we have been able to concentrate just in us. All thanks to the affair. As well, I was away from my h for close to two years, and have only just moved back 3 mths ago, so it is really like trying to start fresh, yet still not being able to because of how busy he is. Thankfully we are looking at going away for 10 days during Xmas with the kids, we haven’t been away on a holiday together for I believe around 6 years now. My h last holiday, he went overseas and spent his time with the ow for 5 weeks. Also around Xmas time, almost 3 yrs ago now. So in a way, it is a long deserved break, yet still a bit of a trigger for me, due to the time. I still feel a bit robbed of this time, because the longest holidays we had together in the past was for 7 days, then he would race back to work, the ow, well she got 5 weeks, plus a year of him not being able to rid himself of her. Sometimes I feel like I am entitled to more of his time, yet their circumstances were different to ours, we are real life, she was not, he could dro everything in the fantasy, he can’t do that with me. I just get tired though, because I know our business won’t run itself, and the bills won’t pay themselves, so this is my reality, and again now my h reality. Yet I know you know what I mean when I say, I feel I need to see him more, so I can see things are better and stronger for us, I need to see that the ow is definately long gone, I need to see that I don’t need to keep looking over my shoulder, and I need to see that yes he wants to be here. It’s hard to see and feel that when he is always working especially after an affair. Recovery just seems to take that much longer, because we both don’t get to concentrate on us as much as we would like to.
          At times I feel guilty for feeling like I do, because I really do know how hard he is working. I have to say though, after our conversation the other day, he seems to have started to show me a bit more, so he is trying.

          • theresa

            SR, it took a while for me to accept that I was not going to get some of the things I considered essential from my marriage.
            I guess I did some soul searching, including the often times excruciating look at myself. I needed to observe myself from the outside.
            There were a couple of components to this introspection. My first step was to determine what my expectations were of a true marriage.
            What were the tings I considered as common goals.
            What were reasonable expectation of each other.
            What were my expectations of myself.
            What did I expect from him.

            I put a wish list together, and further defined essential vs a would be nice category.

            Next was the hard part. Did I always follow my own required rules? There were too many “no’s”. But I could justify my own actions! I had valid reasons to break my own rules!
            .
            I quickly realized that without complete objectivity and honesty about my role in this pitiful excuse for a marriage, it was doomed from the start.. I tied not to assign blame, to me or to my H..
            I tried to evaluate, not judge. This is still a work in progress.

            BUT INFIDELITY HAS NO JUSTIFICATION! iT’S WRONG! ALWAYS!

            To survive there must be change. So I tried the heartfelt talks, leaving information I thought was helpful, relevant, insightful. Information that was easier to understand than my attempts to explain. I tried to follow ideas to help get the most of my efforts. I set a stage. The right place. The right time. The right words. Do nothing to antagonize. No pressure, no ultimatums.
            All this manipulating did nothing. The words were so refined that they became meaningless. The point was buried and ignored.

            Nothing worked, no matter how many times you did it, said it. Over and over again.
            I was hurt time and time again, expecting a different outcome when doing the same thing, over and ever again.

            So I worked on me. Relying on myself to get ME out of this hole.
            I worked on what I could change. I accepted that nothing I did would change him. I stopped banging my head against the wall.

            So SR, are you waiting for him to be different? Him to realize he has to change? Can he change? Does he want to change? How long can you wait?

            Can you change?
            Your happiness is all on you. You can not expect others to make you happy. But they should never make you feel bad about yourself.

    • michelle

      hi, i’m really struggling with trust at the moment. it’s almost two months since D-Day and although H and i are trying to work things out i cannot stop myself from checking up on him. Trust is such a huge thing for me and i guess everyone in a relationship. When he came out and told me about the affair he was an open book about it. told me everything i needed to know. now 2 months down and he seems to be closing that book again. last night i checked his cell phone and found a number of calls that he’d made to the OW. i know that he’s been in contact with her on and off during this 2 month period as they worked together. He’s now left job (employment was terminated). When i asked him about the phone calls to her he tried to explain then just got really angry with me. He’s now changed his password on his phone. i’m so tired of living like this.
      i don’t want my marriage to end. We love each other but this kind of behaviour just isn’t doing me or us any good.
      i’m at my wits end. Don’t know what to do next. how to play this game. i want to shout and scream and feel like completely losing it, which i haven’t done yet since finding out about the affair. i was very calm from the beginning. never kicked him out or anything. just “understood” what had happened. i wish i was stronger to actually do something like make a break for a while. but we have 2 beautiful little girls who seem to adore their daddy. it would break their hearts.
      i thought that things were going well with us – going to counselling, improved sex life… now i don’t know. this password thing has set me back in the trust department. He said before if i don’t stop going through his phone he’s going to change the password and i guess last night he just got sick and tired of my snooping…
      what must I do???? feel so helpless in this situation. wish my life didn’t hurt as much as it does right now. how does one ever get through this?
      any advice would be so appreciated right now.

      • Doug

        Hi Michelle, I’m sorry you’re going through this. First of all, it’s not unusual at all for you to not have trust at this point. If after 2 months, you did, I’d be amazed. Secondly, it appears that you have experienced a false reconciliation. You might want to read more about that here: http://www.emotionalaffair.org/false-reconciliation-perhaps-devastating-d-day/

        He’s apparently still in contact with her so he must end his affair for good and then put in SERIOUS effort to help you heal. His actions also must indicate that he is trustworthy because right now his words don’t mean anything.

        Additionally, don’t be afraid to let loose of your anger. Obviously, you don’t want to be violent or anything like that, but don’t hold your emotions in. Let him have it and let him know that you will not put up with the affair or his deceptive behavior. Hang in there and stay strong!

      • Blue

        Hi Michelle,
        The only sure thing is, is that many of of here have gone through what you are going through. You are not alone. He’s playing his ‘cruel card’ He’s treating your life like a game- just like many of us have gone through.
        One thing you should know- the actions a Cheater does is very childish, even like a bully. I’ve seen my own husband act like such a loser, I look back on the early days (what you are going through) and wonder why I didn’t leave. It’s because you are not childish, you made a vow and you’re trying to keep it, to keep your family together, even if he isn’t. It takes a hell of a lot more courage and strength to do that. And what ever happens with your story, and any of ours- we know that we tried and they were acting like true losers. You’re basically dealing with bully. There’s no right answer on what to do, whatever you do, you will still have to go through the pain of him disrespecting you. You are a better person, for what it’s worth. I wish every time someone cheated they could get zapped with a zapper that made them go through the exact fear and pain they put their partner through.
        Take Care Michelle.

        • Strengthrequired

          Blue, how about the zapper, and then a neon light flashes above their head that says “cheater”, then they get the humiliation and the pain.

          Michelle, as blue says, you are dealing with a selfish child right now, I have gone through that and quite honestly, my h was a complete stranger during that time. Eventually he will wake up, but whether it ends up too late for him, because you ended up having enough of his behaviour, or it finally hits him like a freight train, and finally gets rid of the ow, because he realises what he is about to lose if he doesn’t.
          I truly hope all works out for you.

      • Kathy

        Hello Michelle,

        4 months ago I suspected my husband was doing something when I found he put a password on his computer. When he was gone that day I found his password and logged on. Went through his emails and found out he was conversing with another woman out of the country. At the time I did not realize he was also on skype with her. I quickly transferred those emails to myself and printed them out. When he came home I presented them to him along with all the mothers day and anniversary cards he gave me. He had no response, just started crying. In June I planned a trip for us to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, while I was out getting wine and snacks he emailed her saying he was going camping and fishing for 1 day and would contact her after he returned and that he “loved her”. this was the one thing out of so many things I found out that hurt me the most. The first thing I said to him was the trust is broken. One thing I did wrong was not talking to anyone about this, even our grown children do not know anything because I felt we could talk it out. The mistake I made was not taking the time to talk to anyone about what I should do. Not only was he emailing her, he was calling her and also sent her money. He lied about all of it until I confronted him. He was also contacting escort services. I felt so cheap, lonely and beaten down. After 4 months every time I want to talk about he just says :aren’t you over it yet?” I know you want to protect your girls, but it’s better to come from a broken home than live in one. Please find the strength to love yourself first then all will fall into place. Stay strong and keep your head up.

    • Rachel

      I just don’t understand why they would treat us like that? The mean names, treatment, etc.
      Blue, bully great description .
      My ex really didn’t come out of it until the judge stated what I was getting for alimony until I’m 67 years old. So I know deep down that he really didn’t want me back for love, it was all about the almighty dollar.
      Yet he still tells people that I didn’t want him back. I couldn’t do it to myself. Would never have been able to trust him and every time I would look at him I know I wouldn’t be able to get passed the hate I feel for him after what he has done over the years.
      My goal for 2015 is to change my name back to my maiden name. It is time.
      Michelle,stay strong!!!! You are a good person going thru a horrible situation.
      Hold your head high!!! Good luck!
      Strength, love the neon sigh!!

      • Strengthrequired

        Rachel, I don’t understand why either. I guess maybe they think if they act the way they do, we will make it easier on them, and just stop asking questions, maybe just forget they are being deceitful and weak, so they don’t have to face what they are really doing. They want to keep living the fantasy. I guess who wouldn’t if it was all fun and roses. They know we want them to wake up and take a look at the devastation left around them, that it isn’t fun and it isn’t full of roses, but tears and chaos.
        that neon light would be cool.

    • michelle

      Thanks everyone 🙂 it does give me a lot of strength knowing that there are others out there going through this or have been through it and made it out on the other side.

      What I really want to understand is how do they “eventually wake up and come out of it”? it baffles me. Do i need to do something to get them out of it or is it just a matter of time? not sure if he will ever wake up to the fact that he’s got anything to lose especially seeing as he knows I’m so keen to make this marriage work. tricky…

      So we had a discussion last night about this cell phone issue where he changed his password and i no longer have access to “snoop”. it was a difficult conversation and i really tried to keep it together and calm and not irritate or make him angry about what i had to say (i really hate walking on eggshells but if i don’t the whole discussion becomes a waste of time as he shuts down completely).
      what came out of the conversation is that he’s tired of having to explain and justify and reassure me that nothing is going on and i don’t have anything to worry about. he said he doesn’t have time for that rubbish and nonsense when it’s nothing. he totally doesn’t understand what i’m dealing with. the emotions i’m feeling. not particularly interested either it seems. he just wants things to be “normal” between us. i don’t understand how he thinks i can be “normal” however it’s clear that he doesn’t see the need to do anything different on his side. he absolutely thinks that i must just stop feeling the way i’m feeling and that he doesn’t have to do anything to help me. i must just stop.

      anyway, i’m feeling a lot stronger today. i’ve decided i no longer really want to know what’s on his phone. but then i think what if i’m in complete denial!!!!! urgggghhhhh…. this is just so complicated and horrible.

      i need to work on myself and my self-esteem. get to a place where i feel worthy and not so dependent on having him validate my existence. not an easy task. i’ve been with him my entire life (since i was 16!) never been on my own or without him in my life. crazy times.

      thanks for all the support and advice… strength to you all x

      • exercisegrace

        I agree with Bluebird, you need to focus on yourself right now. Ask yourself what your “drop deads” are. For me to stay, mine were things like: no contact, he had to go to counseling weekly both individually and with me as a couple. He had to have regular conversations with me to answer the questions I had, and show me that he was doing the hard work of introspection and trying to figure out why he did what he did. We also made a new policy in our marriage that emails, cell phones, social media accounts etc would be open books. Trust has to earned back and I don’t think he is out of the fog yet. Only you can decide what you are willing to tolerate. The biggest fear I would have with him trying to brush if off too quickly is that he isn’t doing the healing work. It is not enough after an affair to just say “I’m sorry and it’s over. Let’s just move on from here”. Because you aren’t dealing with why it happened in the first place. Take the time to think about what you want and need. What your expectations are of him and what you are willing to do if those are not met. Never throw out a consequence unless you really are going to follow through.

      • Strengthrequired

        Michelle, they have to see what they are set to lose before they wake up. They have to see the ow/om as someone who has flaws, who isn’t as wonderful, as they make themselves out to be. Unfortunately until that happens, they just don’t wake up. Sometimes it is too late, they lose everything, because they didn’t wake up in time, and the h/w gave up, they just couldn’t take anymore bs, they tried and tried until there was nothing left.
        So it isn’t what we do, or what we say, we can talk until we are blue in the face, but unless the cs truly opens their own eyes for themselves, it just goes in one ear and out the other.

        • Rachel

          WOW strength well said!!!!!
          And that is exactly what has happened in my case.
          Three years ago today the ex put his whore on a pedestal with himself and I fought and fought to knock her down and couldn’t .
          Either the loss of the money or he possibly lost her after she was supeonaed to court for our divorce that finally changed his mind.
          But for me too late!!!!

      • theresa

        why does he need a password?
        why is it a secret?

    • Bluebird

      Michelle I do think this is the most difficult part of recovery. If I had it to do over again (and I hope I never will) I would fake it until I make it…..meaning I would not have been so weak in front of him. I thought if I cried and screamed and showed him how hurt I was he would come running in to my arms. Not how it works…..they are too self absorbed. The best thing you can do is to focus on you. To go to counseling and scream and cry there. He needs to think that you would be just fine without him. My husband told me along time after that It was not anything I was doing or not doing but rather it took time for him to see her for what she truly was…..and boy did her true colors appear. Then it took sometime through counseling to undo the rewriting of our history. They are mean in order to justify what they are doing and that is a good way to know if he is still having contact. At some point you have to be willing to draw a line in the sand and let him know he has to make a decision to save your marriage. This part of our recovery took 5 months and they were both guilty of violating the no contact rule. And during that time I checked his email, phone ect….as a matter of fact I was logged in to his email when she Gchatted him (off the record of course) and I responded to her and let her know it was me. With dealing with my husband I had to always have facts because he would lie and lie and lie again. I think she finally realized it wasn’t worth the contact anymore….she was afraid that I would tell all of our mutual friends. So she started telling people that I was crazy and that I thought they were having an affair. That was too much for him and he realized who the crazy one really was. Unfortunately I have to live with the fact that she was the one that ended it…..he didn’t have the strength to do it on his on for our marriage. All this to say the next several months are tough and they played out differently for all of us on this site.

    • Jim

      I want your opinion…near as I can tell my wife has not contacted her single EA partner since 10/26… She is still seeing her psych doc a few times a week, knowing that no contact is required for us to move forward…however, I believe she opened a checking acct while he was back in the states last month to pay his utility bills etc while working abroad but not positive… The first week he was gone she was pretty positive towards “us”, this week not so much… Withdrawal?? This is the Second time she has tried to end contact, first time was July/August ..but found out she was still paying car ins and utilities, assume he was paying back. Bank records show cash deposits from her private savings acct..hard to tell since she has a small side business…. EA started 11 months ago…has promised she would never leave me for someone else, desperate not to disrupt our 13 yr old daughters life/says divorce is not option…you think she has tried to end it, but keeping foot in door with helping to cover his bills while abroad??

      • antiskank

        Trust is a very tricky issue for me still for obvious reasons. After 2.5 years of his declarations of total honesty and finding out time and again that every word out of his mouth was a lie, trust seems to be out of reach. I have tried, obviously much too soon and under false assumptions to trust his word and his intentions. He has lied to manipulate me and continues to do so.

        In the past 2 weeks, we have determined that he has lied about being over the AP, lied about loving me, lied about wanting to work on our marriage, lied about how he has changed for the better, how he would never lie to me again, etc. I even have it in writing!!!!

        Just this week, there was a very “hearfelt” declaration that he realized how cruel and unreasonable he had been, He had been a bad person, realized that he really wanted me with all his heart, blah, blah. Silly me, when you want to hear something so badly, despite all that you know, you still fall for it a bit, hope for it to be true. Then you think about what words were actually said, what words were not said and you realize that you are being played yet again! You question how he came to this realization, how can he be so sure now,etc…. The stories just don’t add up, he is still telling me what he thinks I want to hear, what he thinks will get him off the hook. I hate this feeling.

    • Gizfield

      I think that after dealing with all this for a long time, you eventually just get tired of it and wonder why you are doing it. I dont question if I trust him or ever will. I know I wont. I no longer put him, his affair partner, or their cheating on a pedestal. I see it all for what it is. Tawdry, cheap, disgusting, slimy. All bad, nothing good about it. most people probably dont want to hear it, but my thoughts are that “there is NOTHING my husband can EVER do that will make this RIGHT.” It’s just one of those things that is irreparable. Admitting that frees me of the burden of expecting it to ever be right.

    • Gizfield

      One more insight, and this was a long time coming. My husband IS THE TRIGGER. I can avoid situations, songs, places, words, dates, etc, etc til the end of time but it’s fruitless because HE IS THE TRIGGER. sometimes I just look at him and remember all the shitty, crappy, disgusting stuff he did. I’ve given up on “trying” any more. Screw that. I got off work a couple hours early, and our daughter is spending the night at a friends. I’ve been here three hours , just hanging out in the bedroom, sleeping and pretending to be asleep cause I have no desire to be around him. Looking back on how I used to hang all over him after he CHEATED on me makes me sick to my stomach.

    • theresa

      Giz, do you need to talk, text, anything I can do?

    • Gizfield

      Thank you, Theresa! That’s very kind of you. I’m fine, I got up, ate my dinner, and watched Z Nation. I’m still a little tired and think I’ll go back to bed. I think things will seem better in the morning.

    • Tryinghard

      Sorry Giz didn’t mean to bring you down. Maybe it’s the weather or just that I’m sick of the affair constantly on my mind for the past years. Maybe im just bored with him as I find it all so tedious. I want peace. Let’s just say I’m considering and saving for plan B:)

      I think it’s honorable that you stay for your daughter but soon she’s going to grow up and then what do you have. I hear you though about the triggers and I had a major one at the most in opportune time this week, if you know what I mean:/. It shouldn’t be like this and I don’t really have triggers anymore but there’s just sometime when the memories just overwhelm me!! Yeah like when he says he’s “too tired”. WTF too bad he wasn’t too tied to put all that effort into her. All I’m asking for is 15 minutes! Anyway TMI right? But actually I’m re-examining my whole freaking life these days and all I know is I want something more. Sometimes I feel like a consolation prize and I know I’m not. I have a lot to offer and I know I can be respected and cherished in any relationship. I didn’t deserve what he dished out to me. He cheated me emotionally, financially and physically. That’s a lot to forgive and sadly never forget.

    • Gizfield

      Please don’t worry about anything you said, Trying Hard . I’m fine, really. I think the only way this blog benefits us is if we are totally honest. Hell, I put on an excellent front for the rest of the world.

      Thanksgiving is a weird time for me. I guess it stirs up a lot of old memories, good and bad. Thanksgiving is the day that led to my adoption 55 years ago. One Thanksgiving, in 1989, my mother almost died that day. It is also the weekend before my daughter was born, labor was induced that Monday following. I also had a lot of stress in my first marriage over Thanksgiving because my first husband decided he hated my family and bitched at me for days for going to their house for the dinner. What a great guy. Not to mention the Whore’ s birthday is Monday, lol. After supposedly not contacting the tramp, years ago, I found an email where he sent this slag a birthday card with “a trinket” enclosed, complete with “comments guaranteed to make you blush”. I didn’t know Whores could blush. Followed by another email shortly thereafter, extolling the wonder of her existence. Please excuse me while I puke. So, yes, it’s not really a good time.

      On the plus side, I do plan to work on the house this weekend and develop a new hobby. I’m interested in learning about herbs and will do some reading on the kindle and maybe go to the health food store. Anyway, thank you for your concern.

    • Gizfield

      I get what you are saying about the “effort” they put into the slags, Trying, but how much effort is it really? My husband LOVES to blab, so that’s no effort. I can’t recall anything he did in regard to this whore that required any actual EFFORT.. buying some cheap piece of junk, scribbling on a card, boosting someone’s ego, trying to get laid. Invitations to some cheap restaurant for lunch, feeling like the Big Man, listening to her whine about her shit life and offering his sage wisdom. Lol. I’m sure he got to whine and bitch about me, and hear how he could do SO MUCH BETTER. After all, she helped our marriage, ya know. What a laugh.

    • Gizfield

      Lol, my husband doesn’t have to worry about being “too tired” cause I’m really not interested in him anyway, anymore. My advice to any cheater who is in the “hysterical bonding” phase with your spouse, enjoy it while you can, cause it doesn’t last.

    • Rachel

      I think I need a book about how dare the ex got away with saying what he said to me.
      The hurt is still there and I just don’t think I’ll feel better until I can put my hands around his slimmy neck! Maybe I have anger issues??
      We are forced to move on but the anger is still very real.
      I truly dont think any bs gets over it, we just keep moving.
      Happy Saturday!

    • Untold

      Test post comment

    • Matt

      Trust…… That’s a funny thing. Mt story might be different, but if there’s anyone out there with a similar situation I’d like to hear your opinion.

      My wife made the decision to cheat on me with a former lover from before we met. Evidently she never “dealt” with the feelings she had for this guy before she left him. (She was single and he was married). Now after everything these feelings she has for him will never go away…. we’ve been married for 20 years.

      So here’s my dilemma. I do think she has split ties with him, physically. I don’t think there is any communication. BUT….. if she still has these “feelings that are never going to change” then how do I really trust her again? I mean she’s basically a grenade waiting to explode again. Her excuse is she felt I didn’t care about her anymore, which was NEVER true. So at what point will she feel this way again and move back toward this guy? Was I neglecting our relationship? Probably, I was very involved in my sport of cycling. But I’ve made changes to make sure she knows how I feel. But with these continued feelings she has that she says will never change what do I do? What’s enough?

      I feel like no matter what I do there’s always him in the background because she won’t let go of these feelings. Even her therapist said that because this has gone on for so long that these feelings most likely won’t subside.

      I feel like I will never be enough. Please if anyone has experienced this similar situation I would love to hear your experience.

      Matt

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