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How to Live With a Husband You Don’t Trust

“I don’t trust my husband,” said a reader in an email last week. “I want to, but he lied about money and what he does after work so many times…I just can’t trust him. I know he cheated on me at least once but he denies it. How do I live with a husband I don’t trust?”

Rebuilding trust in your husband after infidelity is a long, painful process even when he tells the truth about his affair. But, when a man lies and hides what he’s doing, where he’s going and who he spends time with, there is little hope for trust. What if you can never trust your husband again?

“Broken trust can heal more quickly than we think,” writes Mira Kirshenbaum in I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship. “And it’s worth it, because whoever coined the expression ‘The broken places are stronger where they heal’ is absolutely right when it comes to trust.” If you and your husband decide to rebuild trust in your marriage, your relationship may grow stronger and healthier. The key is that both you and he have to recognize that you don’t trust your husband right now, but you want to grow forward together.


Do you want to learn how to trust your husband again? It may be impossible unless he’s honest with you. Unless, of course, you trust your husband not to be honest or faithful. Many wives live in marriages that aren’t honest, but they know what to expect. These wives are realistic and accepting about who their husbands are. They know they can’t and don’t trust their husbands, and they choose to stay married for reasons that are important to them.

If you don’t know what to do about your marriage – but you know you can’t trust your husband – talk to someone in person. You don’t necessarily need to talk to a counselor or therapist. You don’t need to be told what to do, nor do you need to find someone to give you marriage advice. You need to talk about your marriage with someone who is objective, trustworthy, and willing to let you talk until you figure out the best next step in your life.

5 Things to Do When You Don’t Trust Your Husband

These tips are inspired by a wife who doesn’t know if she should stay married. “I recently found romantic emails and lewd pictures,” says F. on Is Your Husband Lying About Cheating? 4 Ways to Tell. “Since then I’m trying to grapple with the reality of a cheating husband, whether or not I want to stay in the relationship and if so, how to work towards a better marriage. If I decide to leave, get myself enough support and become financially stable for myself and my newborn.”

1. Face the reality of your marriage

If you don’t trust your husband because he cheated on you, try to be realistic about whether or not you can save your marriage. One of the biggest indicators is your husband’s willingness to be honest with you. Is he willing to work with you to restore faith and trust in your marriage? If not, then the reality is that you have the choice of living with a husband you don’t trust, or leaving your marriage. Neither option is what you envisioned your life to be…but if you keep going through this dark valley, you will eventually come through to the other side. You will get through this – and you may find yourself happier and healthier than you’ve ever been!

A helpful, encouraging book for women facing infidelity is My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me. If you want to stay married, learn from couples who survived and even grew stronger marriages after an affair.

2. Allow yourself to go through stages of disbelief, shock, and grief

“My husband of 15 years has always included me in everything,” says Angela on 9 Ways to Know if Your Husband is Lying About Cheating. “We were like best friends up until about a month ago. He says nothing is going on but I am so sick to my stomach. I found his cell phone with graphic details about him and her together. I refuse to believe he cheated on me! I can’t accept it, it’s too painful. I don’t trust my husband now, and don’t think I ever will again.”

Finding evidence of your husband’s affair is one of the most painful things you’ll ever experience. It’s a betrayal like no other. You never would’ve expected him to cheat, and you certainly never believed he’d lie to you! You will go through stages of disbelief, shock, grief, anger, bitterness, and even hatred. These feelings are normal, and even healthy. You are grieving the end of your marriage as you knew it. Even if you do learn how to trust your husband again, your relationship will never be the same. The good news is that it could become better, stronger, and healthier!

The best – and most difficult – thing to do is accept your husband for who he is. I often get emails and comments from readers who refuse to accept that they can’t trust their husbands anymore. They refuse to believe the truth because it hurts too much. Instead of avoiding the truth about your marriage, give yourself time to go through the stages of grieving.


3. Learn how to recognize your husband’s half-truths and lies

what to do when you dont trust your husband
When You Don’t Trust Your Husband

“On our cell phone bill,  we were charged over usage charges due to too many text messages,” says a reader. “I noticed that he had texted a specific number over 200 times over the last two weeks. When I confronted him about it, he played it off like no big deal. I let a day go by before confronting again. He then told me he and a much younger friend met a couple of girls at a bar and my husband was just being the ‘wingman’ for his friend…. I need some advice on what to do or how to go about confronting him again.”

How do you know if your husband is lying to you? You know that something isn’t right with him, that he’s not being honest. You don’t trust your husband for a reason – and maybe the “only” reason you have is your intuition. Your intuition or gut instincts are a reliable source of information. You know things you can’t put into words…and that’s why you don’t trust your husband. You know something is off.

If you need or want more solid evidence or reasons you don’t trust your husband, read Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception. You’ll learn how to recognize your husband’s deceptive behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal.

4. Remember that some marriages get stronger after trust is rebuilt

On Should I Leave My Cheating Husband? The Best Reason to Stay Married, marriage coach Mort Fertel says marriage can get stronger after infidelity. Some marriages thrive after an affair; others wither and die. Your first decision involves your own hopes and plans for your relationship. Do you want to rebuild your marriage? The second factor – and this is an important one – is your husband’s willingness to be honest with you. Does your husband care that you don’t trust him? Talk to him.

Avoid making hasty decisions that put you at a disadvantage, such as moving out of the house or even threatening divorce. Many women move too quickly – even for good reasons – and later regret it. Act wisely, carefully and thoughtfully.

5. Avoid seeking advice from too many people

It can be good and healing to talk about the fact that you don’t trust your husband. Talking can help you gain insight, clarity and wisdom. But there comes a point when you’re all talked out. You’ve sought advice from friends, you talked to your coworkers, and you even sought counsel from a lawyer or divorce mediator.

The time comes when talking about your marriage is more harmful than helpful. You’ll recognize this time when you find yourself telling the same stories, sharing the same fears, and talking to the same people about the same problems. This is when you must decide that either you don’t trust your husband but you’ll stay married, or you can’t trust your husband and you want to leave. And then, you need to start taking action in one direction or another.

You may find 5 Ways to Find Happiness in a Loveless Marriage helpful.

What do you think? How do you deal with life when you can’t trust your husband? Feel free to share your experience below. You may find that writing brings clarity and insight, and might even help you decide what to do about your marriage.

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.


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28 thoughts on “How to Live With a Husband You Don’t Trust”

  1. I am still hurting and don’t think I have fully trusted my husband and don’t know I ever will trust him completely but we are rebuilding our marriage. I guess everything is a journey and this is one painful journey that we are going through

  2. My name is Keyanna I’m 22 years old and iv been married for 4 years my husband cheated on me with the same chick every year I found out she even tatted his name on her ands she sent me a picture of my child & her it was upsetting than they had sex videos together and I would always remember him putting his hands on me Everytime I wanted to talk about my feelings & his affairs … so I changed as a person and my sadness grew into anger and I started smoking , cheating with multiple men & we’ve been on and off separated for 3 years & he’s been nice to me lately and he changed like honestly is way more calmer but however how I feel about him won’t change and he wants a future with me but Idk what I want with him Honestly i just wanna another child so I can just raise my kids in wed lock and carry on living my life for God Until He sends me someone

  3. MY HUSBAND CHEATED ON ME A YEAR AGO HE TRIED TO LIE HIS WAY OUT OF IT BUT IN THE END HE CONFESSED. I TOLD HIM IF SHE WERE EVER TO TRY & CONTACT HIM IN ANY WAY I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT, HE AGREED. LATER I FOUND OUT SHE WAS TEXTING HIM HE SAID HE DIDNT TELL ME BECAUSE HE THINKS SHE IS CRAZY THAT WAS NOT OUR DEAL I TOLD HIM TO TEXT HER & TELL HER THEY CAN NO LONGER TALK OR BE FRIENDS OUT OF RESPECT FOR ME. HE DIDN’T HE INSTEAD TOLD HER I JUST DON’T NEED TO KNOW THAT THEY ARE STILL FRIENDS. IF HE CAN’T END IT FOR ME IT MUST MEAN HE HAS NO RESPECT OR LOVE FOR ME. I AM TORN AS TO WHAT TO DO & HOW COULD I EVER TRUST HIM AGAIN & IS OUR MARRIAGE WORTH SAVING HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T PUT MY FEELINGS FIRST.

  4. I have been married for almost 25 years. My husband developed the seven-year itch and cheated on me when our youngest was still in diapers. I knew it was happening and he lied about it for five years until I caught him cheating with someone new. Despite my desire to leave him, I thought it would be best to forgive him and try to move forward for the sake of our two young children. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have left. I’m sure he has cheated again, he has committed financial infidelity numerous times, made it so I could not access bank accounts, pay bills, etc. He has had our vehicle repossessed (my only mode of transportation for myself and our children at the time), the bank foreclosed on our house, and most recently, he put money I had set aside for my college tuition into an account I could not touch. Our kids are now 21 and 19. I have no reason to no longer stay and I am now desperately searching for a full-time job and hoping that someone somewhere will take pity on me and allow me to rent a place. Ladies, if this sounds like your man, GET OUT while you can. He will NEVER change.

  5. Karen Lewis Barbour

    I found out 3 months after we were married that my husband had been still seeing his (girl)friend since we were engaged, taking her out to lunch while I was at work (even to new restaurants he hadn’t even mentioned taking me to), having over 600 phone conversations in less than 10 months, and all of this was after I told him the day he asked me to marry him that I had an issue with them being so close. I asked that he either include me in the friendship or at least let me know when they talked on the phone. He got so bad he was carrying his phone into the bathroom and keeping it beside our bed (even though she knew they wouldn’t be talking once I got home from work). I’ve told him I forgive him…but I really haven’t…only because he since he stopped talking to her and seeing her he has started staring at women and/or glancing at them over and over and over and over again…until we either leave the store or they do. I feel so disrespected I just don’t feel as if I love him anymore. He was even playing a glancing game with a young jail bate (who was feeling good about being looked at) while I was trying to show him our wedding pictures we were going to get developed. It is our 1st anniversary…and I still haven’t developed any…nor has he asked. He played a glancing game with a woman while we were at the hospital for my daughter’s surgery. I have no respect for either him or the woman who played the game back with him while her husband was having surgery. He has since changed to just picking one woman to glance at…not just once, twice, or even three times (which I’ve told him I could deal with) but over 8,10,15 times..while I’m right beside him. I just feel disgusted by him now.

  6. My husband was a flirt big style before I met him, I don’t trust him. he has 2 broken marriages both cheated on him. He can’t explain why they did it. I’m scared he has been too flirty in the past. I’m scared it will happen to me even though we have been together 5 years and he has never shown any interest in other women.

  7. I sponsored someone i met online to live in my country and offered him marriage, a home, looked after him and supported him. All I ever really got in return were lies and his complete lack of concern or interest in our life. I was always told things would improve once he got his residency and he would use his trade to help as well in looking after our life together. In the meantime he kept leaving me to go and live back overseas never being sure when he was coming back. I put up with so much hurt and deception. He finally got his residency.. backflipped on the trade he was meant to have had, quit his casual job and told me he needed more sexual experimentation. He went back home giving me 24 hours notice and refused to take any of my calls. Of course I’ve had to just file for our divorce which I’ve had to do on my own and swear I will never trust again.

  8. Hi im flora. My marriage to my hsband is downhill. I married for 17 years . My husband isnt loving n caring as how he use to be . He lies n cheat n is also involved with woman. It hurts so much the man i loved has hurt me repeatedly. I want to leave him with my three kids. What do i do

  9. Am in a relationship but now I feel like am losing the guy without no reason. He doesn’t respond to any of my messages what could be a cause of that, I don’t trust him.

  10. My husband’s lies have destroyed our family. My son, now 17, cannot trust him, nor can I. For many years (15 to be exact), I thought it was his addiction to alcohol/drugs that was responsible for the lying. Now, I am not so sure. My husband quit drinking almost 4 years ago, but the lies continue. I have caught him stealing my medication and then he minimizes his behavior. Last year around this time, I caught him looking at pornography on our “family” computer. I also found where he had been going to online webcam sites and exploring dating sites. Just recently, I caught him looking at it on his cell phone. He minimized that too as he said it was only “soft porn” and actually lied about doing it at first until I described the pictures I saw. He sends friend requests to other women on Facebook and hides it from his timeline. I am at the end of my rope. I have set boundaries, forgiven him over and over and still, he continues to lie. He is destroying our marriage and our family with his behavior. He claims he doesn’t know why he does it but that he can’t control it. I have a hard time believing that. He recently told me he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married anymore b/c nothing ever changes. When I told him he was free to go and I was tired of him hurting me and our children he cried and said he didn’t mean it and he wants to be with us. He is sweet for a couple of days and then he goes downhill again, becomes angry, makes degrading remarks to our children and the cycle just continues over and over. I am emotionally and physically drained. I am working full-time and attending school full-time to try to obtain better employment so I can support myself if it comes to that. I really don’t know why I have put up with it for so long. I guess I have held on to the hope that things would change and I would have the happy family I have always dreamed of.

    1. This is exactly what I’m going through now. Porn has always been more important than the real thing at home. Talk about feeling insecure. I had never felt like that before. I was used to dating men that treated me like I was the only girl in the room. Compliments, touching, nice to me. I liked this guy though. Smart sexy and he seemed to care about me. We were partying a lot and he got locked up. We were pen pals the whole time and when he got out I thought we could really get to know each other. Soon we were pregnant and now have a family. 14 years I’ve put up with stuff behind my back. It never bothered me before, it was the way he treated me and made me feel ugly sooo often that porn became an issue. like I said before 14 years. He has put up with my alcoholic crap for a long time and I loved him for loving me at my worst. I got sober to be a better person for our family. This whole time I’ve been sober he has been cheating. I find out by mistake. He has been doing this pretty much the entire relationship. I’m so hurt. I have been abandoned my whole life. why stop now. I used to have so much respect for him. I completely gave my trust to him. Trust no one. sooo lonely.

    2. My husband turns out is a narcissist who hid the truth for years from me with his master manipulation & chams ,lies and gas lighting. Theres absolutely no reason to stay with to these horrible people who have no conscience what so ever.

      It’s one thing to stay and work it out in a marriage with someone who dies every time they think about how much they hurt you. They really love you. But the narcissist never thinks about the pain they caused you. Its all about them. Their happiness not yours always. Later you are shocked to learn they have a new gf a week after In fact its your fault they had that affair.

  11. I have feeling that my husband he is cheating coz he is not spending time with me anymore and he going to places he is never been before. I don’t trust him because he did cheat before and i had a strange feeling like last he was cheating on me

  12. Hi I need help I been married for 7 years I have a boy ,my husband just told me he was talking to a girl but nothing happened he cheated before about 5 years ago I’m going crazy I do not trust him at all. I told him to live and while he was taking his clothes my aaron walk in and saw him putting all his stuff in a suit case. My son started crying and told him not to live so he stay. Now I don’t know what to do I need help should I give him another chance?

  13. Ive been married 1 year and my husband has cheated on me 6 months of our marriage with his ex. He never married her but they were off and on for 20 years. He kept telling me it was over with her to find out they were still missing around. He says now they don’t speak and it’s over and he wants take things right in our marriage. I don’t trust him cause he’s lied so much. He said he had a heart condition with her she was his first love and it was hard getting over her. But all he wants is his marriage now. I don’t know if I can trust him again. I feel she is waiting in the wings.

    1. I’ve been married for 6 so I know marriage isn’t easy but only 1 year married… Do you have children together if not then leave girl!!! It’s harder to leave when there are kids involved.

    2. If you don’t have kids, do NOT look back. Don’t sign up for a life with a man who refuses to offer you the best. What he did is not an accident and he has a character issue that I’m sorry, but you aren’t going to fix

  14. Hi There, I’m so so so confused! In August
    2014, I found out my husband was cheating on me with my ex ex best friend despite sooo many denials and promises that he wanted me. A polygraph confirmed my suspicion.After several months, promises not to talk to the opposite sex online, and trying to rebuild trust, I found out he messaged his ex, telling her he’d be an hour away from her for a work related trip. What should I do? We’ve been reading a marriage book, and he even supposedly told a another female (his boss) that they shouldn’t go out for lunch solo. HELP! :(

    1. I’m going through something similar, and kept digging up more secrets and lies. I suggest actual separation and see how you feel apart and reevaluate. Space from him may help you realize what you need. You may actually feel safer and more at peace. Don’t sign up for a life of uncertainty with someone who isn’t 100% in the relationship with you. You are obviously willing to offer all: you deserve someone who is offering the same thing an nothing less.
      Also, this is not your fault. There is nothing you could do to force someone to cheat. It’s not your fault he cheated or that your relationship isn’t a success. So don’t let guilt freeze you in your steps.

  15. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Tola,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your experience. I don’t think there’s anything you can do to stop your husband from cheating. He has to take responsibility and be a good husband to you. You can’t make him change who he is.

    The question to ask yourself is, “Can you live with a husband you don’t trust?”

    I pray for healing in your marriage, for peace in your spirit, and for joy in your soul. May God give you clarity and wisdom to decide what to do in your marriage, and a sense of confidence and serenity that He is watching over you. May you listen to your heart and mind, and make decisions that are healthy and life-affirming. I pray for healing not only in your marriage, but also in your own body, spirit, and mind.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  16. I have caught my husband with his mistresses at various times in our marriage of over 30 years. i have confronted him and he says he cannot stop committing adultery. We get on well and do communicate within and outside the home so i do not have a clue what the problem is and how to make him desist. please join me in prayers

  17. One of the first things to do when you don’t trust your husband is to try and figure out why you don’t trust him. Is it him, or is it you? Is it a combination of him and you?

    If you can discern the reasons you don’t trust your husband, you’re in a better position to decide if you should leave him or get counseling.

  18. I caught my husband emailing “gym-friends” with an email that he doesn’t know I have access too. I did some detective work & not only found his email address, but hacked into it. Found the girls emails & phone numbers but got their photos etc., off of Facebook. The emails that were sent back & forth weren’t of any sexual nature just “hi” or “I’m tired, how are you?” basics, but that’s how it starts, w/ the basics. That’s how I met my husband, by a simple “hello”… As I confronted my husband, not only did he deny it, he said “what proof is there that I’ve done anything wrong?” as he said this, the emails to & from these girls were deleted. As if that was going to make a difference, I had already read them, and gotten the information I needed. I wrote one of the girls an email, confronting her, she asked to talk to me & we talked on the phone, she too, denied any external contact w/ my husband other than “in the gym” (she was lying as well). She claimed that it could “look” bad b/c where ever she goes, he goes, elliptical machines, weights etc. She then informed me that my husband said he was “unhappy in our marriage” & how she said “it can’t be that bad”… She went on to say that my husband is VERY social w/ 12 people at the gym, not just her, & how he’s outgoing. It baffles me as he’s an introveret w/ me & our lives. She “thought” our family was the norm, I corrected her & informed her of our child who is special needs & the details surrounding that, I also informed her of my illness’ that include 24+ Rx’s to live, w/ a handicap license plate & require a cane for mobility. She didn’t realize the depth. She tried to “empathize” & say that she understood as her son has ADHD, uh, get back to me when you’re child has had over 5 surgeries since birth & can’t do much other than barely feed himself. It’s clear that my husband has painted this picture of his life that is one way when it’s missing a big portion. It’s not her fault & at the same time, I’m just angry that she LIED to cover HER butt about talking to my husband outside of the gym. She lied about having any contact w/ my husband! I saw the emails, I know what was said, & although it wasn’t sexual or nasty, still…she had contact & denied it. Why lie if there is nothing to hide? My husband, he’s also a big fat liar. A secret email account, secret communications, friendships, it’s not right. If I confront him, he’ll twist it around & make me look like the crazy one, it’s impossible to resolve an issue if you can’t even be honest. Why can’t he be honest about his outside communication? He lied & is continuing to lie.
    His new email address, he has his name & his 3 biological children’s names, he neglected to include any part of MY name or his step-son (my son from a previous relationship) name. That hurts. He made a user name & didn’t include me or his step-sonn, only himself & his bio-kids. Like those kids are there for life, but myself & my son aren’t.

    I’m lost, confused, devastated & don’t know what to do. What do I do now? do I leave? do I file for divorce? what?

  19. I would also add talking to friends of the opposite sex about it. My ex-wife thought I was cheating on her and ended up cheating herself.

  20. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Confused,

    I didn’t pay anything for this article…except the time it took me to write it!

    Regarding not trusting information on the internet: there’s a huge difference between asking for personal advice for love relationships, versus reading factual tips for life or relationships.

    Yes, we can trust information found on the web — but I think it’s a mistake to ask strangers for personal advice.

    Cheers,
    Laurie

  21. you realize that one of your tips, posted to an internet website, it to not trust information found on the web?
    I am confused. I hope you didn’t pay too much for this article.
    BTW- I am not clicking on any ads.

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