“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
“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.
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