Posted by: anniewilson | October 23, 2009

How do you trust after betrayal?

Hi….my husband cheated on the internet….he says it does not mean anything…but my world has fallen apart….we are back together….but how do i ever trust again….on your blog you went through something similar….maybe you can give me some advice….

Thanx

I’ll do my best but that might lead to more confusion. Anyway, I wish someone would have spoken to me about it but I didn’t know a soul to ask for advice. First let me offer my deepest and most empathetic, “I hear ya girl!” and now I’ll see what I can do with your situation.

First of all, whether he cheated online or in person, the fact is that your trust has been compromised and the pain you fell is valid. People might tell you things like, “Men will be men.” or “They all play online, it doesn’t mean anything.” For some reason people tend to belittle your feelings and minimize what the dishonest person did. Do NOT allow yourself to feel badly for feeling badly. It is what it is, you’re hurt, you’ve been deceived and the sanctity of your marriage vows have been cracked to the core. Trust your own feelings, if you feel hurt, you are. If you feel as though your husband betrayed you, he did. NEVER let anyone tell you differently or make you feel as though you did anything to contribute to your hurt feelings. That’s tough for most women by itself, add the efforts of a bit of a manipulator and before you know it, the deception was somehow your fault. Do NOT fall into that trap.

Next, make a decision while you have control over the situation.. If a marriage is going to end, do your best to end it on your own terms or else you will end up blindsided and reacting to the decisions made by someone else. That is NEVER a good thing.

If you decide to stay with your husband, make a reasonable plan. Tell him what you expect, honesty is a good start. Have a calm and serious discussion about what you want out of a marriage. Tell him in no unclear terms exactly what betrayal means so far as YOUR marriage is concerned. For example, if you feel betrayed when he looks at Internet porn, tell him so. Tell him that he has the option of disagreeing and leaving, but if he wants to stay married to you, he must avoid doing things that make you feel betrayed. Tell him what you are willing to do for him and ask him if there is anything that you can do differently to make him happy. That doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong in the first place, it just means that you’re willing to work hard to keep your marriage together. Set a goal for when you will be able to trust him again. I tried telling my ex to refrain from lying for one year and I would do my best not to act like a jealous fool. The problem was, he could never go for a year without lying. But, if he had been, he might have been able to earn my trust again. We’ll never know because he never did it, but if you’re lucky, your husband will try to earn your trust and you will see his efforts and begin to trust him again.

If you see that he IS trying, try to let him know that you’ve noticed and that you appreciate it. If you find yourself unable to trust him no matter what he does, I suggest that you get counseling, either for the two of you or just for yourself.

Probably the most important advice that I can give any woman is to take care of yourself. Go back to school, take up a hobby that you’ve given up or just take on a new hobby. Do something that is just for you. Make yourself a better person for you, your family and for your husband. The effects of doing that have unlimited potential toward making your marriage better, your life healthier and your self esteem greater. There is absolutely NO downside to that last piece of advice and as I said, unlimited potential exists for you to be happier, healthier and much more successful in life.

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