Problem: My husband left me for another woman. How can I ever trust him again?
Two years ago my husband left me for another woman. After a month he begged to come home. I missed him. And he was a good father – so I took him back.
He tells me that he is now faithful but I find it hard to be intimate with him in case he is lying.
How can I trust him again?
Karen’s Assessment: Rebuilding trust means making the decision that you are going to trust him again!
It is very painful for a couple to still feel physically and emotionally disconnected for so long after an affair (in this case, 2 years). The wife often still feels she can’t trust him and the husband feels lonely and frustrated because she is physically distant.
Usually a woman needs to feel safe and secure in a relationship, before she “opens up” sexually.
When that trust is broken she will subconsciously avoid feeling vulnerable. So she “clams up”, and her desire for sex lessens. She often rejects his sexual advances.
A man however, will usually seek sexual intimacy for reassurance that the relationship still exists.
To him, a rejection in the bedroom might indicate that his partner doesn’t want him in her life. This paradox is a cause of many relationship problems. The woman wants emotional intimacy before sex while the man needs sexual intimacy with his woman to feel safe to reveal his thoughts, feelings and tenderness.
The beginning of rebuilding trust is to make the decision that you are going to trust. The decision comes before the feeling returns. This means that every time a suspicious “jab” is experienced, you must tell yourself the good stuff that is happening in your marriage, and the hard evidence you have that he loves only you.
With regards to intimacy, it’s important to explain to your husband that you do want to have sex with him again, and that for you, this is connected to trust. Tell him that you understand how he’s feeling and that you know sex is an important component if the marriage is to stay on track. Ask him to be gentle with you initially, with words and actions, in order for your trust and sexual desire to build. And you must try to relax enough for this to happen – don’t keep avoiding the opportunity. If it helps you, ask him for words of reassurance. This “talking” during sex is not normal for a man – but he may well try, if he knows that it helps you.
Summary – Focus on the positive present rather than the negative past
In order to recover from the pain of infidelity, you must tell yourself the positive things that have been a reality over the past few months – things he has done for you and his family, evidence that he loves you and is committed. Over time your brain will become “desensitised” to the pain of his infidelity. And whilst the memory of betrayal will never go, the pain will.