Were you duped by a good liar?
Being the victim of an affair means that to some degree you were duped into thinking your husband’s actions and words were genuine when in reality they were not. It doesn’t matter how big or small the lie, the point is you were lied to!
You need your spouse to reassure you in two very specific ways if you’re going to rebuild your marriage and the trust that was lost because of his cheating ways.
One of the most common questions that affair victims ask is: “How do I know my husband or wife is telling the truth?”
It is a totally normal question to ask. Unfortunately the answer is not totally clear cut.
Now before you get frustrated, I want you to think about something for a moment. Even highly trained people and agencies like the FBI who are specifically trained to sniff out liars don’t always get it right. We all know there were and probably still are double agents sniffing around passing secrets to the other side.
What you need to understand here is that when a person lies to you, it’s not as if a warning bell goes off over their head and you can clearly see that they’re lying.
It’s easy to see how someone who’s been affected by an affair could drive themselves nuts morning, noon and night trying to figure out if their spouse is lying to them. The cheater did, after all, pull the rug out from under you.
However, even if you were professionally trained, that wouldn’t guarantee you knowing that an affair was happening in your marriage. The thing to remember here is that your husband made the decision to cheat, not you.
And that is the heart of the issue: your husband.
When Should You Start Trusting Again?
As mentioned earlier, many victims want to know if they can detect lying, but what you may not know is that many victims also want to know if they can detect honesty.
Try looking at the problem in a new light, ask this instead:
How will I know it’s time to trust again?
The point you need to focus on here is you. How will you know when it’s time to trust your husband again? No one can answer that except you. Your spouse can’t, your minster can’t, nobody can, except you.
It’s normal for trust to be shattered after an affair. It’s one of the major consequences: The cheater has lost your trust and damaged their credibility.
For the cheater, trust needs to be earned. It’s not something that will be handed to them on a silver platter after they’ve done a set of exercises. It needs to be cultivated and nurtured over time but it can be lost in an instant. At the end of the day, the short term gain for the cheater doesn’t justify the long term pain.
Seeking Reassurance to Build Trust
After the devastating news of an affair, you may want to trust your spouse, but it’s a process that takes time, and a willing partner to work through that process and earn back the right to your trust.
It’s obvious that you’ll trust them with the little things like taking out the trash and such. But you still might be leery when they tell you they’re stuck in traffic or that they forgot the turn their cell phone on.
Part of rebuilding trust involves becoming transparent with your spouse in both word and deed. It’s important for the cheater to establish patterns of predictability so the spouse knows that what they say and what they do are true.
Request 1: Reassurance in Word
The first thing your spouse needs to do is to be honest with you in their words. If they say they are going someplace and going to be right back they need to make that happen.
Now at first many cheaters may roll their eyes and think they’re being treated like a child having to check in with you on every little thing they do. But the reality of the situation is that they cheated and broke your trust and it’s their responsibility to restore it and they need to do whatever it takes.
Reassurance Request 2: Reassurance in Action
The other area where the victim needs to be transparent is in their actions. Everything goes back to establishing predictable behavior so the cheater needs to work on this. There are several ways to do this, but I’ll just name a few: have them keep their cell phone on at all times when possible, if they can’t do this then have them call you back at their earliest convenience. You can also ask that they call you when they’re going to be late and give you an ETA.
Another thing you could have them do is wipe out all passwords on their home computer and laptop. Knowing that their spouse has full access to their online activities may help keep them honest.
These are just a few guidelines you can use to help rebuild trust and honesty in your marriage after an affair. I understand that everyone’s situation is different but you can use these ideas as a guideline. As the victim you need to ask for reassurance and the cheater needs to be on the same page.