By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from women with very understandable, but very serious, trust issues that they are struggling to overcome. Most of the time, their suspicions are justified but sometimes they are overly sensitive to any uncomfortable twinges because of infidelity in their past.
I heard from a wife who said: “three years ago, I noticed that my husband was spending a lot of time outside of work communicating with a female coworker. When I confronted him about this, he admitted that their relationship might be slightly inappropriate and promised that he would stop. I had a nagging little feeling that he wasn’t telling me the whole story so I looked on his phone texts and emails. I discovered that what he said was slightly inappropriate was actually an emotional affair. I went to see the other woman and she swore that my husband broke it off and that nothing physical ever happened. Since that time, we have had a decent marriage. I love him very much. And I believe that he loves me. The problem is that I always get the feeling that I can’t trust him. I get that nagging little feeling that I got with the emotional affair. A couple of times, I have followed up on these feelings and have checked up on him, but I haven’t found any signs of infidelity this time. My ex fiance cheated on me also and I suppose I am just hyper sensitive. But the feeling won’t go away. What can I do?”
This is an extremely common situation. Suspicion is very hard to shake once you have been the victim of infidelity because you never want to be caught unaware again. But as understandable and as common as this is, it can be very damaging to your recovering marriage if you are wrong. A man who is going out of his way to be transparent and trustworthy might be very hurt when you still do not trust him when he’s worked so hard to make this right. So accusing him based on a hunch is often a very bad idea. I will discuss some alternatives below.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Keeping A Close Eye On Him, But Don’t Accuse If You Don’t Know For Sure: I know that sometimes these nagging little feelings can almost make you feel absolutely sure that something is wrong. But this wife admitted that sometimes she followed up on her suspicions and found nothing. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with checking up if you feel that you need to. But, you don’t want to start accusing him on just a feeling that you have. Because very often, our hunches are the result of the insecurity that is part of the aftermath of the affair. When you have been hurt in this way, you often notice every little thing and sometimes, you actually see things that are not there.
With that said, so many wives tell me that nagging little feeling ended up being absolutely right. So I can’t and won’t tell you that you should ignore your feelings. I don’t believe that you should. But I also believe (and know from experience) that sometimes our suspicions are the result of the damage that the infidelity has caused and they cause us to overreach and to suspect things that just aren’t true. And this sometimes leads us to damage the marriage that we have worked so hard to save.
Determining If Your Suspicions Mean You Have More Healing To Do: I don’t want to address this concern by telling you that this is in any way your fault. Because it most certainly is not. But sometimes, when this type of doubt shows itself, it can indicate that you still have some work to do on restoring the trust or intimacy in the marriage. Because I know from experience that if you and your husband were totally clicking, were happy, and were completely in sync once more, then you may not have these doubts.
The other possibility is that your husband has developed a habit of being secretive and defensive as a result of all the questions that came after the initial infidelity. This is common also. And this is often fixed by just being honest with him and telling him in a non accusatory way that he could help you to feel more secure by being more transparent. A suggested script would be something like: “I know that you want me to be happy and that you want our marriage to be a good one. You could help me by being more transparent and by checking in more. I realize that I have trust issues. But I’m asking for your help in minimizing them. If you would check in more and try not to be secretive, this would greatly help me.”
Feel free to add specifics if there are certain behaviors that fuel your suspicions. Often, this discussion will help. If it doesn’t then that’s more information that you have in order to evaluate if your feelings are valid.
I had these types of suspicions for a long time after my husband’s affair. They turned out to be untrue and, as I healed, they eventually went away. If it helps, you can read that story on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com
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