People Tell Me That Always Worrying My Spouse Will Cheat Again Is A Waste Of Time. Are They Right?

By: Katie Lersch: Those of us who have had someone cheat on us know that our worst fear becomes having to deal with this again at sometime in the future. So we become very adept at watching and looking for any clues as to whether anything is amiss. This is understandable, considering the pain that we have gone through. But always looking for (and expecting) the worst can take a huge toll on us. Because we’re always worrying and we feel that we can never let our guards down. This makes it very difficult for us to offer genuine trust. And it’s hard for a marriage to thrive under these circumstances.

People will often try to offer advice to give us some relief. We’re often told that worrying about future repeat cheating is just a waste of time. People will imply that we are only hurting ourselves. I might hear from someone who says: “I would absolutely love to blindly trust in my husband and not even consider that he might one day cheat again. This would actually be such a relief to me. Because it is very difficult for me to go about my day to day business without that constant worry and sense of dread being present. It’s not that my marriage today is bad. It isn’t. My husband has rallied to become a very good husband. He goes out of his way to show me that he is trustworthy. So on the surface, everything looks good. But I don’t know that I can really trust this. Because everything looked good before he cheated the last time and yet, he did. I can tell that my husband gets frustrated with me when I ask him things meant to give me more information as to whether or not he could possibly be cheating. One of my friends told me that all of the worry and turmoil is a pointless waste of my time. She says that all of the worry and turmoil won’t change the future. She says all this doing is prolonging my pain and suffering. And that if he is going to cheat again, all of my worrying won’t prevent it. Is she right?”

To an extent, yes, at least partly. I believe that she is partly right. And the reason is that by worrying, you are feeling the pain which you would feel IF the event happened, but your still paying the price for something that hasn’t even happened yet. You are feeling future pain for an event that may never happen. And if this is true, one day you may look back and realize that it all was a waste of time and that it harmed your marriage.

However, I know first hand that even though you may completely understand this intellectually, it is very hard to put this into practice. You can tell yourself not to worry, but you can not seem to control it. Thoughts pop into your head and it is almost impossible to ignore them.

I know this because I experienced it. Short of ignoring your worries or trying to turn off any intuition which might actually be useful, how are you suppose to deal with this? I can tell you what my rule of thumb has been. And it may or may not work for you. I would make a deal with myself that I would make the worry work for me and then I would let it go.

What do I mean by this? Well, I believe that in some cases, worry has at least some usefulness. The worry does make you attentive so that you probably won’t miss things that you might have missed in the past. It does encourage you to pay attention to your marriage and to subtle clues. And that is actually useful sometimes.

But, beyond that, it is destructive and has no real use other than to make you paranoid and miserable. So I would always tell myself that I would reasonably observe. But beyond that, I would let it go and just know that should future cheating occur, I would deal with it then. (And I made it my business to strengthen myself so that I could deal with anything.) But I certainly wasn’t going to go through my life feeling pain from an event that wasn’t yet on my doorstep.

So when I felt suspicious and concerned, I’d straight out be honest and admit this to my husband. If his response ringed true, I’d let it go and move on. After a while, I used self talk. Something would pop into my head and I’d think: “Ok. Let’s look at this rationally. Am I just responding to my emotions or am I seeing something real?” Frankly, most of the time, I was just responding to my emotions. So instead of lashing out or acting paranoid, I’d learn to distract myself. I programmed myself to do something nice or beneficial for me when these feelings struck. This helped me to hit a stride and get in a positive cycle rather than a destructive one.

I’d also like to reassure you that the constant worry does fade with time. After a while, you hopefully realize that your husband is doing exactly what he says, which eventually lets you believe that your trust is justified and that you don’t really need to worry anymore.

Because the truth is that constant worry actually doesn’t help to ward off what you fear the most. Sometimes, it actually makes the thing you fear more likely. So I think it’s best to let the worry work for you – in order to make you observant. But beyond that, let it go. When you have the answers you need, then there is no need to borrow worry from a future place. Because that truly is just hurting you more and wasting your time.

I understand that all of this is easier said than done.  And I had to constantly check in with myself and use pointed self talk at times.  But doing this is better than just surrendering to the worry. You can read more on my blog at

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