By Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are struggling with trust issues after their husband cheated or had an affair. Many truly do want to save their marriages and to learn to trust their husband again, but either his behavior or their own doubts and gut feelings stand in their way.
I recently heard from a wife, who said: “we have been working on our marriage after my husband’s affair. I initially felt that we had made some progress, but lately, I’ve just been having these nagging little feelings that I am stupid to trust him. I haven’t really caught him doing anything wrong and he’s been home on time and is very attentive to me. I guess my problem stems from the fact that I’m worried that he’s acting almost too perfectly or too trustworthy and this makes me suspicious. Believe it or not, I met ‘the other woman’ who he cheated on me with and we became somewhat friendly. She actually seems to be quite remorseful for cheating with him and she offered to try to “tempt him” to see if he would be willing to cheat on me again. That way, I would know if he’s really trustworthy. If using her is not a good idea, I have other friends that would probably be willing to help me out. What do you think? Is trying to tempt your husband to see if he will cheat again ever a good idea?” I’ll tell you my take on this in the following article.
While I understand having doubts and trust issues after infidelity, trying to set up a fake scenario to “tempt” your husband is just introducing one more betrayal and lie into an already difficult equation. And, there truly are so many unknowns here. The wife was actually trusting the “other woman” over her own husband. Although I understand that this woman had been sympathetic and a friendship had begun to develop, there is no way to be sure what this woman’s true motivations were.
She may well have been using this situation to worm her way into the couple’s life again. And, how could you believe anything that she had to say about what really happened? She has already lied and showed herself to be lacking into integrity once. Granted, the husband had shown the same lack of integrity, but the wife in this scenario was invested in him and had spent half of her adult life with him. The same was certainly not true of the other woman.
If you look at this situation rationally, the husband hadn’t done anything to indicate that he was cheating again. It was a feeling that the wife had. While I absolutely believe in intuition, I don’t think that it’s a valid reason to allow another woman who has already betrayed you once back into your life. Also, sometimes our own fears and doubts will read as intuition when in fact they’re still just our fears and doubts that are not backed by anything solid or real.
When I explained this to the wife, she asked if perhaps she should have another friend come on to her husband to see what would happen. This way, she reasoned, she would still get her answer but she wouldn’t allow the other woman (who he had already cheated with) back into her husband’s life. I still felt that this was a bad idea. Because the only thing that has changed about the plan is the identify of the woman who was doing to the tempting. It is still a dishonest thing to do at a time when you are insisting that honestly is the most important thing to you.
If there are still trust issues or doubts within your marriage, in my opinion and experience, the best thing to do is to face them head on and attempt to heal them rather than trying to “tempt” or force re injury by introducing fake scenarios. If the husband found out about what the wife was going, he probably wasn’t going to be very happy it and would then develop his own set of trust issues, especially if he was in fact being trustworthy and doing exactly what he had claimed all along.)
So, instead of having trust issues that stem from one act of betrayal (the affair,) you will now potentially be grappling with trust issues coming from both sides, from both spouses, and from two acts of betrayal. This only intensifies the problem and makes recovery more difficult. The wife insisted that her goal truly was to save her marriage, but she was afraid that she really couldn’t trust her husband. This is very understandable and I understand how this feels.
But usually, the best way to address an issue like this is to take an honest, straight forward and positive stance. If you still don’t trust your husband, then your best bet is to be honest with him and brainstorm some things that will put your mind at ease. Usually, continuing to strengthen your marriage and to work together will be more effective at putting your worries to rest than playing games and inviting someone back into your life that should already be gone.
I know that trust is hard to come by after an affair. And often, truly rebuilding it will take time. Cutting corners by playing games (like trying to “tempt” your husband into cheating again) so often backfire and do more harm than good. I know this from my own experience and I did a lot of similar things that only caused me more pain. Eventually I realized that honesty truly was the best path. This made all of the difference and our marriage did eventually fully recover. If it helps, you can read more about our path to recovery after his affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/
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