Why Am I Still Digging For Evidence After My Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  People can assume that wives who have trouble getting over their husband’s affair truly don’t want to get over it.  There is an assumption that you, as the wife, are making a choice to dwell on it.  Perhaps you always want to have this reason to berate or to be angry at your husband.  Perhaps you are not ready to stop being miserable.  Whatever the reason, the perception is that if a wife doesn’t move on in the time that people deem appropriate, then she is almost to blame her for this and she must prefer living in the past.

What these people do not understand is how hard it is to believe that it’s appropriate and safe to move on.  If you have never been on the receiving end of a marriage hurt by infidelity, you can’t possibly know how awful this feels and how hurtful it truly is.  You can’t possibly know how you live in fear of having to go through this again.  And that can be one very big reason why you have trouble letting go.  You are afraid that the very second you let your guard down, you are almost giving him the green light to cheat again – at least eventually.

And that is why you might find yourself always checking up and always second guessing – even if the last thing you want to do is to continue reliving the affair.  You would give anything to not have this be a part of your life, but you can not seem to stop.

A wife might describe this situation: “we are about six months post-affair.  I can honestly say that I am mostly pleased with our progress.  When we first started trying to heal, I admit that I truly thought we might end up divorced.  I admit that I suspected that in six months, we might be living apart.  The fact that we are still living together and still trying to make it work feels like real progress to me.  However, as hopeful as I am, I find myself still checking up on my husband.  I am always looking for evidence of new cheating.  I wait for him to go to bed and I check out his computer.  I look at his phone every time he puts it down and leaves the room.  I’m constantly examining his behaviors.  And all of this is exhausting.  Because sometimes we will have a lovely day and I find myself truly happy.  But then he might go to the bathroom or something and I see his phone.  And I can’t not check it.  But when I do, the mood is ruined – even when I find that there is nothing remotely suspicious on his phone.  Why am I still digging for evidence in this way?”

Being Afraid To Let Down Your Guard: I will certainly give you my theories because I went through this also.  I think that we dig for evidence because we are scared to be complacent.  Perhaps we are working on restoring the trust and we are making progress, but we don’t yet feel safe enough to trust so much that we let our guards down – not just yet anyway.

What Is Truly Stolen: You have touched on something that perfectly demonstrates what an awful habit this can become.  When you said that looking at the phone ruins the mood and a perfectly good day, you demonstrated the real problem with this type of evidence-seeking.  It keeps you from living in the moment and enjoying it.  And it keeps you from just letting go, which is necessary in order to feel safe to heal.

Observant, But Not Searching: I would never encourage you to just blindly trust.  That’s very difficult to do. Full restoration of the trust takes time.  I would be lying if I told you that when I get a hang up call from a sales’ person, I don’t initially worry about infidelity – at least momentarily. Unfortunately, that is hard wired into me because of the past.  I can’t completely erase it.  But the distinction is that I do not act on it.  I stop myself and tell myself that it was likely an automated sales pitch.  I remind myself that my husband has given me absolutely no reason to be suspicious. (If he had, then things would certainly be different.)

My stance on this is that I will always be very observant.  And I don’t think that it would be fair or realistic to ask me not to be.  But, I am also a realist.  And I know that if I take things too far, I am going to hurt my marriage and I am going to hurt myself because I can’t relax and enjoy my life when I am overly vigilant.  I also accept that infidelity has a way of coming out without my needing to go snooping.  If it were to happen again, I’m pretty confident that I would catch it as I did the first time.  Therefore, there is no need to continue to injure myself and my marriage by acting like a detective in my own home.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not observant and aware.  But it does mean that I believe that it’s in my best interest to let that burden go until my husband gives me a reason not to.  Doing so is a huge relief.  And I’ve never had a reason to regret it. You can read more about my recovery at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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