Having a Hard Time Trusting After an Affair

man on cell phone cheating or having an affair

If you’ve recently found yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of infidelity in your marriage, there aren’t words to describe what you’re going through.  Shocked, rocked, anxious, depressed, uncertain, and pressed to find out what the affair means are just a few of the things I hear a lot of clients talk about when they’ve recently discovered infidelity in their marriage. But perhaps the most common one that I hear from every single partner who has been cheated on is that they’re having a hard time trusting after the affair.

Reasons you’re having a hard time trusting after an affair

1. What Else Are They Capable Of?

If you’re like most people you’ve never even imagined that your partner would look outside your marriage for sex or intimacy or romance or anything like that. If you did, you probably wouldn’t have got married in the first place, right? So it’s even more shocking when you find out your partner did. And if you never suspected that they’re capable of an affair, then it’s pretty common that you also feel worried about what else are they capable of. Visions of a second family somewhere or past untold legal run-ins might even run through your mind. Like I said, you didn’t think they’d be capable of an affair so how do you know what else they might be capable of?

For the most part you can put this one to rest. Just because your partner had an affair doesn’t mean they’re capable of other atrocious things, too. Most of the time when someone has an affair it’s just that – an affair. They don’t go on to spend everything in the 401k or begin a criminal record. If you’ve known your spouse for a while and none of these have come up, you’re probably safe. Don’t let your anxiety get the best of you. Healing from an affair is challenging enough already. Feel free to assure yourself that you probably do know your partner well enough and that this was just a mistake on their part.

2. You’re Worried About Your future

When you find out your partner has had an affair you suddenly feel really insecure about your future. You even stay up at nights thinking about it. You think about what divorce would look like and how uncertain that feels. You think about that would be for your kids and also for you to start dating again and start feeling all kinds of worried. You also think about your finances and what kind of lifestyle you’d be able to afford and realize that you’d have to pare back on some thing. You might also think that you’re obviously no good at picking partners so how can you be sure you’re going to pick a good one next time.

Being worried about your future is common – especially after you’ve just discovered an affair. But rest assured plenty of people end up perfectly fine after an affair. Whether the couple stays together or not, both partners usually end up just fine in the end. And so do the kids. It’ll take a little bit of time to get things settled down again but it does happen and you’re going to be okay. Assure yourself that you are capable of hard things and you can get through this affair, too. Once you learn to trust yourself that you can make it through this hard situation, it makes it easier to trust your spouse again because you know that you can rely on yourself no matter what outcome comes from the affair.

3. You don’t trust yourself

This one goes along with what was just mentioned above. When you don’t trust yourself that you can make your circumstances better, you have to put that trust somewhere (or in someone) else. For a lot of people they put that trust in their spouse to help them make sure things will be okay. They also put this trust into family members, into their faith, and more. But ultimately you’re the one responsible for your own happiness. If you’re having a hard time trusting after an affair I find there’s a large part of this that is due to people not being able to trust themselves to make things okay.

In 15 years of working with people through infidelity, I’ve found, without exception, that people always end up okay after an affair. They never end up living in a van down by the river. Things are tough for a little while but they’re able to make it through. The power of the human spirit is remarkable. And you have that in you. Trust yourself that no matter what happens, you will be okay. You are capable, and you can make sure of it.

4. You’re too angry at the moment

Trust takes a deep sense of understanding and recognition of another person. When you’re angry at someone, you’re usually not trying to understand them or trying to see them. Nobody can blame you for being mad. Afterall, you’ve just been cheated on. So go ahead and give yourself permission to just be mad for a while. Some studies even show that you need anger as part of the healing process.

After you feel like you’re done being angry and that your anger is not serving you any longer, go ahead and try to work on understanding your partner and their motivations behind the cheating. That doesn’t mean what happened was okay. And it doesn’t mean that there were good reasons for the infidelity but trying to understand and see your spouse’s reasons will help you not only get past your anger but it will also help build empathy and compassion in the relationship – two critical things that will ultimately help heal your relationship or just heal you if that’s what you decide.

 

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