In my clinic yesterday I seen a couple who were going through the infidelity recovery program. Both of them had made amazing progress. But one of the major challenges of recovery is restoring the trust.
"How do I stop thinking he is always doing something wrong?", she asks.
Trusting someone isn’t easy after they’ve betrayed you. You want to believe what they say, but can you really ever know if they are telling the truth, once they have lied to you? The answer may be “Probably not.”
But the good news is: there is a way you can learn to trust again. However it will take time. This is probably not the answer you wanted to hear. However, let me explain how trust is built in the first place.
Dr Gottman is a leading expert in the field of communication, and talks about the science of trust.
Science now tells us that trust grows from how each of us treats our partners. In each situation when our needs compete with those of our partner’s, no matter how small or large, we each chose to act in our self-interest or in the interest of our partner. Trust springs from the choice to take care of our partner at our own expense.
For example, you come home after a stressful day and want to connect. But your partner had an equally hard day. You say, “Wow, what a hard day I’ve had.” By saying that, you make a bid for your partner’s attention and connection. Trust builds when your partner decides not to counter your bid, but instead, accepts your needs at his or her expense. You might hear “I did too, but tell me what happened in your day. You seem so stressed.” When this pattern happens over and over, each of you giving to the other at your own expense, trust builds.
Trust is not about wishing and hoping that your partner wont cheat or wont talk to their ex. Trust is about learning to once again trust your own intuition. You probably started to doubt your inner voice once you found out that they lied to you or hid their affair. Now, you are wondering if you can really ever trust your gut instinct about anything again.
Trust is about learning to listen to your own intuition once again. Trust is not about learning to trust your partner. The truth is that they are human and another human can always let you down. Let’s face it, you never really know if anyone is telling you the truth, unless you feel it in your gut.
Only your own intuition tells you the truth. Learning to trust your own instincts is the only and most important way to know if your partner is cheating or being honest about their outside relationships. In order to be in a relationship and always feel safe, you have to learn to trust your inner voice. Your intuition will never lie to you. Once you learn to listen to it, you can always trust your inner voice.
The challenge is learning the difference between your intuitive voice and the sometimes louder voice of fear. Fear and intuition are two different things. Fear tells you what you don’t want to know. Intuition tells you the truth. Intuition is real and always authentic. Your fear can be real sometimes but often, it can be a fantasy or an illusion.
Trust your inner voice and you can learn to get past the affair, and always know if your partner is telling you the truth.
When it comes to Infidelity Recovery, you MUST judge your partner by their current actions, not on their habits and behaviors from the past.
NOTE: I understand this advice rarely feels helpful when you are in the middle of recovery. This advice works best when you are also working on the other areas of your relationship that needed repair. If recovery becomes overwhelming - seek a coach to guide you through this stressful period.