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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Once Betrayed, Twice Shy: Is It Safe to Trust Again?
It's easy now to look back and see what a fool I was. The late-night dinners with the female assistant that were necessary for work. The sense of entitlement she seemed to feel regarding my husband's time.
But I was the good wife. I thought I was being supportive by taking care of things at home so he could concentrate on his career. I thought I was helping build our future by ensuring that he was free 24/7 for "client meetings". I thought I was just secure in my marriage by believing that my husband was completely immune to the advances of other women. He loved me? Why would he be interested in anyone else?
In the days following D-Day #1, the pendulum swung far the other way. I needed to know where my husband was constantly. In fact, I needed him home constantly and, knowing his marriage likely depended on it, he took a couple of weeks off work to simply be home. Slowly, very, very slowly, we rebuild trust.
At first, he knew that not answering his cell phone wasn't an option. He had to be available to me whenever I felt the need to check up on him.
And, as time worked its magic, he earned back my trust by proving – consistently and over time – that he wasn't cheating and wasn't lying.
It will never be the same.
That was made abundantly clear about two years following D-Day when I tried to reach my husband at the grocery store to add one more thing to the list I'd given him. No answer. I tried again. Still no answer.
I counted the rings. Three rings. A 31-second message from him asking me to leave a voicemail. Just like the night I called him over and over and over...only to find out later that he was in a hotel room with her.
The knot in my stomach tightened and I was right back at the moment when I suddenly knew – absolutely, unequivocally knew – that he'd been lying to me.
By the time my husband arrived home and I fell apart, I was deaf to his explanation that he'd been talking to his sister, who was upset about blah blah blah. He thought the crisis was over. Two years had passed. He thought it was safe to go back to the way things were when I trusted him completely.
Those days, however, are over.
Now? I trust...but with a healthy skepticism. I believe...but sometimes verify. The thing about complete trust is that earning it the first time is easy. Earning it back after you've lost it? Impossible. I'm just not the same person I was...and I never will be.
What do you think? Is it possible to completely trust an unfaithful husband again?