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Trust question cut from long post...

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Investednhealing posted 9/4/2019 17:27 PM

You can read the long post in the thread below, but this the part I need answered....

My question is this. I get it. I understand. I KNOW the poor choices I made. I KNOW those were MY choices. I KNOW I broke my husband. I know I shattered him on a level that has and will take YEARS to recover from. HOW do I help him learn to trust again?
Accountability, check. Doing what I say I will, check. STD test (negative), check. Open communication, check. Access to all devices, check. Consistency in actions and words, check. Telling him where I am, who I am with, who I am talking to, etc at all time, check. I can go through the building trust checklists online, an check them all off. What am I missing?
This has not just effected/ affected us, but is spilling over into other parts of his life. People that have given him NO reason to doubt them, ever, he is questioning their motives, constantly questioning everything. He is always looking for the hole in what others say. In a sense he has almost taken it to a point of paranoia almost. Trust no one.
How do I help him find himself again? How do I help him get his confidence in HIMSELF back again? How do I help him restore his free spirit? How do I help him get to a place where he CAN trust others again? I took that away from him. I shattered that. I killed that piece of him. How do I restore his love and acceptance of HIMSELF? Forget ME. That will come with time, or it won't. That's up to him. How do I restore his love for HIM in HIM? How do I restore that free spirited, trusting, self confident, self loving, self appreciating , pride, and joy back in HIM? How do I fix that piece in him that I shattered? How do I fix HIM?

JBWD posted 9/4/2019 21:11 PM

The simple answer- You don’t. There is no way to control how your BH heals. He may heal, he may not. I STRUGGLE daily with wishing I could be next to my wife as she tries to work the knife that I placed in her back out. But I can’t. And I’m learning to manage that by instead focusing on what I can affect- Me. Whenever I want to call, text, drop by, I instead focus on understanding that is explicitly what she doesn’t want. The more you focus on trying to control what you know you can’t, the more visceral and futile the reactions become when it simply doesn’t happen the way you want.

You acknowledge that you need to be patient, that means being as supportive as possible- Caution on the checklist approach as you highlight in your first paragraph here: That is a TALL LIST of tasks/attitudes to adopt, and I found the hubris in assuming I’d done all of that kept from truly doing the HARD WORK- For context I read MacDonald as we were in HB and dismissed it all as “common sense...” I achieved NONE of it and fell into old habits as a result.

Bottom line, I would suggest taking each of those “checked” items and ask yourself at least twice what they mean and if you’ve accomplished them. I think any of our life’s work is worth constant reassessment.

Investednhealing posted 9/4/2019 21:29 PM

JBWD,
Thank you for your reply. I am 4 1/2 years out. Yes I have truly checked off the things I said Check to. I AM actively and consciously making efforts daily to do those, and continue doing those, to continue to be a safe wife, and I will continue to do them and BE a safe wife for the rest of my days.

I understand completely that he has to heal on his OWN time. I get that. What I am asking, is what more can I possibly do to AID in that. I feel like all of the articles that I read have the same 10 things listed. It can be frustrating.

EvolvingSoul posted 9/4/2019 21:56 PM

Hi there Investednhealing,

How are you coming on your "why"? Have you identified the thought processes that allowed you to choose betraying your BS and getting your perceived needs met at his very great expense?

It was very important to my BS (and me) to figure that out and then demonstrate concretely that I was working to change those thought processes.

Our healing has been on the long, long end of the timeline spectrum. I'm gonna say 6 years until it seemed like there had been some significant healing. The last two have been really good.

Someoneelse2112 posted 9/4/2019 22:17 PM

[This message edited by Someoneelse2112 at 10:36 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

BraveSirRobin posted 9/4/2019 22:27 PM

Someoneelse, I recommend you delete that post immediately. The guidelines state that BS cannot post under a stop sign no matter what the OP says. You have to wait for the mods to remove it and give BS the all clear. You're new, so hopefully you can get some grace if you pull your comment back before they delete it.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 10:30 PM, September 4th (Wednesday)]

sorrowfulmate posted 9/5/2019 09:03 AM

You can only do what you can do for yourself. The WS cannot Heal the BS. What we do is build the environment so that our BS can begin their own healing.

This is one of those hard facts to swallow and is something we just have to accept. That we don’t control what the BS needs or how they heal afterwards.

My wife and I have been discussing some events on SI. She gets down when she reads about when a WS, who has seemed to have done all the work, go back out and have affairs again.

A couple of nights ago she asked me if I was going to screw her over again. I said I wasn’t.

She countered that I would say that if I was cheating again anyway.

This is what our infidelity does in the relationship after. It breeds a sense of wariness and fear. This is because we proved that we could do the unthinkable. That because of what we have done we have capability to do it again.

What I have to remember is that reconciliation is mine to fuck up. My actions and attitudes will determine if I stay married to my wife. I also have to remember that there are no guarantees. At any time my wife can decide to walk even if I am doing the right thing or if I’ve fucked up again. The outcome isn’t in my hands, but I can do the things she needs from me in order to keep reconciliation in the picture.

Investednhealing posted 9/5/2019 11:31 AM

Mod please remove stop sign

JBWD posted 9/5/2019 12:14 PM

I get that frustration- I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel that far into it: Based on the fact that I envision still desperately wanting to reconcile AND also watching my wife suffer through the aftershocks- She had anxiety and depression BEFORE I betrayed her, and so I see some of the same mistrust and she is terrified that won’t stop.

I have always been “comfortable with change” to some degree, so some of my most effective coping is simply recognizing that this is what this looks like now- I would say accepting but my acceptance is transient based on wanting continued change for her as well as me. I don’t know if using that perspective of this as “simply another change” is effective or not- Paradoxically I struggled my whole adult/professional life with illusion of control, and only now view that more realistically, but that is, for now, how I can acknowledge the “new normal.”

Investednhealing posted 9/5/2019 13:11 PM

Thank you all. It is quite a helpless feeling. I know that I can only do so much, but that does not stop me from wanting to do MORE to help him heal.

I have thought long and hard on my why's and have visited them often in therapy. We have done EMDR on several occasions. I know what my issues were. I KNOW I had ish for boundaries. I know I sought attention in the wrong places. I know I listened to the wrong people, toxic people. I know I allowed my OWN head to be filled with thoughts that were not realistic, some by others, some by my own mind messing with me. I have taken steps to, and will continue to take steps to, be a stronger, better, reliable, trustworthy person. It is a kind of growth that does not ever stop. This is a new way of life. Conscious efforts, conscious choices, conscious in every decision I make. Always aware of the ramifications of each and every choice.

I hope the mods remove the stopsign soon. I would really like to hear some from the bs side. What helped them recover. What helped them learn to trust again, not just their WS, but in general. What helped them in healing?

Until then, thank you other ws's for your input. It helps to know I am not alone in this struggle. I know it is a pain that I brought on. I know that I have to face the life long ramifications for the choices that I made in the past. While I wish I could go back and make different choices, that is not a possibility. I CAN however continue to make better, wiser, more thought out choices and decisions from here forward, and will continue to do so. I have NO ONE to blame for all of this, except myself. That hurts. That sucks. That is a hard pill to swallow.

Outside of the steps that you can read in books or online, what have you done above and beyond to help build trust, self love, self respect, joy and peace in the life of your BS??

wifehad5 posted 9/5/2019 14:01 PM

The Stop Sign has been removed. Betrayed spouses may now post on this thread.

xhz700 posted 9/5/2019 15:29 PM

You don't. I am sorry to break this to you, but the toothpaste doesn't go back into the tube.

It's not all bad. I trusted my ex-wife more than someone should trust another person, and I ignored a lot of warning signs that I should have been paying attention to, all because I just thought she wouldn't betray me. I don't trust that way anymore, and neither will your BH, ever again.

Keep doing what you are doing, and understand that you can't make this go back the way it was. You are both different people now. See if you can make it work the way that you are now.

AND, be mindful... he, like me, probably misses the way he was.

Babette2008 posted 9/7/2019 05:29 AM

Im a BW. All the things you are doing are necessary to create an environment where a BS could trust you, but you can't make your bs more trusting of you. I didn't become less trusting in general after DD, I became less trusting of my H, because he lied, he had been cheating on me for years. I learned that he was capable of doing that. It's a mind-fuck. I still have trouble accepting it.

After DD He did everything that you are doing, full access to electronics etc... Had he not, I would have left.

Do I trust him? I know he has the capacity to compartmentalize and be dishonest. I think he is being honest now, but I am less confident that he will always be honest. The difference is now compared to before DD I am more likely to assume that he's lying if something seems off.

Brennan87 posted 9/7/2019 07:21 AM

As a BS I think my perspective is a little different on the topic of trust.

First, trust that was established pre affair will never return completely. Nor should it. Too have such blind trust in another is unhealthy. Can my trust return and get close to the levels before sure.
Second, in most of our cases we made vows before god, our friends and family to promise to love and cherish and be there in the good and bad. This inherently implies trust. This was betrayed by all the conscious decisions to lie, cheat and deceive.

Sure, I trust my WW with the mundane; she won't physically harm me or the kids, won't leave the kids by the side of the road in the rain, won't embezzle millions from her organization. Do I trust this will never happen again or that she won't "not" have my back again at some point. No, I don't trust that. Her actions have resulted in this consequence.

My different perspective isn't for you to help him regain trust in you, but in himself.
While my highway of life is littered with other trauma's, I had to get to a point I had to learn to trust myself.

During the affair, I saw signs and red flags but I rationalized them all away; she would never cheat, when I asked her if she was cheating she said no, if I hired a PI and was wrong my marriage was over. As bad as it got in that period, I couldn't leave no matter how badly I wanted too. I just didn't trust myself.
Add to it, how could I possibly trust my own judgement? I chose to make a life with someone who had an affair waiting in the wings. I trusted that I found someone who shared the same values and integrity I had until I didn't.
I began to trust my WW a little more when I was able to trust that a) I would be okay with or without her b) If she did it again, I would walk away without questions asked (my boundary).

We are striped down to the bare bones emotionally as a result of an affair and can't make sense of anything for a long time, let alone trust our selves and our judgement. After all, we did and where did it get us.

Striver posted 9/7/2019 08:33 AM

I am a BS and divorced.

You cannot get your BS back to where he was completely. That is gone.

If I were with a WS, I would appreciate a humble attitude. Like someone in AA. You can note (quietly, to yourself) that you have practiced good behaviors for a period of time... but backsliding is always possible.

It is possible to love again after affairs. It is a different kind of love. Giving without expecting the same in return is part of it.

Babette2008 posted 9/7/2019 10:32 AM

I reread your post and also see that your concern is that he is now less trusting overall, to the point that you think it is hurting him and want to help. You can't fix him -which is what I think all of the BS responses have been. You can and should be trustworthy, but he has to decide to trust and what level of trust he is comfortable with. Your role is to be his partner and support, not his therapist. Just keep doing what you are doing and support him.

Investednhealing posted 9/7/2019 11:11 AM

Thank you everyone, especially the bs's that answered. Having your prospective really helps. I know I can not fix him. He has to fix himself, which sux, because he didn't break himself, I broke him. Ugh! I CAN love him, support him, be trustworthy, be consistent, be open, be honest, and show him stability. I CAN and AM doing those things, and will continue to do so.

Okay so question for the BS's. What helped you learn to trust YOU again? What helped YOU learn to trust in general? Was it simply a matter of time, consistency and healing?

I fully understand this is a life long journey that we are all on. I KNOW that there is NO time limit on healing. Some things are damaged irreversibly, like that deep seated/seeded unwavering trust we all begin life with.

We are 4 plus years down this long road. Much has changed and improved in that time. Our bond is stronger than it has been in probably 20 years or better. There is still healing to be done. That is a life long journey. We had to go through the uglies to get to where we are. For those just starting this journey, hang in there, keep doing the work. It DOES get easier with time.

You are right. I am not his therapist. I am his wife, and helpmate. I can be here for him, be consistent, be honest, be open, but I can not teach him to trust again. I can only be trustworthy, and show him that it is okay to trust me. "ME" isn't the biggest worry. Trusting himself, and those around him also got crushed as part of the ramifications of my actions. That part is in a way even harder to swallow.

Thank you again for your comments. Keep em coming.

DevastatedDee posted 9/7/2019 15:48 PM

Xhc700 explained it well. The person I used to be was capable of trust in a way that I will never be again. A fundamental shift has taken place in my mind in relation to the world. Let me see if I can explain it. It's like, before DDay, if an alien spacecraft landed in my yard, I would be shocked and blown away. If an alien spacecraft landed in my yard today, part of me would be saying "sure, why the fuck not?".

Nothing is on steady ground anymore. The sun will probably rise tomorrow, but I don't have faith in even normal things anymore.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 3:48 PM, September 7th (Saturday)]

ChamomileTea posted 9/7/2019 16:36 PM

I'm in agreement with DDee. We're just not the same afterward. We're more cynical, less inclined to trust anyone, and less tolerant of bullshit. That's just the new norm.

That said, there are some things which can help put an overly aggressive sense of distrust in perspective. For example, when I read John Gottman's What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal and did the quizzes, I realized that trust is multi-layered. There are all sorts of different areas in which we might exercise trust which don't have anything to do with fidelity. In fact, I remember answering questions like "Has your spouse ever cheated?" and "Do you think your spouse might cheat? in the affirmative and still coming out with a pretty high trust metric. That's because I trust him with our finances, I trust him to take care of me if I get sick, I trust him to look out for our kids, etc.

I think also that there's something to be said about how deep the wound went. At its core, infidelity is an abandonment wound, and it reopens all of our old scars. So for people like me who have a lot of FOO issues, you're not just dealing with the adultery... you're dealing with every other abandonment he's ever suffered. If that well goes deep, you begin to see the scale of the problem. Try The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson for more information and some rudimentary tools for coping. It's geared toward people who have split, but I found the concepts to be quite enlightening in R.

gmc94 posted 9/7/2019 17:37 PM

^^^^^^ I think the FOO stuff is a very important piece of this.

I had serious abandonment issues from FOO. Spent years in therapy working to heal from it. I felt I had successfully healed - at least enough to get married - which was hard work at the time (it started before WH and I began to date, but I continued in therapy until we M). WH was fully aware of my trust (and abandonment) issues, my strong need for independence, etc. (bonus! He also thought it OK to share it all with his girlfriend )

But dday tears open every one of those scars, no matter how healed they may have been or felt. So, not only does a BS have to deal with the current abandonment, but in some ways re-process and re-heal from all of them from the past.

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