Though 90% of adults believe infidelity is immoral, a whopping 22% of men have admitted to cheating on their wives. And, financial infidelity occurs in an estimated 1 in 3 married couples. Lots of married couples struggle with trust at some point, especially if these statistics are to be believed. However, a betrayal doesn’t have to be the end of a marriage. In her book, I Love You but I Don’t Trust You, best-selling author Mira Kirshenbaum outlines six guidelines for rebuilding trust in your marriage.
The Relationship Was Healthy Before the Betrayal:
When you’ve been betrayed, it may be difficult to see anything but the betrayal. This is completely understandable since trust is the foundation of a successful marriage. However, when determining whether or not trust can be rebuilt, you need to look at the big picture. What was the relationship like before your spouse betrayed you? Was it a loving, healthy relationship? Or, was there lots of fighting and manipulation? If you had a good relationship before the betrayal, it might be worth it to put in the work and rebuild trust.
You Still View Your Spouse the Same Way:
Many betrayed spouses see their spouse as a completely different person once the betrayal is discovered. This is especially true when extramarital affairs are involved, or large debts come to light. But if the betrayal hasn’t changed your view of who your spouse is on a fundamental level, you may be able to restore trust in your relationship. However, Kirshenbaum warns, if this incident has permanently ruined your view of your spouse, “you can’t stay.”
You Know You Can Forgive Someday:
It would be unreasonable to expect immediate forgiveness following a major betrayal. However, if you want this relationship to work, you will need to forgive your spouse eventually. Imagine what it would look like for you to forgive your spouse. Is your vision of forgiveness something you could possibly do? Or are you having difficulty even imagining forgiveness? If forgiving your spouse is possible for you, it’s a very good sign. However, if you can’t even imagine what forgiveness would look like, it could be a sign that the relationship is broken beyond repair.
Your Spouse Cares That You’re Hurting:
If your spouse has betrayed you, they likely know just how upset you are. But do they care? A spouse can apologize until they’re blue in the face, but if they don’t care about how their actions have affected you, the apologies are nothing but empty words. If you choose to rebuild trust in your relationship, you deserve to be confident that your spouse won’t betray you again. If your spouse cares about how you’re hurting, they will be more likely to contribute to the healing process.
Your Spouse Is Working with You to Restore Trust:
“I made a mistake, okay? Let’s just move on, already!” Does that sound like your spouse?
If your spouse is taking accountability, they will understand that rebuilding trust can be a lengthy process. However, a spouse worthy of your trust will be more than willing to work through the issues with you. If your spouse refuses to discuss the betrayal, or actively participate in rebuilding trust, you’ve got a big problem. After all, you didn’t cause the breakdown of trust in your relationship. Therefore, you cannot be expected to fix the trust issues all by yourself.
You’ve Got Nothing Left to Lose:
If your answer to “what do you have to lose by staying and trying?” is, “my sanity, happiness, and physical health,” rebuilding trust is too costly. However, if you don’t have anything to lose by giving your spouse another chance, rebuilding trust in the marriage may be a worthy endeavor. Mistakes do happen. Nobody can be perfect everyday all the time. And, if your spouse cares about your feelings, is willing to work with you, and is genuinely sorry, you two may have a future together.
When You Can’t Trust Again
It’s up to you to decide whether or not your spouse deserves a second chance. If trust has been broken beyond repair, we are here for you. At CoilLaw, our attorneys are focused on helping clients work toward a brighter future. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.