Trusting again after partner lied

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I had been with my fiance for one year and lived together for one month when he started talking about seperating and wanting to feel single again. Things were different around the house(less talking, contact). I found out he had been talking to another girl. They had sex after I moved out and we seperated although I didn’t find out they slept together until we got back together. She told me and after much probing I got him to fess up. He told her he did not want to be with her and realized he wanted to be with me after only 3 weeks of me leaving. After much pleading with me I have given him a second chance but I am always afraid his feelings will change or that he will lie again. It has been almost three months since we got back together and I have insisted he earn my trust back. In the begining he promised he would be here as long as it took to earn my trust back but now he’s saying he “just wants it to feel right” and “wants to feel at ease.” I will be honest and say I have been uptight. I have looked at his cell phone to see if there are unusual numbers. I have asked him not to go out with friends when I felt uneasy. He has been ok with all of that but he wants to know I won’t always feel the need to check up on him. I feel like he is rushing me and if I don’t hurry up and “get over the past” we will seperate. Also I am afraid of letting something(a lie) slip past me. How do I let go of the past? How can he earn my trust without feeling like I am testing him and watching his every step? Please help.

A. You simply don’t trust him and he has already proven himself untrustworthy. I have seen this problem many times in counseling. One partner cheats and then regrets it. He/she swears they will pay any price to get back together but this rarely proves to be true. They quickly tire and complain that you don’t trust them. They swear to you, with passion that they are doing nothing wrong but they fail to realize that their plea is coming from a known and proven liar.

It takes time to rebuild trust. How much time? Years. If someone proves trustworthy then it will slowly return over time. To think that it will return in a matter or weeks or months is ludicrous.

You seem to be handling this in the right way. If I can be of more assistance…just ask.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Mar 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Trusting again after partner lied. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/03/09/trusting-again-after-partner-lied/