Will I ever be able to trust him again?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

On Christmas Eve 2008 I happened to find an e-mail from my boyfriend to his ex wife. In it he wrote her that he loves her still and only her. The more I looked into it he was basically telling this to her several times over a period of months. I knew they were still talking and being I trusted him at the time to do this. They even would have lunch together. I have been with him a year now. After I told him what all i knew, he apologized and stated the reason he wrote her that is because he feels sorry for her and for what he did to her. They got a divorce because he cheated on her. I know how all this sounds.

I normally would not give someone another chance. I have known him for 13 years. I really thought I could trust him. He tells me now that I am the only person he loves and he does not love his ex wife. I know that I want to believe him. But whenever I get a chance I look through his email to see what he has written her. Since then he is not allowed to see her or talk to her. If he talks to her he is supposed to show me the emails, texts and if she calls I need to know everything.

These past 2 months have been so hard on me. I don’t trust him. I know trust is a big issue in a relationship. I’m not sure if I can ever trust him. But I feel it would be unfair to him to not give him another chance and let him gain my trust back. I find this issue still hurting me very often. I recently told him that all ties need to be cut with him and his ex wife. I told him to write her an email stating what all I found out and how he truly feels and to show me this email. He hasn’t yet but I am really not sure if I should have told him to do something like that. Should I try to trust him again? Should I even let there be another chance that I will get hurt? Will I ever be able to trust him again? I feel this is not a healthy situation.

A: Anything is possible but the odds on this one aren’t good. This man has a history of cheating. You describe all the things you are doing to keep him on a “short leash” but you don’t say anything about what he is doing voluntarily on his own to both reassure you and deal with a pattern that makes him a bad bet for a committed relationship. Unless he puts in some major effort, this relationship is likely to fail. You won’t be able to tolerate being a detective all your life. He won’t be able to handle always feeling like you are checking up on him. It’s a bad, bad dynamic. My best advice to you is to stop trying to control him and see what he does to take charge of himself. Only then will you know whether he has the character and commitment to be worth your time.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Will I ever be able to trust him again?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/03/02/will-i-ever-be-able-to-trust-him-again/