Psych Central

Trust is a gift

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been married for seven months. We’ve been together for a year and half and I’ve known him for four years. In the first 6-7 months of the relationship,he slept with his previous girlfriend. We were not in what he called a ‘serious’ relationship so he feels as though he did nothing wrong. I disagree. He was dishonest about it and knew I was very much in love and didn’t give me the chance to make a decision about whether or not to stay with him. He also fell on hard times and borrowed a great deal of money ($10k over 7 months).

When I found out about the sexual relationship I forgave him because I was desperate to make it work. Unfortunatley, that is much easier said than done. I hold resentment and am constantly feeling insecure. I am obsessed with trying to look at his phone records, emails…anything that will give me a clue as to what he is doing.

I have uncovered multiple white lies because he is afraid to tell me the truth because of my reactions (this is justified on his part – because of the lack of trust, I tend to get very upset when he talks to other women or is not where he says his is,etc). But I have not uncovered any official infidelity.

I feel like I’m stuck. I love him so much and want to spend the rest of my life with him but I just don’t trust him. He gets angry when I look at his personal stuff and I get embarrassed for being so insecure. This is not who I am. I have turned into an insecure beast. We are about to walk away from this marriage because I can’t trust him….even if he tells white lies, they are still lies…how do I know the difference if he lies about something big? He can’t trust me to not overreact and I just can’t trust him. Is there any hope?

A: You don’t need me to tell you that you are in danger of creating the very thing you fear. It’s already happening. The more you play detective and judge, the more private your husband will be, and the more you will distrust him. Ideally you would not have married until you had resolved this but you did so now the stakes are even higher.

Here’s the hard truth: If you want this marriage to have a chance, you need to give your husband the gift of your trust. He can’t earn it. He can’t prove to you he is trustworthy because nothing he does is enough for you. So it’s up to you. If you love this man and think he is a quality guy, then stop all the intrusive questioning and snooping and focus on making a good life with him.

Yes, there’s a risk he’ll break your heart. But a risk is better than a guarantee and that’s what you are creating now. You two aren’t kids. You’re in your thirties. Reach for all the maturity you can find within yourself and be loving to this guy you say you love. In time, you will have all the answers you need.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Trust is a gift. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/14/2364/