Trust Issues

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have been married 20 years. Shortly after I was married (second marriage) my husband started accusing me of having affairs. I allowed him access to my day, completely, so he would hopefully get security. I have 3 kids, mind you, that I was taking care of during this time. It has not decreased but increased and every couple of months he starts again about me having affairs and it is getting worse. Now, he even has me sneaking in random men before I start work in the morning before anyone else is at the office. I know he had an abusive upbringing but I am running out of patience. He has me having affairs anytime, anywhere, with anyone and he tells me I need counseling for my sex addiction. The fact is I have never cheated on him EVER but he won’t believe that. He has even confronted people that he thought were the “other man” How can I deal with this or is it time to cut my losses and get out of this relationship? Thank you.

A: I am so sorry you have to deal with the accusations. It must be very tiresome and frustrating to have to defend yourself against your husband’s fingerpointing.

This is a very difficult situation, because it tends not to get better without therapy. Jealousy of this kind tends to be part of a behavior / personality pattern that is very difficult to manage. I certainly could be wrong about this, and hope that I am, but as you are finding out there is no satisfying his suspicions. How can you satisfy a delusion?

The dynamic underneath it is usually that the men were abused and betrayed, but the reaction to the betrayal remains unhealed.

Set very clear limits with your responses to him; don’t keep answering once you have answered his question. His accusations are a type of verbal abuse. You want to be with him, but he won’t stop being abusive. He is likely to be doing to you what was done to him.

I would very strongly suggest couples counseling to get your husband in front of a therapist who could begin to confront him about his treatment of you. Clicking the “find help” tab at the top of the page will bring you to qualified people in your area. Counseling is important because even if you “cut your losses” you will have to find ways of dealing with him around the children.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Trust Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/19/trust-issues-2/