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How can a relationship survive when the trust is gone?(10 Posts)
It's been 6 months since I wrote this thread, and I don't seem to have been able to move forward in any way. He hasn't done anything since and has been apologetic and attentive and trying his best to regain my trust since then. He's very open about where he is etc. But I just don't trust him. I still have a nagging feeling that he has cheated even though I haven't discovered anything to suggest he has.
What can I do? I feel like it's no longer a healthy honest relationship (well if it ever was in the first place). I feel like I don't really know him, and I'm scrutinising everything he says in case it reveals something. I constantly check his phone, his facebook, emails and internet history. I don't want to live like this, but I love him, I want to be with him. I don't want the kids to have to go through the pain of their family breaking up. But I just can't get past this, I've tried so hard. Should I give it more time? Almost 20 years is a hell of a long time, I've spent more than half my life with him, can I really have been wrong about him for all that time?
Did you get the space you were going to ask for?
The lack of trust is a real problem as without this, the marriage isn't going to survive. I agree you shouldn't live like this - always checking and snooping. I would focus on yourself - get legal advice to find out where you stand & look at rebuilding your own life - work, friends, hobbies and so on. That way you improve your self esteem and feel stronger and more able to make a decision.
Some things are unforgiveable. Some things you can't 'get past' without compromising your standards & self-respect to an unacceptable degree. You probably weren't wrong about him for all of the past 20 years but, now you know.... you can't 'un-know'.
I'm sorry you're feeling so wretched about it all. I've just read your other thread so know the background.
I think you should ask him to leave. Not necessarily forever, but I think you need this trial separation in order to take back some control over your feelings and decide where you want to go from here. If you decide to work on your relationship this time apart will be invaluable.
Lack of trust will kill a relationship. But it's not fidelity that's actually the issue here, is it? You may never find evidence enough for cheating to galvanise you into action because he might not actually go that far. The issue is that you don't trust him to treat you with respect and love when the chips are down. You are terrified that the second you take your eye off the ball, his wandering eye will return. That's not an equal partnership with you both having each other's back. It's placing all responsibility for the health of the relationship on one partner's shoulders, and that won't work.
The porn issue is also a concern. No one needs porn, not like they do food or shelter. And while sex and emotional bonds with other humans may also be important in the hierarchy of needs, I'm pretty sure that porn use isn't. It's a perfectly legal recreational pursuit at best, and a seedy misogynistic one at worst, but it's certainly not a need. While I'd be very about one partner telling the other what they are and are not allowed to do in terms of interests and hobbies, I'd also argue that unless that interest and hobby is particularly important to you, why would you continue to do it if you know it causes your partner distress? Does he feel his desire for porn is more important than how you feel? If he does, that's his right but he needs to recognise that it's not compatible with a relationship with you and leave.
From reading your OP I suspect your DH is basically a decent guy who has fallen into the self-deluding trap of thinking that because he hasn't actually slept with anyone else, he hasn't cheated. He probably tells himself that kiss long ago doesn't count because you "were on a break" , that the porn use doesn't count because "everyone else does it" and he secretly believes your views on it are vaguely hysterical.
Whether he can snap out of that complacency is debatable. The fact that you've already had couples counselling doesn't bode well for that, but he'd probably be better off having individual counselling TBH, to discover why he needs to seek validation through sex. Until he addresses that, he's always going to be the sort of man at risk of an affair because if he's feeling low for whatever reason (not necessarily his relationship with you) and the female attention makes him feel better, I seriously doubt his ability to extract himself before it goes too far. He may not intend to have an affair but he'd almost certainly sleepwalk into it.
I think he needs the experience of life without you for a while in order to focus his mind on what he stands to lose unless he gets a grip. I can't see anything else making him tackle this seriously. And IMO you need to see him taking it seriously in order for this marriage to stand any chance of happiness.
Thank you for the replies and thanks Dahlen for such a detailed reply. I agree that we could really do with some space and for him to move out for a while. The problem is at the moment he's out of work (I'm a carer for dd1), so we're kind of stuck. He has nowhere else to go (no family or friends he can stay with). I think if he'd have moved out for a while in the beginning we'd be in a better place now.
There's a lot of food for thought in your replies so I will ponder over those.
Hi, in my experience if you have no trust the relationship is doomed. I used to be all for second chances and would love to think 1 day i could be so accepting of what has happened happened but in reality both relationships ive been in this situation it just hasnt worked i felt like a paranoid mess and would never put myself through that again
I guess it all depends on how strong as individuals
I've been thinking about this all day (can't seem to think of anything else atm) and I think we'll give marriage counselling one last try. I know we've done it before and at the time it did help. I feel I can't just give up on the relationship without a fight, not after 20 years. This way if it doesn't help and we do split up at least I'll know I did everything I could to save it.
Hi MOJITO, sorry you're going through this, it must be awful.
Sometimes it helps to see things from different perspectives. We only ever see things from our own perspective and well, the world is more complex than just us.
We're probably about the same age guessing from the info you divulged here. I have 2 young DC and two years ago my ex walked out and my whole world caved in. I no longer had choices, I was forced to go it alone and, I might add, with the pain and emotional heartache of having been rejected by by OH.
It's rough out there on your own as a single parent. I know lots of people would say new chapter, turn the page, blah blah blah. But at our age and with our baggage it is not easy finding a new partner that fits the bill.
My point here is I do believe you are doing the right thing. You DO need space, I'm sure. You need space to realise that your man is human, he will fuç€ up like 98% of other men on this planet. He says he loves you, you love him..... imagine life without him. Imagine being alone and not being able to find anyone whom you feel as well with. Imagine having to do everything alone, practically, physically, financially, emotionally.
I will never stop insisting that it is so hard going it alone, unless you're that way inclined and unless of course your OH is an abusive good for nothing.
It doesn't sound like that. Counseling can be fab, as can rediscovering each other, getting your sex life back on track, finding the time to be individuals and then quality time together and as a family.
I wish you all the luck in the world and really hope you find the courage and forgiveness to make your couple work. Hugs Lemon.
I know this is an old post but wondering if you can update us on what you decided to do? Have found myself in a similar situation, he swears nothing has happened but have THAT gut feeling along with other red flags. But at the same time I cannot imagine living without him & dont want 2 throw 16 years of marriage away.
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