Should you trust after an affair? Is trust even an option at that point? How do you know when it is safe to trust and when it is not?
People that have suffered through an affair agonize over these questions! Their tortured minds can’t rest as they constantly deliberate the possibilities. Their hearts want so desperately for the relationship to be what they believed it to be. Safe. Unmarred. Theirs alone. Understandably, they don’t want to live their lives looking over their shoulder, terrified, waiting to fall into the chute to despair and devastation again. So how do you protect your heart after an affair without living in a constant state of fear?
Kicking your partner to the curb and just moving on might sound like a great option . . . until it happens to you! Your heart aches for the person you have history and connection with. Disentangling your life, both physically and emotionally, from them is so much harder than you think! Not to mention, finding someone else does not guarantee you safety. There is risk involved no matter which way you go.
Should you spend your life watching your partner like a hawk? Continually watching, checking, digging, scanning the horizon for any hint of a threat? Not a good solution. You’ll never have a moment of peace and they will feel repeatedly bludgeoned for their offense. This is not a good scenario for either party!
Honestly, the best way to trust your partner after an affair is to let go. Let go of what they do next. How they respond in the months after discovery tells you exactly what you need to know to make your decision. You are looking for them to develop recovery behavior, i.e., a humble broken spirit.
A Humble Broken Spirit
A humble broken spirit looks like this . . .
- Openly admits they do not deserve trust, but humbly hopes that you will give them another chance.
- Does not demand trust, freedom, privacy. They know they caused the state of anxiety you are in and they willingly assist you in getting relief.
- They are mortified by their own behavior and are determined to get to the bottom of why they did it.
- Their focus is not on getting what they want, it is on getting healthier so it never happens again.
If your partner consistently presents a humble broken spirit, then you can likely count on them not to repeat the infraction. If they are prideful, defensive, argumentative, blaming, demanding, etc., then you’d better look out! They are not looking inside of themselves to discover why it occurred and there’s a high likelihood it will happen again.
Trust after an affair is possible, but it requires vulnerability and courage from both parties. The unfaithful partner must be brave enough to live humbly and vulnerably. The faithful spouse boldly trust knowing they might get hurt. Are you brave enough to trust again?