QUESTION: My husband is a home body and chooses to stay away from most things social. I began to build new friendships and rekindle old ones. I made a very bad choice, had an affair, and almost ruined my family. My husband forgave and stood beside me, but as a few years have rolled by he still makes me pay for it every day. My husband cannot get past my affair. He says he wanted it to work out for us but he is making it worse. He treats me like I am a child. He looks at my phone, asks me the same questions everyday about who I’ve seen or talked to. He refuses to wear his wedding band but becomes furious if I don’t have mine on. I cant live like this. What do I do? Help!!!!
ANSWER: The problem you write about is major. Your husband needs to trust you, but he has gone too far.
Years have passed since your affair, but he continues to scrutinize everything you do. His trust issues have led to what I call a “parent / child” relationship between spouses. While I empathize with his hurt from years ago, I tell you as one who has worked with thousands of marriages that this scenario is NOT good. Not for you. Not for him. I appreciate your trying to prove to him in every way that he can trust you. However, that level of scrutiny has gone on too long. It is unhealthy at best, and ultimately destructive at worst.
You wrote “I cant live like this. Help!!!!”
You are right. You CANNOT live like this. It will destroy you emotionally.
We encourage complete and total transparency to rebuild trust. Yet, as we encourage that transparency in our workshops, we point out that a reasonable length of time for THAT LEVEL of accountability is about a year. If it continues longer, it becomes oppressive and will with time lead to many other difficulties.
No one will live forever in oppression. No one should.
I read where someone wrote that only God can help a person like your husband forget your affair. I don’t know why God would do that. He isn’t going to give your husband some kind of partial amnesia. Your husband, just as you, will never forget. Neither of you need to forget. Instead, you need to accept what happened, accept each other, and move on to a healthy relationship.
In my estimation, he continues to hurt you in very unacceptable ways. He doesn’t wear a wedding band but demands that you do. He asks you questions every day about where you go, to whom you speak, and more. He cannot love you as he should as long as he treats you as he does. Neither can you love him as you should.
It’s time that hurt heals properly. It’s time you have a healthy marriage. It’s time for this behavior to stop.
For the sake of your marriage this has to change. It appears that he isn’t going to change it. Therefore, you must be the one to change if it is to change. (For more thoughts on that read this.)
I realize that you feel to some degree that you deserve this from him because of what you’ve done. Not so. You repented. You asked for forgiveness. God doesn’t punish people who’ve done that. He doesn’t put you into some group for special monitoring because He worries that you are not trustworthy. Jesus told his apostles that they should forgive even when to them it didn’t make sense to forgive (Matthew 18:21-35) and that if they don’t, they’ll get the same kind of treatment from Him.
I would love to have the two of your in our workshop. We can help both of you understand how the affair happened, how to rebuild trust in a healthy way, how to be transparent, how NOT to make the other person miserable by continual scrutiny, how to understand the way your personalities interact, how to truly forgive, how to develop a healthy relationship, and much more. You can see more about the workshop here or call us directly at 615-472-1161 to talk about your situation.
This is exactly what my husband and I are going through right now. Three years ago I had an affaire, I can’t blame it in my husbands drinking even though in the past I have. I took my emotions of that time in my own hands and made the worst mistake ever. But still to this day I get punished on a daily basis, I believe he has a right to question me and I honestly don’t mind it because I want him to know I can be trusted, but name calling, constant accusing me of stuff I’m not doing and just breaking me down on a daily basis is not how I imagined things would be. I know he hasn’t truly forgiven me I wasn’t i. A good place in my life three years ago, but I changed i am truly happy with where I am as a mother and wife and just as a person, I just wish he could see me as I am today instead of only focusing on the things I’ve done wrong. It’s fusterating, he drinks a lot blaming it on me and how I hurt him in the past and that’s why he drinks the way he does or gets angry, our 5yeAr anniversary is on the 23rd. I’m very excited even though our marraige is in a crisis it’s 5yrs, but he doesn’t feel the same, he told me he is serving me divorce papers on our anniversary…It felt like a punch to my stomach and still does, we’ve been through so much and I know we can get past this, but I can’t be the only one working on our marraige…just so lost.
This sounds like the same situation my husband and I have been in for the past 6 months, except he’s the one that cheated. And I’m the one that can’t forgive him for it. We’re still together, and still trying to live life as normally as we can, but every day, that doubt is still there. If he could stray, after 10 years of marriage, just because he didn’t feel like he was getting enough attention from me, what’s to stop it from happening again? He could have actually talked to me about how he was feeling, but instead, chose to turn to another woman for comfort. He’s been made to feel like he wasn’t “enough” for you, and just because you got caught, doesn’t mean he feels like he’s suddenly has become enough for you. His love for you hasn’t lessened, but it sounds like he feels like your love for him has, if it was ever there. Because if you ever truly loved him, you wouldn’t have wanted to be with someone else. At least that’s the way it feels to me. I always trusted that he was true to me, never doubted anything he told me, just to find out he was lying to me daily for a year! I don’t think the doubt will ever go away. I don’t think I will ever trust him again. If he was to become disabled tomorrow, and couldn’t do for you anymore, do you think he feels like you’d stick by his side then, when you couldn’t even do it just because he didn’t take you out enough? His feelings are completely justified, you deserve for him to leave you, he’s just scared of leaving you, because he does still love you.
It’s interesting that on your radio show a woman called in whose husband had had some dealings with another woman…and she wanted to take his cell phone away completely. Why wasn’t she also told that she was going too far?