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.