Continuing on with the A-Z Challenge that ended a mere seven months ago (hopefully, Arlee will continue to forgive my tardiness), I thought I’d take an excerpt from my second book and talk about trust.
Trust is such a small but powerful word. I’m sure I’m not the first person to observe that the word rust is wrapped up in there. That’s what happened to some of us, isn’t it? The trust eroded away to expose the rust. Sometimes slowly. Other times battered by hurricane force winds. All that was left were rusted shells of our former selves. Can we come back from that damage? Yes. It’s not easy and it takes both people in the relationship to make that happen.
For us, our first hurdle was the disclosures. If there was a way to hit the rewind button that’s something I’d like to do differently. Aside from not knowing the nitty gritty details, I would’ve preferred only one disclosure. Because just as I was starting to trust Devin again, I was faced with another disclosure and it was a whopper. Not the good kind of Burger King Whopper either. The trust I managed to gather fell at my feet and was gone. Then I was faced with a whole new set of issues: trauma, anxiety, depression, etc. How do you even think about rebuilding trust during a time like this?
For me, it started with admitting that it couldn’t be forced. First I admitted it myself then, I admitted it to my husband. I shared that I needed him to make me feel safe and secure in our home, and then asked if he was okay staying married to someone who may never fully trust him again. When he assured me that he would earn back my trust, and then do whatever it took to make me feel safe, then showed me with his actions by staying in an active and healthy recovery, the trust needle moved a little bit at a time. It wasn’t stuck on zero anymore.
Then there was trying to regain trust after the affairs. I wish I could wrap this aspect of trust up all nice and neat with a pretty purple bow and say, “Yep, we went to some counseling, then gazed lovingly at each other and were magically fixed!” That’s not what happened at all. I wept uncontrollably. I tore up pictures and then threw out a digital picture frame for good measure. I experienced depression. I had trauma. It sucked. There was no trust to be had. I had one foot out the door for quite some time. Sadly, I’m sure many of you can relate.
The fear that my husband would cheat again weighted me down so much I felt like I was drowning in despair at times. Like a boulder had been tied to my ankle and I’d been thrown into the ocean. I couldn’t seem to reach the shore. How could I trust him? I had been completely blindsided.
I found that I needed to observe. For a while, I was taking the President Regan approach: Trust, But Verify. It was exhausting though and ties into what I said above about hypervigilance. Not great for my mental health and it definitely didn’t help bring us together. Then one day we were eating lunch at a local hot dog joint. It had been a rough week for both of us. As I sat there eating my Nathan’s with spicy mustard and sauerkraut my husband had a great idea. Why not take the word divorce out of our vocabulary? If we were both on the same page, both wanting to work towards a successful future together, then why did each of us (mostly me), throw out the word divorce when things got super tense?
For us, taking the option off the table, kinda like being abstinent from sex, took the pressure of a decision away from us again. I had already been advised not to make any rash decision when it came to our marriage for about a year by our marriage counselor. Adding a few more months didn’t seem unreasonable to me as long as each of us agreed on a timeline so we weren’t trying to limp our marriage along “in the hopes of “ one day.
Do you trust easily? Have you ever had your trust shattered? If so, did you forgive the person who hurt you?
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I’m posting today instead of Thursday to get the word out about the free documentary so I’ll visit everyone when I get home from work this afternoon. See you then!