Reader Betrayed writes,
My husband cheated on me within the first year of our marriage going as far as having a full relationship with someone. I had my concerns but didn't have solid evidence of this fact until 10 years into my marriage. I discovered the truth when he introduced this person to me as a potential business partner. During this time I found correspondence of theirs, where they were sexting and reminiscing over the past.
Over the years I suspected infidelity but never had proof. I have always been accused of not trusting. Instead of being accountable for his actions, I have been told I'm looking for something to hold over him and that I should seek counselling for my trust issues.
We have been married now for 14 years. He will tell you that I don't like him, I don't touch him, and that I don't really want to spend time with him. The longer I'm married to him I'm not certain that he is wrong. I want my marriage to work but I'm destroyed. I don't know how to get over this. It is frustrating because I know this incident happen many years ago, but I have always felt suspicious of him. I have caught him in numerous lies regarding women in the past but he assures me there is nothing going on. He frequently tells me I should simply focus on being happy in the moment.
I just don't want to be mistreated. I need advice on how to move past something that happen over a decade ago. How do you build trust with the untrustworthy?
I think the issue to explore is why you are staying in the marriage. Both you and he seem to agree that you don't like him and don't trust him. This is not a one-night stand, where my advice is to forgive and try again. Instead, your husband gaslighted you, telling you that you had "trust issues" rather than admitting to the truth of his infidelity. The likelihood of you being able to trust him and move forward is slim to none, particularly since he continues to get caught in lies involving his behavior with other women, whatever you mean by that.
I understand that it is hard to end a marriage, and divorce is something that can be devastating for all involved. It is your choice, though, how you want to spend the rest of your life. If your husband agrees to couples counseling and can take an objective look at his contribution to your "trust issues," then you may have a chance. Otherwise, as I told these people, you may want to move on and heal on your own. Unfortunately, it seems that your husband's focus is the present and the future, which would be great if he didn't have to confront his own past behavior and its impact on his wife and marriage.
Counseling would likely give you the support and perspective that you need to make this decision. Many people who stay in difficult marriages witnessed the same dynamic between parents when they were growing up. There is some reason why you stayed in this marriage for ten years despite knowing in your gut that something was amiss, and it would be useful to explore that with a therapist.
Best of luck making your decision and moving forward. Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, You Only Live Once, So Don't Stay In A Miserable Situation.
Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation, here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.