First, as I typed “all it’s cracked up to be” the phrase struck me as quite odd. So, I looked up it’s origin. Strange. The Phrase Finder
I have asked myself and many others have asked me, if I will ever be able to trust my husband again. I realize there are about a bazillion memes stating that if you don’t have trust in a relationship, you don’t have anything. Google definition of trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. I have always believed trust is really important, and before discovery, I blindly trusted Blue Eyes. I trusted he would do right by me. I guess my question now is… what am I supposed to have trust in? Trust that Blue Eyes won’t lie to me… anymore? Won’t lie about anything, or just specific things that I have defined? That Blue Eyes won’t hurt me, again? That Blue Eyes won’t let me down? I would venture to say we all lie to our partner at one point in time, and we hurt each other whether we mean to or not. I realize of course, that some lies, and some hurts, are much more devastating than others.
I trusted my husband, he broke my trust, and now it is much more difficult to trust. It is much more difficult to trust anyone. Even if I left my husband and eventually found another mate, I don’t think I would ever fully trust that person. Perhaps my ability to trust is broken. I’m pretty sure I would be okay with not fully trusting anyone again. Trust is a very tenuous proposition because it is built on only what we know to be the truth. And we will never truly know everything about another person. I SO took this for granted before discovery. I just assumed if I was honest, people would be honest with me, and especially Blue Eyes would be honest with me. HUGE assumption that turned out not to be true.
The real lesson I believe I have learned since discovery is to temper my trust, to define it better. Even if I can’t fully trust someone, because he broke that trust and I am having a difficult time dealing with that, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with him. I do, want to be with him. This is a choice I am making by myself, for myself, knowing everything that I know. No one else can understand how I feel about Blue Eyes. We are approaching our 28th wedding anniversary and 33 years of being together. He is my best friend. He is the father of my children. I don’t hate him, even on the worst of days, I don’t hate him. I love him. But… I’m not sure I will ever completely trust him to confide his deepest, darkest secrets, or his truest self to me in the future. His life will not remain stagnant, things are going to come up. I guess what I have trust in is that my husband loves me and he wants to be my partner and therefore he is doing everything he can to be that recovered guy who doesn’t keep hurting me. No one knows whether he will maintain his sobriety for the rest of his life, or frankly, for the rest of the week. No one really truly knows anything or everything about any other person. There are no guarantees. There are men and women sitting next to their partner right now, feeling quite confident that s/he is faithful, not knowing that that person has betrayed them in the past or is betraying them right now. And they can say they haven’t, and lie, and how do we really know? I have read many a blog in which the cheater is rationalizing their cheating because of one thing or another. They feel neglected by their spouse, their feelings are hurt and apparently they have the maturity of a five year old, they relate better to their affair partner, the sex is just better with the affair partner, etc, etc. In my mind, these are very shallow and selfish ways to look at what I consider really bad and hurtful behavior. Unless you have an open marriage in which everyone is following the rules, it’s bad. In order for there to be a fair playing field, truth must be out on the table. It is not fair for a cheater to talk about their spouse and how their behavior affects the marriage unless they have been completely honest about their cheating. Most do not divulge the truth because they know the consequences will be devastating. Life is full of challenges and disappointment. Being lied to by the person you thought was your best friend is like a knife to the heart. It should not be easily rationalized away. Ignorance is not bliss. In a perfect world, we would all know what is going on in our life and make decisions accordingly. What I do have though, as a betrayed spouse who now knows if not all of the truth, at least enough to know what has transpired behind my back, is the ability to make my own decisions and choices once I did find out those destructive truths. Having the truth and knowing I am able to make choices is very powerful.
All that said, we are traveling back to Los Angeles for business… another summer-ish trip to LA, the scene of one of my husband’s crimes. He didn’t actually take the other woman there, but he did spend a great deal of time four years ago attempting to break things off with her, encroaching on my time with him during an anniversary trip. Over the many months of torturous discovery, I learned through phone records mostly, because those don’t lie, that he had talked with and texted with her quite obsessively. We have now been back to LA a few times since then, staying at the very same hotel we stayed at back in 2013 for our anniversary. As a matter of fact, we stayed at the Century City Intercontinental in August, 2013, and also in May 2014 (a few months post discovery… but before I knew about the phone records) and June 2016 (Breakfast Conversation).
This time around, I have decided to pick a different hotel, a better hotel, my favorite Los Angeles hotel. I know I won’t be triggered in Los Angeles. I believe Blue Eyes isn’t in contact with the other woman or any other woman, or even behaving badly in other ways. I guess you could call that a form of trust, I don’t know, belief in and trust, what’s the difference? At this point, in order to keep my wits about me, I have let all that fear and obsession go. I didn’t know about his secret life, but the truth is, neither of us knew he was an addict. Things are very very different now than they were before discovery and even over the past couple of years. I have the very distinct belief that my husband loves me and he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize our partnership (he thought he had that before, because I wasn’t ever going to find out his secrets, remember?) and at this point he believes that losing his sobriety, as bad as it is for his own mental health, would be devastating to “us.” I know not hurting me again won’t be enough to truly fight his addiction demons at the worst of times, but not losing his best friend is very important to him and does factor in. Trust at this point is tenuous at best. I believe he is on a good path now. And if I believe something to be true, and I find out it isn’t, it is impossible to devastate me again at this point, because what I do know now, is that no one deserves blind trust. I know what Blue Eyes is capable of now, and I know why. That brings me more peace than thinking about all the negative possibilities for our future together. I see happiness for us.
Wise trust assesses the probability of betrayal, in recognition that we are all frail creatures capable of betrayal in weaker moments (or in Kat’s words, have betrayed previously). Realistically, it’s possible that any of us could betray a loved one. Blind trust denies this darker characteristic of human nature; suspiciousness exaggerates it. Wise trust is an assessment that the probability of betrayal is low. (credit: Steven Stosny, Ph.D., Trust and Betrayal, Psychology Today Jan. o3, 2014)
At this point, I’m throwing the probability of betrayal and the trust that it won’t happen again, out the window and am focusing on my own happiness, which only I have the power to control. I now have what I guess Dr. Stosny would call Wise trust, plus belief in myself. For me that means that I trust that no matter what happens with my husband, I know I will be okay. Good even. Great even! Wow this was a shitty lesson that had to be learned the really really hard way. But I’ve got it now.