Rebuilding Trust

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

Has your trust been broken? Talk to a mentor today.

One of my clients once asked me what it means to trust another human being. She wanted to know how she should react when a spouse or significant other is dishonest, inconsiderate or having an affair. She wondered if it is possible to rebuild trust in someone who disappoints us greatly.

What does trusting someone signify?

Trust, in a practical sense, means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows and confidences and not abandon you. Here are some factors to consider about trust. Trusting another person requires a realistic perspective about people and an expectation of failure. Trust needs to be combined with a willingness to forgive and grows best in an environment of acceptance and love.

There’s no magic machine, you don’t put in a quarter and out drops a can of trust — trust grows over time. People are complex, broken beings therefore, previous hurts, fears or losses can impede their determination to trust and/or be truthful in a relationship. But, people have the capacity and the ability to change and to grow in trust and truthfulness. You can rebuild trust in broken relationships when you make a choice to do so with the supernatural help of God.

Adjust your expectations

Love & God
A Conversation about Love & God
Has love betrayed you? Is it preventing you from believing that you are a human being who is loved by God? You are intelligent, beautiful, loved, and not alone.

People are human, frail, and sinful. Therefore, you need a realistic type of trust when you choose to trust someone. Trusting grows in relationships over time because as you spend time together with someone you build knowledge, understanding and authenticity. You gain insight into another person’s character, needs, motivations and fears.

Unconditional love develops trust because as you express this kind of love towards someone — generally he or she will sense your acceptance and feel comfortable to be vulnerable and honest about their feelings. Unconditional love actually builds self-esteem in others and alleviates their fears of rejection. People learn that they can be authentic with you about their feelings, opinions, and failures. The result is a growing trust in the other person. Not because that person is perfect but because that person is growing in honesty.

Unconditional love is patient and kind

It is not self-seeking. It does not keep a record of wrongs. When love is not patient or enduring; when love is unforgiving and always disappointed or looking for something to go wrong, it generates fear and looks for imperfections in the other person. Fear-based love is conditional creating an atmosphere of distrust, dishonesty and instability.

You can have a limited trust in people as you grow to know them and they see you really care about them but the fact is that people will let us down. That is reality. Obviously, when someone has broken their vows and been unfaithful, has lied or been dishonest in the relationship, they need to change. You can make some requests for change and take the risk of starting over again. Get counseling and pastoral guidance. You can find a counselor or go to the nearest mental health center. If you are suicidal please contact 911 (in the USA & Canada) or go to a hospital emergency room.

If that person is not sincere about changing and continues to lie or betray you, then, you need to consider whether to end the relationship.

Take a look at yourself as well

You will never be perfect and therefore, you will probably disappoint your loved one as well. You can promise to never say something hurtful or never tell a lie or never exaggerate or always keep your promises or (you name it) but since you are human you will also make mistakes and disappoint that person. The only thing you or your loved one can promise is to grow, to seek God and ask Him for strength to change. Then you and your loved one will become more trustworthy in your relationships, though you will never be perfect.

Every human relationship will suffer hurt. Thus, we all need to become better forgivers and confessors. That ability to reconcile and spirit of humbleness will prove the depth of your love and commitment.

The components of love, forgiveness and commitment are as necessary to trust in a relationship as is honesty. Forgiveness gives you the chance to start over and trust another fallible human being again. Love helps to nourish trust. Commitment and honesty provide accountability to one another.

The ability to forgive is rooted in being forgiven ourselves. In the Bible it says that God loves the world so much that he sent his only son so that we could be forgiven. As people we all make mistakes, not one of us can live up to the standard God set on our own. But God promises that if we accept what Jesus did for us, we can be forgiven. The slate can be wiped clean no matter what has happened in the past. God promises us strength for today and bright hope for the future. Whatever happened in your yesterdays God can take care of all of your tomorrows.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Christ will come into your life as He promised. If you invited Jesus Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.


498 Responses to “Rebuilding Trust”

  • Chris says:

    johnna….i am sorry to hear about your situation. you have a big heart marrying someone who is disabled and surely that has been part of the challenge involved here. at the same time, as you say, we can never justify adultery but there is hope in you establishing a true and solid saving relationship with jesus christ for your life and the life of your husband and marriage. we cant undo whats been done, but we can let jesus take control of our lives and marriages and let him do the work that needs to be done in restoration since true love and forgiveness only comes from God himself. for more information on knowing jesus as your lord and savior of your sins so you can pray for your husband as well and marriage, log onto or click talk to a mentor above for more personalized attention. i pray jesus would help you to see your greatest need is for him and by getting your eyes fixed on the lord, he can lead you to where you need to go in this life and the next in jesus name amen

  • Johnna says:

    After reading all your stories I felt the need to share mine! My husband and I meet and married shortly after! I love him and know that he is the one for me! But I messed up! We started down the road of infertility! I felt alone worthless like didn’t get his attention that no matter how hard I worked it was never enough! As main provider of income for our household as my husband is disabled! I worked 12 hour days 5-6 days a week! At the same time of feeling alone I felt on top of the world I didn’t need sleep! But still felt lonely! So I started ty all to my ex that I worked with and everything went much further then I should have allowed! I ended up sending text to him pictures to him from my own bedroom that I share with my husband! I even went as far to go to his house and have sex with him on two occasions! What was I thinking? I know I love my husband even though we haven’t be together long! I know I made a huge mistake!
    My ex sent my husband all the pictures and the video that I had let him make of us together the day before I was to have gallbladder surgery! Now my husband being the amazing loving caring man that he is has seen me through my surgery taken care of me. And is continuing to let me heal as I had several complications and have a blood clot! He is rarely here and when he is sometimes it’s great and others it’s hard!
    He tells me that I will have to leave as soon as I am better and this I understand! But I want our marriage to work and I know in my heart that God does too! God laid it on my heart for me to do research about all the meds I was on and the medical condition that I have that causes me not to be able to have kids! I done this I shared my findings with my husband! I am not in any way condoning what I did! I know I done wrong!
    But can he ever trust me again? Will he ever love me again? If I leave is going to help? So many questions !!!
    I don’t want to seem selfish but I asked him when I leave not to see anyone else, because I want the chance to prove to him how I know I messed up he is the one I love want and need! He made the commint that he felt he needed to make sure that I am the one he wants! This hurts in so many ways please help me!!!
    I pray to God everyday for him to see forgiveness and to want to work it out for him to see the love I have for him and to see that we are meant for each other!
    The reason I say I know we are meant for each other is when we first started dating and talking we came to realize that the December prior to us meeting is when we were suppose to meet my father was very I’ll and ended up in the hospital that same day my husband ended up in the same hospital in the er we didn’t meet that day as I was in icu with my father and him in the er, but I know that was when we were suppose to meet! I know we rushed things married fast and haven’t been married long but again I feel God was the reason we married fast as my husband got sick and they thought he had cancer well him with no insurance that would cover anything like that we decided to marry ASAP and we did! We married in the river as we felt it would wash away all the bad and bring God closer to us!
    How why what was I thinking? Is all that runs through my mind I want my husband to trust me love me install his fair in me again! What do I do I’m afraid that he will find another and never give me the chance to prove it all to him! I know he’s planning to move soon and I can’t follow without a job as I have bills to pay! He had went and seen a lawyer to draw up seperation please help me
    Thank you all for your time! May God bless you and keep you all forever in his heart and help you to guide me in my time of need!

  • Celeste65 says:

    I was married in the Catholic church 21 years ago. I was raised Catholic,as was my husband.
    The “test” the church required us to take should be required by everyone who wants to get married.
    The questions were designed to open up a dialogue between the husband and wife to be before marriage.
    It pointed out where the couple differed in thoughts and feelings, as well as pointing out areas of concern.
    The questions & answers were a good tool.

  • Chris says:

    elena….sorry to hear of your struggles. to me, this isnt about rebuidling trust but about the simple nature of love. when a person loves someone they do not hurt them, bother them, or make them suffer. you would do well to read 1 corinthians 13 to understand more clearly that your boyfriend doesnt love you, period. in order to not be with the wrong people and to be able to be with the right ones, we need to have spiritual discernment that only comes from having a true and personal relationship with jesus christ. for more information on how to have that log onto or click talk to a mentor above. i pray now that you would let jesus bring you the person you need for your mate as you trust him for your life, souls salvation and spiritual destiny amen!

  • TrustinGod says:

    I know it is a little late but for someone who may read this now here is a good tool to use if you are in this man woman relationship thing.

    I am not Catholic but I have seen and read a multipage document that is used by a priest when two people want to get married. In it are some excellent pointed questions that if one answers them honestly he or she will get a good idea of their relationship with the other person.

    Also, I was a witness to a Catholic marriage and I had to have answer questions from a priest and he was recording them on some form. I did not have much time to think about each question but as I remember they were quite pointed as well.

    Verbal counseling is ok but I feel that if one goes through a list of pointed questions about ones relationship with another, especially in relationship to God, and that form is signed then there is a definite commitment on the part of each person. Not just a verbal commitment that can be forgotten.

    If a couple (married or unmarried) can get a copy of those questions, answer them, sign the document and have it available at all times it may solve some future problems.

  • jenn says:

    Meant to write “he is not a good guy”..not ” not a food guy” correct is not so correct lol

  • jenn says:

    Elana,……PLEASE do yourself a favor, and BREAK up with him and MOVE on….from experience and from the little that u shared which was actually a lot in the scope of things, he is NOT a food guy…sorry if its not what u want to hear, but ill tell u the truth. If he is that untrusting and to be honest manipulive now,imagine if u married him…it will be way worse. If anything he needs counsling, I wull pray for u both:)

  • Elena parga says:

    I honestly need help , my boyfriend and I been together for about almost 2 years and he keeps bringing up how he doesn’t trust me with anything. He always thinks I’m lying . Before we did break up and he hurt me so bad I got depressed but I needed him so after everything he came back to me and I accept his apology . Now he thinks im just going to get him back and he keeps telling me to prove to him I’m nut and that he can trust me again but ive been doing everything , meeting him upplaces suprising him with things . But it’s still not eenough how do I prove to him he can trust me again I love hon so deeply and I don’t want to lose him again . Someone please help us !! He is giving up on us and I just can’t handle losing him Jason

  • Chris says:

    trying to trust….i can understand your concern but at the same time, since you arent married yet and probably not officially engaged, i would suggest winking an eye at this and moving forward in your relationship as if nothing had occurred. i am sure your boyfriend has learned his lesson and as christians, forgiving should come easily. remember too, only God is absolutely, one hundred percent trustworthy. those who marry are marrying imperfection so that needs to be taken into consideration too. arent you glad your boyfriend has stayed committed to you when you may have not shown perfect Christian love and behavior 100 percent of the time?. can help each marriage candidate evaluate their love level and christlikeness for themselves. i would highly recommend it if you havent gone through it already…father bless our sister now with your peace and solid direction from your holy spirit so she can sense the leading of you in her heart, not by logic, but by faith felt assurance if you are truly uniting her with her boyfriend in marriage or not, not based on his perfection because that will never be, but on your perfect love that binds together two imperfect people to represent the perfect christ who lives within them to the world amen!

  • TM says:

    @Trying to Trust, I too broke the trust my wife by having a social affair and neglecting her for a time. Though I truly understand the pain your feeling- the best thing you can do is pray, pray, pray- ask God whether this is the person you should build a relationship with and, if he’s not, that He puts the right person in your path. You must remember, however, that we do make mistakes and you must forgive him, not forget, to release yourself from the bitterness that can hold you hostage, which is what’s happened to my wife. I pray several times a day that God softens her heart, she can start trusting me, and we can be together again.

  • Rashid says:

    Trying to trust
    Fist of all I pray to Mighty God to guide me to say what is best for me and other.
    I refer to myself if I talk with my date and we agree what we expect from each other if I go out few date and both show interest and then I go out with other woman I think I broke the commitment that was the rest I failed so I think I don’t deserve the woman if I disrespect her.if I have friend and if she ask me opinion I think I will tell her plenty men are and lots of good men and women available why not try other to learn from this. There is other saying:) one day father told her daughter watch that guy and keep you self away from if he date you on first date at Dunking Donut place on second date he may take you to Mc donald. Fact is this things alway change after marriage it not same when people meet first time God Bless you and Guide you in Jesus name Amen

  • Trying to trust says:

    I am 42 yr old single woman and never been married. My last relationship was 7 years ago. Because of trust issues I had with him I have been so afraid to get involved again. 7 months ago I met someone and we have been dating every since. Now I feel like I have wasted my time yet again because I found out that for the last 2 weeks he has been communicating with another woman and have even went to meet her. He said that it was a mistake and he really wants us to be together. Yes we have said that we love one another. I am hurt and don’t know how to move past it. I want us to work out but all I think about is this issue. I need words of advice, a prayer or something to help me with this because if I call him and can’t contact him my mind is doing wonders on me. I am literally in panic mode.

    How do I get through this…..

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi CS,

    I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you’re going through in your marriage. I cannot imagine how awful that must be. There’s an article that I’d highly recommend to you that talks about forgiveness and consequences – you can find it here. In the author, a counsellor and a Christian writes about how forgiving someone does not mean that you pretend the thing never happened. Sometimes someone will do something that means we have to reset our boundaries with them, even though we have forgiven them. Forgiveness is not instant reconciliation, rather forgiveness is the FIRST STEP toward reconciliation.

    Let’s take a closer look at this using an extreme example. Imagine for a moment that a family member had sexually abused your child. After forgiving them, would you let the relative be alone with your child again? Probably not. In order to keep the child safe you’d have to reset the boundaries. Forgiveness doesn’t require you to put yourself in harm’s way.

    One of the best definitions of forgiveness that I’ve come across is this: Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Forgiveness is the first step. It’s the point where you stop trying to harm the other person but it’s not a time machine. The thing still happened, but forgiveness means that I’m willing to not bring “yeah you but you did______” every time there’s an argument.

    So what happens with you and your husband? Forgiveness is the first step. He said that if you go back to him he will go to counselling. I’d suggest that he needs to go counselling first. He’s the one who broke your vows so he needs to make the first move toward rebuilding your trust. If he’s serious about rebuilding your marriage, then he can demonstrate that by starting the work of counselling first, working toward a day when you would consider sharing a home with him again. He needs to understand how thoroughly your trust has been broken. Marriages CAN be rebuilt, especially when God is at work in them, but this is going to take some time.

    I often tell people that broken trust is like a broken bone – it can heal but you have to be very gentle with it and there’s a period of time when it just can’t do the things it used to do. I think that’s where you are right now. Your trust is in a cast. So be gentle with it. You and your husband are going to need to be very honest with each other. What kind of safeguards do you need to know for sure that he is keeping his promise of not seeing her? I know of one couple where they had a rule that the wife could call the husband any time of the day or night and ask him where he was and he would always take her call. They did that for almost a year until she could believe again that he was where he claimed to be and he demonstrated that he was trustworthy. Under normal circumstances checking in like that would not be necessary, but these were not normal circumstances. For others, it’s a question of being home on time, or letting the other spouse go through your phone records. You will know what works for you and your husband. Trust grows when we demonstrate trustworthiness.

    Counselling will be a strong step in the right direction. You might find it helps to see the counsellor separately at first. (And remember, counselling is a team effort, you need to find someone you can work with. If you’re not comfortable with the first counsellor don’t be afraid to try another.) It’s interesting that your husband described the affair as “only about the sex”. I wonder if he has not yet come to terms with the magnitude of it? It’s never “just sex”. Sex is a huge deal, especially in marriage.

    CS I do believe that there is hope for you and hope for your husband and hope for the two of you together. I know that this can feel impossible, but God is in the impossible business. He is God of restoration, the One who makes a way in the desert, a path where there is no path. You asked if people really change, I believe that with God, yes they do.

  • Tom says:

    @CS: If he truly is repentant, he would have no contact with that person. I haven’t had any contact with the woman I had the emotional affair with since it was discovered 3 1/2 years ago and have no interest in contacting her. God instructs us to love our spouses unconditionally and forgive them “seventy times seven”. I understand how hard that is for you. Pray about it and trust that He won’t give you more than you can handle.

    I’ve tried, and struggled, to focus on growing spiritually, praying that God softens her heart, and that He restores our marriage. I feel I’ve done everything humanly possible to reconcile, yet she refuses to forgive me and seems content to move on. I know He won’t move until I’m right with Him, but when is that? I think Satan also has been using others to tell lies about me and what I say or do. We just had our 28th anniversary and she refused my invitation to lunch because she “didn’t want to give me false hope”. She hardly talks to me, and that’s only by phone.

  • CS says:

    Hi, I too am struggling with forgiveness. My husband of 22 years had an affair with our friend of 20 years for at least 4 years. I moved out 2 years ago because I knew something was going on but I did not know with who. He broke my trust in every imaginable way. I have been in touch with him every day but I was going insane living with him because of the lies. I have financially supported him for years and continue to do so. I just found out last summer who the affair was with because I told him I could never trust him if he did not tell me who it was. He said it was not emotional and it was only about the sex. He also told me that she broke it off and he is very sorry about it. When I found out, I forbade him to see her or her husband ever again or we could never get our marriage back. He last saw her 3 months ago, right at the point I was ready to move back. I only found out by accident. I very much believe in unconditional love but at what point do you question your sanity in trying to forgive? He says he loves me and if I go back to him he will go for counciling and that he is sorry. All I can think is that if I go back he will just continue to do things behind my back again. I want to believe but at 50, I am too old to make any more mistakes and be lied to once again. I really think I will die if he lies to me any more. I have suffered a nervous breakdown because of this, lost my job, it has been horible. Do people really change or should you let them go, still love them but let them live the way that they want but separate from you?

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    It’s great to see all the interaction on this thread! You are so right ‘H&C’, it is good to be able to share in a forum with others who have been on both sides of the coin.

    The issue is one of rebuilding trust as the article says, and whether that trust has been broken by sexual infidelity or in other ways, that trust is broken and needs to be rebuilt. Sorry Jake, but I beg to disagree with your comment. Men can and do grow up! With God’s help.

  • H & C says:

    @ Jake– Well, I guess it depends on your personal belief system as to what infidelity is… I personally believe infidelity is any breach of trust… with finances, emotions, etc… and that sexual infidelity doesn’t necessarily need to become the actual sexual act for it to break trust. I feel that sending/receiving very sexually charged messages is certainly sexual infidelity, but that is just my take on it. Some people may be ok with it as long as it doesn’t involve the “real thing”… I also am not “trying” to get him to do ANYTHING (Bible Study)… just hoping and praying that he moves into the seeking mode of his Christianity, so that he is growing and feeding in the word to strengthen him.

    @Celeste65– Thank you for your compassion and promise to pray. Also, thank you for being so candid about your own situation. It is helpful to hear from the OTHER side :) It is not easy to admit our own issues!!

    It is nice to be able to share in a forum with others that have been on both sides of the coin, and it is nice to be able to share with others that are not inside the inner circle, so there is no judgement for my husband or for myself. I don’t want to bash him to others or to humiliate him, but it is something my counselor said to do– find someone to talk it out with. A forum like this seems like a safe place to do so without hurting anyone :) Thanks for listening!!

  • Jake says:

    “Hurt and confused”, you sound like a very strong woman. Was their sexual infidelity? Appears not from your story. So, he loves you. He is just a little boy. many men refuse to grow up you know, they cant. They fear death and age and want to believe they are still boys You call it infidelity but doesnt sound like it to me. Is amazing you complain about this. And also trying to get someone to do bible study? This will never happen

  • Celeste65 says:

    @Hurt and confused :

    Firstly, don’t wonder if your feelings are ” normal”.

    You are entitled to feel whatever it is you feel.
    I think it will take a lot of prayer , counseling and soul searching to find a way to work through this..
    I am wondering about one thing though. What about you? What about your needs?

    I know that we all have past Experiences that make us who we are today.
    No one has a perfect childhood her family life.
    We cannot use Our childhoods to excuse our behavior.
    My ex husband was verbally and emotionally abusive to me during most of our 17 year marriage. I put up with it in part because I had low self esteem. The other part was because I made a promise As all couples do when they say their wedding vows.
    I know that his father was abusive to him as a boy, but that is no excuse to treat me like garbage.
    Also, I cannot use his mistreatment of me as an excuse to cheat, which I did. It has been three years since my divorce, & I still feel badly about it. I am seeking counseling again. I still have a lot of things to work through.
    I pray for healing for you, your husband, and children.

  • Hurt and Confused says:

    Beware– VERY long post to follow!! :)

    I have been married for 22 years (this December) to a man I love very, very much. We have two children together; a daughter who is 22 years old and is married and a daughter who is 17 years old and is living at home. We are currently in the rebuilding stage following the revelation of not only ONE “emotional” affair, but also years and years of dishonesty and infidelities of different types (emotional, financial, etc). I need some feedback from other Christians who have dealt with this sort of thing, and I need to know that I am not “crazy” for feeling the way I feel– even two years after the original revelation of the infidelity. I need to know I can be whole again– not so broken– and not think about the lies and things that hurt me instead of moving forward. I am back in personal counseling (very recently) and my husband is supportive of that, though he doesn’t totally understand my need to “rehash” past hurts because I don’t think he can really understand the depth of how it has all taken a toll on me emotionally, spiritually, mentally…

    I have to start off by saying that my husband has been great for the past two years– not perfect but MUCH better. He is growing spiritually (though I would like to see him take the initiative to seek out personal Bible study, etc) very slowly, but he is at least reaching out to God. He certainly has exhibited a desire to repair our marriage. The issue is within ME and my subsequent feelings following a very long and deep history of lies, deceit and broken trust. I know that NOONE is perfect– certainly ME included– but I am afraid that the lies and history of betrayal may be a sign of more deep-seated issues that I have been “trained” over the years to excuse, ignore, deny, etc by the lies my husband told to cover them. I am afraid that not only do I NOT know about all of the past deceit, but that I will never be able to fully trust again. I have become jaded in many ways, and I don’t like the person I have become.

    Our (not-so) Brief history:

    –bumpy dating relationship (met when I was 18, he was 20)– extreme feelings of love/infatuation early on by both of us. Lots of drinking, partying, fighting, making up. Both came from broken homes and I came from a Christian upbringing but walked away from it during my teen years. He came from no real formal religious upbringing.
    –history of abandonment & loss in both of our pasts (both of our mothers left the marriage, he also had issues with serious deceit from the only “real girlfriend” he ever had besides me. His sister also died about 10 years into our marriage.
    –early signs of infidelities in our relationship (on his part) denied vehemently by him (although I had proof that most of them existed and he made excuses and lies to cover them)
    –unplanned pregnancy (that he said I used to “trap” him) followed by lots of “acting out” on his part
    –his refusal to marry because he wasn’t ready (but agreed to live together) and infidelity (at least an emotional one) that I found out about shortly AFTER we were married. I turned to God and decided that I needed to raise our child in a Christian home.
    — married after our first child was born but many years of rocky marriage paired with many “good times”. I did leave two different times after very heated blow ups, but I came back because we both have committed to stay together no matter what…
    –had a second child 4 years later (both decided on “trying” for this one & I stayed home to raise our children/continue my education, so that I could have a career in the future and contribute financially. I did work part-time jobs, but I was the main care-giver to our children (a mutual choice)
    –ups and downs during marriage and continued desire on his part to go out and maintain some independence (drinking, recreational drug use, frequent change in friend groups, lack of desire to go to church with me and the children)… I had NO idea about the drug use for most of the time it occurred
    –starting to hide money from me about 5 years into our marriage with a refusal to stop (even to this day)– I pay all the bills with our “household money”, but he keeps all “other money” from side business separate and hidden. We are finally getting more financially stable (because I am now working for the past 8 years)
    –renewed our vows at 10 years–he made a commitment to Christ and was baptized and showed a strong desire to let go of past and move forward (admitted drug use and claimed to change)
    –continued bumpy times– he was diagnosed with bi-polar depression by our family physician and also a thyroid issue (I didn’t realize til very recently that the drug use had continued through all of these years– sometimes more prevalent than others) and only ended in 2012. He hid it because he didn’t want to be “chastised” by me and thought that since he was “taking care of his family”, it was ok to “bust loose here and there”… and it didn’t line up with his claims to be a Christian, so he was very careful and selective about who he partied with.
    –times that seemed fairly normal (with periods of ups and downs) while raising our children. Things became more and more stable as the finances became less and less of an issue. He still held on to some of the desire to “go out” and to maintain the “hidden money” but things seemed to be good most of the time. He would go through times where he would tell me how unhappy he was (and I would be shocked because all seemed to be going so well) and how discontented he was with things like our sex life (I always thought it was good), my physical appearance ( I did have periods of “weight gain” but nothing extreme), feeling “ignored”, etc… but we would talk through things and all would be good for long periods of time, and I would think things were “OK” until minor blow ups occurred. We attended church as a family on a regular basis, and I was very involved in children’s ministry which he SOMEWHAT supported and resented sometimes
    –in about 2010, he joined a motorcycle club to find male friends and to bond with people that had a common interest. He said he felt like he didn’t really have anything of his own and was lonely in the family because it was “all girls” (we have two daughters). We all supported that because he really wanted to feel like he was a part of something. He also said he needed to go out once a week and have some “guy time”, and I had felt that it was harmless for him to do.
    –in 2012, I found sexual text messages from him to a female (21 years old) that was an acquaintance of ours (it was his friend’s fiancee) that he said were “just jokes” and meant nothing. I felt very mistrustful that that was all it was, so I started looking into cell phone records and found that there were thousands of calls and texts between them and hundreds of pictures sent by her. The message I read was asking her to send him pornographic pictures. I confronted both him and her and they both lied about it for a month or two until I found that she had been doing the same thing with another couple, and they could no longer deny it. He claims they never met or never took the relationship to a physical level. The “sexting” had gone on for about 2 years before I caught it, and it only stopped because I did catch it. He tearfully admitted that she did send pictures, but that SHE was the one to blame. She said that he asked her repeatedly and that she didn’t feel it was wrong– that is was just like a guy looking at porn on the Internet. This all brought up serious feelings of doubt in my mind about what he had really been up to when he was doing side jobs, and was away from the home so much, so I started digging into things and found that he had several other “emotional” affairs with other women during the same time period. He was flirting on Facebook, texting, maintaining friendships with many single women that would “boost his ego” and that he kept secret from me. A mutual friend of ours told me that he had been seen out at a bar making out with a woman (that I did eventually identify and did place the two of them together at that place on that night, but both adamantly deny any physical contact– just meeting for drinks). We did go to counseling for a period of time, and he did admit to flirting, friendships and other things to damage our relationship, blaming his emotional infidelities on everything from past abandonment, feeling trapped early in our marriage, being angry with me for things that happened while we were dating, inability to trust women, etc, and he did apologize and has been trying to “make things right” but has never come clean about details and continues to lie about them.
    — in April of this year, two other women made accusations about “affairs” (both women that he had befriended and had maintained friendships with) that he had during that same time period (2010-2012) and he of course denied them, stating that people just want to ruin what we have and saying that the past is the past– I have to let it go if we are going to move on. I agree with that, but I started to relive all those original feelings of pain from the initial affair. The evidence presented by both of these women was circumstantial, but BOTH shared details that made each seem very, very feasible.

    NOW, I am here questioning my entire marriage– what was real… what was not. I feel like I don’t really know my husband of 22 years, and I feel like I lived a lie even though we did have MANY really good times amidst those years. My oldest daughter resents him for not being the father she believes he should have been because of the mood swings, instability, etc. He says that he feels relieved that she has moved out because we can “start our life together” as a married couple, now. He has had a history of feeling “rejected” by me for our children although I only tried to be a “normal” mom and wife… trying to split my time and do “all the right things”… I feel like he acted out during the years that our children were younger and needed me because he wasn’t getting enough attention, and he has actually even said that during different times when we would have honest conversations. I always tried to make sure we had enough “couple time” and it seems like I was never able to fully satisfy his “need” for ME. I don’t doubt that he loves his children and me, I just feel sometimes like when it comes to his emotional needs, I am filling the Grand Canyon with a dixie cup…

    So, my questions are many… is there hope for me? for us? Am I responding normally with the doubt? Am I “looking” for things to be wrong, or am I denying what has been there all along???? Will he go back to the old ways if he suddenly feels “unloved” or “under appreciated” again? Is all of that over because we are in a new era in our life together (one without the “burden” of children– so that I can give HIM all the attention he needs/craves? Will WE ever be able to have “normal”, or am I hoping for something that doesn’t exist because I am too damaged/he is unable to have a “real, trusting” honest relationship?


  • Michael Jantzen Michael Jantzen says:

    Hi CG, Thanks for sharing some really vulnerable stuff. We can’t predict what commenters on this site will say (though we do delete accusatory comments), but our ministry is all about walking with people non-judgementally through difficult times. It could really help to speak with one of our confidential mentors to help you process where you’re at and where to go from here. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Take care.

  • CG says:

    I know I need to talk to someone. But I also know what judgment awaits if I talk to someone. But I’m having trouble trusting the man I am with. I can’t even go into details because I know what people will say. I love him. He loves me. Please God, help me to trust him. And if he isn’t trust-worthy, isn’t capable of being faithful to me, then please help me to let him go :-(

  • Celeste65 says:

    I love Adele’s songs.
    Clearly, she has experienced heartache.
    I have cried many times listening to her songs.

    I need to go back into counseling..I need someone to talk to.

  • Jake says:

    Adele wrote two beuatiful songs about this. Only time will heal you my friend. it is close to God that you feel pain about loss of this nature, it means you can love. It means you know God.
    Someone Like You – Adele (see her live versions you will cry and cry)
    Rolling in the Deep – Adele (see her live versions you will cry and cry)

    Stay here my friend. Time will heal, people will come to you and show you a soft hand and keep you upright and balanced. Stay here my friend.

  • Celeste65 says:

    Excellent post. I’m glad everything seems to be working out for you
    I wish you and your girlfriend much happiness.
    Prayer is powerful.
    How does a person know which prayer to say?
    Either I said the wrong prayer, or I prayed correctly and just didn’t hear the answer.

  • vs says:

    I’m telling you anything is possible if you just believe and have faith in God. After practicing LOA for 2 to 4 months to get my girlfriend back it worked. My girlfriend told me she didn’t want to see me anymore she wanted to do her own thing . She told me she wasn’t attracted to me and she was very cold towards me for a while and put me on a emotional roller coaster for months. But then i went into no contact with her for 2 to 3 months and i would give gratitude to God as i was driving everyday in the car, I would pray many different prayers to bring back relationships, reconciliation, and to take away negativity thoughts . I prayed to God everyday and I thanked God everyday all throught the day for bringing my girlfriend back .I would read success stories to keep myself focused and encouraged. I had some amazing mentors ImaginationIsKing and TheBigDawg02.Thank you guys so much for being there for me throughout this amazing journey I’m so grateful God sent you guys to help me through my time of need . This is what happened When I woke up this morning I felt like today was the day that she was coming back, Last night I had a dream that i remembered ,The dream was i was on a site that kind of looked like facebook and someone made a post to my girlfriend that she should do something big and apologize to me and many different people commented on it and i was just watching people post comments on this post and then boom my girlfriends name pops up and she said i am going to surprise her in a big way, i was just watching all of this not commenting on a post .. when i woke u this morning my heart fell i can’t believe that i remembered my dream i never do and that was the best dream ever for my girlfriend to say shes planning on surprising me at my house that’s exactly what i want to happen and that’s exactly what i visualize every day im so happy !!!Thank you God for giving me such an amazing dream ! I just came back from class and i decieded to go to the store to do a little shopping where my girlfriend and I would always go when I was in the store I felt her presence then I came home a hour after I cam home there was a knock at my door my sister asked me if i was expecting anyone i said no and then i looked outside to the window to see if i recoginized the car and i did it was my girlfriends car . I went to open the door and she started to cry and then I asked her to come upstairs so I could show her something and it was a picture collage of us together she started to cry even more and then we were staring in each others eyes and she kissed me . She said that she has to break it off with the other guy and then we can be together. She said she wasn’t sure if I was going to be home but she was so happy that I was.She said that she tried to replace me but she couldn’t it wouldn’t work at all. And that she thought about me every single day ( it’s amazing because I would pray to God for me to be the first person on her mind when she wakes up and the last person on her mind before she went to sleep and For God to make her fall in love with me even more everyday). She said that she was so happy and we will never be apart again she appreciates me again. I’m telling you the truth throught having faith and God anything is possible if you just believe you can have anything that you want visualizing feeling happy .. and 15 minutes before she came over i wanted to visualize her coming to my house and bamm she did come to my house . Thank you God so much I can’t stop thanking you enough!Thank you God for bringing my girlfriend back to me! Thank you God for having favor on me and creating the desire of my heart. I’m so happy ! It’s such an amazing feeling to have your desire come back to you ! I can’t wait for everyone to have this feeling and the feeling of knowing your desire is coming . Thank you God so much ! I’m sharing my testimony with everyone!
    Prayers I Used
    negative thoughts
    Higher Forces
    Come into my body
    Give me strength, guidance and protection
    And please God,
    Put a strong protective Light around my body,
    And in the name of Jesus,
    Cancel all negative thoughts and actions
    that are being directed to me,
    and eliminate the enemies power
    to do any evil to me.
    So shall it be.

    In Jesus Christ’s name I pray,
    who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit
    One God
    forever and ever.
    “I choose to remove any negative energy I’ve been holding onto. I choose to retrieve all the positive energy around me and within me. My intention is to share my positive energy with the world.

    Prayer for Reconciliation
    Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation. I freely choose to praise and thank you for all you did through your Son, Jesus Christ, who came to teach me how to live life to the full.

    I pray for (insert name of person you want to reconcile) and ask that you take him/her into your loving arms and fill him/her with your mercy and peace.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Love, I commit (insert name of person you want to reconcile) to your authority and ask that you present him/her to the Father and to the fullness of His glory.

    I seek forgiveness, Lord, for not doing this earlier. I ask that (insert name of person you want to reconcile) may know my personal love and reconciliation. Here I wish to show forth to (insert name of person you want to reconcile) and all his/her family all that You have achieved; that in the bread I will hold is Your life and teaching, Your body and blood, Your brokenness and healing through Your stripes. In Your shed blood is the gift of freedom from the guilt and stain of all sin.

    Through the torn veil we have direct access to You, for in rising, You defeated Satan and his companions, and You became available to all who seek Your mercy.

    Now, may the Angel of Mercy embrace (insert name of person you want to reconcile) and at this moment may he/she be empowered with Your loving gentleness. I choose to surrender all my concerns, thoughts, feelings and desires for (insert name of person you want to reconcile) and place them at the foot of Your cross to become what You choose them to become.

    Now, Lord because I choose to surrender (insert name of person you want to reconcile) to your loving care, I no longer will be pressured nor oppressed by this relationship. May I now be healed and become the person You intended me to become, to live Your praise and glory. Amen.

    “Almighty God, hear this prayer.”

    Dear Lord, I offer you this prayer, to help me with my current relationship situation. Please take away all the pain and hurt in my heart. Fill it with love, joy, patience, and understanding.

    Bless me and my partner, so that we may never surrender to whatever challenges that come our way. Fill our hearts with love for each other, and may you make each one of us realize each other’s worth. Please touch the heart of my partner,fill it with much love for me.

    Make our complicated relationship become uncomplicated. I seek for your mercy and blessing that you may allow us to spend the rest of our lives with each other. Please make this feeling mutual for both of us. Lead us not into temptations. Guide us wherever we go. Always put us in each other’s heart and mind. Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer.

    I love you. Amen.

  • Angel says:

    how can I rebuild trust to the father of my son.

  • Michael Jantzen Michael Jantzen says:

    Hello Tom,

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s not easy to talk about something so painful. I’ve also experienced a broken marriage, so I understand some of what you are going through. It really helps to have someone to journey with in such a hard time. One of our online mentors would love to connect with you to pray with you and encourage you. It’s confidential and free. Here’s the link: Take care Tom.

  • Tom says:

    I had a two-month affair 3 1/2 years ago and my wife finally left 2 1/2 months ago because I had withdrew from everything and didn’t cherish her like I should have as her husband. Not an excuse for my actions, but a reason this all happened was the anti-depressants (Venlafaxine) I started taking 4 years ago that made me want to sleep all the time and didn’t care about anything. Of course, my wife isn’t receptive to that. I have since sent her a letter asking forgiveness for my wrongdoing and asked her forgiveness. At this point she’s not receptive to me and I know I’ve hurt her badly. I can only pray that He works in her heart to release the bitterness that consumes her and she will regain the trust she had for me at one time. At this point, I don’t have anything else but prayer and trying to be patient as she just wants space. I’m not willing to walk away from 28 years!

  • anne says:

    I trusted, I was lied to, and knew it, and talked to them saying, I would appreciate the truth, I can’t say how I will feel, but I know you are lying. He refused to tell me the truth, the next day I researched the matter, and confronted him later calmly telling him how I knew he was lying that I had proof. I let it be, and have gotten over it, although it will creep up sometimes and bother me, I try not to let it upset me, but sometimes, when he doesn’t mention things to me about stuff I’d like to know, I feel like he’s hiding something again, or doesn’t want me to know. I believe like jesus we should forgive, I am religious, and I feel it’s important to bestow upon others what we too would want for ourselves had we knowingly made a mistake. Chances are given, but how many ? and how do I get over this? How do I quit worrying and doubting, I hate it and don’t want to live this way.

  • Kate says:

    I have experienced forgiveness as a process. I have had to affirm my forgiveness again and again, trusting God for the results when my heart didn’t feel it yet.

  • Celeste65 says:

    I agree with Claire.
    Forgiveness has been difficult for me, but I’m
    working on it.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Jake, I was surprised to see you write that forgiveness is easy and simple. That has not been my experience. It’s necessary, but rarely easy.

  • Jake says:

    Forgiveness is easy and simple to see. For example, look at Charles Manson? Do you feel hatred for this man? I am pretty sure everyone just looks at him when he is speaking and thinks, “thank god that man is locked up so he cant hurt any more people. He is insane or if you prefer to see it that he has been taken by the devil. I want my children to see what happens to a man when he is taken by the devil. And also thank God I live in a state who does not condemn a man to execution, who does not murder charles manson as punishment for judgement is God’s and Christ reminded us AGAIN that we must not murder.”

    Remember also the pure perfection of God is so apparent in everything Christ said. The Bible even warns that you must not take pleasure in knowing that God will punish someone who has trespassed against you.
    Christ was perfect.
    My friend has fallen in lust with a married woman he works with, and was searching for me to somehow be an ear to him when he knows what I also know but is looking for someone to give him permission to sleep with her.
    I told him he knows he must not touch her or do this. And then he said to me, “You are right, I can not touch her. I need to go do anything else, I need to go masturbate about her instead”.
    And then I reminded him, “No you must not masturbate about her. Don’t you remember what Christ said in the testimony of Matthew? That even if you look at her with lust you have sinned. She is married. You know the law.”
    Obedience to God is the most beautiful thing in the world.

  • Shannon says:

    Claire I actually had a counseling session today and I had told her. And no he hasn’t done anything to earn trust back. I actually have not seen him for many months. My in laws watch my son when I work so I pretty much only see them. Like I was telling my counselor I am afraid of starting to look not work out..and then I’m back into the whole of depression. I don’t know if I could overcome all of the pain again. She also brought to my attention that anytime I think abt reconciling my anxiety shoots up and and I feel sick. I actually have him my counselors number today and said he could call her if he wanted. I really don’t know tho. I don’t want to see or talk to him over the phone cuz I still feel pain.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Shannon, I was reading over your comments – it looks like you had a lot to say last night. Have you read Lynette Hoy’s article on forgiveness and consequences? She writes about how forgiving someone does not automatically cancel out the consequences of their actions. Rather, forgiveness open a door to the possibility of beginning to rebuild trust. You mentioned that you were in counselling and that is an incredible healthy step. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing that. It sounds like there has been a total break of trust between you and your husband. I do believe that God can work miracles and that marriages that seem broken beyond repair can be brought back to wholeness but it is rarely something that happens overnight. Have you talked to your counsellor about your husband’s desire to come back? Have you thought about a set of rules or boundaries that would need to be in place before you could let him back in to your life? What sort of things has he done lately to start to re-earn your trust? Is he safe for you to be around?

  • Johnson says:

    ” No matter how bad u want something to work out doesn’t mean it will. I can’t even describe to you the emotional pain to where I would have wanted to not be alive. ”

    yeh it kind of hurts pretty bad that one. Then you resent yourself for having been a fool to think you could fall your heart onto another. is one of the Big 5 hurts you will ever know in your life that one.

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon :
    I am more at peace now than I have been in years.

    I’m still working on it. My children bring much joy to
    my life. I’m working at becoming financially self-sufficient .
    God bless you Shannon. You are in my prayers.

  • Shannon says:

    I am starting to go and got my son into it also. We had tried marriage counseling a year ago but just once. The thing is tho he left four! Times In a year. I think I hav had a history w depression also. And when someone doesn’t understand and puts you down it makes it that much worse. Do you feel happy and at peace with your life now?

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon :
    I just read your reply.
    I have a history of depression.
    My ex became verbally abusive after our
    son was born and I returned to work.
    I struggled with postpartum depression alone.
    He didn’t want to hear my problems.
    Have you gone to a counselor? I would never tell you
    to get a divorce, because every situation is different .

  • Shannon says:

    Celeste I just read what u posted abt your situation. Sounds exactly! Like mine. Life is all abt my husband and what makes him happy. And he would put me down and not b around for my son and I. I felt soooo alone and depressed but I felt like I still loved him. Eventually I lost myself all together and had depression and severe anxiety which I am on medal for. It was a sad lonely life…he even stopped sleeping in the same bed. All I wanted was a family made no sense. But the issue is more him as I realized I hadn’t done anything horribly wrong and didn’t rebound like he would.

  • Celeste65 says:

    Shannon ..
    We divorced 3 years ago. (I filed.)
    Trust and respect were lost on both sides.
    I lived with emotional and verbal abuse from my husband
    for over 10 years. He behaved one way around others
    and the opposite behind closed doors.
    I didn’t speak of the abuse to anyone.
    I am not blameless.
    I had an affair. I deeply regret it. My actions were
    selfish and cowardly.
    I knew that my husband wouldn’t be able to forgive
    me, and feared that he would use the affair to justify
    his abuse.

  • Shannon says:

    Celeste did u end up divorcing. He wants to go to counseling but I just don’t know. And It really is a miracle how ppl get thru that kind of horrendous pain. Pain isn’t even the word to use

  • Celeste65 says:

    Good point Shannon.
    I know all too well the emotional pain
    of which you speak.
    I wished I were dead many times during my marriage .
    I prayed daily but saw no way out of my emotionally abusive marriage .

  • Shannon says:

    You may feel that god will heal the marriage but that is not always the case. I thought god was healing mine also but my husband lefte four times in a year..had an affair.. And now wants to work it out. No matter how bad u want something to work out doesn’t mean it will. I can’t even describe to you the emotional pain to where I would have wanted to not be alive. You have to trust god that things will go the way that’s best for you. In my case we r going thru a divorce and I’m a single mom now. I don’t know if I will ever trust him again. Not sure what will happen just keeping my guard up.

  • FIFI says:

    Hello Jake, It is so nice to hear that God answers all your prayers. I hope Neel really takes comfort in that but don’t you think you got the story of women a little twisted. It is satans plan to cause division between male and female. I know its difficult for men but it is also difficult for women too. It is God plan for both male and female Believers to overule the world. In Genesis, it states that God gave them, (plural), dominion over everything apart from God of course. Christ Jesus, the second Adam came to give us what Adam lost when he fell and Eve.

    The real problem is theis, God put before us, death and life, blessings and cursings; but he said to choose life that we may live. Now, it is up to every individual, male and female. many regect him, and here goes the problem. That is the real problem. If the whole world accepted him today, the world would change even better in a day.

    God bless

  • Celeste1965 says:

    Woah. The comment from Jake hit me.
    Sounds like he was wronged by some women in his life.
    He is entitled to his opinion.
    When I was married, I did not but all of the blame for anything on my husband. He wasn’t always wrong.
    He didn’t have all of the responsibility of family life and work, either. I worked full time for most of the marriage, and provided us with healthcare and was responsible for everything involving the upkeep of our home. The only chore I didn’t have was mowing the lawn.

  • Jake says:

    Neel, it is really important to be humilitated before greater power than yourself but a power which is pure and good. The government is evil and tyrannical. Men are lost in the tricks of satan. God is pure and good and his message was delivered properly from Christ and that is why the jews killed Him. Because he spoke Truth. Look at what Christ says of how men should treat each other.
    When you pray you are recognising your humility. It is really important you find this. It takes a massive load from your shoulders. Especially men in this world Neel is very difficult for them. We have all the responsibility put on us, all the blame put on us. We are always wrong and the women have taken control of society and are making a mess of it. All these wars today we see are caused by women. You think I am joking? I am not joking.

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