In continuing last weeks post on trusting again after an affair, here are some thoughts on what comes next. Let's say your partner has done everything to regain your trust. Through all of the difficult and emotional conversations and fights you feel he or she has been remorseful and tried to make things right. They have been open and transparent, going out of their way to make you see they are not hiding anything and have ended the relationship they had. You feel pretty sure nothing is going on right now and that they wouldn't cheat in the near future. But you don't feel the same way you did before. The way you see your partner is different. And even though it is much more positive than it was right after you found out, things are not the same. The whole experience has changed you and there is no going back to the way it was before. So what do you do? If you really are honest with yourself and step back from the situation there are couple of questions to ask. The first is do you need more time? It takes a very long time to get to the other side of a betrayal this huge. Sometimes years, even when your partner is doing all they can to make things right. It can be tempting to force yourself to be further along than you are. And usually your partner wants more than anything for things to be okay, to be reassured you're going to stay. It may be too soon to give them that reassurance.
If it has been over a year, or maybe a couple of years, and they have been doing everything that I went over in my previous post, the next question is a tougher one. You have to ask yourself if the trust was too broken and whatever happened may be something you just can't get past. You can forgive your partner but you just can't open yourself up to them the same way. This is a very sad and difficult position to be in. Make sure you have someone you trust to talk through with this, ideally someone who is happily married. If you don't then a therapist or someone in your church or synagogue may be able to help. Part of this question involves being realistic about where you end up in this situation. You're innocence about your spouse never cheating is gone. Replaced by the knowledge that we are all human and fall. That 100% certainty is gone. Which is where the leap of faith comes in. It's you looking at all you know about your partner and making a choice to stay. Knowing you can get hurt again and choosing to be there anyways. In a way it's also trusting in yourself, that you will survive and be okay if the worst happens. And choosing to open your heart to your partner, family and the history you have.