Is it possible to trust someone or advisable when they are responsible for your wounds?
Can you ever really trust someone again who has been unfaithful?
Should I have hope that I can trust my porn or sex addicted partner once more?
All of the above are excellent, albeit unfortunate questions, ones that beg examination. I am not promising to answer these for you. The truth is… I have no right to answer that question for anyone, only as it applies to me. My purpose in writing this is to help you start exploring the answer. This is not easy when it comes to matters of the heart. Any other purpose would most likely be coming from a place of arrogant assumption on my part.
So, let’s openly acknowledge that 1) There are no “right” answers, and 2) We are attempting to provide insight into a complex issue, and 3) despite #1 and #2, it is a question that you will be forced to examine and answer in your own life if you have experienced relationship trauma through infidelity or addiction.
First and foremost, as you begin looking for answers, I recommend unpacking the following to start:
- What are the good things and the not so good things about your relationship aside from the painful circumstances?
- What is your partner’s character like overall, the good, the bad and the ugly?
- If addiction and infidelity and the issues surrounding it were not a part of the picture, would this be a person I would wish to continue to engage in an intimate relationship?
- If the addictive or unfaithful tendencies were addressed and resolved somehow, would I benefit from having this individual in my life?
Granted, answering these questions honestly and accurately can be difficult due to the fact that you no longer trust the person/relationship in question. Like we said above, it isn’t easy!!
I think this is where the services of a coach or counselor are the most helpful. Helping you sort through the value of the relationship to your life overall, not just looking at the negative or unfaithful behavior patterns but taking a look at the relationship holistically, considering all aspects. An outside perspective is absolutely necessary. When we are recovering from wounds inflicted or experiencing new wounds daily, it is imperative we have an objective outsider to help us set healthy boundaries and examine how we feel about the future of the relationship.
As a way to help you further explore this question, I also want to share things that led me to a healthier place where I could finally make a decision about choosing to trust once more. But keep in mind, you need to thoroughly explore the questions above BEFORE you make the decision. You cannot rush this process. Take the time you need. Examine everything and then make the choice that is right for you.
We make the best decisions for ourselves when we make those decisions in a healthy place. We want to avoid making any long term decisions with the following motivations: Fear, Loneliness, Suffering, Helplessness, Discouragement, Judgment, Anger, Hatred, Numbness, and Exhaustion.
I could add to this list, but hopefully, you get the picture. These emotional states are not “bad”. They simply are. They are red flags in our lives that something needs to change. But they make terrible guides and gods.
So embrace your emotions, but don’t be ruled by them. And if you feel you are in that place, getting to a safe place and starting to love yourself and care for yourself are a must before you start examining deeper relationship issues or long term outcomes.
If you have decided to make a go of it, and trust your partner once more, recognize that you have to make that decision for positive reasons. Here are the reasons I decided to trust once more:
- Your partner has valuable character traits and qualities that you want to remain in your life.
- You love your partner and want to continue loving him or her.
- Your partner has chosen to make important and necessary changes in his or her actions, and is growing as a person.
- You are well informed and have your eyes wide open. You choose not because you are naïve, but because you feel this is the best decision for your life.
- You have decided to accept the ambiguity and the unknown when it comes to love. You acknowledge you are taking a chance with your heart. And that you could get hurt. And isn’t that true of all relationships?
- You recognize that the other person is fully responsible for their future happiness, decisions and trustworthiness.
- You are bold, courageous and forgiving. You make this decision because you are capable of directing the course of your life and this is the course you choose to take. You are not a victim. Not weak. Mercy and forgiveness and courage are NOT weakness. They are not turning a blind eye or forgetting. But they are necessary for moving forward. And they are signs of great strength.
And finally, know this- If your partner isn’t changing or caring, then accept that you have no place in his or her life. You are committed to growing, living, loving. It is painful to let go, but in these cases, I recommend doing just that. You cannot change someone else. Ask yourself- How long am I willing to prop up another person? To keep them moving in the right direction? Love yourself and Let go, my friends. And then that person you love will have to decide how to proceed…on his or her own, or with you.
And just like the lady who chooses to trust, sometimes the choice to leave is the best choice. The one that takes the greatest courage, love and forgiveness. Its’ okay either way, just make it your choice, and not the choice forced upon you by the opinions and judgments of others.
For any ladies or men out there dealing with an addictive spouse, please feel free to contact me and learn more about how I can help you as a life coach to move towards healing and restoration.