Can I Regain My Wife's Trust? How Can I Dare to Trust Her?
There are two big concerns that often occupy the thoughts of married men who are in recovery from porn and sex addiction—
Can I ever regain my wife's trust? And if so, HOW?
How can I dare to trust her?
First, let's explore the question about "regaining her trust"—
It would seem logical to assume that all you have to do to regain your wife's trust is simply STAY SOBER long-term. While stopping your porn use and sexual addiction behaviors is certainly CRUCIAL to regaining her trust, this is NOT the only factor that matters. There are changes to other attitudes and behaviors that matter greatly to the restoration of trust. These can include things like: emotional transparency and honesty; non-sexual intimacy; patience; accountability; honoring boundaries, and others.
If you try to FORCE the return of trust—to MAKE her trust you again—you will end up creating just the opposite result! There is NO way to control her willingness let alone her actions that indicate trust—so STOP trying to direct the outcome! Pressuring her or acting "needy" will never develop the trust you seek.
One ESSENTIAL element in allowing her to take the risk of trusting you again is to be a STRONG SUPPORT in her healing and recovery. Take the time to learn HOW to do this and then be patient and consistent.
And perhaps one of the most difficult steps in regaining trust is YOU willing to be fully accountable for YOUR role in HER pain!
How Do You Dare to Trust Her?
One very tough part of your recovery is continuing on the path even when you don't know the final outcome of your marriage relationship. What if it doesn't work out? What if she decides not to stay? What if she just can't bring herself to trust you again? And the "what–ifs" go on and on. Part of you regaining her trust is DARING to trust her! How?
Getting real and hones about your own pain, shame and issues is a crucial first step in showing her that you are daring to trust her again. By being emotionally raw and vulnerable; taking off the emotional masks; and actually being "intimate"--into-me-you-see—you are taking a risk and demonstrating that you're "all in."
Another key element is for you to LET GO of all the "shoulds" about how and when to trust her. How long will it take? What can you trust and not trust? How long do you keep trying? And on and on . . .. Letting all of these expectations go and simply dedicating yourself to the process is the best path to trusting her.
A hard truth to accept is that YOU cannot control her recovery, healing, trauma responses, etc. Only she can travel that path. All you can do is sincerely work your own recovery. As you both travel your individual, hopefully parallel paths of healing, those paths will come together at some point down the road.
Now this seems like a HUGE paradox—The less you NEED the relationship and more you will be able to TRUST it! Basing your recovery dedication, consistency and success on her choices will only put you into the unhealthy place of "co-dependency." This state is a BIG risk for relapse! Work on your own healing and get to the place where you know you will be OK regardless of what she decides to do or not to do. This approach is what will allow you to truly SHOW UP in the marriage relationship again.
And finally, TRUST is a DECISION and only YOU can make that decision!
Here's an Episode from Mark and Steve's "PBSE Podcast" where they talk about "How to regain her trust," and "How to dare to trust her again"—