“My husband works in sales, and he attends at least five conferences each year. He’s cheated on me twice with women he’s met at the conferences. I want to believe it won’t happen again, but then I picture him at the hotel bar, sitting next to an attractive woman. Two or three drinks later, he’s lost his inhibitions – and broken his promise to stay faithful.”
“Because of her high-powered job, my wife travels all over the world. She met Stephen on a trip to London, and they slept together. She confessed the affair to me, but I still feel sick when I think of her traveling to London. After all, Stephen is still there. And if it happened once..”
Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? These are just two of the many, many stories I have heard over the years. For a cheating spouse, travel can be the perfect excuse to meet up with a paramour or to have a one-night stand. For the injured party, each business trip can create feelings of suspicion, anger, and fear.
How can you rebuild your marriage when your spouse is so far away? How can you maintain honesty when you are sleeping alone at home, and she’s in a hotel halfway around the world?
It is possible to protect and strengthen your marriage – even when you and your spouse are separated by hundreds of miles. Here are some strategies that have I have seen work.
Coping with the First Business Trip After the Confession
You’ve found out about the affair. You’ve argued, cried, questioned, and slowly attempted to rebuild. But now, the calendar looks like a doomsday clock. Your spouse is going on a business trip in two days. Will he cheat again? Will he be tempted by a woman at the sales convention? Will he sleep with his sexy colleague?
You may be thinking, “There is no way I can trust him.” This is a completely natural and common thought. But let me suggest to you that there are ways in which you can rebuild trust in your partner again. First, there are probably other ways in which he has never violated your trust. This is because trust takes many different forms.
Your partner has broken the first form of trust: fidelity. That is huge. But consider the other ways in which you might still trust your partner, including:
Form of Trust: Emotional Predictability – Knowing Your Partner Will React Within Reason.
You probably have a good idea of how your spouse will react to certain situations. If you can’t attend a family reunion because of an important medical appointment, you can probably count on your partner not becoming violent. If dinner is late because you were picking up the kids at their soccer game, you feel safe that he will not scream and storm out of the house.
Emotional predictability is incredibly important – and the sad truth is that not everyone in the world can count on it. It is extremely painful if you do not have this level of predictability in your relationship. If you have never stopped to think about it, that probably means you trust your spouse in this area.
How else might you already trust your spouse? Consider:
Form of Trust: Discretion – Keeping Secrets Secret. Discretion is a key form of trust. This means that you:
1) trust that your partner will keep private information private, and
2) trust that your partner will not make fun of you in a hurtful way.
Everyone has stories that are embarrassing or personal. In a marriage, you share things about your past that you likely wouldn’t share with anyone else. You trust that your partner will treat these issues with sensitivity and respect. You trust that he will not tell anyone else these things, because that would be hurtful. If this isn’t a problem for you, then you have just identified another area of trust in your relationship.
In my system How to Rebuild the Honesty, I discuss “The 7 Forms of Trust: Learning How You Still Trust Your Partner… Even Now.” I encourage you to read about these forms of trust. They will help you identify strengths and weaknesses within your relationship.
Once you know and understand each of these forms of trust and how to use them, it will help you:
- Build a more transparent relationship…
- Motivate your spouse to share everything with you…
- Reduce suspicion…
- Help you communicate your suspicion without igniting a firefight…
- Create a clean slate to start over again…
- Build a fence of protection around your relationship…
Discover how to strengthen your relationship with complete honesty.