Anyone can be duped by a good liar. Were you?

As the victim of an affair, you were duped to some degree, either through outright tall tales, or the withholding of information and carrying out of deceptive actions.

If you want to save your marriage and rebuild trust and honesty, read on to learn two reassurances you can ask for from your cheating spouse to help you trust once again.

Can You Ever Know if Your Spouse is Lying?

A common question affair victims want an answer for is: “How do I know my wife/husband is telling the truth?”

That’s a reasonable question. Unfortunately, the answer is a gray area.

Think about people who work for the FBI or even just general law enforcement. They can’t always know when someone is lying. Think about double agents that have been caught: they sold their country’s secrets to the “other side,” and did any of their trained co-workers know immediately that dishonesty was taking place?

When someone lies, it’s not as if bells and whistles sound to alert the recipient of those lies that there’s some dishonesty going on. If that were the case, well… it would be a different world.

A person, especially one already emotionally suffering through the aftermath of an affair, could drive themselves crazy wondering how they can know for sure if their spouse is lying. The cheater has delivered a stunning blow to their spouse, making them doubt their abilities to know truth from untruth. It’s devastating, and not something that the affair victim can easily get over.

But being a trained professional at lie detection wouldn’t even guarantee that you’d have known the affair was taking place, much less allowed you to prevent it from occurring. Remember that the decision to be deceitful was made 100% by your spouse.

And that’s where the question you really need to examine exists: with your spouse.

Lies vs. Honesty: Repercussions of Cheating

Many affair victims want to know if they can detect lies, but just as many want to know if they can detect honesty.

The question that you may want to focus on is this:

How will I know it’s time to trust again?

I want to emphasize that the question revolves around how you, personally, will know it’s time for you to trust again. I can’t answer that question for you. Your cheating spouse cannot answer that question for you. Your minister, pastor, priest, psychiatrist, cannot answer that question for you.

After an affair, you lose trust in your spouse. It’s one of the repercussions of cheating: the cheater has lost trust.

So now, the cheater must earn back trust. It isn’t handed to them on a certain calendar date, or upon full confession, or a myriad of other specific determinations. Trust is something that is developed over time, but can be lost in an instant. This is why affairs are really stupid decisions, if you think about it, because whatever the cheater thinks they’ll get in short-term gain, they’re really sacrificing a lot.

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Seeking Reassurance to Build Trust

After the devastating news of an affair, you may want to trust your spouse, but it’s a process that takes time, and a willing partner to work through that process and earn back the right to your trust.

As the victim of an affair, you will encounter circumstances where you trust your spouse, and others where you are suspicious are questioning. You may trust your cheating spouse when they say, “Yes, I took out the trash,” but a red flag may be hoisted when they say, “I am running late due to traffic.”

To help you rebuild trust, consider making the following requests of your spouse:

Request 1: Reassurance in word

Ask your spouse to do what they say they are going to do, no matter how trivial it may seem. If they say they are going to the store and will return home right after, then they should prove their word by doing exactly that – not stopping off the local café for a coffee.

Now, many cheaters may at first balk at this, thinking they are somehow being “leashed.” But that’s one of the repercussions of cheating – you now have to work to regain what has been lost. In this case, it’s their spouse’s ability to believe they are good for their word.

Request 2: Reassurance in deed

The other reassurance the affair victim can ask for is that transparency is used regarding their deeds. Details should be shared in order for this to work, such as people you’re working with on projects at work, etc.

Or, it may be the computer helped get the cheater in trouble before. A reassurance that the computer will no longer be an issue may involve having no password protection, or one that is shared by both spouses.

This offers you some basic guidelines in your quest to rebuild honesty and trust in your marriage. Again, everyone will experience different scenarios and situations with which to work, and so these ideas are meant to be used as they apply in your particular circumstance. All an affair victim can do is ask for reassurance: it’s up to the cheater to do their part.

My very best to you as you rebuild the trust and honesty necessary to save your marriage.

Are there specific instances in which you trust your spouse, while in others, you are struggling?

Have you been troubled by the inability to really know if your spouse is lying?

What have you done to work on the trust issue? What has your spouse done differently to help you?

Please share your ideas and struggles on the issue of trust after an affair.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa

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