My boyfriend of 5 years cheated on me. I found out because he video taped the whole ordeal. We’ve decided to try and work it out, and he’s agreed to do whatever it takes to regain my trust.
But here’s the thing, all of the ‘cheating experts’ on the internet recommend full access to passwords and phones as a way to help rebuild trust, and that shit is not working for me. I know my boyfriend is technologically savvy enough to keep a secret email or google voice number. Checking his Facebook messages just stokes my anxiety that he is just keeping it squeaky clean for my eyes. And to be completely honest, I don’t have the energy for all of the (condoned) snooping and the worry that accompanies it.
What can I do to start trusting him again?
Yeah, the password access thing is bullshit. It doesn’t rebuild trust. It’s an emergency stopgap measure to keep the relationship from exploding in the immediate aftermath of infidelity. If you’re already past that initial “should I stay or should I go” moment, give him back all his passwords. You will feel better, and honestly, you won’t trust him any less than you already do.
As for the process of beginning to trust him more, that will simply take time. There’s no quick fix when it comes to trust. That shit has to be rebuilt brick by brick, and it’s different for every couple.
What I recommend for you right now is to first accept the fact that you don’t trust him. (It’s pretty clear that you don’t.) That’s okay. You’re entitled not to trust him. I know it sucks to be in a relationship without any trust, but you’ve chosen to stay, so now it’s your burden to bear. Make that burden a shared experience. He should feel it too, but try and make it so that he feels it with you instead of from you.
Start by separating yourselves from the distrust. Let the distrust become a third party in your relationship, one that the two of you team up against to defeat. Recognize that you both experience the distrust in different ways, and do your best not to identify with it.
In other words, you are not “untrusting,” and he is not “untrustworthy.” Instead, you experience negative emotions as a result of the distrust, and he experiences negative consequences as a result of the distrust. You both acknowledge the distrust as a source of negativity, but you don’t let it define either of you.
Once you’ve both successfully externalized the distrust, you can start chipping away at it together. You can be on the same side, which in itself will help rebuild trust. After that, it’s really just a waiting game made of time and good behavior.