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-   -   Trust Broken...and Re-Built (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46770)

JaneQSmythe 05-12-2013 01:09 AM

Trust Broken...and Re-Built
Trust. A tricky concept. There have been a number of recent threads that have made me reconsider and re-evaluate my concept of trust...and the re-building there-of.

I broke the bond of trust with MrS when I behaved as I did with Dude. The fact that this occurred in the face of (what I now recognize as NRE-induced) self-deception and delusion is irrelevant. (You can read the gory details in my “Journey” blog here). From MrS's perspective I broke faith. Now the amazing part, from my perspective, is that we we able to move past this … completely. How did this happen? (Considering at one point he was unsure if he “could” love me anymore and we should get divorced so that I could “be happy” with someone else.)

1.)I admitted that I was COMPLETELY wrong. (I was, and knew it before he did. The scales “fell from my eyes” before my world imploded.)

2.)I committed to do whatever was (reasonably) necessary to correct my mistake. (For instance: No contact with Dude? Check. Endless talking and communication? Sure. Giving MrS access to my phone and email if requested? Okay. Marriage counseling if necessary? No problem.)
(NOTE: this was a commitment I made to myself – and I gave it a time limit. I didn't promise these things to MrS – any promises I would have made at this point would have been suspect. IF in ONE YEAR of giving our marriage my all he STILL wanted to call it quits I would have let him go without a battle.)

3.)We had almost 20 years, TWO DECADES, of a history of good will, communication, and honesty built up. I don't know if we could have weathered the storm of my “betrayal” otherwise. I fucked up...yes. BUT, this was the first major fuck-up in 20 years.

4.)We are/were fundamentally solid. Often people point out that poly shines light in the dark corners of relationships and brings them into relief. We poked into all of those corners (now, then, and previously) and learned...that I have a higher sex drive than MrS...which we have acknowledged since 1992. No surprises. That's it. (We knew that I was poly previously, it had been previously geared towards “girls only.”)

5.)When MrS forgives...he actually FORGIVES. Done. 10 weeks of working through shit...deciding he can trust me again...etc. Now, maybe this stems from the fact that I had seriously “repented” for my mistake. Forgiveness for Dude, his best friend, happened shortly thereafter.

6.)I apologized to both of them for deluding them (and myself) as to what was happening. They both forgave me (fucking AMAZING) and here we are.

Obviously, the story has a lot more to it than that. I could talk (type) for days about all of the emotions that we experienced during this time. I could write about the time that Dude and I ran into each other during the “no contact” time, etc. What is amazing to me is that, we are here, two years later and doing fine.

TL;DR = 8 weeks WRONG, 10 weeks HELL, 2 years HAPPY

I would like to hear others' summaries of how they recovered from “broken trust” issues.


LovingRadiance 05-12-2013 03:04 AM

Similar to you-took a bit longer.

But, I made commitments to myself much as you stated. What I didn't do was give it a time frame per se to myself. I did ask Maca to give it 6 months before deciding if he was leaving or not.
At 6 months he decided not, but it took another 2 years for that decision to really be concrete.

I wasn't the first woman to betray him, in fact, every woman in his life has except his daughters. So trust was already an issue for him.

However-we have finally gotten to the point where trust has been built or rebuilt and things are good.

The biggest contributors (imho) are:

A) I took full responsibility for my actions
B) GG took full responsibility for his
C) we both committed to complete honesty and transparency
D) we kept to that (which is sometimes hard)
E) Maca was willing to watch until he could fully trust again

WhatHappened 05-12-2013 03:23 AM

I can toss out the opposite: why trust could not be re-built in my marriage. It's pretty much all exactly the opposite of your post, Jane.

XH cheated and lied.
  • There was very little solid foundation to rebuild too.
  • I later found out the lies had been ongoing.
  • There was no real attempt at making amends.
  • There was no real remorse, only, "I'm sorry you're hurt."
  • There was no change in the behavior.
  • There was no willingness to go to marriage counseling
  • He took no real responsibility for his actions.
  • He never really admitted he did anything wrong.
  • And of course, he kept right on doing it all.

He's a textbook case in doing everything to NOT rebuild trust.

JaneQSmythe 05-12-2013 10:38 AM

Thank you for your replies LR and WH!


Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe (Post 203351)
2.)I committed to do whatever was (reasonably) necessary to correct my mistake. (For instance: No contact with Dude? Check. Endless talking and communication? Sure. Giving MrS access to my phone and email if requested? Okay. Marriage counseling if necessary? No problem.)

I realized upon re-reading that I should probably point out that this is a short list of the TYPE of thing I was willing to do to repair the trust that I had broken. The only thing that MrS actually requested was the "no contact" - and he did ask for my phone to delete Dude's contact info. He never actually requested to check my messages/email/etc. and we didn't end up in marriage counseling because the "communication" part turned out to be sufficient.


Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 203387)
I wasn't the first woman to betray him, in fact, every woman in his life has ... So trust was already an issue for him.

This was a big part of it for MrS as well...his first two girlfriends (I was his third "serious" girlfriend) had cheated on him. (The other big part was that he had gone off his anti-depressants and this hit him at a bad time - getting back on his meds also played a role but didn't change anything from my side.)

In the end, though, you can't MAKE someone trust you - I think you can only try to create an environment that fosters the possibility and then BE a trust-worthy person ... every day.


nycindie 05-12-2013 12:59 PM


Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe (Post 203351)
5.)When MrS forgives...he actually FORGIVES. Done.

I think this is key to being able to move on. The burden is not solely that of the transgressor who must make amends for whatever they did to break trust; the offended party must also be willing to fully forgive. And forgiveness means to wipe the slate clean as if it never happened and to let go of any suspicions, lingering doubts, or resentments. So, rebuilding trust is a challenging process for all parties, not just the one who fucked up. The transgressor can work vigilantly to regain trust for years, and again become a stellar partner who meets all the needs and expectations of their significant other(s), but if there is no forgiveness offered, it is all for nothing. You can't keep making someone pay for their "crime" over and over again. I don't think any relationship could survive that. All parties need to reach the point where they can leave it all behind them, and they all have work to do to get there.

LovingRadiance 05-12-2013 06:56 PM

Yes, Maca went off his ADD meds several times and that makes for a nightmare in the trust department. I know it sounds weird, but it's very true.

I think there is definitely a HUGE component in the fact that the person who was hurt MUST be willing to forgive in order for trust to be regained AND they can't be in retaliation or revenge mode either. For a long time, Maca was in retaliation "tit for tat" mode. He would intentionally do and say things intended to "repay" me for hurting him.
There is no healing for the relationship while that is going on. It really was a royal clusterfuck to say the least!

It was critical that I be true about making amends.
But there also came a point where I had to be willing to stand up and say

"ok, time's up, I'm not going to stop being the honest, open, transparent person I have become-but I am done being the doorpost you kick every time you feel anxsty or angry or hurt or whatever."

That forced him to stop and consider, he'd tried to get revenge, he'd vented all he could about the hurt, he'd annihilated my name in our social circles by telling his side of the story (I kept my mouth shut). Now, did he REALLY want to let bygones be bygones and try to build a functional future together; or move on apart.

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