You lied. Things she found out and things went south very fast. Now, it feels that anything that comes out of your mouth, and actions, cannot be trusted. Your wife is having a hard time getting over the betrayal of lying to her, and she is justified.
You regret what you’ve done, and you’re trying to regain your wife’s trust. In this article, we’re going to look at practical steps to get back into her good books and how to ensure that there’s no repeat of the same.
Why is trust important?
Trust is not something to check off a list. It is an integral part of all human relationships, as it is the basis in which they get built. One way to look at trust is that it’s the glue that holds society together. You trust that when you go to the groceries and get a loaf of bread, when you get home, you’ll have your roll and not a sponge.
It is what allows us to live and work together as well. When you’re young, you trust that your parents will care for you. In the workplace, you trust that you’ll get paid your dues. In a partnership, you believe that the other person wants the best for you.
When that gets broken, the foundations crack and crumble. That then leads to the beginning of the end of a relationship. It’s impossible to be with someone that you don’t trust.
Your guard is always up as you’re waiting for the next worst thing to happen.
It is stressful, to say the least, and in one way, unhealthy. The breakdown of trust in a large-scale world is what brings about division, conflict, and even war.
If you feel that your wife has withdrawn her level of engagement and energy she puts towards your union, then know things are bad. You can’t build upon a shaky foundation, and that’s her way of protecting herself.
She’s hurt, and therefore sharing anything with you is the last thing she wants to do. If you’ve lied before, then to her, you can’t be trusted with her emotions, let alone her inner thoughts.
That’s because one of the core definitions of trust is the ability to feel safe when vulnerable.
On your part, you have to be sympathetic and understand the space she’s in. It’s not time for you to ambush her with excuses and reasons why you lied.
She is hurt; she’s lost a sense of security and feels that she can’t be herself around you.
At the initial stages of the relationship, it took time to build trust between you two, and once it’s broken, the journey to restore it will even be longer. The reason we’re emphasizing the importance of trust is that you can understand that she’s having a logical reaction to the betrayal, and you, therefore, have to be patient.
How to regain your wife’s trust
Now, let’s look at some practical steps to rebuild trust with your wife after lying. It is a time where you have to put your insecurities and ego aside and make relationship-building of utmost importance.
1. Put everything on the table
Whether you confessed your lie or she caught you in it, you have to lay everything down on the table.
She may likely not know the full story, and it’s your responsibility to tell her the full extent of it. It might mean that you risk losing her, but here’s why it’s crucial. If she ever finds out that you didn’t tell her the whole truth later on, then all the work you’ve done to rebuild the trust will be for nothing.
Thus, when you’re having the initial conversation, don’t leave anything out. That way, when she’s dealing with the hurt and betrayal, she can do it in one fell swoop.
If the lying was marital infidelity, you can skip the details as that would do unnecessary harm.
However, should she ask for all the details, then you’ll have to dish them out. Overall, with all factors constant, you ought to be honest. When you edit out parts of the story, she might pick up on the loopholes and white lies, and that will stall the reconciliation process.
2. Know the “why.”
One thing your partner will ask you is, “why?” They are trying to understand what led you to lie; was it something on your part or their part? It is also trying to come to terms with what could be more important than the integrity of your relationship.
That’s also something you’ll have to ask yourself. Do note that you’re not looking for something or someone to blame, and neither are you looking for a justification. You’re identifying the issue so that you can deal with it.
It might not come out initially, and it’s alright to get some external help. You can see a therapist or even talk to a trusted friend or couple to get to the bottom of the issue.
Keep in mind that if you don’t deal with the root, it’ll come up again, and you’ll be plunged back into the same cycle of asking for forgiveness and regaining her trust. With that in mind, don’t shy away from any emotional pain that you might feel.
You might realize you cheated because it something you saw your father and his peers do. You might note that you hide money from your wife because you were raised not to trust women with money.
A lot of things could be the reason, from immaturity to molestation as a child. Again, you’re unearthing these things so that you can heal with them and rid yourself of them, not to have a way out.
3. Make a sincere apology
We cannot overemphasize the importance of taking responsibility for your actions. Therefore, when you’re making the apology, it ought to be genuine and from the bottom of your heart. Have eye contact and ensure that your body language does match the words you speak.
What you say needs to be the truth. If you say you’ll never do it again, then you have to mean it. Otherwise, don’t make promises that you can’t keep. If you think that you’ll repeat the lie, then you perhaps have to reconsider the relationship altogether.
It is an indication that you’re not ready to commit fully, and it would be best to let your wife go. It is not fair to take her through emotional turmoil again. However, if it is an addiction that you’re struggling with, then mention it to your wife and seek professional help.
4. Allow her to feel
An apology won’t erase the underlying emotions. The best thing to do now is to listen. Let her vent out her anger, hurt and frustration while not interrupting. She is justified to feel what she does, and so let her have her moment.
She might say some cutting words at the moment to get back at you, but you’ll need to put up with it, at least for a while. When she is calm, mention that you understand her anger, but there’s a level of disrespect that you can’t take. Again, timing is everything.
For a while, she will remain distant and not talk. Whatever emotions she displays, allow her because that’s part of her healing process if she decides to stay with you after the betrayal.
Don’t try to fast-track the process because it’s uncomfortable for you, and you want to go back to the way things are. You equally have to empathize with her situation and think about what you’d do in her shoes.
After, she’ll communicate what she needs from you moving forward. Listen carefully and internalize them as they will be things you have to do and rebuild trust.
It may mean moving out of your way to communicate your whereabouts, sharing financial statements, and the like, but know that it’s vital for her, and it should be equally as relevant to you.
5. Seek professional help
Even with the basics, the best bet you have for a healthy recovery process is to seek professional advice. It shows her that you’re committed to mending things, and it also indicates moral courage that you don’t have everything together, and you do need the help.
Look for a couple’s counselor that you can both see but also do individual counseling as well. There are things she might not be able to disclose when you’re present and vice versa, but it still needs to get addressed.
What makes a couple’s counseling effective is it’ll give you a safe space where you can have difficult conversations that you’d otherwise not get to have. The therapist will bring things to your attention that you’d have missed and allowed you to discuss them.
You’ll develop not only a new understanding of your wife but also of yourself and the dynamic between the two of you. If you can’t afford therapy, consider purchasing a couple’s books or going online to get similar materials. Commit to at least an hour every few days or a week to work through your issues.
6. Be patient
You may have ticked all the boxes, and she’s still somewhat distant. Trust is earned, and after lying, you’ll have to do just that. Some women do take longer to both forgive and trust again. The bottom line is you’ll have to go at her pace.
There are a lot of factors that she has to think about. She might have people in her circle, suggesting that she’s better off leaving you and finding someone else she can trust. It could have opened the wound to a previous relationship.
The point is you might not know what internal battles she’s facing. Don’t put any pressure on her to do things before she’s ready. If you’re serious about having the relationship work, then you do have to cultivate a lot of patience even when it’s not convenient.
The last thing you want to do is act selfishly and disregard her emotions and healing process. It will undo anything you’ve achieved, and you may end up losing her.
7. Don’t expect pity
You brought the issues on to yourself, so don’t expect your wife, and those around you, to feel sorry for you. You’re ripping the consequences of your betrayal, so you have to sit through it and have the right attitude.
Even if you’re feeling bad that she, for example, doesn’t want to spend more time with you, know that it’s not her job to make you feel better. You might want to sulk, but in this context, you may need to suck it up.
Whatever emotions you’re feeling as you rebuilt trust, don’t discuss them with your wife as she might feel that you’re trying to guilt her into forgiveness. Instead, take the issue to your therapist or a trusted friend that you can work the journey with. You do need emotional support, so don’t feel that you have to walk it alone.
8. Forgive yourself
You’re human. Sure, you made a terrible choice, but you also have to give yourself grace and forgiveness. You probably have your own demons that you’re dealing with that triggered a whole series of events that resulted in the lie you told.
So, it is okay to hate what you did, but don’t hate yourself. Change made from a place of self-loathing is not healthy or long-lasting. If you’re angry with yourself, consider directing that energy into becoming a better person for your spouse.
Focus on the things that you can change, and that is your present and future.
Let the past serve as lessons and move on from them. Develop an optimistic attitude that after the process is over, you will undoubtedly be a better person. Even if your wife leaves you because she can’t regain your trust, you’ll know not to do it again in a subsequent relationship.