Trust Issues: When His Ex Is a Factor

My husband and I have been married for three years, but recently many of our issues have come to a head. My main problem is that I don't trust him. It probably stems from a situation that occurred ages ago when were dating: I found out that he was still speaking with his ex-girlfriend/best friend and keeping it a secret from me because he knew I wouldn't like it. Now, six years later, if he is late from work, I wonder if he is meeting someone. If he happens to have his cell phone on vibrate, I think he is waiting for a call he doesn't want me to know about. He severed his ties with this ex/best friend when I initially found out that they were talking, but recently he ran into her, and since he says it was killing him not to have her in his life, they are back to being friends. He even sought her advice when the two of us were having an especially tough time a few weeks ago. I wish I could believe he would never cheat on me, but my feeling is that if I expect it, it won't hurt as much if it happens. I am so emotionally drained. Any advice would be appreciated.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Brenda Shoshanna

Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, therapist and certified divorce and family mediator. She has written five books, including Zen and the... Read more

Needless to say, trust is fundamental to any strong relationship. Living with doubt and suspicion not only makes you feel insecure and anxious, but more importantly, it can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and your sense of deserving to be valued and respected.

In your case, it's troubling that though you have asked him not to see his ex-girlfriend, he continues to do so. This is blatantly disrespectful. And because he's disregarding your feelings, his relationship with her is inappropriate.

Your husband needs to take your feelings into more serious consideration, especially about an issue as central as this. You have every right to set limits you can live with based on what is acceptable to you. If he cannot or will not adhere to them, then you have an important decision to make for the future of the relationship and your own well-being.

Beyond this, it is important to understand why he feels he needs this person in his life so much. What is missing from the marriage that she seems to fulfill? Can he speak openly to her in ways that he cannot with you? Is there a sense of romance or intimacy there? Although painful, it is essential to explore what's really going on. You both must be willing to listen and to meet each other's needs whenever possible

Trust will be reestablished when all of these issues are under control. It won't happen overnight, but it will come about as the result of honesty, communication, patience and working toward similar goals.

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