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Advice from Dr. Stanwix – Doubting Thomasina

Advice from Dr. Stanwix – Doubting Thomasina
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Dear Dr. Stanwix,

My husband and I have recently gotten back together after a year’s separation. We are both middle-aged and I think this was really taking its toll on him. He claimed he needed a break so he could figure out what he wanted out of life. I figured he was simply interested in seeing other people. He told me that that wasn’t the reason; however, he later admitted that it was the major reason why he wanted to separate.

I am not sure whether he got tired of sowing his wild oats or not, but a few months ago he contacted me in tears telling me he was stupid and that he realized that I was the only person for him. He begged me to give him another chance and get back together with him. The truth is, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t stop loving him. He seemed genuine, so, despite my friends advising me not to, I decided to give him another shot.

Now we are back together and trying to rebuild our relationship. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty regaining my trust in him. I still think that when he travels for business or goes out with his friends after work that he may be having a fling with someone. I also still have doubts about whether he truly wants to be with me.

When I ask him about these things, he bends over backwards in an attempt to show me that he is only interested in me. However, as he wasn’t fully honest with me before our break-up, I still have a hard time believing him.

Should I trust him? If so, how can I overcome these doubts?

Sincerely,

Doubting Thomasina

 

Dear Doubting Thomasina

While I certainly understand your difficulty in trusting your husband, you did take him back, so you really have no other choice. Let’s explore your feelings and look at some ways you can try to rebuild that trust, so you feel more comfortable about him and your decision to take him back.

First, your feelings: I am sure that you still harbor a bit of a grudge because he initiated your separation. You probably also resent the fact that he was able to see other people more easily while it didn’t come as easily for you. And, lastly, you are probably a little upset with yourself because you took him back in the first place.

These are all perfectly natural reactions to your predicament, so please don’t beat up on yourself. You may have your doubts about your boyfriend, but you certainly don’t doubt your love for him. Therefore, it is important that you don’t harbor a grudge forever.

What you should do is sit down and think about what kind of person he is. Would he get back together with you just so he could muck up your life again? Apart from his deception before you broke up, has he generally been honest with you?

If you answered “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second, it is more than likely that he is sincere in his desires to stay with you. Keep in mind that it is not always easy to know what we want out of life, especially in middle age. He was probably just going through a phase and felt he needed some room to, yes, see other people, but also to understand if he was truly in love with you. While it was a painful process, he is probably surer than ever about his feelings for you. This should be a comfort rather than a curse.

You are right to keep a watchful eye on him and to question him on occasion about how he feels about your relationship as you put the pieces of your life back together. However, you can’t hold it against him forever. Unfortunately, the old cliché holds true, “Forgive and forget.” While you may have difficulty forgetting at this point, as you begin to forgive him, you will find it easier to forget.

He still has a lot to prove to you to help dispel the doubts you have. However, a little faith in him and in your judgment will go a long way in healing the wounds from your separation.

Best of luck,

Dr. Michael Stanwix

 

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