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I don't know why but I don’t trust my husband. I love him, but this is a recurring battle between us. He swears that he loves me and isn’t cheating on me. He never hides his phone. I have all his passwords to everything, yet I constantly have a gut feeling he's cheating on me. I'm not sure if it's in my mind or real. How can I trust him if this nagging feeling keeps coming up?
I think your real question is, “Is this your intuition telling you something true, or are you projecting your fear and trust issues onto your spouse unfairly?”
Most of the time gut feelings are reliable and worth paying attention to, but your subconscious fears can also get in the way and muddle these messages. I had a client who had quietly known her husband wasn’t faithful for years, but didn’t act on it because she lacked confidence. She recently found out he’d been cheating on her the entire time.
Having said that, I have another client who let her fear of abandonment create a suspicion of cheating in her marriage that was completely off base. After years of being questioned and second-guessed, her poor husband finally asked for a divorce. This woman didn’t believe she was worthy of love and in the end she created that.
You must make sure your subconscious fears aren't clouding your perception of your husband. Ask yourself how often you suffer with insecurity or a fear of not being good enough or fear of loss? If these are big issues for you, or if you have felt unloved, unwanted or unappreciated in the past, there is a good chance you are projecting your subconscious fears onto your spouse.
If this is the case, you must do some work on your self-esteem. Once you can see yourself as amazing, lovable and valued, you will be better able to hear your intuition and know what's true about your husband. I strongly encourage anyone with trust issues to get some professional help. A good coach or counselor can help you get clarity on what's happening fast.
Also, understand the difference between an intuition message and a fear feeling. An intuition message from your gut is usually a peaceful one that prompts action, while fear tends to come with feelings of anxiety and stress that can paralyze you (like a deer in the headlights) and stop you from action.
Intuition is also more unemotional and focused in the moment, while fear feels emotionally charged and is usually tied to experiences from the past. If you were cheated on before or were raised to distrust men, you might bring those experiences with you into the future. If you have some of these experiences in your past it makes fear a more likely suspect.
Most people who get an intuition feeling describe it as a quiet knowing, while people who are experiencing fear are more bothered and grouchy. This is not the case 100 percent of the time, but it's a pretty good tell.
Another strong possibility, in your situation, is that you are just picking up on a detached energy coming from your spouse, because he is not fully invested in the relationship. He may not be cheating, but he may not be fully engaged in the marriage either.
If this is the case you must ask yourself if you are fully engaged. Are you fully invested in making him feel appreciated, admired, respected and wanted daily? Are you loyal to him (meaning do you give him the benefit of the doubt, have his back and create a safe place for him to be accepted as he is)? Very few marriage problems can be blamed all on one partner. Most of the time it takes two to create a broken marriage, so you must take a look at your investment level too.
Also be aware your distrust alone could be making him pull back and feel detached. If you are bringing fear energy into the relationship, you will always get fear energy back. Fear can't create love.
At the end of the day, you are going to have two choices.
He won’t trust you either. Distrust is a selfish place, where your focus is on protecting you. When people feel your distrust they subconsciously sense that you are only worried about yourself, and therefore, are not worried about them and makes them feel unsafe with you.
He will sense your fear and will lose respect for you. Fear in any form is perceived as weakness and weakness is not respected. Real strength (that comes from a place of trust and love) is what earns respect.
You will create antagonism in your relationships. When you are focused on protecting yourself all the time, it triggers the other person to focus on protecting their self. In this state, no one is giving any love and the relationship will fall apart.
You may want to try the following test and see if it brings clarity:
Make the decision that you are going to trust your husband from now on. Assume your distrustful feelings are based in your fears of inadequacy or abandonment. Then, spend the next few days fully committed to trust, work on your self-esteem, read some books on the subject or talk to a counselor or coach about overcoming your fears.
During this time, see how you feel about your decision. If you feel peaceful and calm, you are on the right track and there was nothing to fear. But if the feeling of warning won’t go away and continues to nag at you, you probably need to pay attention to it.
Most of the time (if you are still not sure what is true) it is better to choose love and trust. If you choose to trust your spouse and make him feel appreciated, admired, respected and wanted every day, and he ends up cheating, it will be his bad and his loss. He will carry the responsibility for wrecking the relationship. But if you choose to assume the worst of him and live with distrust, fear and suspicion and he doesn’t cheat, it will be you who wrecks the relationship.
I believe trust and love are the best answer.
Besides, seeing the absolute best in someone can often push him or her in that direction. If your husband thinks you think he is wonderful, kind, honest and loving, he will often try to live up to that. But if you think he is dishonest and sleazy, he might as well be that.
Tell your husband how wonderful he is and make sure he feels loved and wanted every day. People who feel adored, wanted and cherished usually don’t cheat. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. There are some situations where loving people who are fully invested in their relationship are still rejected or cheated on, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Some of us marry people who are incapable of being honest and committed. If you are in one of those relationships, getting out is your best course of action.
I recommend you choose to be fully engaged in giving love, support, appreciation and affection to your spouse; work to improve your self-esteem; and fully commit to seeing the absolute best in your partner instead of the worst. If you try this for a while and something still feels off, listen to your gut and follow it.
You can do this.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.