When you're trying to build- or rebuild- trust in your love relationship or marriage, how far should you have to go? Is there a way to be transparent enough so that your partner won't spy?
If your partner is jealous no matter what you do, what steps can you take to improve the situation?
These questions may rumble through your mind-- especially if you live with a jealous partner. Nobody likes to be spied on or mistrusted. And it is probably frustrating, to put it mildly, when you feel like you're being honest and up-front and your mate continues to suspiciously look for evidence that you cheated, lied or otherwise betrayed him or her.
On the other hand, nobody likes to feel mistrust. When we envision having a love relationship, probably everyone takes it for granted that there will be a sure and confident feeling that your partner will follow through on agreements-- especially agreements to be monogamous. When infidelity or another breaking of agreements happens, that vision is damaged along with trust in the relationship.
Perhaps you had an affair and are trying very hard to make amends and repair trust between yourself and your mate. You feel like you are open about where you go and who you are with when your partner is not around. You might also be working to tune in to your needs and communicate them with your mate as you listen to what he or she needs as well. These are all great steps to take in rebuilding trust.
But having taken these steps to repair and rebuild trust, you might feel frustrated and even hurt to discover that your partner is spying on you! Maybe you catch him or her checking the calls on your personal cell phone. Or your mate might have even admitted that he or she read your e-mail on your individual account. You may even hear that your partner has been questioning your co-workers to “check up on your story.”
A part of you can understand why your partner is spying, but it still doesn't feel good to you. These actions certainly don't make you feel closer to your partner!
While you can't erase doubt and jealousy or any belief or emotion at all for another person, you can pay closer attention to your own expectations and actions. When jealous fears lead your mate to spy on you, no matter what has happened in the past, you can choose to turn toward healing and renewed trust.
Be clear and transparent.
You are the one who best knows the degree to which you are keeping your word and the agreements you made with your partner.
When you feel wrongly accused or you discover that you are being spied on, take some solace in the fact that you know you have nothing to hide. Allow yourself a few moments to feel good about yourself. Even if you cheated in the past, focus in on this moment and the knowledge that you are trustable.
From this feeling and energy, be clear and as transparent as you can be with your partner. Let him or her know that you are willing to answer any questions that may arise and that you will clarify any confusions. Make yourself available as a source of information.
When you answer questions and provide information to your mate, keep that assured feeling alive within you. You do not have to be ashamed or feel guilt. You have forgiven yourself for the past and are making amends. There is no need for you to be punished or interminably carry around what happened-- especially if you're acting with honesty and integrity now.
Keep making agreements
As you make yourself available and transparent to your partner, remember that you can set boundaries. Just as you make agreements with your mate that you will prove your trustability, for example, by calling to check in a few times each day, you can also request agreements around the spying. You can make an agreement with your partner that you will honor your monogamy agreement and that you will be transparent about where you are and who you are with.
You can also request your partner to agree to stop checking in with co-workers to see if you are telling the truth. It is completely reasonable that you ask your mate to stop spying on you and, instead, to pay attention to the ways that you are keeping your word.
Yes, you might acknowledge, there are risks involved when trusting. But he or she can take those risks in informed and conscious ways-- and without having to spy.
When you are in the process of rebuilding trust after infidelity, frequent communication from the heart is vital. It is essential that your partner feels like he or she can begin to believe what you say and share. Just as essential is your ability to let go of the past and realize that you deserve to be trusted again.
Both of you staying open, available and transparent-- and putting an end to spying-- are effective ways to foster trust and move closer together.
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire. Click here to get their free ebook, Passionate Heart-Lasting Love.