I sometimes hear from people who are very clear (and remorseful) about the fact that the big contributing factor to them separating from their spouse is a lack of trust. Often, one spouse has done something unfortunate and significant enough for the other to lose trust in them, which has led to a marital or trial separation. It can be very challenging to restore that same trust when you are no longer living with your spouse.

I might hear a comment like: "my spouse wanted a separation from me because he no longer trusts me. I will admit that this is all my fault. My husband found out that I had been in contact with an old boyfriend. I actually almost married the guy and he was an important part of my life. He lived down the street from me when I was a child, so my parents know and love him also. Honestly, he's like a part of my family and this has always really bothered my husband, which I can completely understand. Well, I have been corresponding with the guy and seeing him behind my husband's back. Once, I went home to visit my mother, but I also saw the other guy too. My husband found texts between us which lead him to figure everything out. Nothing inappropriate happened. I did not cheat on my husband. I admit that it was wrong of me to go behind my husband's back. But I did not cheat. So fast forward to our separation. I am doing everything in my power to encourage my husband to trust me again. But he seems very resistant to this. Every time I see him, he'll make a sarcastic comment like he'll ask me if I've been back home to see my boyfriend. I haven't seen the other guy since my husband found those texts. I broke off all contact with him. I haven't seen him or spoken with him but my husband refuses to believe this. I have a feeling that restoring the trust would be difficult no matter what. But how do I restore it when he suspects that when I am away from him, I'm running to the other guy?"

A Separation Can Encourage Trust Issues.  You Have To Work Hard To Work Around This: This has the potential to be a difficult situation. There can already be trust issues during your separation. Since you can't see your spouse as often, you will often wonder what they are doing. And this will sometimes lead you to suspect things that just aren't true. When you add on some distrust to this already difficult situation, this can make things even worse.

This Is Almost Always A Gradual Process: The key, I think, is to accept a gradual pace and to not expect him to trust you again until enough time has gone by for you to prove your sincerity. Know that while you are waiting for this process to happen and in the meantime, you can just focus on strengthening your relationship.

Restoring trust takes time. There isn't really isn't many short cuts. And the reason for this is that your spouse is often watching and waiting to see what your behavior is going to tell them. There is usually a certain amount of time until they are going to be comfortable again. Until enough time has passed, they are always going to have doubts and there is really no way to bypass this.

What To Do In The Meantime: In the meantime though, you need to appear to be as sincere as you can possibly be. Work on your relationship with your spouse regularly. Try to communicate or get together in person as often as possible. (Now, you may have to allow your spouse to set the tone. He may be open to a lot of contact or this may need to increase gradually, depending upon how receptive he already is.) The point is, you'll want to work very hard on allowing him to see that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to do. The more time you spend with him, the less he will be apt to think that you are doing untrustworthy things with the other man.

Finally, if you can get him to agree to counseling, this might help greatly. A skilled counselor can help you to restore the trust in a way that may help him to get over his doubts a little more quickly. If he's resistant to counseling, then perhaps a self-help course on restoring the intimacy and trust in your marriage is worth a try.

But to answer the question posed, the best way to restore the trust during a separation is to give your spouse a lot of your sincere attention. Be accountable and conduct yourself as someone who is trustworthy. Try to spend as much time as possible with your spouse. If this isn't always doable, then at least communicate regularly so that your spouse knows that you are thinking of him and are spending your time on your marriage instead of on someone else.

Granted, it is generally easier to restore the trust once you're living together once again. However, there is plenty that you can do to show your spouse that he, and your marriage, is your priority.  I had to do this during my own separation.  And yes, it was gradual.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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