When trust is gone
It is often said, “Trust is earned.” I find this to be completely true, and if it’s not earned, it’s not trust.
But what happens when trust is lost? It is not a simple matter of doing again what was required to earn the trust in the first place; earning back lost trust is far more difficult than earning trust in the first place. Each additional violation of trust makes it even more difficult to earn back the trust, and if trust if violated too many times, it becomes humanly impossible to it get back.
If you have violated your wife’s trust, you need to understand that her unwillingness or inability to trust you again is not about her; it is about you. If she trusted you originally, that means she is able to trust. If she no longer trusts you because of your actions that means it’s on you. She can’t read your mind, she has no way of knowing you mean it this time; but she does know you didn’t mean it last time. Getting upset with her for not trusting you is kicking her while she is down. Being mad that she does not believe you, when you have proven you cannot be trusted, makes the situation worse. This is especially true if you have violated trust multiple times, be it the same issue or different ones.
Can you ever get her trust back? Yes, but it may take months or years. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth, and it’s not because she is wrong: it’s because of what you have done to her. If you can accept that, and that it’s your fault, you have a chance. If you can’t accept that, you have virtually no hope of regaining her trust. Making it about her is a sure way to make the situation worse; taking all the blame is a good step towards being trustworthy.
To regain her trust, do what is right, and keep doing it, day in and day out, no matter what she says or does. If the breach of trust was over something that you hid from her, find ways to make sure she never has cause to think you are hiding anything from her. Tell yourself you have lost the right to any hint of privacy with her, and that she has every reason to be suspicious of you.
Trust can be rebuilt, but only if you are willing to do what it takes. It was your choice to do whatever it was that made the mess, and now it’s her choice to decide when you have given her cause to trust you again.