Q: Should I ask my husband to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases? He recently ended an affair, and we’re working toward reconciliation. It’s a touchy process and I don’t want to do anything that might suggest a lack of trust or that I haven’t forgiven him.
A: We’d strongly suggest that you both get tested immediately. The health risks and ramifications are too serious not to. But we sense you don’t need to be convinced of this. Your bigger concern is that any suggestion of mistrust or unforgiveness may derail the reconciliation process.
While we can understand your hesitancy, medical testing has nothing to do with trust. It’s just a straightforward way of ascertaining some very critical facts. There’s also a sense in which trust is a moot point at this stage in the game. Your husband has already proven himself untrustworthy. But if he’s truly interested in changing, he should admit this and face the consequences head-on. His willingness to do so is the only way he can expect to rebuild his relationship with you.
Finally, it’s important to understand that forgiveness and trust are two different things. You can forgive your husband for his past waywardness, but this doesn’t mean that you should give him carte blanche for the future or necessarily take his word for it when he insists he’ll never stray again. Through his actions, he’s forfeited a degree of freedom and respectability. Real healing and reconciliation between the two of you can’t occur unless he’s ready to be held accountable. Trust can be restored only if accountability is maintained over a long period of time.
If you haven’t already, we’d suggest you locate a counsellor who can guide you through the reconciliation process. Don’t hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to email@example.com.
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