Beyond betrayal: Should you trust again?

Straight talking Psychotherapist, Jutka Freiman answers your dilemmas.

Q: After going through a traumatising divorce three years ago, I have spent the last two years, with the support of my new partner building back my confidence and trust in people. My partner was recently made redundant and as his accounts were frozen, I returned the same support he had given me, allowing him to borrow money on the condition that he would pay it back once he regained access to his money. However, I realised recently, that some large sums of money had gone out of my account and my partner confessed to having forged my signature on several occasions without my permission and had withdrawn the cash. I don’t think I can handle another man, especially one who has been so supportive, walking out of my life but at the same time my trust issues have re-surfaced. What should I do?

Jutka: I think your position is one that well be seeing more of given the current financial re-structure. There are a few issues that need to be addressed here.

Firstly on a general note, when women become the bread-winners when their male partners are made redundant a new set of dynamics can be introduced into the relationship.

The first is that despite having long resolved the gender based political debate of who should work, its still true that the majority of men, more than women, have been socialized to define themselves through their work.

When work ˜falls away and in particular when they get retrenched, thats a wound straight into the male sense of self. Although financially its a relief to have an employed partner, its often difficult for a man to see his woman still working and being paid by a world which has become inaccessible or even hostile to him. This coupled with the reduced opportunity for quick re- employment can bring about a strong sense of panic and disorientation. This is especially true of men over 45.

So somewhere it effects self-esteem and reverses traditional roles. This role reversal has become common-place and quite socially acceptable when there are children at home to care for. Or even if a man is studying. However in the main – unemployed men at home during financial uncertainty – with frozen accounts is  the stuff of male nightmares and perhaps the raw material for depression or desperation.
Your partner seems to have chosen the latter.

œ Lets call a spade a spade, he stole money from you.

So what to do? Well its good that he was supportive in re-building your confidence and trust and it was also noteworthy that he admitted his crime: But lets call a spade a spade, he stole money from you. You can, if you reflect on his current situation, give him the benefit of the doubt, understanding that he was desperate. If you know hes never done anything like this before you can also discount the possibility that he is a thief.

But you cant pretend that you dont feel betrayed.

If your partner was so aware, albeit instrumental in you re-building your trust in men, what was he thinking?
He didnt have a momentary lapse and he didnt take small amounts. His sense of integrity seems to have been seriously compromised as he didnt confess his crime till he was found out. Sadly none of this is good news.

I understand that after a traumatic divorce and one in which theres been a profound sense of rejection you wouldnt want to feel devastated and alone again.

But can you re-build trust with a man who has lied and stolen from you? I wonder if he knows how much hes really taken in terms of your trust when you were offering so generously. I wonder if hes apologized to you not just with a ˜sorry; because no matter how heart-felt the sorry might be, the other component in any true apology is a sincere attempt to bring to consciousness the deeper motivation for the act.

And most importantly what about your self-esteem? When we are rejected & traumatized it takes some time before we gather all the corners of our soul back & recognise who we are now. Although the support of a new relationship is almost irresistible, it carries with it the potential hazard of us redefining ourselves in the eyes of the ˜other.
I wonder if you let this man go …are you afraid hell take the best of you with him?

So I would say its time to stop underestimating yourself and know you are not as empty inside as you once felt you were. I think its time you begin to feel like you deserve a man who would thank you for your support & generosity in the same way in which, you appreciate theirs.

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Authors Website:

Profile: Jutka Freiman is a psychotherapist & group facilitator in private practise in Sydney. She also runs workshops on Feminine Archetypes & the Enneagram.


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3 Responses to “Beyond betrayal: Should you trust again?”

  1. KonstantinMiller says:

    Hi. I like the way you write. Will you post some more articles?

  2. dee says:

    what a great article! looking forward to more from jutka!

  3. kaite says:

    I think women should face facts – all men, even the nice ones, even the ones who are your friends and not your lovers, put themselves first, second and third, and are not above lying and conning women to get their needs met, with no thought of the impact this causes. Once you accept this fact and ensure that you do not need financial, emotional or physical support from them, it’s safe to have a relationship. Until that time, save yourself the damage that will inevitably occur and find someone cute to have no-strings sex with.