Viewer questions this week explore how depression can be the reason couples argue and the difficulty one faces in learning to trust after betrayal.
Dear Mary Jo,
My husband and I are in our mid 50’s and have been arguing over silly things. He seems on “edge” all the time. Can you help?
It could be many things making him feel more stressed. It may be work related, health related or just feeling overwhelmed. But, it would be a good idea, since it is more sudden, to talk to him about it. If he becomes defensive or withdraws, mention the fact that your arguments have increased and it concern you. Depression is the biggest culprit and it happens more frequently with couples over fifty. Depression is sneaky and sometimes the only symptom is an increase in arguments. Offer to go to the doctor with him. Some illnesses present with depression or irritability, and it’s better to check possible health issues first. You’ve been with him for a long time, so take it seriously when you see a change in behavior that concerns you. Teamwork is key.
Dear Mary Jo,
I’m wondering in a relationship when you go through an episode of mistrust how you can recover?
It is impossible to trust another person if you don’t trust yourself. You can’t control another but you do have control over your expectations, listening to your inner voice and believing your gut. If you think back to the time you were betrayed in the past, did you ignore what you were feeling? Sometimes the pain from betrayal is tied up with anger at yourself for denying the warning feelings you were having. People are imperfect, and make bad choices that hurt others. But if you can trust yourself to be aware, you can rebuild your trust.
Relationship behaviors to restore trust:
Show up when you say you will.
Follow through with promises made.
Be willing to be vulnerable with each other.
Be willing to prioritize your relationship.
Feelings of trust deepen when both partners accept being vulnerable and committed to each other.