If you’ve been cheated on before or have had a partner who wasn’t entirely faithful, you’d know that healing from trust issues is no easy feat. It’s like trying to mend a broken vase; it’s difficult but with careful tending it becomes possible.
When a person severs your trust in a romantic relationship, it tends to affect the way you view other relationships going forward, your emotional mirror has been messed with. It may become a challenge to get into a new relationship because of this.
Building trust back requires patience, commitment, and even vulnerability.
“It can be a long road to rebuild that trust,” says marriage therapist Melissa Divaris Thompson. “When trust is broken, you ask yourself, ‘Am I being a fool for trusting again?’ ‘Will I be hurt again?’ People block themselves from trusting again because it feels so painful and so vulnerable to do so after it has been broken.”
While it may seem difficult, you’ll need to be open with a new partner if you intend to enjoy your relationship.
Communicate how you feel
Vulnerability is required if you’re to begin healing again. It cannot be overemphasised how important communication is in a relationship, especially if you intend to build a healthy foundation.
“If you’ve been badly burned, your impulse might be to keep it to yourself. However, talking about your experience is likely to make you feel a lot better.” —relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW
However, you don’t have to divulge all the information if you don’t feel comfortable enough. You can start with the ones you’re most comfortable with sharing and ease it upon them so they don’t feel swamped with TMI.
“Use some discrimination. You don’t need to throw it all out there on the first date, but once things get going, let them know what you’ve been through and how you may be feeling challenged,” Hartstein adds.
Voice out your concerns
It’s important your new partner takes your concerns seriously as it would terrible to date a person who gaslights you.
“It is essential that you feel that your partner really understands the impact of their trust-breaking actions,” says Thompson. “Part of building trust back means being able to voice the feelings and thoughts that come up when you hear about broken trust. Whether it’s infidelity or otherwise, building trust requires that your partner hears where you’re coming from and the ways in which you have been hurt.”
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Get a second opinion
Suffering from trust issues can sometimes make a person paranoid. If you’re picking up on signals or red flags from your new or intending partner and you’re not entirely sure if you’re reaching or not, you may want to ask for a second opinion from your trusted loved ones.
“If something comes up that’s making you feel uncomfortable, think about consulting friends,” says Hartstein. “You can also ask yourself, ‘Are there actually red flags, or are you overreacting from the old situation?’”
Seek closure from your past
Sometimes knowing why people broke your trust may help with resolving it. At least, you’d know the “why” even though it may not make a lot of sense. If you’re still cordial with your ex you can ask them the reason behind decisions they took that hurt you.
“If their behavior has been particularly abysmal, this might not be a good idea,” Hartstein says. “But sometimes a little time and perspective can help people to wrap things up and move on.”
Work on your self-esteem
One thing that broken trust does is wreak havoc on your self-esteem. Feeling of not being enough, of being a failure may crack your self-esteem.
“Usually someone suffering from a betrayal feels badly about themselves and perhaps also not good enough,” Thompson says. “It’s paramount to deal with these feelings and build yourself back up.”
To remedy that, surround yourself with people who value and appreciate you. Also, know that decisions your partner made have everything to with them and nothing to do with you.
Give yourself time
As the saying goes, time really does heal, even trust issues. Spending more time with your new partner will allow you to relax into the relationship.
“The more time you spend with your new partner, and the more you build on the solid foundation that you are creating, the better you are likely to feel,” Hartstein says.
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