If you just got out of a bad relationship, it can cause you to have “trust issues” and question your own decision making. How did I miss these signs? How can I trust anyone going forward? The truth is, trusting someone is a choice, and learning to trust again requires hard work. The good news is, you can learn from your past experiences and allow them to transform how you establish and maintain relationships in the future. Below are some tips for how to trust again after being cheated on or betrayed in a past relationship.
1. Make a list of healthy vs. unhealthy signs in a relationship.
Think about the relationships in your life that you admire. What about those relationships is admirable to you? What makes them healthy and functioning? How can you tell that their relationship is thriving? Jot down those ideas in one column. Now, think of any unhealthy relationships that you’ve experienced (including your past one). What made those ones unsuccessful? What can you learn from those as warning signs that you want to avoid in your next relationship? Write those ideas down in another column and refer back to this list when dating someone new.
2. Acknowledge your own faults.
Very rarely does a relationship have turmoil because of just one person. This does not mean you are doing things intentionally to hurt the relationship, but it is helpful to look back and assess where you made mistakes. Think about the ways you would like to evolve and change in your next relationship to encourage health and connection.
3. Don’t ignore the good things.
When a relationship ends due to cheating or another type of betrayal, it’s easy to forget all the good that happened while you were together. This can lead you to question yourself and shake your confidence in your ability to choose a partner. However, you were with this person for a reason (probably many good ones, actually), and acknowledging the positives can help you regain confidence in yourself.
4. Figure out if your next partner is worth trusting.
Trust your instincts, but also ask around. Talk to their family or friends to see what they have to say about their character. Look at their social media and ask questions. If you feel like their answer isn’t honest, ask them about it in a non-accusatory way and see how they react. Pay attention to the red flag of defensiveness.
5. Communicate Openly.
If you’ve been betrayed, it’s likely that you’ve experienced shame, confusion, and a lack of trust in yourself. Communicate this with your partner, and talk about ways that they can make you feel safe. Talk to them about your past relationship (when you’re ready) and give them the insight into why it’s difficult for you to trust. Talk about your expectations and figure out what is reasonable, together.
Overcoming a betrayal of the heart is difficult. One of the most important things to remember is not to rush yourself back into a relationship before you’re ready. Take your time and practice these tips to establish a healthy relationship with a foundation of trust that you deserve. If you are struggling to move past old hurts and are experiencing pessimism about love, please reach out to me to schedule an appointment.
Jeannie Sytsma, MA, AMFT