How to learn to trust someone again after divorce or break up is something I get asked quite a lot by my clients. It’s something that I know is hard, it’s a leap of faith, an extension of disbelief, a willingness to allow yourself to be vulnerable and be open to potential hurt again that is so very difficult. Trust is fragile. As the saying goes, trust is hard to build and easy to break—so handle it with care.
What is Trust?
What is trust essentially? When you trust someone, it means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. It goes beyond just trusting them to be faithful and not cheat. It’s more that trust is something that two people in a relationship can build together. You can’t demand or prove trust, that’s just not how it works. Its a choice that you make, and they make. Or not.
Why is it so Hard?
We’re all carrying our pasts around with us in some way. Let’s face it, if you’re a woman in your 40s and beyond the chances are you’ve had your heart broken or been through some bad experiences; or both. When that happens, we just want to protect ourselves and not open ourselves up to anyone new again. We would rather do anything than go through that level of pain again. I mean, if you’ve been let down before, you’d be an idiot to do it again, right? Sorry sweetheart, but wrong.
So Why Trust?
What’s the secret? Honestly, what I know for sure, is that the ONLY way you will be happy in a new relationship is to trust. Let’s look at the alternatives.
If you don’t trust someone, you will convey that to them that they really have nothing to lose by not being trustworthy. If they are constantly being accused of being dishonest, unfaithful, etc. eventually the chances are they will prove you right.
You will also never really be truly intimate…have those moments where your eyes connect and you learn them, enjoy them. You will sacrifice that magic that comes from letting your guard down, being your true self, and allowing someone to see you for all your beauty, grit and grace.
Love will elude you, be something out of reach. Trust is essential for love to flourish, it’s the very foundation. To really love someone, you need two things – the chemistry needs to be there, and you need to believe in them as a sound and decent human; you need to trust their integrity and morals and value them.
You won’t be part of a team, part of a pair. You could be in a relationship that makes you feel alone which is a very lonely place indeed.
How Do You Learn To Trust Again?
The beginning months of a relationship often feel like one big guessing game. You’re trying to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling, and they are doing the same back. This is also the most important time to start building up trust. Transparency can go a long way in providing comfort and clarity.
If you’re open and honest, it’s so much easier for the other person to be the same and for you to start trusting each other. Share. Talk. Laugh. Let go a little…then do it again. And again.
And essentially extend your belief and trust them. It’s the only way to do it. I know it’s scary, and I know you might feel scared of being hurt again. But it’s the only way. If they’re a good person, it’ll be so worth it and the relationship stands a real chance. If you try to control their behaviour or actions in any way, you will never truly know their intentions. Rather, if you trust them and let them be themselves, you will see what they really think of you through their actions.
One Last Word
One last word that’s worth remembering. If you partner doesn’t trust you, it’s more about them than it is about you. It’s not a reflection of your integrity or character and more to do with their past hurts, baggage and perception.
We all have a preferred way that we love and receive love, and all you can do is not to let their doubt erode your sense of self. Carry on expressing your love and commitment and if they can learn to receive it as you intend it then you can shape their understanding. They are much more likely to feel valued.
If not, then they are simply not ready to trust and love again. You can’t make that decision for someone. But instead celebrate that you are ready. That’s wonderful and you will find that again, and you’ll know when you have.
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