How to trust after being cheated on
(this piece is written from the perspective of a heterosexual female but please feel free to apply it your specific context)
He has checked all your boxes. Everything you decided you want in a partner. The dates have been fun and he’s oh so charming. You will want to take it to the next level. But… you are terrified. The wounds inflicted by your last alliance have healed but the scars remain. If you desire something more meaningful with this captivating new person, you are going to have to open up about yourself. That means revealing things about yourself that you feel safer keeping hidden. “If I share my fears, what will he think?? What if he runs for the hills? Should I run instead, maybe faster? Isn’t that safer?” Being vulnerable is probably one of the scariest things you will ever do. Without vulnerability there can be no trust, making chances of a meaningful relationship slim. It is what it is. The only way out is through. Courage! We are here to ease you in and give you some confidence to take the chance.
Dealing with déjà vu: Everyone is not the same.
The first and most important thing to remember is that everyone is unique and does not react the same way, especially in the context of intimate relationships. Just because your ex judged you harshly for something you like, doesn’t mean this ravishing person will. If your ex was a stingy miser it doesn’t mean that this person will be that way too. If he was a self-centered, cheating, egomaniac, it doesn’t mean all men are. The best thing you can do is recognize that in front of you is a totally new person. Do not project your fears on him. Red flags will always be red flags but don’t put them there because you are scared. You could start by sharing small details about yourself and check his reaction. If he makes you feel comfortable opening up about the little things, it’s a good start.
Work on yourself.
Good people come into your life when you feel good about yourself. If your ex has succeeded in doing a number on your confidence and self-esteem, work on strengthening those before you hit the dating scene again. If you are not comfortable with your physical or mental health status, get the professional help you need. When you are happy with who you are, it shows. That is a really attractive trait.
Be aware! You teach people how to treat you. Decide what your boundaries are. However gorgeous your new man is, do not lessen or belittle your boundaries. If something doesn’t work for you, speak up. If he’s a keeper, he will respect your wishes and you for it plus your confidence in him will grow.
Take your time.
Chuck all conventional timelines out of the proverbial window. You take your time. Don’t allow anyone to rush you into anything. Trusting someone new, when you have been hurt before, it takes time. It’s a process. The two of you will have to go through it together. This is not a one-way street. You have to show him that he can be vulnerable with you and trust you too. Sharing your scars with each other at your own pace helps build the trust you are both looking for.
Taking the plunge: Be prepared for missteps.
When you are ready show your deeper scars or the real “imperfect” you (you know, the one who likes to eat their ice cream cone from the bottom up). The reaction you receive may not be what you hoped for. That’s ok. Be brave. Don’t panic. Talk about it. By no means do you need to justify anything, if you don’t want to. But attempting to understand the reason for the undesirable reaction (with an open mind and not from your “I knew this would happen” place) can help you communicate better and strengthen the bond you are both trying to build. On the other hand, getting the response you are hoping for is wonderful and will give you the confidence to move ahead with your man.
We hope you find these pointers useful and use them to get the relationship you want. Let us know how it goes. We look forward to hearing from you.
By Shalini Singh Founder andwemet