Dating: Learning to Trust Again
Find out how to start over
Anyone who has been cheated on knows that it's hard to learn to trust again in a relationship. But it's essential to put down those walls, and let someone inside your heart, in order to be truly healed.
There are behaviors to follow that help heal a broken heart so that you can start over. Our experts share their thoughts.
Learn to accept what happened in order to move on, said Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist and the host of Playboy TV’s reality show, SWING. O’Reilly shared her tips:
Do not accept responsibility for a cheater. Know that it’s not you — it’s him. Your ex cheated because he chose to cheat. You were not the “cause” of his cheating, so there is no reason to assume that your next partner will cheat too.
Date outside of your comfort zone. *Do you have a certain “type” to which that you tend to be attracted? Try getting to know different types of men and hang out in different venues to see if your attraction is broader than you realized. You might attract someone with whom trust arises more easily.
Trust yourself first. Trust your instincts when you get back into the dating game. If something doesn’t feel right, bring it up with your new partner right away. If you recognize a pattern of overreacting, seek professional support. Just a few sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy can help you to reframe your thoughts and expectations so that they’re more realistic.
Be realistic and reasonable. You can’t expect a new love to do everything your ex did — the good, the bad and the ugly. They’re two different people with different values, backgrounds and expectations. Look at your kids (or other siblings you know) as examples — they’re often polar opposites, so there is no reason to assume that because one guy cheated on you, another will.
Admit to your negative feelings so that you can get over them. If you’re feeling angry, jealous, resentful and downright vengeful, go ahead and own your emotions. Every feeling is valid and can even be useful as long as you keep your thoughts and behaviors in check. If you’re jealous, think about what you’re jealous of. Instead of lashing out at others, look at ways you can change to be more like the person you aspire to be.
Slow down. If you’ve been out of the dating game for a while, you might want to take your time and get to know a potential partner before making a commitment.
Be honest. Once you decide to commit to a relationship, be honest with your new partner about some of your concerns. Ask for reassurance and patience and offer him the same.
Forgiveness is key to moving on, said Michelle Frankel, founder of NYCity Matchmaking. Frankel shared her tips:
Being cheated on in a previous relationship, or getting divorced, is going to have lasting effects on you personally and in future relationships. Many people have trouble moving on after the ended relationship because they can no longer trust anyone. Trust is such a vital part of a relationship, so having trust issues is almost always detrimental to future relationships. Learning to trust again is never easy, but it is possible and definitely worth it.
The first step to this process is forgiveness. Forgiveness is tough, especially when someone has hurt you. You will be amazed how much forgiving the person who hurt you will impact your future relationships. This does not mean go back to the cheater, but rather reach closure with him or her. Know that it was not your fault, but rather something that the other person was going through. This event, while painful, has made you a stronger person and will lead you to a path of finding a stronger, more honest partner.
Be brave and vunerable. Getting hurt is unfortunately a part of life. If you are scared of getting hurt again, you will be unable to let people into your life. Open yourself up and trust that no one person is the same, and not everyone is out there to hurt you. While there may be cheaters and dishonest people in the world, there are also a lot of genuinely great people. If you allow yourself to be brave and open yourself up to someone again, you may be surprised.
Give your date the benefit of the doubt. Trust but verify if needed. After coming out of a divorce or bad relationship, you are going to be on high alert when dating anyone. This is natural, as you are experiencing a pessimistic view on dating based on a bad experience. What you need to try to do is give your new date or love-interest the benefit of the doubt that they are being honest. By transforming your pessimism into optimism, you will find you have a much easier time trusting another person. Until someone has given you a reason not to trust them, you should give them the benefit of the doubt.