By Stacey Freeman
One of the quickest ways for a partner to destroy your trust is by cheating. Though infidelity is usually the first act which comes to mind, there are other ways for a significant other to cause you to distrust him or her, including gambling, using drugs, accumulating/concealing debt, stealing, or misusing joint funds. Whatever the situation may be, a lie is a lie, and you are well within your rights to withhold trust until further notice or leave the relationship for good.
Unfortunately, moving on doesn’t mean necessarily you will forget how you felt after discovering you had been lied to or that you are in a position to trust again when entering a new relationship. The damage, as they say, has been done. The question remaining, then, is how do you learn to trust again after being lied to in a past relationship?
As someone who learned firsthand how it feels to be deceived after discovering my husband had been unfaithful during our marriage, I offer seven suggestions which have served me well on my path to healing.
1. Take time to process your feelings about the betrayal.
When I first found out my husband cheated, a family member advised that it would take a while, perhaps years, for me to recover. She was right. I first needed to understand why I was so upset. Was it because I had been happily married and my husband disrupted that or was it because he bruised my ego? It wasn’t until I look backward that I was able to look forward and rebuild my life.
2. Stop being so hard on yourself.
Your significant other lied to you, but that doesn’t mean you deserved to be treated with disrespect or are deserving of such treatment now. That person’s actions were and remain a reflection of them and only them. You were not the reason why he or she lied, regardless of what you think or heard. Telling the truth is always an option, and your previous partner chose not to exercise theirs.
3. Discover happiness independent of any romantic relationship.
Your happiness shouldn’t turn on whether you are in a relationship or not in one. Instead, your relationship should make you happier by bringing something to your life that your platonic friendships, children, career, parents, siblings, and hobbies cannot. A healthy relationship is something to savor, like a dessert. As we all know, you don’t need to eat dessert to live a healthy life or feel full.
4. Be honest with your new partner about your history.
The hallmark of any strong relationship is the ability to have an open dialogue with your partner. While it is better to leave your so-called baggage in the past, you wouldn’t think of traveling without packing a bag, would you? We are each the sum of our past, positive experiences and not so positive ones. It’s often the problems we face that offer us the opportunity to learn and grow, to become the person a new partner is interested in knowing better. If you are struggling or need to move at a slower pace as a result of what you have gone through, don’t be afraid to share your hopes and fears. The person who is meant for you will listen.
5. Don’t assume everyone lies.
When you have been lied to, and then lied to again, and again after that, you may come to believe everyone is a liar. Don’t. Not everyone lies. In reality, what people are is honest; no matter what you do or say, people will show you who they are over time. Why not give your new partner a fair chance to do that? By expecting the worst from others, you will get just that. You can set the bar high, but do set it. The right person will reach for it.
6. Allow a new partner to earn your trust.
It takes a long time to gain someone’s confidence. It will happen at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places, and you probably won’t notice it’s happening right away. As a good friend once put it, “Trust is built in small moments over time.” A promise kept, a secret shared, understanding when no one else seems to understand, and support you didn’t ask for or expect. Until one day, hopefully, a little voice inside you says, “This person is different.” If you hear it…
7. Trust your gut.
Because, at the end of the day, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
About the Author
Stacey Freeman is a New York City-based writer, lifestyle editor at Worthy.com, and the founder and managing director of Write On Track, LLC, a full-service consultancy dedicated to providing high-quality content to individuals and businesses. A respected voice for career reinvention and parenting issues affecting both women and men, Stacey has been published or syndicated in The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Town & Country, Yahoo!, HuffPost, Popsugar, YourTango, xoJane, Scary Mommy, Maria Shriver, The Good Men Project and other well-known platforms worldwide. Stacey is frequently called upon for her expertise and insights and has been quoted in The New York Times, HuffPost, and SheKnows, to name a few. Stacey holds her B.A. in English, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University at Albany and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Email Stacey today at Stacey.Freeman@WriteOnTrackLLC.com or call 800-203-1946 for a free consultation and proposal. For more information, visit www.WriteOnTrackLLC.com.