Trust…the five letter word that takes so long to earn and can be lost within a few seconds.
As a couple’s therapist, I can’t recall one issue that has walked through my door that didn’t have a bit of trust issue in it. This post focuses on the partner who was hurt and struggling with trust.
If you are trying to figure out if you can trust your partner you want to consider these three questions.
1. What is my gut telling me?
It’s hard to do but try disregarding your head and your heart for a few minutes. Pay special attention to your gut (A.K.A. your intuition).
What is your inner voice telling you about trusting this person again?
Do you feel that he or she will is remorseful and truly sorry for their behavior?
Our gut helps keep us safe and away from danger. However, we typically dismiss it because it’s not what our heart wants to hear. If you find that your struggling with the “What if’s” check out my post on irrational fears.
If your gut is telling you that you are not able to trust your partner again you may want to listen to it. This can save you months or maybe years of future hurt.
2. Is trusting again worth the risk?
Making the decision to trust your partner after trust has been broken is a big decision and you will want to make sure you are doing the right thing. To trust again means you are taking a risk, there’s no other way to say it.
Some of the best things in life come from taking risks so make sure your partner is worth it.
If you have a hard time with being alone and always find yourself in a relationship make sure you separate that issue from this question. It may not be worth the risk of giving your partner another chance if it is solely based on you not wanting to be alone. If there is a part of you that thinks they may not be worth the risk, then you have your answer.
3. Am I closer to forgiveness?
Notice how I’m not asking if you have forgiven but only closer to it?
Forgiveness is different for each individual and it is a process.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is assuming that giving forgiveness means giving permission that what happened was okay. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
You would never be “okay” with what your partner did, so don’t confuse this with forgiveness. Forgiveness gives you the opportunity to heal and possibly your relationship can too.
Your not being asked to forget what happened, but you are being asked to consider forgiving it. You will reap more benefits from forgiveness than your partner because you are the one carrying around anger not them.
If you are not closer to forgiveness you may want to re-evaluate the relationship because it will be required to find peace and healing.
Remember that learning to trust again is a process that requires two things: time and good behavior. Nothing can make the process faster.
Be realistic with your expectations. Your partner will not be filled with gratitude for the rest of your life that you forgave them. They will need time to heal themselves from the hurt they caused.
What questions do you think are important to consider when making decisions to trust again?
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Dr. Kristie specializes in sex therapy, relationships, and transgender identities.