Building Trust Again in New Relationships

Jennifer March, MS

Three simple things to remember after experiencing a breakup.

The pain of losing a close relationship can scar you for a lifetime. It was a heartbreak that had crushed me so profoundly; I didn’t know if I would ever recover.

I have written about this breakup before and how I have reflected on it throughout the years.

I am not sad that I have lost the person I was with. But instead, that trust I had worked hard to build with them was shattered in a matter of minutes. I cannot believe — still to this day — what exactly happened.

Whatever was happening in my ex’s world is not for me to know, and I am okay with that. All anyone can do is move on and create a better life for themselves.

When the dust has settled from the breakup, that itching feeling to date again will eventually resurface.

He didn’t want me, so I needed to move on. But moving on can be difficult when you have been scarred so profoundly. I didn’t feel that I could ever trust someone again.

I decided for a short while to wait for him — he gave me hope that perhaps one day we might get back together. As time passed, though, I knew that was a slim chance in hell. I wasted so much time waiting and hoping that maybe things would get better.

But history always repeats itself, so take each red flag as a decision point to stay or move on. When we choose to move on, we put our feelings first, not the infatuation we have for this person.

After a breakup, take time to heal and understand who you are. But don’t worry, there isn’t a set speed for healing.

As upsetting as this all is, I still hoped to find happiness after my ex. Thankfully, I met the love of my life, all due to this breakup. Although I have found the person I am meant to be with, I still reflect on this time of my life.

I was left alone and upset after my breakup, but I found my path through my pain. I went on to live my life and see myself accomplish great things. But along the way, I needed to learn how to trust again.

Here are three simple lessons I learned to help me rebuild trust in a new relationship.

Go slow and take your time

Go at a pace you are comfortable within new relationships. It is better to go slow than not to do anything at all.

In toxic relationships, we build up protective habits to keep us safe and happy — those habits served their purpose but are no longer needed. Now we can begin the process of unlearning those defensive habits we may have built.

A protective habit I used was keeping my true feelings hidden from my ex-partner. I thought that was the proper thing to do at the time, but looking back, that was me settling.

I didn’t feel safe sharing how I felt, and I was terrified to put myself out there again. After the breakup, I was so scared to try and meet new people. Even making new friends was difficult for me. I didn’t want to go to the bars; I was not too fond of parties — so my world was closed off to people around my age.

During this time, it is essential to stay focused on who you are, what you want, and where you want to be. Finding who you are is key to finding the right people to be around.

Being afraid to trust can lead to isolation. So keep in mind to take everything one day at a time — that’s all you can do.

Don’t worry about where you should be or where you need to be. Being yourself can help you understand that there is more to life than petty drama, fighting, or being around people that dampen your light.

Take this time to find out more about yourself — that includes listening to your gut.

Listen to your gut!

Listen to your gut!

Listen to your gut!

Listen to your gut!

I could type this a million more times because it is so important. That voice or feeling inside of you should connect and inspire you to take action.

I had that little itching feeling in the back of my mind when I had first begun dating my ex. I put all my cards on the table to show my ex-boyfriend that I trusted him.

I don’t think he was ready for that kind of commitment just yet, or perhaps he didn’t understand what committing looked like in a relationship. I was too young to see this, so I assumed his behavior was my fault. I just knew that something wasn’t right about him, but I chose blind trust.

If something feels off or not right, then there is probably something going on.

Your gut instinct is your intuition — take it seriously.

That happiness your ex once gave you should be cherished, but if the future is only dark and grey, then it’s time to call it quits. Aside from listening to yourself and what you need, begin to tap into our external support system.

Seek outside support

Reaching out can be scary and overwhelming.

When I was still dealing with the shock and hurt from my breakup, I reached out to my friends. I needed my support system. I leaned on the one friend I had through it all. She was my long-distance best friend. We talked every day; she always checked on me. She made me feel safe and happy.

I’m still grateful for her, and I always will be.

I was terrified in relationships. I was afraid that I wasn’t enough and too much at the same time.

I felt that I would never make it out of this torture, even with my best friend’s help.

I found that taking small moments to connect with distant friends or new friends can make a difference. Since that breakup, I reconnected with an old friend from high school, and we are now closer than ever.

Surviving rough relationship trouble — no matter the type of relationship is strenuous and downright awful. But you can always be sure that there is more to life than this one relationship. No one should ever make you feel bad or upset.

So many beautiful relationships have sprouted from this one bad seed — It made the pain of losing them all worth it.

I wrote this story not to dwell on the past but to give hope to whoever is out there who is struggling in the same way I did. I was always a more introverted person, so I took a huge chance to let this person into my life.

Being able to let go and have optimism lead the way can be a scary decision. I wanted to trust them so severely, so I went all in. I took their word at face value and trusted their actions.

But we can’t predict what will happen in life — so nothing will ever go as planned. Once we broke up, I found everything difficult — I felt like I had suffered a significant loss of a relationship with potential.

I had never met someone like him, so I believed he was my only chance. But I was gladly mistaken, and I later found the love of my life a little over a year after that devastating breakup.

Fortunately, the relationship with my ex blew up in my face — but it led me right where I needed to be. So if you are currently in the spot that I was once in, know that it gets better.

Looking back, I can see that everyone will go through this at one point or another in their life. The loss of that one person you thought you could count on can feel earth-shattering.

You will move on; you will meet new people, learn new things about yourself, and find the true happiness that you deserve.



As Originally Posted on Medium

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Psych nerd turned freelance writer | MS in Psychology | Mom of two cats and some house plants | #MentalHealthAdvocate #BeKind


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