Trust: How to get it back

Being hurt by a part partner often inhibits people from trusting other again. John Gray offers advice and lessons on how one can trust another partner again and move on from a part divorce.

By John Gray, Ph.D.
Updated: February 10, 2015
Time and time again, divorced readers or workshop participants will ask me why the hurt they've felt when wronged by their former partners currently inhibits their ability to trust new partners. I explain that they are fearful to once again believe in someone only to get hurt again, and that this is a trap that most of us fall into. Mars and Venus: Advice from John Gray

Invariably, the next question is: "Will I ever be able to trust a partner again?"

My answer: A resounding YES, you can trust again. Not only that, but you will have to resolve your fear of trusting another if you truly want another chance at developing a committed relationship, and you want this new relationship to strengthen and grow.

After all, your next partner wants -- and deserves -- this trust. Trust is in fact the foundation of all relationships. Without it, your future partnership will never be able to stand up to the rigors of day-to-day life, let alone the stress during a trauma or times of crisis.

When you are stuck in your distrust, you make it easy to come up with reasons as to why the relationship is not working out. Rationalizations such as "She doesn't really love me," or "I'm not pretty enough to hold his attention," become believable. Sadly, you then justify your fear by blaming your partner -- although, of course, he or she has done nothing to deserve your distrust. This creates a stress between the two of you that will eventually crack apart the very core of the union -- unless you act quickly to move beyond it.

No one says that this will be easy. It will take several very necessary steps, which I've listed below:

Step One: Admit to yourself that you are afraid to trust. Forget all the excuses you've given yourself up until now. If in fact you've found a relationship you cherish, or you want a relationship that works, you need to accept some responsibility for why things are not going the way you want. That means reaching deep inside yourself to find the answers to why you are afraid to give yourself fully and completely to another.

Step Two: Address the issues that led you to this fear. You can do this in a letter to yourself that first describes your feelings, including any anger and sadness that you have. After doing this, you should then give examples of the kind of supportive response you seek.

Step Three: Let your partner in on your fear -- and the fact that you are doing everything you can to get beyond it. Remember, your partner loves you, so when you are ready, share your letter with your loved one. Together, consider recent examples in which your distrust has strained the relationship. Discuss ways in which you can rationalize your fears when similar concerns arise. Also, ask your partner to come up with a comforting statement that, when spoken, reminds you to open your mind -- and your heart -- to recognizing your fear at work.

Step Four: If need be, reach out for help. You should realize that you may not be able to move beyond your distrust without seeking help via professional counseling. By doing so, you will learn insightful techniques that can be used for this and other emotional blocks to a successful relationship. As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Our fears can be conquered -- with an open heart and an open mind.


John Gray, author of the best selling book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus has recently launched the Ask Mars Venus Coaching program.


For more advice from John Gray, visit www.divorcemag.com/articles/Mars-and-Venus-John-Gray.

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By John Gray, Ph.D.| May 27, 2008

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