You (or someone you know) may have gone through the stages of being cheated on, divorced, and single again. While you were married, you started to notice some changes in your spouse; you had your suspicions, and finally you found the “smoking gun” – which may have been a text message or a motel receipt. You went through the roller-coaster ride of post-infidelity stress disorder and the additional turmoil of divorce. Finally, you have settled into a healthy routine, and you’re starting to think about dating again. But you keep wondering whether you’ll be able to trust someone enough to make it past the first date – and if not, should you even bother trying?
Here are five tips to get you back in the dating world and trusting again after being cheated on.
1. Know that others who have been cheated on went through the same mistrust and fear of dating, and they eventually found happiness. There are plenty of websites and forums that provide support and hope; Google “infidelity forum” to find a group where you can share your thoughts and fears.
2. To put you more at ease, you can research your potential date or new romantic partner on sites that reveal cheaters like WomanSaver.com or CheaterVille.com.
3. When you find a new partner, create boundaries and rules together. For instance, you may both decide to share cell-phone passwords, or agree not to call each other at certain times on workdays due to the nature of the business.
4. You are going to mistrust your new partner at times, but you have to communicate and let them know what you’re feeling and why. Talking about your thoughts and fears is essential to the success of your new relationship.
5. Don’t bring old baggage to your new relationship. Your new partner is innocent until proven guilty, and being wrongfully accused of cheating over and over will eventually drive most people away – or at least put a strain on the relationship.
It’s hard not to be cynical after being betrayed. Many infidelity survivors say they were never the same after being cheated on – it follows them forever. If your new partner was betrayed in the past, then they may be less likely to cheat because they know how much being on the receiving end hurts. Although you probably shouldn’t restrict your search to other infidelity survivors – you may be eliminating a potential perfect partner that way – they may understand and sympathize with your trust issues better than someone who has never experienced betrayal first-hand. The good news is that most infidelity survivors eventually find love again, and these tips should help you in your search.
Gary Spivak is the founder of FidelityDating, a dating site for infidelity survivors.