Many people feel wary of trusting others after a divorce; perhaps it was the events leading up to the divorce, or maybe it was the divorce process itself. No matter what the reason, it can be a struggle to trust again. Some of the issue lies in trusting others, but it can also be hard for people to trust their own judgment after a marriage falls apart. “If I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, then I can’t trust myself to choose someone else.” Here are some things to consider when you worry you won’t trust again:

  • Don’t jump into another relationship right away. Take some time to understand why the marriage fell apart. Dig deep, don’t just blame the other person. Work to understand why you were drawn to your spouse in the first place. Having a solid understanding of yourself and the relationship will help you rebuild your ability to trust your instincts and judgment instead of entering into the same unhealthy patterns of your previous marriage.
  • Build trust over time. Trust is built, not given automatically. It is built on trustworthy actions over time. Does she do what she says she will do? Does he treat your emotions with respect? Evaluate a person’s actions, not promises.
  • Check your bias. If you tend to mistrust, then step back and ask yourself, “Did he or she do something to break our trust or is this more about my own fears?” Again, evaluate the person’s actions. However,
  • Distinguish between mistakes and bad intentions. Everyone makes mistakes, and so, if someone does something that hurts your feelings, talk to them about it. Don’t sweep it under the rug, but also don’t assume this person meant to harm you.  Perhaps your new partner doesn’t understand that gentle teasing really hurts your feelings because of your history in an emotionally abusive relationship. Developing a new relationship requires a learning curve and it takes time and shared experiences to understand each other. If the behavior is abusive, however, don’t give second chances- just walk away. 
  • Be vulnerable. It might feel scary to trust again, but you can face this fear. If you refuse to try to build trust ever again because of past hurts, then you will be very isolated and disconnected. That is too high a price to pay.

If the process of rebuilding trust feels too overwhelming, consider going into therapy to better understand the obstacles and learn new ways of being in a relationship.  You deserve to have close, trusting relationships in your life and it is worth the hard work to develop those connections.