It is traumatizing to find out that your spouse has been betraying you, and when such events lead you to get a divorce it can render you afraid to ever trust anyone again. Problems that take place in an unsuccessful marriage can leave you feeling scarred and vulnerable, but it is important to remember that not all people are out to hurt you. With time and a good support system in place, you can nurture your self-esteem and finally feel ready to open yourself up and trust someone again.
Establish a support system. It is important to have supportive friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, counselors and religious affiliates surrounding you so that you do not have to go through this experience alone. The people in your support system are there to listen to you, give you a shoulder to cry on and help you work through the fear of opening up to someone else in the future.
Make a list of your positive qualities. During betrayal and divorce, it can be easy to focus on the negatives or flaws that you see in yourself, and you may even have hurtful thoughts of those flaws being what led your spouse to betray you. Let those self-damaging thoughts go and focus on your attributes. This can take time to do for some individuals, so make a list of your positive qualities every day until you start to believe them.
Do not put the blame on yourself. Even though no marriage is perfect and you may have contributed to arguments or ripples in your marriage pond, it is not your fault that your spouse betrayed you and that the marriage ended in divorce. You must learn to believe this before you can fully move on and trust again, or else you will continue to think that the next relationship you enter will end up the same way.
Avoid making blanket assumptions about all people of your ex-spouse's sex. If your ex-wife cheated on you, it does not mean that all women will cheat on you, and likewise for men. After something so significant as betrayal and divorce, some people cope with the trauma by making generalizations that "all men cheat" or "all women are liars." This is not a healthy response, nor will it help you conquer your fear of trusting again. Instead, you must realize that people are individuals and make individual choices. Just because your ex-wife betrayed you does not mean that all women will.
Do things to build your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself, such as exercising. According to Help Guide, exercise alleviates feelings of depression and anxiety, which you might be feeling after betrayal and divorce. Perhaps low self-esteem was something that you battled in your former marriage, which you want to work on before you enter another relationship. This is a healthy goal that can keep you focused and positive.
Make new friends. Sign up for community groups or activities that allow you to meet people and do something enjoyable at the same time, such as a hiking club or a group for single women or men of a particular age range. By meeting other people, you can practice opening up and establishing a friendly relationship with them. This is a healthy step toward trusting again.
Take things slowly. Trust is one of those things that can take a while to build back up. Do not expect miraculous transformations overnight. You can effectively trust others again by putting yourself out there, taking the risk and slowly working through your fears and insecurities.
- If you feel like you need additional assistance with letting go of your trust fears and concerns, counselors or therapists can help you get over the past so that you can move forward and start fresh.