Is it possible to trust again after a divorce? Divorce can be emotionally devastating. The person you trusted the most has vacated that position and we are left feeling alone and vulnerable.
We can be left asking ourselves questions such as ‘How could I have been so wrong?’ or ‘Why did they betray me?’ One of the biggest question we can have regardless of whether the split was amicable or not is ‘How can I ever learn to trust someone like that again?’
Billy Joel sings Always Been a Matter of Trust. Bob Dylan recommends that you trust yourself. Learning to love and learning to trust go together. These are essential to deep and fulfilling relationships – and to living and flourishing after a divorce.
The good news is that it is possible to have a fulfilling life following a divorce – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Deep Connections are Vital
Superficial relationships do not provide us with the deep connections we need as people. We were designed to connect. It’s true – sometimes we connect really well with others, and at other times the connection is not so good. While we don’t have control over how people choose to connect with us, we do have some control over how we choose to connect with them. Learning (and choosing) to trust is a part of forming deep connections with others.
Learning to trust again after a divorce takes work and takes time, especially if there was infidelity. But even if there is no betrayal it can still be hard to move on after the breakdown of such an intimate relationship.
Deep connections in the short term might be friendships and family connections rather than an intimate relationship. Allowing yourself time to grieve and recover before moving onto another intimate relationship is often valuable. You may find yourself leaning on a friend or sister at this time.
Trust is a Verb
Dr. John Gottman is a marriage and relationship expert . He says that trust is an action rather than an idea or belief – more about what our partner does than what you or I do. This is challenging to our common perception that trust is mostly something that we ‘feel’. But what can happen when we move on from a broken relationship is that we take our hurts and suspicions into any new one. In this way we take a lot longer to learn to trust, but we also can sabotage our new relationship by moulding in our minds a false image of our new one. We expect that they may act in the same way as our last partner, rather than giving them (and us) a clean slate.
One of the other things that can be tricky for us as we embark on a new relationship after a divorce is learning to trust our judgement. We can question ourselves about our judgement of others. Our confidence in this department will especially have taken a hit if we were betrayed by our marriage partner. If you’re really struggling here then get the wisdom of family and friends in helping you to get to know someone. Ask them what their impressions are of your potential partner as a way of helping you to choose whether to pursue the relationship with confidence or not. Don’t ask everyone – just those you know who have a pretty good gut instinct about people. And listen to what they say, even if you have stars in your eyes. They might see personality traits or red flags that you haven’t yet noticed.
Brené Brown Has a helpful acronym, BRAVING, for helping to understand trust and how it works between people. These points can found in her book Daring Greatly:
Boundaries – you and the other each have and respect boundaries
Reliability – you and the other both do what you say you will do when you say you will do it
Accountability – you each own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends
Vault – neither of you share what’s not yours to share
Integrity – both of you choose to do what’s right based on your values instead of what is fun, fast, or easy
Nonjudgment – both of you can express what’s important to you and ask for what you want without fear of judgment
Generosity – you’re both generous with interpreting the intentions, words and actions of the other
Giving yourself time to learn to trust again is really important. Don’t be in a hurry for a new relationship, but don’t ignore opportunities to develop deeper ones. Ernest Hemingway said:
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
Finding a lawyer you can trust can be a big issue. At Divorce Lawyers Brisbane, we always act with integrity and compassion. Our experienced divorce lawyers offer a free, 10-minute phone consultation. Please contact us today!