We receive regular comments and questions from our community members, and each week we choose one to answer, right here on the blog. This week we heard from Louise, who is struggling to let love back in her life and learn to trust her new partner, after her ex hurt and betrayed her.
Q - Hi, I’m Louise. I’ve just started seeing somebody new, and he’s a really nice guy, but I’m really struggling to let him in. My ex cheated on me and left me for another woman, and it left me feeling heartbroken and unsure if I could ever trust anybody again. I was single for a couple of years until my friend helped me set up an online dating profile. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but I started talking to this guy and he was really sweet. He asked me on a date, and I went, but told myself not to get my hopes up. Well… it went really well! And we’ve been seeing each other now for a few months. Now he’s telling me he’s falling for me, and though I feel the same, I’m really scared of getting hurt again. How do I learn to trust him, and let love in again? Thanks, Louise.
A - Hi, Louise. I’m so sorry to hear how much your ex hurt you by betraying your trust. When somebody you love destroys what you thought was true, it is completely natural to put up a wall to prevent that from happening again. It is no wonder that you stayed single for a while after this experience, and that you are now wary as you learn how to be in a relationship again. However, your ex clearly didn’t deserve you, and you definitely deserve to be happy without him. If you continue to build walls between your new partner and yourself, then you are allowing your ex to sabotage not only your past relationship, but also your relationship with your new man. Here is our advice on how to move on from that betrayal and learn to let love in again.
The first thing you have to do is to loosen the grip that your ex has over you and your life. What he did was awful, and you have every right to feel hurt and betrayed by his actions. However, two years have passed since those events, and it is time you allow yourself to move on. And the first step in that process is to forgive your ex.
This may seem impossible to do, and again, that is completely understandable. You’re not doing this for him though, you’re doing it for yourself. Grudges are heavy, and weigh our hearts down. By forgiving your ex, you are letting go of that weight, and allowing yourself to move forward feeling lighter and happier.
One suggestion is to write your ex a letter (don’t worry, you don’t have to send it), explaining how much his actions hurt you, but that you are not willing to let his actions define your life anymore, and you want to move on and be happy. Getting your feelings down on paper will do wonders to clear your head of those upsetting thoughts, and therefore easier to forgive and move on.
Remember, your new partner isn’t your ex
I know this sounds obvious, and that’s because it is; your new partner isn’t the same man as your old partner, and shouldn’t be treated the same was as you’d treat your ex. He is not responsible for, or guilty of anything that your ex did, including the cheating that ended your relationship.
This is a brand new relationship, with a new man, and so you have to start with a clean slate. Put yourself in your boyfriend’s shoes: you wouldn’t want to be blamed for anything his ex-girlfriends did to him, would you? Definitely not! So you have to try to put those worries aside and allow him to get to know you and slowly take your walls down. And remember, your new partner hasn’t given you any reasons not to trust him, so it’s unfair to treat him as guilty for another man’s crimes.
Communication, communication, communication!
One of the most important elements of a relationship is communication. Without communication, trust is difficult, and that works both ways. If you hide your feelings and your trust issues from your partner, he may sense that you are holding something back, and in turn feel as though he can’t trust you.
If you feel like you’re struggling with your feelings and finding it hard to believe that what happened won’t happen again, the best thing to do is talk to your partner. Explain to him what your ex did, and how it has understandably made you cautious about letting down your guard and letting it happen again. If your new partner is as good and sweet as you say, he will be understanding of this, and will be grateful that you confided in him. Hopefully, he will do everything he can to make you feel happy and secure in your relationship, and in time you will be able to let down your walls and let love in again.