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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Will I Ever Trust Again?

trust betrayal

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“Will I ever trust again?” I asked, turning towards my dad in the aftermath of the day the marriage died.

My voice trembled along with the rest of my body, a pleading tone hoping for a positive response.

His eyes teared, he pulled me in for a hug. “I don’t know but I sure hope so.”

It wasn’t the response I wanted, but it was honest. And honest was what I needed.

Over the next weeks and months, I asked that question of my mom, my family, my friends, my journal.

And every response was the same.

“I don’t know.”

How do you recover from betrayal by the person closest to you? How do you move forward without armor so thick that no one will ever make it through? How do you ever put faith in another person after doing so destroyed your world and you in the process?

How do you learn to trust again?

You begin with yourself.

Intimate betrayal is an attack on two fronts. The first wound comes from the one who betrayed you, the piercing pain when you realize that he or she was sliding the blade into your back with every embrace. The second comes from within, as you begin to doubt yourself, your worth and your senses.

And you have to heal them both.

Before you can ever trust another, you have to learn to trust in yourself.

And that begins with trusting your strength to see you through.

If you believe that you are not strong enough to survive something, you will turn away from any indications that speak of impending disaster. The only way you will be receptive to reality is if you know you can handle it. Remember times that you have revealed your strengths. Celebrate those. Create smaller challenges in your life and master them. Write your story and cast yourself as strong and brave. Don’t let your betrayer create your character; you have the power to mold yourself in an image of fortitude and perseverance. Learn to see yourself as a survivor and thriver rather than a victim. You are the phoenix, not the ashes.

You are strong.

You can make it through anything.

Believe it. And it’s true.

And, once you know that you can survive, you’re ready to learn to listen, to see. Not with the fears of the past or the worries of the future, but with the truth of today.

Check in with your gut. If your intuition speaks, listen. Remember, there is nothing it can say that you cannot handle. Be present in your life, check words against actions. Trust that you will be okay even if someone’s actions indicate a problem. When learning to trust another, move slowly, letting out a little rope each time. Watch to see if they hang themselves but also be careful not to do it for them. If you act as though the past is on repeat, it will be replayed. See with the eyes of now, not the pain of yesterday. Sift through your past to find patterns, both in your betrayer and yourself. Learn how to change your responses to interrupt the playbook of the past.

Will you be able to trust again?


But it can’t be blind trust, operating on wish alone.

It’s a trust born from strength and intention.

It comes from being present and truthful.

It hopes for the best but does not fear the worst.

It understands that you cannot control another but you can always depend on yourself.

You are strong.

You can be trusted.

Believe in yourself.







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42 thoughts on “Will I Ever Trust Again?

  1. AWESOME post! So empowering and inspiring. EVERYTHING begins with yourself. Trust yourself, love yourself. Do these first, and you can tackle anything. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Insight I needed today. This is an issue I am wrestling with right now. Yes, I might relearn trust; in myself and in others. I know that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train, pragmatically I know it. My heart tells me otherwise right now.

    Thank you for this, I am grateful.

          1. I keep having to remind myself to stop, and be in the moment, and feel this. Because I find myself wanting to just run right on past it and I know that will come back to haunt me…I just don’t want to feel like this any more, I want to be normal again.

            1. Oh, boy, do I remember that feeling. I would stand on the outskirts of groups and feel so removed, so different. I just wanted so badly to have normal concerns and interactions.

              And, you’re so right about the instinct to try to stay in the moment. It’s tempting to run or hide, but it’s relief is temporary.

              1. Exactly how I’ve been feeling. It’s the worst I think because I’m 24; all my friends are getting married and having babies…and I’m getting divorced. My friend took me to a bar the other day to try to cheer me up, and I felt like I was outside my body just watching everyone interact…
                I want so badly to just get in my car and drive and never come back…find a place to hide where I don’t have to feel these feelings anymore. But I know that’s not healthy…although being where I am isn’t exactly emotionally healthy either.

                  1. Some, who have been great, and my best friends while the same age as me have been incredible. Not to mention my parents have been so helpful, it’s just hard as they live in another state. If I could run away right now I’d probably be in my moms bed crying by tomorrow. I have only told a handle of people though (my blog is under a pen name).

                    1. I’m glad you have some folks. It’s okay to ask for help. We accept that people need help at the beginning and end of life. Divorce is the end of one life and the beginning of another.

                    2. So true. I was looking at the divorce papers just now, and it asks if I want to keep my married name or go back to my maiden name…there’s no good answer to that. I don’t want to be THIS person anymore, but I’m not the same person I was before I was married either.

  3. You and I share similar stories; Great post. On my journey of learning how to trust again, I realized that you, the individual, never change; you need to change the circumstance for a better outcome.

  4. Beautifully and bravely written.

    It’s also really important to understand why affairs happen. Decades of research support this: people commit infidelity in response to, or escape from, their unaddressed emotional issues. It is NOT the fault of the marriage, or the betrayed spouse, or the internet.

    Sometimes the relationship ends. Sometimes it mends. We’ve been there.

    Laura S
    Executive Director
    Infidelity Counseling Network

  5. I needed to read this today. Thank you so very much for posting it and writing it and living it. I have been deeply betrayed, for the second time. I need to feel that I will be able to trust again. Thank you.

  6. I relate very much to the feeling of being dissociated from society, and not knowing whether I’d learn to trust again. Regaining trust in myself was the hardest part. When you find yourself in a situation that almost destroys you, it’s hard to believe you allowed yourself to get into such a mess. It’s been 4 years and a long process, but I’ve discovered strength I never knew I had. In fact, had I remained in my marriage I probably never would have known I was strong enough to survive alone. This is an excellent post about the process of learning to trust again. Thanks so much for writing it!

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