In my experience, the most persistent side effect of being cheated on is the unrelenting and underlying uncertainty if you’re responding to your intuition or over-reacting to something from your past. I have often had internal internal arguments where one side, afraid of being caught unaware again, is pulling all of the alarms, screaming that the sky is, indeed, falling and the other side is calmly dismissing these fears, reassuring me that the danger is only an echo from the past. This can manifest as an inability to trust others, but really it comes down to learning to trust myself again.
There are times when the triggers are activated because of a legitimate and present concern. At those times, it’s important to listen to your gut and pay attention to its warnings. And there are other times when the alarms were pulled too soon, acting more from perceived danger than from a true emergency.
The problem lies in knowing which voice to listen in which situation. Dismiss all warnings, and you open yourself up to betrayal again. Listen to every advisory and you’re preventing trust from ever building (and also making yourself crazy in the process).
Here are five questions that I’ve learned to ask myself over the years to determine if I am being triggered by a true threat or merely the fear of one. And, as with everything, practice makes better.