Dancing, alone, anywhere, that’s what it feels like to trust again after divorce.
The foundation of a strong relationship is based on trust. When that goes away, I believe the relationship starts to take a path down a dangerous road. Much like a fork in the road, you can either trust a person and walk along each other side by side or, you can walk down a path of suspicion, uneasiness, and fear, walking behind a person and questioning every action and word spoken. if that happens it’s hard to learn to trust again.
When my ex left me, I found it difficult to trust again. I didn’t know how to trust my thoughts, emotions, and actions with anyone else anymore. For over 20 years, I had made myself vulnerable to him, confided in him, and trusted him with my most private thoughts, shared dreams and aspirations with him and, he had seen me through some of my best and worst moments in life.
When I found out he was having an affair, I felt the wind get knocked right out of me; I couldn’t breathe, move or speak. I never thought he would do this to me—for some reason, I thought we were invincible and that we could get through anything. I often heard stories of couples breaking up, one spouse cheating on the other but I never imagined in a million years this would happen to me.
Getting back on my feet was difficult but I managed to get there slowly but surely. However, trusting again proved to be more arduous.
When I started to meet people and date, my guard was way up. Needless to say, those dates didn’t go so well. I was reserved and fearful that the men I was meeting would judge me; my looks, the way I expressed myself and my thoughts. It was painfully difficult for me to accept that I could trust again but I just couldn’t relax.
I convinced myself that I could let my guard down when I met a man who shared an interest in my business and said he could help me grow it into something successful. We met a few times to talk about where our careers were headed and our interests were definitely aligned and complemented each other rather well. We even started to talk about going into business together and creating a partnership. I was beyond excited to have met someone whom I could trust and who also shared in my passion for education.
We soon began to meet a few times a week to discuss marketing plans, working on creating a website and we even settled on a name for our company. We also became friends and talked about our families, our childhood, and past relationships. We would even hang out at times, I’d go over to his place for a meal, and we’d meet at coffee shops to work together.
Everything seemed to be going so smoothly until he started to question how I was spending my time when I wasn’t with him. He started to go down a path where he didn’t trust me. Instead of running for the hills, I convinced myself that I could make this partnership work, that he could trust me and I could fix the situation. I didn’t want to let go of the business we were planning together and I now know, I couldn’t handle a broken relationship after what I had just been through with my ex.
Perhaps I didn’t want to see what was really happening, fearing his reaction, my reaction and the unhealthy relationship that was developing between us. Part of me also felt good to be in some kind of relationship where my thoughts and ideas were valued. He laughed at my jokes, liked my business sense and he made me feel normal again. Deep down, I knew I shouldn’t need someone else to make me feel whole again, but I couldn’t help wanting to stay in a relationship where someone was actually interested in me. Time and again, I convinced myself I could make things better. Truthfully, I didn’t want to be alone anymore.
Having to learn to trust again, a second time.
Things quickly got out of hand and he eventually became jealous when he found out I was on a date with another man or when I prioritized my family and friends over spending time with him. I knew I had to end things with him and I did but it came at a great cost; I got hurt in more ways than I bargained for. I experienced fear like I never felt before, one I hope to never experience again. I am still unable to fully write about this time in my life but I am healing from it.
After much self-reflection (and therapy) I eventually started to be able to trust others again, date and let my guard down but only once I began to fully trust myself, my instincts and my inner strength were able to do this.
Because I began to trust myself, I have been able to trust others and form loving and close relationships. In turn, I have been at peace with my thoughts and I am happier than I’ve been in a long time. I can laugh and be my silly self and dance in the kitchen when I feel like it. I can have meaningful conversations where I express my thoughts and opinions without the fear of judgment or rejection. I have dreams and aspirations that are mine and I have a career I am proud of. I am finally walking down a path, side by side with someone whom I trust.