Imagine it: You meet someone. You two flirt for a while, until one of you asks the other out. You start a relationship. You are in love. Eventually, you move in together. The family loves you. You share everything — hopes, dreams, ideas. You think maybe this is the one.
Then one day you happen to see some texts on their phone — and realize they have been cheating on you. Or you check your bank account and see money missing. Maybe one of your friends overhears them saying terrible things about you to other people. Whatever the situation may be, you’ve been betrayed. The worst part is, you never saw it coming, so it hits you not only in the heart, but right in the gut.
What are you supposed to do when the person you trusted with everything turns out to be a lying liar who lies? How can you ever expect to trust anyone ever again?
You can do one of two things: change your name, go into hiding, and spend the rest of your life quietly avoiding contact with other people until you die alone; or, you can pick yourself up (after lots of therapeutic sobbing of course) and realize that not every person on Earth is a manipulative asshole. I vote for the latter (while I do appreciate the dramatic power behind dying alone, I’m not really into the idea.)
When you actually do feel ready to start a relationship again (and you will someday), is trust going to be built overnight? Of course not. It’s going to take you a lot longer to trust someone the second time around, especially if you got burned the first time. Think about your previous relationship and see if you can recognize any red flags that might have signaled behaviors that you may have been too in love to see. Ask your friends and family members if they noticed anything about your ex that made them feel suspicious or made them wonder. You might be surprised at the number of items that pop up on the list now that you are away from them.
Learn how to recognize the signs of abuse. Too many people hear the word “abuse” and assume the conversation is about physical abuse. They forget that verbal and emotional abuse are very real. Just because the person never laid a hand on you doesn’t mean they weren’t abusing you. Use the many resources out there to protect yourself as much as possible from getting into a similar situation and be thankful you are away from that toxic person.
Even if you are a blubbering, snotty mess most of the time after your breakup, that’s okay. It’s natural. Just make sure that in between blubbers you realize that eventually you will trust someone again, and hopefully that person will be worthy of that trust.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.