Your last boyfriend was a cheater. He texted and emailed old girlfriends while he was living with you.
But your new guy is kind and committed. Hes never given you any reason to doubt. Unfortunately, you cant forget what happened last time. You worry it will happen again. And your distrust is in danger of undermining your current relationship.
Its understandable that past issues claim space in your mental bandwidth. Remembering painful moments is part of the learning process that prevents you from repeating mistakes again and again.
Still, obsessing about those memories affects your ability to function. You develop a hyper-vigilance thats constantly looking for signs of impending doom.
When your radar is set to find trouble it invariably does so. Innocuous occurrences in a relationship, such as your partner wanting to go on a weekend outing with his buddies, ignite needless worry. You infuse stress and conflict into the union.
The problem is out-of-date thought processes. These internal messages were once useful in detecting relational perils. They may even have protected you from harm or urged you to leave when things got bad.
But thinking them now, when all threats of danger have passed, is pointless. They serve no purpose. They just make you anxious and interfere with your happiness.
You can start rebuilding trust by living in the present. Stop fretting about whats already happened. Focus your energy on the here and now. Do everything you can to put things in order. Today is where change can be made.
Honestly assess your current relationship to make sure everything is shipshape.
Of course, no relationship is perfect. Every couple has its ups and downs. But issues such as character, honesty, fidelity and commitment are non-negotiable.
If you have questions about them, youre with the wrong person. Dont try to repair something that should be deep-sixed. Get out and find someone new.
Notice what situations elicit anxious feelings.
Do you worry when your husband is on his computer? Do you distrust your girlfriend when youre in a crowd? Identifying specific triggers helps you focus energies where theyre needed most and prevents you from generalizing your concern.
Learn how to quiet your mind. Take a few deep breaths when you start to feel distrustful. Relax your hands and your face. Then replace anxious thoughts with rational, calming ones: Im blowing this out of proportion. Let it go.
Talk to your partner about your fears. Accept full responsibility for your anxiety. Make it clear that this has nothing to do with his or her behavior.
Instead, commit yourself to the process of making things better.
Then get down to the important task at hand.
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Allow ample time between relationships. If youve recently been burned, give yourself time to heal. You need to recover from the emotional damage before joining forces with someone new.
Do your personal homework. Honestly assess what went wrong in the last relationship without assuming the I-was-a-helpless-victim role. Did you fall for a loser? Did you miss obvious clues? Did you not pay enough attention to your relationship? Learning from your failures lets you do better the next time.
Pick your partners very carefully. Look for clues that indicate a persons character and fidelity. Has a woman cheated on other boyfriends? Has a man left his wife to date you? These behaviors scream volumes about the relationship youre considering entering. Paying attention to them averts a boatload of problems.
Keep your anxieties to yourself. This isnt about your partner. Its the inner demons youve still got inside. Its fine to confess what youre experiencing. But for the most part your partner doesnt need to be involved.
Be a loving partner. Recover from past hurts by being a terrific partner today. Focus on your loved ones strengths. Be attentive and affectionate when youre together. Your positive efforts and presence will help the past become a mere memory.
Be persistent. Rebuilding trust can be a lifelong task. It doesnt happen overnight. Hang in there. Quieting pointless anxieties pays huge dividends in every facet of your life.