How Do You Trust Men After a Bad Relationship?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”
Prov. 3:5 & 6
Trust is defined as “the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective. In other words, in a relationship, it’s someone you’ve believed would be there with you forever. Then one day you find out they have been having an affair, or embezzled millions, or downright lied to you about who they are. They walk out on you without so much as a backward glance. How do you recover from that and learn to trust again?
Trust is built in a relationship by building experiences together and spending time with one another. Being honest with one another is a fundamental need we each have. We expect that if we are honest with someone, they are automatically honest with us. Sadly, that’s not true and there are a lot of people out there who can put on a great act. Talk to anyone who has been the one who did not want the relationship to end and you’ll soon hear how their former significant other ended up not being trustworthy at all. For me it was devastating. How could the man who stayed up with me until the wee hours of the morning, talking about our hopes and dreaming of our future, be the same man who was now walking out the door for someone else? What?
To say my ability to trust was damaged was an understatement. It took five long years of counseling, Bible studies, support groups, and a lot of hard work and soul searching to get over the divorce. I even felt I was ready to take the plunge again. I met my second husband in a support group of people who were divorced or widowed. He was a widower. His first wife had died tragically in a car accident.
We had known each other for several years and he was always kind, caring, and fun. The courtship was fast and before you could blink, we were married. It took just five years for our marriage to come to an end. Over time, he had become more and more combative and threatened me with physical harm. I believe he had never worked through the trauma of the accident where he lost his first wife. I could not trust him anymore.
I vowed I’d never trust another man completely again. I had failed twice in choosing a man who was trustworthy! There are many types of people out there, both good and bad. Learning to have discernment about them is one of the most important lessons we can learn and often seems impossible. But it is not impossible. You learn by experience. Painful. Horrible. Experience.
Let me give you the benefit of my experience and share with you some things to think about as you learn how to trust men again…
- Its OK to NOT trust men right away. You really need to learn to trust yourself first. Build your discernment and common sense so you can be a better judge of character with people, especially men. It’s OK to not trust men after being hurt.
- Be alone for a while. A good rule of thumb is, that for every five years of a marriage or committed relationship, you need one year to completely recover. My motto became, “There are worse things than being alone.” Enjoy being with yourself. I took this time to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. That’s where you will find the most healing.
- Take it slow in a new relationship…really slow! Don’t rush into anything. If the gentleman pressures you, you may want to look elsewhere. Telling him “no” or that you want to slow things down will reveal who he really is.
- Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Ask hard questions of your new man and listen to the answers. Now is the time to find out as much as possible about his character and integrity. Look and observe how he is with others, waiters, cashiers, children, etc. That will tell you a lot about who he is and whether he respects others.
You can’t always protect yourself from people who are untrustworthy. But, you can learn to be more discerning little by little and trust yourself. Put your trust in Jesus. He is the only man who will never leave you! The Holy Spirit will show you how to trust men after a bad relationship if you will just listen to him and follow His lead.
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Joette Knapp is a Professional Life Coach, Speaker, and part of the coaching team at Big Blue Couch™ Coaching. After surviving losing her first baby, and two devastating divorces, Joette turned to her faith and discovered that God can take the ashes of her shattered life and turn them into something new and beautiful. She is passionate about helping other women walk through life-changing experiences and discover that there can be a great life on the other side.