Divorce breaks your trust. It shatters your previously held believe how the people around you can stick with you through all the situations of life. I spent a lot of time exploring how I could regain the trust after divorce impacted my life.
When I went through it three years ago, I knew that I would be okay. It was not the end of the world as some people make it think. Society does not shun the divorced.
The challenge I had was figuring out how I could ever trust a woman again.
This is a big issue. After all, experts tell us that trusting your partner is one of the biggest predictors of success in a relationship.
The strategies I discuss below come from my experiences on the path to regaining this trust. I hope you benefit from my experiences.
Five strategies to find trust after divorce
1. Take some time for yourself
Divorce is tough. I thought I could handle anything before the divorce. Whoa! Was I wrong!
I knew things were not working right for a little while. However, when my ex finally discussed the break, I admit the event jaded me more than I could imagine.
After wanting to make it work for so long, it felt like I could trust no one except my immediate family and friends. Even then the potential for others to let me down was an ever-present fear. The one person I could rely upon was me.
I needed time to internalize what happened. My first solution to trust after the divorce was to take a sabbatical from dating.
I spent the next year regaining the trust I had in myself and then in others.
I started by striking out on my own. My parents offered me a couch for a month to get back on my feet. I refused. I need my space. To prove that I could do it on my own again.
Next, I reconnected with old friends I had not seen in a decade or more. My favorite was the road trip up to my old college where I crashed with a friend for a weekend on their couch.
The trip reminded me of old times and brought back a lot of great memories.
Once I did that, I also started working on improving my skills. For me, I wanted to learn some new career skills.
Fun fact: Did you know improving your business strategy skills can improve your paycheck by 4.3%? Contract negotiation skills can improve your paycheck another 5%.
The more I learn, the more comfortable I feel with my career. This gives me confidence in other areas of my life so that I can trust others.
2. Date for fun
Once you feel better about yourself, you want to trust others after divorce. The best way to do this is to go on a date.
Being single in your thirties is very different from being single in your twenties. When I dated in my twenties, you had dating websites. Not you have apps where you grade everyone within 2 seconds. It removes a lot of the personalization.
However, if you want to get out there, you must do it. 40 million Americans now use dating apps to find their partner. One in 10 people use them to find their next date. The big question becomes Tinder or Plenty of Fish? We could do something more local or based on similarities.
The choices are endless, and you parade through a gazillion potential matches in minutes. I might exaggerate a little, but this is what it feels like for someone who grew up in an era when the people dating online seemed a bit odd.
The first few dates were a disaster. However, that is why you go on a date with the first decent woman who swipes right for you. You need to get them out of your system.
You almost need a new woman to complain about besides the ex. Think about the new vistas of opportunity.
3. Keep Dating
Once you go on those first few dates, you get a little bit of your swagger back. You remember it really was her, and not you.
You also realize someday you can feel comfortable trusting someone again. This is what happened to me. After more dating apps than I care to discuss, I found an app that seemed like gold to me. The dating app was JSwipe. It is like the Tinder for Jews.
I went on some dates, and just as I was about to take a break, I went on one last date. We ended up talking for three hours at a coffee shop on our first date.
We are closing in on our one-year anniversary, and it reminds me that I learned I can trust after divorce.
4. The Kids
I dodged one of the biggest divorce bullets out there. I did not have kids. However, I have many friends who had kids when they divorced. It complicates things. You need someone who not only you can trust after divorce, but your kids can trust as well.
For example, one friend had a daughter. His divorce proceedings lasted five years when the mother suddenly decided in the middle of the divorce she wanted to move back to Green Bay from Chicago.
They both lived in Chicago and split custody. Challenges like this encourage couples to stay together. Over time, he also found someone he could trust. However, early attempts at this did not go so well.
This is why it is not surprising the divorce rate is 40% lower for couples who have a child. It unites the parents when they work on something greater than themselves.
If that is not possible, then it happens. Just take it slow for all sides. While you might be excited for your new squeeze to see your family, your kids might not. Make sure your kids are ready before you introduce them to a potential stepmother.
5. Learning from earlier mistakes
I told my new significant other that fear not, I plan to make a whole new category of mistakes with her. While I said it in jest, it has merit.
As Winston Churchill once said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”
The hardest challenge is not to compare what happened before to your current situation. I know, because I constantly remind myself just because the ex did this does not mean my girlfriend will.
This means I need to approach things in a different light.
The biggest part of is you need to be open and honest with your partner to find a solution. You never have all the answers. Getting a different person’s perspective can help you sort through whatever challenges you have whether large or small.
Finally, you need to have a sense of humor about the mistakes you made in the past as well as the upcoming mistakes. Laughter is really the best medicine for solving your challenges.
Regaining your trust after a divorce does not happen overnight. However, with the right temperament, you can do it.
The strategies you use depends upon your specific situation. For example, if you had kids then you might need to use some different strategies than if you divorced without children.
Additionally, in some cases, you might want to start dating sooner rather than later. The key is that you need to be able to finish a conversation without talking about your ex.