It’s probably already happened to you. It happens to most of us over the course of a lifetime.
For some, the lesson is etched in memory. They never fully trust anyone again, not like they did before. They can’t bear the thought of going through that again.
Whether it was a divorce, a lie, an affair, or a broken promise, the people we love can betray us in a thousand different ways.
Some betrayals are like paper cuts that sting badly at the time but heal. Other betrayals cut us in half.
How can you keep yourself from being deceived, walked all over, or taken advantage of?
How can you stay safe when you give your heart away?
Here are some ideas.
#1. Don’t give him your trust right away.
Falling in love sweeps you off your feet. When you’re in love, you’re in a different reality. Everything is beautiful; everything is right. Those rose-tinted glasses transform him from just another guy into your beloved, a knight and a hero among men.
But new love is a form of intoxication. Chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine, and PEA cloud your senses. You can’t see your beloved clearly until the honeymoon period has worn off. Until then, you’ll only see the best in him.
Nature designed us that way for a reason. Ideally, the intense bond of new lovers keeps them together long enough to raise a child to toddlerhood and ensure the continuation of the species.
But these days we’re not as interested in passing on our genes as we are in finding a compatible mate. Those rose-colored glasses distort reality just enough that we can’t be confident that who we see is who our beloved really is.
There’s a simple remedy:
Allow for the distortion.
Recognize that you are seeing him at his best. You’re in love; that’s how it works! Don’t give him all your trust right away, no matter how passionate you feel. Take it slowly. Wait until your vision has cleared before trusting him with the big things.
You’ll know that you’re seeing him more realistically when you start to see his bad points as well as the good. He’s not perfect. You don’t think alike on everything. You’re going to argue sometimes.
The end of the honeymoon period can feel like a bucket of cold water dumped on your head, but that bucket of cold water also wakes you up. It’s a shock, but it’s necessary. You’ve got to see the truth about one another eventually.
In the harsh light of day, you’ll find that you can trust him on some things and not others. You can trust him to be faithful and care about you, but maybe not to balance his checkbook or pick up the right groceries. And that’s fair enough. Trust should be realistic.
#2. Don’t trust a man more than he respects you.
Some men will challenge you:
“Why don’t you trust me? Don’t you love me? You must not love me if you’re not going to trust me on this.”
This argument sounds convincing. Of course, you love him. It makes sense that you should trust someone you love. Okay, then you’ll trust him on this, even though something feels off.
No wonder something feels off.
He’s manipulating you. He’s using what you feel for him to get a free pass.
Loving someone and trusting that person are two different things. Just ask any parent. You can love your children to the moon and back, but you’re not going to trust them with matches or knives.
Trust needs to be matched to specific situations and a proven track record.
A man who respects you will understand that. He won’t pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. He’ll understand that trust takes time.
In general, the more he respects you, the more you can trust him. The less he respects you, the less trust he deserves.
Tip #3. When you do trust, accept the risks.
Love is a risky proposition. No matter how careful you are, there’s always the chance of things going horribly wrong.
The moment you love someone else, you open yourself up to being hurt. You can’t know what the outcome will be.
And that’s not a bad thing.
The greatest achievements often require great risks. Failures, wrong turns, and despair litter the road to victory. You can’t escape being hurt if you’re going to open yourself up to love.
What you need to know is this:
No matter what happens, you can handle it.
Give yourself permission to get hurt. Accept the risks inherent in love. Trust yourself to be strong enough.
Because the trust you place in your own strength has a way of revealing your hidden reserves, your resourcefulness, and the new future that awaits you.