There are no guarantees in life in general, and there certainly aren’t any when it comes to dating. The truth is you can be the best/nicest/hottest person in the world and there will always be the possibility that someone might side swipe you with some crappy behavior or a mysterious breakup. As damaging as those trials can be, they really don’t have anything to do with the next person who might walk into your life, so like it or not, learning to trust again is necessary. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but it IS possible.
Separate the past from the future. As hard as it is to do sometimes, you have to know that the experiences and people in your past have nothing to do with those of your future…as long as you’re not stuck in a behavioral pattern of choosing the same type of guy.
Consider whether you had a hunch that something was amiss. Often we ignore warning signs that a guy is a dirt ball because he’s so cute and charming, or something. Work on recognizing those signals so you can trust your gut a little more.
Leave behind your bad patterns. If you do happen to find yourself in the same sort of situations over and over again, it’s time to make a change. And you’re the only one who can really do that for yourself.
Focus on the good stuff. When we get in the habit of looking for bad things about people, we always find it. Start retraining your brain to appreciate all the good things that people do for you.
Stop avoiding men. Yes, technically you can get hurt again if you put yourself out there, but that holds true for everything from friends to work. You wouldn’t stop going on job interviews because you had one crappy boss. Maybe you take time to cry it out and work through your emotions, but then you try again.
Don’t wait for people to “earn” your trust. It’s easy to see the logic people asking people to earn your trust, but the truth is that there aren’t any guarantees anyway and risk pushing people away in the meantime.
Ignore thoughts like “men can’t be trusted”. That’s just not true. It’s the same silly thought as saying that someone isn’t your type before you’ve met them. Make room for people to surprise you in good ways.
Accept the fear. Running from fear causes most of the issues with it. Slow down and let yourself accept that it’s there. When you let it be and stop judging it, it loses a lot of its power.
Discuss it. You don’t have to tell everyone you meet about how bad you got burned (and you probably shouldn’t), but open up to that friend you totally trust about the mixture of feelings you’re going through. She’s probably experienced and survived the same thing.
Realize that vulnerability is a strength. Being vulnerable is challenging because of course, you open yourself up to other people in new ways that don’t always go well. But their bad behavior is not your fault, you’re the courageous one for trying again and again. That’s strength, my friend.
Trust yourself. Maybe one of the most important things you can do is to trust that when you do get hurt again (because someone somewhere will hurt you again), that you’ll be able to handle it anyway.