End of Marriage Advice: How to Rebuild Trust After a Divorce in Your 60s
The reason we struggle with trust after a divorce is because we feel like we’ve been betrayed. It’s a crappy weight to have on your shoulders. Similar to its other invasive cousins – anger, guilt, and resentment – losing trust after your long-term marriage keeps you from getting your life back.
But, like all the other feelings, you have the power to break free from its hold and regain control of your life as you start its next chapter. Let’s discover how!
Trust and the Source of Betrayal
Many times, lack of trust comes from a sense of betrayal – which is exactly what you feel at the end of a long-term marriage.
Whether the betrayal came from simply growing apart or from more insidious things like abandonment, abuse or infidelity, it’s no wonder why you may feel like you cannot put your faith in anyone anymore.
As if that’s not bad enough, loss of trust can be nasty because it makes us doubt ourselves during a time when we need to be strong. Despite the difficulty this situation creates, there is one thing you must remember—the source of your betrayal stinks, but it does not get to define the rest of your future.
What Happened to You Does Not Define You
Subconsciously, we know that nothing we experience during divorce defines us, but we tend to forget that. Instead, we may think that everybody is out to get us, that we can no longer trust any of our relationships and that we will not be able to depend or trust anything in our lives ever again.
But, though betrayal is painful, it is not your death sentence. It does not mean that nothing good will come your way again or that you will not be able to heal.
If anything, the betrayal of a divorce, no matter how crazy or earth-shattering it may have been, actually shines a light on the toxicity of that relationship. It shows you that you deserve better than to doubt the genuineness of your now-ex partner.
The next time you feel hurt when mistrust creeps into your thoughts, you must remember the following:
- Trusting yourself is the foundation to trusting again.
- You are not alone in this world.
- There are people who love you.
- There are people who are rooting for you.
Exercise: Rebuilding Trust
If learning to trust again after the end of your decades-long marriage is something you have been struggling with, take a look at this simple exercise!
Answer the following questions:
What and whom can I depend on that I sometimes overlook?
It may not seem like much, but I know that my dog Oliver is always there for me. Whenever I come home after a long day of work or if I’m feeling sad, he can always sense it, and he comes over with his tail wagging as he sits in my lap to snuggle.
My little sister has always been there for me. As we have gotten older, she has become a confidant, and a shoulder to cry on. She makes a great thinking partner when I am struggling with a problem.
What will I do to acknowledge and celebrate my helpers?
I will continue to care for and spoil Oliver, who brings so much love into my life. And the next time I talk to my little sister, I will let her know how much I appreciate her.
How will I embrace those special individuals when I feel mistrust and betrayal as I continue to heal?
When that wave of mistrust washes over me – which often happens when I think about my failed marriage – I will put that feeling on pause and remind myself of the many wonderful individuals in my life that I can depend on.
I will write their name down on a list, and if I am physically near one of them, I will reach out to them. For example, I will hug my dog and take him on a walk to clear my head. Or I will text my sister to see how she’s doing.
Redirecting the negative feelings of betrayal into something positive will gently remind you that there are people and other creatures in this life that you can depend on, who also depend on you. Celebrate that trust and focus on that love instead.
Who are the individuals in your life that you can depend on? How can you draw on their energy to heal and build trust again? What can you do this week to celebrate the confidence you have in them? Please share in the comments below.