If you’ve ever had your trust completely obliterated by a previous partner, you’ll know how hard it can be to dust yourself off and dip your toe back in the dating pool.
If it’s been a while since your partner betrayed you, you might feel like you’ve moved on.
So, why you are still so guarded?
Why is it you seem to keep new potential love interests at arm’s length?
Zoe and Kimmie recently came to seek help at our Gay Couples Institute clinic.
They both agreed that something wasn’t working in their relationship.
Our Communication Style Quiz revealed to Zoe that she had unresolved issues, preventing her from trusting Kimmie fully.
The quiz identified her as a Guardian, meaning she views her relationships through a lens of trust above all else.
Zoe’s previous relationship was destroyed by her partner’s infidelity.
Fast-forward to the present day, Kimmie feels Zoe is projecting her insecurities onto their relationship, and they’re both totally fed up of the constant arguments.
Subconsciously, Zoe feels like her current relationship with Kimmie is too good to be true.
Does this sound familiar?
If a previous partner has broken your trust and you’re struggling to move on, the first thing you need to do is understand how your mind is processing the situation.
Broken Trust and The Zeigarnik Effect
The human mind holds on to incomplete information in the hope it will receive closure.
I can prove it to you.
Out loud, start singing, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star…” (then pause)
I can almost guarantee you imagined singing the next line. You heard it in your head, right?
This is the Zeigarnik Effect — your mind’s subconscious need to complete unfinished loops.
When a relationship breaks down and your trust is damaged, your mind creates a loop. The relationship didn’t complete its full cycle, so you can’t move on.
Instead, you carry all the pain and trauma forward into your next relationship.
We often boil this kind of behavior down to simple “trust issues”.
However, it’s clear there’s so much more going on, often unbeknownst to us.
So, how can you move past your pain and learn to trust again?
You may have already tried to close the book on this painful chapter of your life, make a fresh start, and begin writing your life’s next storyline.
That strategy can work for some. For others, it can create an unfinished loop.
Perhaps you hope your ex will attempt to make amends for hurting you, but any apology you get might lack sincerity and fail to provide the closure you need.
The breakdown of a relationship is much like a death — the life you built together, tumbling down like a house of cards.
It’s the process of grieving for this loss that provides you with proper closure.
The DABDA model defines the stages of grieving.
Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance
Though they may not play out sequentially, each of these steps serves a purpose.
If you fail to move through each stage, trust issues will continue to affect your future relationships.
Talking to one of our experienced professionals can help you figure out which stage of the process you are stuck at and how you can begin to let go of your pain.
A new partner who acknowledges and understands your fears can help you get over your issues and learn to trust again.
Zoe needs Kimmie to appreciate where her fears stem from and provide her with the reassurance she so desperately needs.
Are you harboring unresolved feelings from a past betrayal?
1. Maybe you haven’t fully grieved for your previous relationship.
2. You might be stuck somewhere along the DABDA process, bargaining with the universe in the hope your ex will make amends.
3. The support of your new partner, as you process and heal from the pain and trauma of your past, can help you achieve true closure and healing – in the present and future.
Working with over 2,500 couples, we have discovered a logical, three-step process you can use to resolve your trust issues and enjoy your new relationship to its fullest potential.
Take our Communication Style Quiz to find out whether your style emphasizes trust.
Are you a Connector, Sensualist, Guardian, or Referee?
Find out for yourself, and start learning to trust again.
ABOUT SAM GARANZINI, LMFT, LPCC, and ALAPAKI YEE, LMFT
Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.
For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit: www.gaycouplesinstitute.org