Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rebuilding trust after getting dumped

Rebuilding trust after being dumped takes time

by Tom Blake

For people age 50-plus, building trust again is one of the hardest things to do after getting unexpectedly dumped. However, if there ever was a blueprint on how to rebuild trust, today's story is a good one to follow.

Trent was happily married for seven years--so he thought. Then, his wife reconnected on Facebook with a high school boyfriend and moved to Virginia to be with the old flame. Trent said, "She took my money, car, and a majority of the belongings in the house while I was out of town."

I can relate to Trent's situation. A similar experience happened to me in Dana Point, California, on Christmas Eve in 1993, when my wife of six years cleaned out the house and moved out of my life. There was no way, I thought at the time, that I could ever trust another woman.

Trent spent many sad months filled with loneliness and deep issues of feeling abandoned. He also thought he could not trust again.

He stated, "I slowly began to understand  that it is through trials in life that we do most of our growing and changing for the better. Through this process of refinement, I gained hope that love might enter my world.

"After taking time to heal and grieve, I decided I was partially to blame for my failed marriage. I began attending classes for singles and eventually went to some dances and began making single friends so that I was not sitting at home each week with my dog."

Trent's comment about his dog made me laugh. The first newspaper column I wrote 18 years ago after my wife left was titled, "Home alone with only my dogs for company." Thank heavens for pets.

Trent continued: "As I began dating, I took it slow, with little or no expectation. I looked for a woman who was kind, of low drama, who knew who she was. Someone who had a good family with strong parents and siblings with stable lives. Someone who was emotionally and financially independent. Someone with shared values and interests. A woman's mind, when used properly, is a much sexier thing than her curves.

"Eventually, I met a woman online who lived in southern California. I lived in Utah. After several dates with her, I shared most of my past problems and brought out the skeletons for her to see. I wanted her to know that I was not perfect and that I had been deeply hurt but that I was open to loving and trying again.

"Long distance relationships don't work without considerable investment of time and expense. I had frequent flyer miles or drove one way and caught cheap flights home using three-week-in-advance fares. We dated six months before becoming exclusive and courted seriously another three. We were engaged four months later.

"I did not want to invest myself emotionally with someone who could not handle the real me and my past. She did the same and we both ended up having a much deeper connection from that point forward. You have to risk being hurt and trusting again to find true love.

"I believe you need a year or two of dating and being in many day-to-day, real world situations to see a person in their true light. Be with them in their homes, on trips, camping and with no makeup. Be with them after a long day working, when they are in financial or emotional distress. See them when they are having kid issues, health issues and also let them care for you as you struggle with sickness or pain. We did all those things."

Trent married September 6. Because Trent and his new bride lived in different states, they had to decide who would move.

He said, "During our courtship, we discussed living arrangements and since my kids are grown and gone, and she still has two at home, we decided that I would  move. I put my home on the market, packed a moving truck, and moved from Utah to San Diego. I have been here a little over a month and things are settling in and wonderful."

Trent shared another aspect that he felt important in building trust:  "Despite becoming very close physically, we chose to not sleep together until we got married. It may seem old-fashioned but we made a decision to not have it be about personal gratification all of the time, but about companionship first. It worked out well with a lot less complication and huge amounts of trust between us."

"Isn't that what single and widowed people want most? Someone who has our backs? Someone we can trust and confide in? I have to pinch myself every day to think how sad and miserable I felt and how different my life is now, two years later. My message: don't give up. Ever!"

I asked Trent about the difficulty of not having sex until marriage. He said, "I was truly missing it but sex always complicates things whether you are 16 or 60." Trent made me feel better when he added, "The wedding and honeymoon were both devine."

Regarding the acceptance by the children of both families, Trent said, "Life moves on and kids are resilient, but for sure, it took a lot of talking and listening."

Trent said he and his wife have chosen to keep their assets separate. They share expenses, and both still work.

Similar to Trent and his situation, when I met my life partner Greta, I was able to trust again; we've spent 15 glorious and fortunate years together. Let's wish equal success for Trent and his bride.  

What have been your experiences involving losing trust?

                                                              Trent and wife

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