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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I learn to trust when I have been cheated on in the past?

    Related Topic
    I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who I have been with for a year now. However I fear I am going to ruin the relationship based on one I had before where my partner cheated on me.

    In my current relationship I constantly question my partner about girls he talks to on Facebook. (this is where my past partner met the girl he cheated on me with) My current partner gets angry at me when I am suspicious of him and says “I have never done anything wrong to you, so why don't you trust me?” He is aware of what has happened to me, but thinks that I should be able to trust him and not judge him based on someone else's mistakes. I want to trust him but in the back of my head I keep thinking it's possible he will cheat on me too. Do I need to seek professional help?
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    Dr Loretta Bell

    Clinical Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Psychologist

    Loretta is a Clinical and Counselling Psychologist with many years of experience as a counsellor. Loretta has worked in various community settings as well as … View Profile

    Learning to trust again after being hurt can be really difficult and it sounds like your past hurts are impacting your current relationship. 

    Sometimes it is the way we that we go about discussing issues in a relationship that can mean the difference between a chance for greater intimacy and closeness or the prossibility of a hurt and pain. If the first point of discussion is suspicion and accusation then it is more than likely the relationship conversation will have a defensive tone and be difficult to resolve. If the topic can be approach as a vulnerability of yours “I get anxious when I see you on facebook because of what happened to me in the past etc.” 
    Sometimes things still go awry in relationships conversations and sometimes behaviour patterns have become entrenched  and hard for the couple to move out of. In such cases couple therapy can be a really useful way to find a way to manage these diffiucltes.

  • 1


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    As Loretta says, it certainly may be useful to look at couples counselling to support you to find ways of directly expressing your needs in a non-defensive way in your relationship. It may also be important, though, to respect the part of you that will be slow to trust - this means working with your partner to develop clear agreements about how to build trust together. This may include negotiating what each of you feels is OK (e.g. who you speak to and how you speak to them on FB or other social media), and what feels like a violation of the boundaries you need to have in place to feel secure in your relationship. There may be some real differences in how you and your partner view this - for example, I may think it's perfectly OK to have intense emotional friendships with other people; my partner may have an issue with this. Be careful to distinguish between what are your trust issues from the past, and what are your ‘bottom lines’ about what is and is not OK in a relationship. Relationship counselling can support both you and your partner to work through what are your deal breakers, and to develop clear agreements about what each of you need in order to feel secure in your bond with each other. In a healthy relationship, this can and must be done without one person's needs being met at the expense of the other.

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