As humans, we're one of the few species on the earth who are monogamous and mate for life. Some people think this is pretty silly, too. After all, attaching yourself to one person for the rest of your life is a lot like playing the lottery: you can never really be certain that you're picking a winning ticket. After all, people change. They're supposed to. And because you don't know all the many ways your partner will change you just hope and pray for the best.
Unfortunately, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Which means nearly half of all couples pick a losing ticket. And if you're one of the 50% who picked a losing ticket it can be pretty painful.
Divorce is painful
Divorce doesn't happen overnight. Usually, there are years of fighting that happen long before the divorce does. And these fights aren't the polite "agree to disagree" kind of fights, either. These are the kinds of fights where nasty things get said, names get called and leverage gets used against you to make you cave to someone else. And if that isn't bad enough, there's also sabotage where your partner knows you have special plans with co-workers one night but she "conveniently" forgets to schedule a babysitter so now you're stuck home while someone else shmoozes your boss for that promotion.
Then there's the gossiping, lying and backbiting. You had no idea that someone could be so mean. And all this is from someone who used to be so sweet; someone who you felt so happy with that you wanted to marry them.
So after all that, it's no wonder you might be a little reluctant to try to love someone again. After all, the last relationship brought you so much hurt that it might just be easier to not love at all than to trust someone with your heart again.
Trust is a gift you give yourself
Learning to love again doesn't mean making sure you pick the right partner this time. In fact, it hardly has anything to do with picking the right partner at all. The secret to learning to love again is not to trust someone else with your heart - but to trust yourself with it.
Trusting yourself with your heart means you become its best caretaker. You know what you need more than anyone else. You also know how to take care of yourself better than anyone else, too. Trusting yourself with your heart means you know you are capable enough and strong enough that you'll be OK no matter what happens. In other words, regardless of what someone else does, you'll be OK because you can take care of yourself.
Yes, giving your heart to someone else takes courage and trust. But to believe in yourself enough to know you'll be OK no matter what someone else does takes even more. And to give your heart to someone without having that trust in yourself is a recipe for disaster. It's also a sign of codependency.
So instead of looking for Mr. or Mrs., Right to finally help you trust again, the secret is to become your own Mr. or Mrs. Right. And once you know you can trust yourself to be OK no matter what, trusting others will be a cinch. You won't even need to worry about your heart being broken again because it'll always be in good hands as long as it's with you.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.