By Jamie Schafer – White Hall, MD

When I last updated you, I was one year past the tragedy that began what has turned into a series about cheating, healing and growing. I’m currently coming up on my one year anniversary with Steven, who I began dating after I discovered my ex, Brandon, was living a double life.

When Moxie Co-Founder and my editor, Lauren, came to me asking me for an update, I thought she wanted me to write about my dreams and plans with Steven, but nope. She wanted to know how I came to trust again after Brandon. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write. It’s a constant work in progress and to be honest, I didn’t have a choice – I had to trust again. I knew I’d ruin my life if I didn’t.

Jumping off the literal (and metaphorical) cliff.

Dealing with something as difficult as an earth shattering breakup or any life tragedy really, is not something you can wipe away. It will change you, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is if you let it control you. Don’t let your past steal your present.

When starting over, I cannot stress enough that you HAVE to let your partner know what bothers you. If you cannot stand coming home to dirty dishes, you need to stop telling them it’s “okay” and start getting real about it. Same goes for more intimate things that affect your trust. If you don’t like your significant other house sitting for their ex, then you need to tell them. And keep in mind to do so calmly, rather than letting it build up and then come sputtering out.

I’ve had to be very honest with Steven and up front about things that make me uncomfortable. Thankfully, the night we met in the bar, I told my break up story to everyone within earshot in the most epic “who had the worst break up” thrown-down ever. I won obviously. But Steven knew from the moment we met what I had been through.

My Mom, who is my go-to for advice, told me constantly to not let Steven pay for Brandon’s mistakes. What she meant is I cannot come at Steven with the anger and fear Brandon made me feel.

I will only use my powers for good.

Let’s say your roomie eats all of the ice cream, you don’t yell at your dog for not going to the store to buy more—this is what my mom was trying to help me avoid. Steven and Brandon are unrelated, and although I am the common factor with them, each relationship is separate and needs to be separate.

Trust is internal for me; my mind is my worst enemy. I have the choice and full control over how I’m going to let things in life affect me – and so do you. I had an ex-boyfriend who really cut me deep. I’ve got some trust issues, but I need to keep them under control so I can live the best life for me.

My suggestion? Wake up every morning and choose to be happy no matter how much traffic you hit on your commute or how messed up your personal life is. Everything in life is a choice. You can either give into the negative noise you hear or choose to be positive and move on. It’s not easy friends, but if you want happiness it is essential.

You also need to get real with yourself. I never once have been, “Oh my gosh… this happened to me and you need to feel bad for me.” Once you realize you have a flaw,buck-up and own it. I’ve got trust issues. I keep that in mind. Does that mean I don’t listen to my gut and always assume I’m just being hypersensitive? No. What it means is I keep trying to rebuild the broken in me.

I am in no way saying I’ve got this down, because I’m as much writing this for myself as I am for you. Trusting again is like jumping off the same cliff someone had recently pushed you off of. You make yourself vulnerable by being in a situation that ended badly before, but you can’t let that deter you from living.

Sidenote: The right person will always let you win the volleyball match.

You’ve got to find someone who makes you 100 percent comfortable. I had “dated,” using that term loosely here, men after Brandon who never quite made me feel comfortable. I even had one guy, who initially seemed perfect, tell me I deserved what happened to me all because he let his own trust issues and past breakup get in the way.

Relationships are not easy and trusting someone again is not easy, but I want this. I recognized post-Brandon that I wanted my happily ever after and I deserve it, damnit. If you want a new car, you’re going to put in extra hours, pinch pennies and do whatever it takes so you can go buy that new car. I want a healthy relationship, so I’ve gone to therapy, I work on keeping my insecurities in-check and I make myself work to be positive.