If you’re a woman who needs to overcome her trust issues, you’re definitely not alone. It really only takes one bad heartbreak to take someone from open and trusting to reserved and suspicious. Once someone breaks your trust and shows you that some people do have it in them to callously hurt others, the world just looks different from then on.

You naturally want to be open to finding love again and exploring the possibilities with promising men you meet. But you’re just so worried about repeating those past heartbreaks. The key to moving forward isn’t about forgetting what happened, though. It’s about processing the pain and learning how to trust wisely moving forward. Here’s a look at how to do that.

Take things slow

Trust isn’t necessarily an all-or-nothing affair. You don’t need to be able to trust someone new right from day one, nor should you. And you don’t need to be able to place complete trust in someone all at once, either. All you really need to be able to do is be open to letting that new person earn your trust one step at a time.

Give yourself a chance to get to know the person and let them get to know you in turn. Share and give of yourself a little at a time. When they show they can be trusted with those things, you can continue opening up more and being more vulnerable as you become more comfortable, which will help to overcome your trust issues.

Change the way you date

If you’ve wound up with so many shady guys lately that you’re worried it’s become a pattern, it might be time to consider whether your current approach to dating is the right one. Some popular avenues for meeting dates attract more players and opportunists than others – like the bar scene or hookup apps like Tinder, to name just two possibilities.

Consider experimenting with other approaches to dating to see if it makes a difference. Try meeting people at cultural events or upscale social functions instead of bars or clubs. You may also want to explore an option well-known for being drama-free and honesty-based, like sugar dating. A sugar daddy who dreams of spoiling you rotten would make for a much-needed change, allowing you to overcome your trust issues.

There are reasons why you keep making the same dating mistakes, prevailing over them and stopping self-sabotage will require introspection and hard work.

Approach people as individuals

When you’ve been badly hurt, cheated on, or lied to, it can be tempting to see every new potential sugar daddy who comes your way as another person with that same potential for hurting you. And technically, every person does have that ability and will make their own choices regarding how they treat others.

But you can choose to see each new person you date as an individual. You can consciously decide not to unfairly project old baggage and hurt onto that new person and allow each unique opportunity to become whatever it will.

Talk things out with loved ones

It can take time to get far enough past old hurts that you feel genuinely open to love again, but a little perspective can really help. Try turning to trusted friends and relatives you know you can count on to shoot you straight when you’re unsure what to think of a particular person or situation.

Your loved ones know you nearly as well as you know yourself. They’ll be able to clue you in if you’re being too harsh on a particular generous sugar daddy or being a little too quick to negatively judge a situation. Eventually, you’ll re-center yourself well enough to be an accurate judge of character on your own again, greatly giving you the confidence you need to overcome your trust issues.

Be honest with the men you date

You don’t necessarily need to lay all your baggage and dirty past relationship laundry out on the table right there on the first date. But once you reach the stage with a new man where you’re getting to know each other better and sharing a bit about your past relationship history, you may want to let him know you’ve been hurt before.

Let them know that any hesitance to move forward on your part has nothing to do with them. But assure them that you also really like them and would love to see where things go if they’re willing to be patient with you and stick with you.

Be reasonable moving forward

Even if you do meet a sugar daddy who understands where you’re coming from and is entirely willing to help you overcome your trust issues, it’s still important to take personal responsibility for your trust issues. While your new partner can (and should) be willing to help you, it’s ultimately you who needs to do the work of healing.

When you’ve been hurt badly in the past, it can seem like the end of the world. But it’s important to realize that it isn’t. You can move past anything with enough work, patience, and dedication, trust issues included.