A Guide to Trusting
How to Learn to Trust and Love
What is trust? Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of your significant other(SO). Essentially it is the belief that the person you love will not hurt or disrespect you intentionally and that their motives are to continue a positive loving relationship with you. The questions this opens are:
When do you start trusting them?
- How to trust?
- Blindly from the beginning until they break it? Or should they earn it?
- If they’ve broken it, how/can they earn it back?
What expectations are reasonable?
- Should they be friends with the opposite sex?
- Should they go out and get drunk without you?
- Should they flirt with other people?
Why should we trust?
- Isn’t everyone capable of making mistakes?
- Is it delusional to blindly trust?
How do we have/earn/keep trust?
- Snooping? Ok? Or Not?
- What actions are expected?
Do we “cause” our significant other to lie, cheat, etc.?
…and many more
My personal philosophy on when to trust is a complicated one. I think of it almost like an applause meter. It starts at 0. While getting to know the person, seeing how they act it rises. If they are honest, respectful and you see them handle situations appropriately it continues to rise. But, if they act irresponsibly, suspiciously, inconsiderately, the meter falls. It takes a constant effort to keep someone’s trust at an acceptable level.
The reason I think about it this way is because the person that is committed to something, is willing to put effort into it. The problem comes from people who want a relationship because it’s normal, or convenient, not because they’re committed to the other person. These types of relationships are doomed from the start because as soon as it’s not convenient, or something better comes along, things get ugly.
So what should you expect from your SO? Well there’s no list of rules (unfortunately), but I think common sense dictates most of it. As trust grows, the more relaxed your expectations can be. Although it’s hard, you should probably be very open and transparent in the early stages of a relationship. There is nothing that causes doubt quite like the appearance of secrecy or guilt. For instance, if you talk to your ex a lot but don’t mention it to your SO, eventually they are going to find out, and wonder why you didn’t tell them. Doubt will set in, and your trust will be lowered. As far as friendships with the opposite sex go it’s really a case by case basis. Yes of course you should be able to be friends with anyone. Just make sure you keep it clear to your SO that it is a friendship and nothing more. If my SO has a friend of the opposite sex, who all of a sudden is texting them constantly or in a flirtatious way, that’s no longer a friendship. It is a person with an agenda. If you’re SO realizes this and doesn’t put an end to it, trust lowered. You do not want a SO who is constantly in need of attention from other members of the opposite sex.
Drunkenness is another animal all together. I am not talking about a couple of drinks, I mean drunk drunk. Yes, of course they can get drunk without you but it’s important that trust is high because a very minute chance of infidelity grows as inhibitions are lowered. It is important that they know how to stay in control and as long as they do the little things like text/call/be home when they say they’re going to and tell you about their night openly without being asked. Trust raised.
I have seen couples that I respected deeply actually have relationships filled with lies and deceit. People that were happy together for years have relationships end in misery and infidelity. Watching things like this end this way taught me a lot though. Regardless of how great you are, your SO could eventually want more. They will be stuck in a position where they do not have a clue how to leave you, don’t want to hurt you, but still want something else. That is why the applause meter of trust always falls when the SO stops putting in effort. If they stop trying, trust lowered. None of this, “I’ve been with my SO for 6 years so I trust them”, crap. Trust needs to be earned constantly. If you can’t accept that or your SO can’t accept that, it probably won’t be a happy relationship. Every single person, whether they know it or not, is capable of not knowing how to get out of relationship they don’t want to be in, or to make a mistake in a moment of weakness. I’m not saying everybody cheats, in fact there are plenty of people that will never cheat, but that does not mean that given the right situation it would be impossible.
So this begs the question, why should we trust at all? It’s because this is a relationship, not a jail sentence. If you want to know what they’re doing every minute of every day and they want to know what you’re doing every minute of every day, then that will be a miserable relationship. Who would enjoy that? But don’t blindly trust either, because that’s equally stupid. Find a happy medium. If you WANT to earn their trust and they WANT to earn yours it will come over time.
Back in the day I wonder if jealous husbands would intercept Morse code messages to their wives to check up on them. Well either way, in the digital age, snooping has become a science, but is it ok? No, not really. I’ve had relationships where both of us went through each other’s phones… constantly. We fought all the time and it ended horribly. It’s essentially Pandora’s Box. Once you open it, it’s tough to close it. In the next relationship I was in my SO didn’t believe in snooping but bad habits are the hardest to break and I couldn’t stop snooping. I did not trust her but I stayed with her and kept snooping. We didn’t have a chance. From here on out I refuse to snoop. I ask questions, I pay attention, I talk, and if it gets to the point that I feel like I have to look because I think something’s up I end the relationship. If you’re controlling, untrusting, or get mad all the time you will push your SO away and that only leads to more pain.
The last thing I want to talk about is fighting because of a lack of trust. Don’t do it! Fighting will only create space between you and your SO, break down communication, and if anything it will make them less likely to be open with you. At the beginning of every relationship have a discussion about trust, and make sure you both understand each other. If an issue comes up, talk about it, compromise, work together and figure it out. If things don’t change or improve eventually you will know that it’s not going to. It could be tough but deep down you know it is not going to work out. Move on and find someone who is looking to put the same amount of effort into a relationship that you are. I promise there is always someone out there that is willing to match your effort.