Trust between partners — aside from top-notch sexuals, humour, and respect — is a fundamental pillar in any solid relationship. It is among the few things which, once broken, renders the relationship completely un-salvageable.
So “…how do you build and maintain trust in a new relationship?”
Before answering this, let me tell you a little secret. I HAVE TRUST ISSUES. I yell it because it’s so scary. I remember all too clearly the one time someone took a jackhammer to the trust between us; the very painful moment of clarity wherein I realized that this person standing before me had robbed me of one of the most sacred things I have to offer — my trust that they would not turn out to be some kind of a mother f/cker.
Untrustworthy individuals are cowards, because it means they are incapable of owning their behaviour. Even if you are exercising some shit behaviour, I will at least respect you for so owning, but never for hiding.
Right. Back to you, loves. Take a pause and remember that time when your trust was broken. Do you remember what happened? For me, it was like the digital numbered screen from The Matrix, only instead of numbers, it was things from the past and present falling into place and building a perfect image of all things I had seen but never connected, until that precise moment. Swear to God, I waited for three days hoping that Keanu Reeves would break through the wall to ask: Red pill or blue pill?
I also remember the breaking and its accompanying pain. To this day, it is still a struggle for me to extend complete and total trust to a person before me.
But I do. Ferociously, in fact, and just like having a fear of flying and so chucking your ass out of a plane. Don’t misunderstand this as something which is easy for me to do, because it is not. And I am very much like a stunned rabbit on far too many occassions holding my breath, ears perked straight up above my head, maybe taking a little pee, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the pain of having that trust demeaned.
That said, I still force myself to do it because were I to give into Not Trusting, I would fundamentally change who I am and what I bring to my little 2×4 part of the world with which I have been charged care.
And I know that I bring good and soft to the table. To those who don’t know me, I am some kind of very strong, but will always remind you that strength is to never be confused with invulnerability. For all of my strength, I hurt equally. And never more when I feel misunderstood by those I love.
Also, very few are aware of who I am intimately, behind closed doors. Writers only share what we wish for you to note, and it is always measured, didn’t you know?
Here’s the rub – I’d rather have my trust shattered repeatedly than live a life of ever-safety where I pretend my hurt is impenetrable. Because no one’s hurt is this.
The not so rub? Intense living. It is bleeding love and loyalty and gentleness and kindness and anger and rage and honesty. I would be miserable any other way; sad, stupid, dull, living in shades of tan and ecru. F/ck, I am dimmed by the mere thought of this.
So. I trust. And I make myself as trustworthy as possible inside of a relationship. You know how I do this?
I don’t lie. (Arguably, to a fault. I am a walking, talking Clarica commercial because if I misrepresent what’s in my head, I fear that you might not get it, and if you don’t get it, I am the one to blame. So I Clarica. Sometimes more than once. Sorry!)
I don’t hide anything. (Because if what you’re doing isn’t wrong, then why would you hide it? Please don’t be slow in the head and confuse ‘privacy’ — something to which you are entitled when you are having a gas attack in the washroom — with ‘hiding’ stuff from your wo/man. If you still don’t get the difference, email me.)
See how simple that is?
Rinse and repeat because being trustworthy isn’t something you do once, but rather it is proof positive daily. It is a behavioural muscle which becomes a natural extension of your character the more you engage it.
It may be simple, but I didn’t say it would be a once-and-for-all free pass. I also didn’t say that it would be easy. Just simple.
This is not to say that I don’t have secrets. Because we all have them and we are entitled to have them. Of ago. In the past. Where they can not bleed all over me and my new piece today. If it’s still bleeding all over me today, in the present, it is something about which I will either be lying or the nature of which I may be forced to hide from my new human. And, recall…
Don’t hide anything.
When our new piece trusts us, what they’re really saying is “this heart? My little heart? I have chosen to give this to you. What will you do with it, please and thank you?”
And what we will do is:
Not lie to it.
Not hide anything from it.
(Because if it’s not out in the sunshine between the two of us, but rather in the shadows with you alone, that’s also the same place that our relationship will go to suffocate and die, but not before it reaches for the laptop to write about its slow painful death).
See? Simple. Lead with kindness and mercy, it is what He has asked of us.
Image from Business Grow.
it is a daily act of faith.
It is also a daily act of being trustworthy.
yep. in counselling, I was told to explore the ways I don’t trust myself. That was interesting and illuminating.
Oooooh. That *is* interesting! I am going to try and write out the ways in which I don’t trust myself — see where that road leads.
One of the things I discovered is I tell people what I think they want to hear instead of what I really think – mostly in small ways like “yes, I will be there @ xtime” even though I know I am going to be 10 minutes late. I also don’t give others an opportunity to be trustworthy – by not telling them what I really want or need . . . ongoing work.
Pretty sure that it’s safe to say I don’t tell people only what they want to hear. I learnt long ago that if I am not clear in my needs, the only person to blame is myself — and, it’s confusing to the other party. Both of us lose. It’s partially why I over-articulate what’s in my head… 🙂
Happy thanksgiving Maha! Lots to feel sad about in the world today but enough to be grateful for that can keep us positive and hopeful
to paraphrase … never underestimate what one person with a cause can do to start a “human movement”.. every movement that worked started with one..
the world may never be perfect but if you and other “believers” keep spreading the message, the world will definitely be a better place to be..
So much like. Add to those that you are not flakey – you are there when a friend/piece needs you. No lying. No hiding. Being there. Voila!
“But I’d rather shatter a million times than live a life of ever-safety where I pretend my hurt is impenetrable. Because no one’s hurt is this.”
Indeed! Couldn’t agree more because the flip side of shell is a prison.
Lovely article, Maha. Thank you for sharing, and wishing you that never again will you experience your trust being shattered.
Thank you, Kent. Me too. I’m hoping the next man to whom I hand my heart will have very warm and soft and gentle hands.
yep. Hugs lady. (If you want to read a lovely ‘I found a great guy’ article, check out Flourish in Progress) In case you are in need of some hope. xox
This line just broke me: “when sadness was the sea, you were the one who taught me to swim.”
OMG. Relationshits is my new favorite word.