Learning to Trust Again
What is Trust?
Trust lies at the heart of a strong relationship. When trust is lost we feel betrayed, angry and taken for granted. But what is trust? Trust is when we take as fact some belief we have, for which there is only partial evidence. For that very reason there is an element of uncertainty and risk involved. Whoever we are trusting may not always live up tothe faith we are putting in them.
We talk of "placing our trust" in someone, which shows that it involves an action rather than just our feelings. Many parents of teenagers will identify with choosing to trust our child to be able to spend the weekend in the house on their own without throwing a wild party. We may feel somewhat anxious as we drive away from the house and have a strong urge toring up and "check how things are going". There is a risk involved, they may let us down.
Often we place trust in a child according to what we know of their character, gradually giving them a bit more responsibility as we think they are mature enough and trustworthy enough to handle it. We see trust as something that must be earned or negotiated. We may trust other adults according to how much weknow of their character, attitudes and behavior.
Another way to see trust is as something that is inspired in someone when they are trusted. You place the trust, let go, and believe they will rise to the faith put in them. Yet another way is to trust, fully aware of the weakness of human nature and ready to forgive when someone lets us down.
From this we see that people can have differentideas of what it means to trust. Some people believe that they give trust, and it's their choice to give it, while others think it has to be earned, so it is the one who is to be trusted who has the choice. Our ability to trust may be affected by our upbringing and past experiences too. It is very easy within a marriage to assume we view trust in the same way as our partner, but assumptions can bemisleading and lead to disappointment and hurt when things go wrong.
When things go wrong.
We all long for someone who has chosen us, who respects, honors and cares for us, someone with whom we can be real, who accepts us for who we are and will stand by us through anything. We may live for years believing we know our partner and that they would never let us down. It can come as a huge shockwhen we find we have been deceived. Sometimes affairs arise through weakness and temptation. Someone attracts our partner and they don't recognize what's happening until they are already entangled. Another way is when one of us becomes dissatisfied with our relationship and looks for fulfillment, understanding or comfort elsewhere.
So what happens when we begin to suspect they have let usdown? Doubts begin to creep in - do we really know them? Have they changed? Have we been taken in, deceived, taken for granted? Anger and fear can sweep in as we suddenly become aware of our deep insecurities and need for love. The foundations of our relationship are shaking and we don't know how to voice our concerns or what to do.
We may come face to face with clear evidence that our partner hasbeen deceiving us. Shock, disbelief, dismay, anger may boil over. Typical reactions are the desire to confront, to hit out physically or verbally and punish the one who has hurt us. We may want to push them away and retreat to a safe distance to nurse our pain. Our life has shattered and our dreams lie in dust at our feet. How can we go on? Is there any hope?
What is worse, distrust seems tobreed distrust. When we don't trust our loved one, then we will probably check up on them, read their mail, listen to their phone messages, check their bags or pockets. We want to reassure ourselves that we are not being taken for a ride, or confirm our suspicions that we are. We may feel torn between the urgent "need to know" and the fear of what we will find.
Put yourself in your partner's...
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