If you ask anybody (okay, most people) what the fundamental building block of any relationship is, they will probably say trust. There’s no real relationship without it, and this obviously goes for familial, romantic, business and all other relationships. It’s a lovely thing to be able to say about someone that you trust them completely, but it feels to me as though people don’t really think too much about what trusting someone really means. In this post, I’m going to look at trust in romantic relationships (because I want to and that’s that).
First and foremost, trust is not a given. It’s something that’s earned, and it can be far more easily lost than gained. People who tend to trust easily often find themselves becoming jaded as their trust is broken and misused again and again. It’s an unfortunate thing, but it can be a learning curve if looked at in the right way.
When you tell your partner “I trust you”, you are telling them, perhaps on an unconscious level, that you believe that they have your best interests at heart. That they will consider you in decisions made, that you will be near the top of the list of things considered important. “I trust that you will not cheat on me” means that in the face of a potential sexual encounter with someone else, your partner will remember the promise made that it is only the two of you, and nobody else can enter or destroy that partnership except for the two people involved in it.
As with many people who suffer from any kind of anxiety, their mind and thoughts are often plagued with insecurity. Hell, you don’t need to be anxious to be insecure. Insecurity is arguably more insidious than anxiety though – anxiety is something that can be calmed with medication, therapy, meditation. Insecurity needs reassurance and a strong, unshakeable love for yourself in order to be bested. Insecurity at the hands of someone else, ie: insecurity in a relationship, is a dangerous, dangerous thing.
When you wait until your partner is asleep or showering to quickly skim through their photos, Whatsapp, Instagram or Facebook, you are doing two things. Well, three, if you count going through the phone, but I mean two things in light of the relationship itself. One – you are breaking the trust of your partnership by invading their privacy (which they are completely entitled to), and you are also accusing them of breaking that trust agreement – even if you don’t find anything suspicious. By looking for evidence of unfaithfulness based on an insecurity, you are essentially saying “I do not think that you, as my partner, are keeping to your word.” That’s dangerous, yo. Really. It’s actually insulting, if it turns out that you were completely wrong. And blaming it on an insecurity is actually a bit of a cop-out. It’s saying that the trust that you have built together was not enough to placate an insecurity that was really put there by your own perception of something.
I also understand that a lot of the time, people are afraid to communicate. Communication builds trust, as long as it is not taken personally. My boyfriend asked me to be a little more quiet in the evenings, because sometimes I talk. A lot. And I know that. My first reaction was to be all downtrodden and to take it to mean that he doesn’t want to talk to me. And then I realised that that was completely ridiculous, because if he didn’t want to talk to me, we wouldn’t be dating. I just needed to be more mindful of the amount of talking that I do – and that wasn’t an unfair ask, because anyone who knows me might be laughing and agreeing that I do talk a lot. And I do. So – we communicate, leading to a stronger bond, and greater trust that I will do everything in my power (and within reason) to help him have a happier, more fulfilled life, and that he will do the same.
If you find yourself reaching for your partner’s phone this evening while they’re in the shower, take a second and ask yourself a few questions before you unlock it.
1 – Is there any evidence to suggest that what I’m doing right now is justified?
2 – Would they do this to me?
3 – In the history of our relationship, have I ever been given a real, concrete reason to believe that I’m going to find something to prove me right?
4 – If I’m doing this, do I really, truly trust them?
It’s a scary thing, trust. Allowing someone else in and giving them the power to really, really hurt you can be – and should be – terrifying. But the payoff, if it works out, is worth it. A beautiful partnership of two people who want nothing more than to help each other live their best lives.
And in the end, isn’t that what a relationship should be?