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Trust Again?

By Dr. Molly Barrow

Are you suffering with a deep gut ache wondering if you can trust this person? Does trust require a restriction of inquiry? Have you locked yourself into a damned if you ask and potentially damned if you do not ask quandary? Are you willing to risk damaging your relationship and hurting your partner’s feelings? Will your inquiry prompt the inevitable response? “Now since you do not trust me I might as well do what you have accused me of doing!” How can you proceed with out making a mess of your relationship?

Runaway feelings and emotions so characteristic of falling in love or the excitement of a start-up company can make you put a person on a pedestal. Do you prefer to view the world and your partner through the rose-colored glasses of trust until proven unworthy? The silent trust deal says you do not ask your partner to prove their trustworthiness and demands that you know without asking. You bestow trust upon him or her without proof. If one invests carelessly too much of their lives into the relationship and is betrayed, the extradition can be difficult and involve a wide circle of friends and family. Initially more pleasant and less work, this attitude is fraught with risk and vulnerability. Most people remove their rosy glasses after their first heartbreak.

On the other hand, do you choose a position of mistrust until you acquire proof positive of the ability to trust demonstrated with consistent behavior. This requires a holding back of your feelings. To lead a life of bitter disappointment devoid of the uplifting flight of heart that comes from just believing in someone or something is also risky and unprotected. Opportunities for love may be lost if you are too defended.

The fake it until you make it philosophy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you behave like your partner is trustworthy, the trust can help to support your partner when tempted to cheat. The act of trusting creates its own momentum in a relationship. Positive creates positive reactions and pessimistic negativity creates negative reactions.

The most important element of trust is the lack of suspicion felt in the pit of your stomach. You happily move forward in your day assuming that your relationship is just fine. There is an absence, a silence that one takes for granted until something out of the ordinary causes you to doubt. Once that doubt creeps in a chain reaction starts. Your adrenals flood your body and you can hardly breathe or function. Doubt, suspicion, jealousy eat away at your tranquility leaving you a pile of jangled nerves. Unable to function in your work and the inability to think reasonably or to recover your sense of balance may lead to rash and sometimes violent actions. Whether true betrayal or just imaginary mental scenes have transpired, you must quiet your reactionary rage. Innocent until proven guilty counts in relationships, too.

If your partner admits to betraying you, you have several choices. If you are deeply in love and isolated from the support of friends and family, do not abruptly walk out the door. You may need to rely on the shreds of your relationship to help you through the deep grief of losing trust in someone you love. What is the true cost of betrayal? Have you assessed the amount of potential damages to your world if you cannot trust your partner? Illness, divorce, hurt for your children and even death are consequences that might result from betrayal.

Once you sort it all out, do you risk your heart and trust again? The assumption that your relationship will never be tested is unrealistic. There is no way to guarantee that trust will never be broken again. If you love the person, give them a second chance if you possibly can. If they make no effort to protect you from hurt or to change their behavior, you may need to question if his or her love is strong enough and worth investing your welfare and future.

To rebuild trust as a couple, remember to:

  • Get the facts before reacting, be honest and stay honest.

  • Allow yourself or your partner a desensitization period to rehash the hurt over and over until they heal.

  • Accept or give a sincere apology and make it up to your partner any way you can.

  • Know that it can take a year for your partner to grieve and learn to trust you again.

  • Learn to be more open with each other to deepen your connection.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Molly Barrow.

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