You don’t want to make your partner an unwitting accessory in the crimes of your past partners. Avoid making off-the-cuff accusations of cheating or lying until you are certain those things are a reality.
Do you peek at your partner’s emails? Do you always find some reason to be in the same room when he has a phone conversation? Are you peering over his shoulder when he gets a text message? How about crumpled up receipts? Do you pull them out of the wastebasket to take a look? If the answer to one or more of the above is yes…then, uh-oh.
It’s true. It is possible to fall in love with someone you don’t trust. But it’s not a great idea.
When I was in my late twenties and at the top of my dating game, I met a guy. A really attractive guy. I trusted him enough to go out with him on several occasions. I trusted him enough to add him to my fairly modest roster of ‘people I’ve been with,’ I trusted him enough to go on a weekend-long getaway with him.
But when he asked me, on that getaway, to move in with him? I realized, as much as I really did love him, and really enjoyed being with him, I didn’t really trust him. On no level, beyond trusting that he would not draw a Sharpie mustache on me in my sleep, did I trust him! I didn’t trust him to pay his half of what would be our rent; I didn’t trust him with the everyday stuff of living together (like keeping his hands off my expensive shampoo or leaving my Ben & Jerry’s alone!).
Since we were truly just dating, all the flirting ‘when I wasn’t looking’ he did with waitresses and ‘stolen’ glances he passed to beautiful women on the street did not, despite his blissful ignorance, go unnoticed. It just went as ignored as possible for the sake of maintaining the good time we were having. With those indiscretions in mind, with this looming question and my second glass of wine before me, I realized that I didn’t trust him not to get tired of me once we were together on a day-to-day level. I realized: I didn’t trust him not to cheat.
I wasn’t about to move in with that!
The relationship ended, and for a while I had my doubts as to whether I’d done the right thing. I mean, sheesh, there were certain things I really REALLY missed. After much back and forth in my head and with friends, I realized that I had a special secret weapon that I will call Relationship Radar. I trusted myself and my intuition!
Trust is often blindly given, difficult to maintain, and nearly impossible to regain once lost, but it is the ultimate ingredient in, truly, any relationship. Imagine, even beyond romantic relationships, your relationship with your family depends on trust, with co-workers, with the teller at your bank, with the server at a restaurant you go to (“Yes, ma’am, it’s vegetarian!”) – go deeper and you realize that every time you lean on a railing or sit on a chair you are putting trust in the unknown person that built it.
If you find yourself in a relationship in which you feel uncomfortable taking steps forward, you might ask yourself whether or not you trust your partner. These uncertainties may come from your partner’s current behavior, his or her past behavior, or it might come from your past experiences.
Take a look at the following steps to see if your partner is falling short, and if he or she isn’t, perhaps it’s valid to take a look at yourself. Forget about blame and fault. Pointing angry fingers at your partner, or at yourself, is not productive. Proceed with understanding and objectivity wherever possible, then use your best judgment.
If you are willing to enter into a relationship with someone, you must already trust that person on some level. It can be difficult, depending on what past relationships have brought you, but you should consciously maintain that trust until your partner does something to break it. You don’t want to make your partner an unwitting accessory in the crimes of your past partners. Avoid making off-the-cuff accusations of cheating or lying until you are certain those things are a reality. Be aware, but be fair.
Let’s face it. You can’t really trust anyone until you first trust yourself. Trust and confidence in yourself give you the tools to decide whether ‘really attractive guy’ is late because he had to put gas in his truck, or because he’s making out in his truck with one of those waitresses he was flirting with. In the case of ‘really attractive guy’ he lost my trust (in hindsight) pretty early on. It took a while for me to take a deep look at the relationship (once faced with the ‘move in with me’ question) and at myself before I could commit to making trust and self-confidence a priority in my picture of an ideal relationship.
Have Relationship Goals
Did I say ideal relationship? No such thing! But you can prioritize when it comes to what is most important in the relationship you’ve entered into (hint: trust should be a priority!).
Did I mention the importance of being trustworthy yourself? This is a two-way street. Trust in the relationship must be mutual; you should act as you’d like to be treated.
The above tips may sound like common sense/relationship 101 stuff, but can be harder to act on than they appear. The other day I overheard someone say that people who are sensible about love are incapable of it. In my experience there is some truth to that, but find that happy medium between passion and logic, and take care of yourself.
So, back to really attractive guy, and all his flirting with waitresses and leering at ladies on the street? We still have friends of friends in common, and I recently heard that he has, since then, twice married, twice cheated (that we know of) and twice divorced. Having trust in yourself and your decisions is definitely step number one. Listen to your Relationship Radar, because a truly fulfilling relationship begins at the basic foundation of trust. You deserve it.