Trust issues! A whole lot more than an epic remix by the Weekend of a Drake hit! What couple hasn’t been there? What couple hasn’t called it a day over trust issues? This week a friend opened up to me about the ups and downs of her relationship. She’d been seeing this guy for almost two years. Then all of a sudden it seemed the honeymoon was over. She couldn’t remember the last time they’d gone a day without fighting, and attributed all of their problems to her own lack of trust.
Reflecting on her previous relationships, she imagined herself damaged goods and blamed herself for their seemingly dysfunctional union. At that point I really had to step in and ask why she thought the person she was with had nothing to do with their current state of affairs. After all, it took two to tango!
“Has he given you any reason not to trust him?” I asked.
“Well,” she said, evidently searching her mind. “Not really . . .”
“So you’re saying he’s done nothing to trigger your reactions?”
She was silent for several seconds before answering: “I mean, he talks to other women.”
“And that bothers you?” I prodded, pretending to adjust my counsellor’s glasses.
She laughed. Then she said it wasn’t so much that it bothered her when her guy spoke to other women. What got to her was finding out from other sources.
“Okay,” I said. “You saying he lied to you about his encounters?”
“Something like that,” she said. “I saw messages.”
Bingo! So my friend was a phone snoop. Been there, done that. Regardless of what she now found herself compelled to do to calm her own fears, I knew from personal experience that no woman really enjoys being a snoop, surreptitiously fishing for information that might easily have been volunteered by her partner – unless there was more to it than met the trusting eye.
“So there is a reason for your distrust?” I asked. She nodded affirmatively. I looked on as my friend slunk deeper and deeper into the sofa. Meanwhile I wondered what to say next. I certainly wasn’t about to tell her to leave her man because she couldn’t trust him. I also didn’t want to see her hurt. I knew that when it came to relationships, recurring questions and circumstances were never a good sign. I thought about what I might do in a similar situation: I would call my best friend Torrent! Suddenly I knew what to say.
“Listen, I know you really want this to work. But you both need to be on the same page. You have your own expectations of the level of trust you want in a relationship, and this is really about whether or not the person you’re with is willing to meet those standards. You can only really meet people where they are; not where you want them to be.”
I felt that in a scenario that revolved around trust there were two options: spend time apart in the hopes of coming back “in a mutual place of love and respect” [according to relationship guru Matthew Hussey, whom I love!], or deciding, after effectively communicating your needs in a relationship, whether or not the other person is at the place where they can meet your standard, and support a relationship that is conducive to trust in the first place. I expressed that much to my friend, and she made up her mind to have a conversation with her beau about where
they stood. She and I both realized people could learn to trust more, but what is even more important in a progressing relationship is for both parties to do all they can to make it easy to trust and build a relationship that is truly on a solid foundation of love!