Take a glass and throw it at the ground. It explodes. Now say sorry to it. Did your apology fix it?
It may have happened a long time ago, but I will never forget that day:
“You cheated on me,” is what she said. Simple words that fell like a hammer.
It took my breath away. It would have done that whether it was true or not but it wasn’t. It wasn’t! But that doesn’t matter in some relationships. All that mattered TO HER was that it was true FOR HER.
The way she said it, it wasn’t a question, it was a statement, a judgement, a simple matter of observation. The matter had been decided, and that was that. There was no question mark at the end, just a full stop, a point beyond which there could be no further progress.
I knew it meant a full stop at the end of our relationship too, because from that moment on, it didn’t matter what I said, and I saw that there could be no further progress. Perhaps it had never mattered what I said and this was the wake-up call for me. Perhaps I should have left long ago because living with this person who was so impervious to reason was an uphill struggle.
When I wrote about new beginnings I mentioned the rules that every relationship should have and that every person should follow. People laughed at me. They asked what good rules do in a relationship. After all, where problems are concerned two people who love each other can always come to an agreement. Only:
In order to come to an agreement, they must WANT to talk.
In order to want to talk, they must be WILLING to communicate with each other.
In order to be willing to communicate with each other, they must RESPECT each other.
The basis of respect is a certain trust in the other person, and trust is what this article is about.
TRUST is the absolute basis for every relationship, even working relationships. Trust is the absolute bedrock.
Don’t you believe me?
1st problem: Truth can never win or lose against distrust because the contest never takes place
Some of us believe that if we are honest, open, and truthful, then there is no risk that any of our relationships could ever go wrong. Unfortunately, this is only true if someone values us. If someone doesn’t value us, then they won’t value our truths. If they are untrustworthy then our truths fall on deaf ears.
A relationship is a little like a government. Couples vote each other into office and stay committed to the process of working together. They navigate life and its many emerging problems and opportunities together, in a pact based on mutual trust. Without trust, the suspicion will always be that the other partner is up to something.
Even in the face of the clearest evidence that we are blameless, we will still be treated like an accident waiting to happen because the other person just – DOESN’T TRUST US!
If I don’t trust you, you can say anything you like, but it won’t be believable for me.
Distrust is a negative. The Latin prefix, “Dis,” means “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly.” It’s a reversing force, and here it denotes the opposite of trust.
When distrust takes root, it is a seedbed for paranoia. Without trust, the other’s actions will always seem suspicious. We will imagine every text or phone call is part of some clever deception, even though secretly checking their phone reveals nothing.
“He’s crafty, giving his mistresses nicknames based on the names of his colleagues. And look, the mistresses even call from their own numbers. And when you call them, these colleagues pick up the phone and pretend that they know nothing about it. Now that’s cunning! What an unfaithful fox …”
His actual answer won’t matter. A full confession will only make the suspicious partner happy to have been right for a brief moment before she becomes upset. A denial will make her unhappy because clearly, you’re still lying, and here comes even more upset.
You can’t win with someone who stops trusting you, or who never really had that trust, to begin with. It’s like one-sided ping-pong. You serve, and nothing comes back.
You can’t build anything positive when everything coming back at you is negative. It doesn’t matter if you are speaking the truth, have a clear conscience and proof that you are innocent. Suspicion driven by lack of trust will always be hanging over you.