Relationships 101: Trust

Trust is essential to any relationship, romantic or otherwise. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to confide in our friends. We wouldn’t be able to function whenever our SO was away from us for fear that they were doing something that they shouldn’t be. With everything that has been going on in my family this week, I’ve had to re-examine who I put trust in and who I would rather not trust anymore. Its been difficult, to say the least. As much as I would like to trust everyone involved, I know that is no longer possible. And even though I wasn’t particularly close to the person I have lost trust in, I can feel the difference. Its making me realize just how much more essential trust is in every relationship, and why I shouldn’t trust people as easily as I once did. Trusting people means putting yourself out there, and that’s how you get hurt.

But as I discovered in yesterday’s post, relationships, and by extension, trust, are essential to our survival. We were designed to relate to one another, to have relationships, which means on some level, we MUST be able to trust people. Even in the most basic of relationships (employee/boss, teacher/student, etc) a certain amount of trust is involved. And when that trust is abused, it makes us question our entire relationship with that person. As anyone with a jealous SO will tell you, trust is essential in any relationship. So what do you do when that trust has been abused? Do you shrivel up and not trust anyone? Do you forgive the person? Do you let them remain in your life? What if their betrayal of your trust hurt someone else in the process? These are all questions you’ll need to answer before you can move forward, no matter what the outcome is. Here is how I handled those questions:

1. Do you shrivel up and not trust anyone? In a word, no. Just because one person abused your trust, doesn’t mean that everyone else in your life is out to get you, and treating those outside the relationship in question poorly can’t be justified. It isn’t their fault that someone else has abused your trust. And it’s not like they had any amount of control over the other person.

2. Do you forgive the person? This is one you’re going to have to figure out for yourself. For me, it’s too soon to even think about forgiving this person. What they’ve done is so beyond anything I can even comprehend, I need some time to wrap my brain around it. So I’m going to say not yet for ME, but again, this is one you’re going to have to figure out on your own. I know the Christian thing to do would be to just say forgive them, but I know it’s not that easy. We’re human, and we have the emotions that we do for a reason. I’m not saying live by your emotions. What I am saying is give them time to run their course because suppressing them or pretending they aren’t there is just as dangerous as letting them rule you completely.

3. Do you let them remain in your life? Again, one your going to have to answer for yourself. For me, no. A breach of trust this deliberate and callous proves to me that they really have no interest in being in my life, and I’m not going to fight to have them there if they really don’t want to be. So again, this is a question that the answer will change to depending on the circumstances.

4. What if their betrayal of your trust hurt someone else in the process? This is a very tricky question, but one that has to be answered none the less. What I’ve found over time is you have to let everyone deal with everyone else on their own. Sure, you can be there for them. Sure, you can help them heal. But when it comes right down to it, they’re going to have to deal with the other person on their own, and their isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. So respect their decision. If they come to a different conclusion than you do, respect it. And let them know that no matter what, you are there for them.

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