Sometime last year, an Eve met an Adam, sparks were present and they both decided to get to know each other better. Months later into the relationship, Adam asked Eve, “Can I trust you? I mean, can I trust you not to let me down?” Eve was surprised by the question from what she perceived was ‘out of the blues’. She replied in the affirmative, but she was left with lingering doubt of where that came from.
Dissecting it further, she found out that Adam had always been suspicious of her. Whenever she would arrive late, even if it was just a few minutes late, or if she did not answer his call, never mind what the reasons were – his mind would race to suspicions, especially ‘cheating’ suspicions. And yet the truth was; she had nothing to hide. Eve felt that he was not being fair to her, that there was very little margin of error left for her and this was straining their relationship.
Feeling down about it, Eve went for what all relationship experts prescribe: talk it out. She managed to get Adam to do the ‘dreaded’ thing: they talked and when they discussed their last relationships, the root cause of Adam’s suspicion emerged. Adam had come out of a long relationship where his ex had lied to him a lot and eventually left him (yes, Eves lie too :)). Adam was laden with a Samsonite tagged “Heavy baggage – Every Eve Lies” and he’d dragged into the new relationship. Everyone comes with baggage and just like many, Adam needed to deal with his, may be even needed some help to do so but Eve had now developed a ‘victim mentality’ and was finding it difficult to deal with the issue.
A relationship that takes a beating from trust issues, like this one, can be a bit like having an elephant in the bedroom. If either Eve or Adam doesn’t want to talk about the giant animal in the room, they will spend monumental amounts of energy craning over the elephant to see the other side, skirting around it to get to the other side of the room and soon someone may need physiotherapy! Sometimes the issues can be real (there is an elephant in the room for Pete’s sake!) and need to be dealt with, although in some instances, it is a case of anthills turned into mountains.
Whilst trust issues arise a lot from a person’s past experiences, there is behaviour that causes mistrust to develop in a relationship. When you notice a change in the pattern of behaviour in your partner, then sirens go off in your head (sometimes very loudly and flashing wildly). Have you ever heard of the quote “I would rather trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason”? Eves are known to follow their intuition and can go to great lengths to see if they can trust Adam.
Relationship experts argue that one way of tackling trust issues in relationships is by being consistent and by being ‘predictable’ (please read predictable, not boring!). When an Eve or Adam promises to do something, it is best to keep promises. Broken promises, even simple ones, point to unreliability and can build mistrust in a relationship.
Another piece of advice is to be accepting of your partner. Of course, there is some behaviour that is not to be accepted but you may find that your partner has some traits that identify a lot with your pet peeves (in which case you need to weigh which are the small things you can sweat out and which ones are the baby elephants). May be you expect him/her to change but ‘Change’ only happened once in America (OK, may be more than one :)) and it had nothing to do with matters of the heart and soul ;)! Change in others is an uphill if not impossible task.
The other basic is to be open and volunteer information. This is of course debatable since some people argue that what you don’t know won’t hurt you or are of the opinion that ‘secrets’ which have been buried in the past need to stay right there – in Pandora’s Box. But maybe you would want to ask: how secret is your secret?
The Eve in this case eventually decided that it was not in her interests to pursue the relationship with her ‘love-interest-turned-detective’ and shoved it into the dustbin of history (for the hopeful types, read recycle bin :)).
Eves, Adams, how do we deal with trust issues in relationships? Can they be worked on and relationships salvaged or do some just issue a death sentence to relationships?
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