We’re an incredibly infidelious nation.
I wish this weren’t the uncomfortable truth, but it is. We cheat on each other. We lie to each other. We have endless options available to us these days, literally at the tip of our fingers – a simple “Swipe left” or “Swipe right” gets us what we crave almost effortlessly. We have infinite possibilities available to us and yet we still crave companionship. We want love. We want togetherness. We want trust, but it’s getting harder and harder to come by.
Trust doesn’t come easy anymore. Especially not to those who’ve been cheated on, lied to or maltreated in the past. Each new relationship presents a challenge: Do you trust them or do you shy away? Do you guard yourself or do you give in? Do you invest your full heart or do you tread as lightly as possible – easing into every relationship with minimum investment until you are as certain as you can be that they’re not going to let you down?
The risk of letting our guard down seems insurmountable at times. We work hard to build up lives that we’re proud of: jobs we’re happy with, homes we cherish, friends and families who surround us with love. The possibility of inviting another person in to share in all of that, without the guarantee that it’s going to work out, can be paralyzing. How do we know they won’t turn on us? How do we know it’ll work out?
And the truth is, we don’t. Whether or not we can trust someone will always be a tough bet to wager. But it’s also a futile guessing game. And it’s one that can destroy your entire relationship before it even begins.
The truth is, we’re all capable of infidelity. We’re all capable of monogamy. There is no genetic code, no telltale sign, no one situation that guarantees infidelity or faithfulness. There are influencing factors, of course. There are predispositions based on gender or personality, arguably. But there is no certain way to predict whether or not the person you’re about to fall head over heels for is going to be faithful to you. There just isn’t. That’s the truth.
And so where does that leave us? We can calculate our odds straight to hell and back – listing positive traits on one hand and suspicious behaviors on another. We can sneak peeks at their cell phone, do investigative work on their track history and slip subtle questions into conversation. All ideal first and second date activities. But at the end of the day, we’ll never find the answers we’re searching for. We’ll never be capable of predicting the future. Getting lied to, being betrayed, getting cheated on are always going to be risks we are taking when we enter into a new relationship.
We don’t always get the answers that we want about the future but if we’re living our lives right we don’t need them.
Because at the end of the day, trust has nothing to do with the person you’re dating. It isn’t a magical feeling that springs into existence when someone passes our theoretical tests and says all the right things at all the right times. Trust is a decision. Trust is the waking, conscious choice to invest in another human being because you know that even if they betray you, you’ll be okay.
Whether or not we can trust someone always comes back to how we feel about ourselves – it’s a reflection of what we feel capable of dealing with. Trust doesn’t mean, “I know you’ll never hurt me.” It means, “I trust myself to deal with the fallout if you do.”
Trying to predict the future is maddening at best and relationship-destroying at worst. Any potential relationship runs the risk of failing. Of collapsing. Of leaving us high and dry after we invested ourselves in someone who stopped choosing us back. But when it comes to trust, here are the only questions you really need to ask:
Can you trust yourself? If it all goes to hell, can you pick yourself up off the floor and start again? Are you strong enough? Are you capable of dealing with the fallout?
If the answer is no, now might not be the best time to consider a relationship.
And if the answer is yes, you have nothing to worry about at all.