Trust is a fragile thing. You’ve probably heard that before. You’ve also probably heard trust is earned, not given. Or trust is everything. Or maybe even trust is like an eraser; it gets smaller with every mistake. Regardless, the idea of trust is the most basic, yet essential part of every single relationship. It is the spine, the backbone of what it means to love another person.
When you trust someone, you allow yourself to be vulnerable. You let that person in. You give that person your heart, your entire soul, and believe, despite all of the crap in the world, that they will take care of it.
You watch that person walk away and you have confidence that they are respectable and won’t go throwing themselves around or flirting behind your back or opening themselves to any other human besides you. But the thing about trust, is that it relies so much on the unknown. It is a testament of faith, that despite the odds and no matter what the world says, you believe the person you love will do you no harm.
Damn. That takes strength.
In today’s world, trust is difficult. It’s either given too freely, or withheld too much. Oftentimes a person gets hurt, thus they put up that don’t-mess-with-me wall. This is understandable, right? (To some extent.) When we are broken, we are bitter. We don’t want to let someone else in, even if that person looks like an angel because we know about fallen angels. We know about heartbreak. We know how it feels to be crushed, shattered, damaged, betrayed. So we don’t trust. We keep ourselves closed like little roly-poly bugs, folding inside ourselves as soon as we might be close enough to really feel something.
After time, we open. Layer by layer, to love. We learn how it feels to love someone again, but we still don’t trust. Not yet. Which is the real problem. You can’t truly love without trust. Any relationship that isn’t built with a secure foundation of faith will break.
So here you are. You are in love with someone that doesn’t trust you. This person pulls you in close, and wants to keep you there, suffocated under the guise of ‘protected’. They want to know everything about where you’re going, who you’re with, what you’re wearing, why you’re friends with so-and-so and if you’re lying. Because you’re probably lying, right? (Wrong.) They make you question yourself. They make you doubt yourself. They make you look at the mirror and wonder if you’re as shady of a person as they make you out to be. (You’re not, just so you know.)
The way they treat you is the complicated mess of their life. Their before-you life, their broken life. Whoever they used to love betrayed them and they are no longer the same. So they question you. They doubt you. They probably do behind your back exactly what they accuse you of doing because they’re afraid of getting hurt again. And that sucks.
But it’s not your problem. Yes, you love this person. Yes, you are loyal to this person. Yes, you are honest and would never hurt them and care so deeply for them and their broken, painful past. But you are someone who is worthy of trust. And the baggage that this person carries, drags like dead weight is only that—dead weight.
Your SO’s trust issues are not your problem. Sure, you can comfort this person and teach them what real love is, but you cannot change their mindset. You cannot spend your life trying to prove that you are different, that you love them, that you are not like the last girl or guy who changed their belief in love. You cannot bend over backwards for them, change your clothing for them, drop your friends for them, stay at home for them, ignore plans for them, shift your world view for them, or become new for them. Because that would not be fair to you. And really, the issues they’re having have nothing to do with you at all.
So what do you do? You are patient, at first. You show them the person you are and you teach them what trust looks like, how freeing and wonderful and powerful it is to let go of insecurities and rely on someone to carry your heart in the palm of their hands. Hopefully they see the beauty in that. See that you are not their ex, not the person that changed them, not the person that shattered their entire world, but a new beginning.
But if they still question you, if they still watch your every move, if they still say terrible things to you and about you because they don’t have faith in the person you are, you need to free yourself. You need to let go of the idea that you can change their thinking. They must change it themselves. So you set yourself free. And in doing so, you free them, too. So that they can grow, rebuild, and become whole enough to love and trust the next beautiful soul that enters their life.