Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm Not Calling You a Liar (Just Don't Lie to Me)

If you ask most people what qualities make a relationship great they’ll probably say: kindness, communication, understanding, respect and trust. Trust. We value it so highly (as we should) but find it one of the most challenging things to hand over. If we are with someone, we obviously respect them. Being kind to them is easy, so is communicating with them. Not always as easy, is understanding, but if that’s not instant it follows shortly upon getting to know them more. Trust, however, now that’s a different matter. No matter how “trusting” we are, or think we are, it’s one of the most difficult things we give to another human being. We talk endlessly about building and breaking trust (but rarely make such statements about those other important qualities) Trust is its own beast. Trust is not just its own category but a completely entity in a relationship.

We want to trust people. We want to trust that they have our best interests at heart, that they are honest with us, that they’re faithful. We want to trust that they aren’t going to hurt us, but most of all, we want to trust that they are who we believe them to be. Somehow, if we find out that they’ve broken our trust, we inadvertently blame ourselves, or feel stupid, feeling for whatever reason that we should’ve “known” or “seen it coming.” It’s not just about trusting the other person but trusting ourselves to make good decisions. And we hate failing ourselves.

I’m not really sure how to say whether or not we should trust someone. For me it’s always been an inherent thing, that, if we care about someone we should have enough faith in them (and ourselves) to assume that they’ll do the right thing most of the time. (No one is perfect!) That if we behave accordingly that they will too. Some of you may say that it’s easier said than done, and that you’ve been hurt before. News flash: we all have. It’s just how you deal with it. I can relay horror stories of some of the guys that I’ve dated that, could, in theory, be my reason for never trusting again. (Just like I could recount some tales of my misbehavior)  But I don’t see the point. Partially, because that’s no way to live your life, but mainly because just because a few idiots did terrible things doesn’t mean I should blame the rest of the population.

One of the most popular ways to test the trust we have for another person is by searching through their emails and phones.  (I’ve never really understood it, personally I’d be bored reading through someone elses correspondences. The exception being when my then-boyfriend told me he bought me a present online and then LEFT HIS EMAIL OPEN on my computer. If that was a test, I failed it. Come on! But truthfully, I regretted it, because it took the fun out of the surprise.)

I can not stress enough how incredibly stupid this is. First of, and I’ll restate, if you feel like you have to do this, then you are with the wrong person. Secondly, by doing that, you are, in fact, in violation of their trust for you. And thirdly, this never ends well. In most cases you will find something questionable. Things in the virtual world can often be taken out of context. I know that if someone went through my phone or email that they would probably be able to find something to get upset about, despite the innocence on my part. It also bears the question of what can be deemed as “breaking trust?” Mild flirtation? Complaining about you? Discussing personal details of your relationship? Discussing personal details of their life that they haven’t shared with you? Talking about something you asked them not to? The list goes on and on. And then what do you do if you’ve found something? Confront them? Saying, “I was going through your email/phone and found this…?” Um, no. That won’t go well, for either one of you.

I will on record again and say that I don’t support this behavior at all. That if you’re dating someone you don’t need to go through their things, and if you feel like you have to, then you shouldn’t be dating them. However, some of you will still engage in this behavior so let me state that IF you do, you must never tell anyone about it. Ever. If you don’t find anything, then you are the paranoid psycho invading your loved ones privacy and you need to live with the guilt of betraying them. If you do find something: then end it with them. Don’t tell them why, just do it. Why? Why not confront them about it and demand that they explain themselves? The answer to that is simple but twofold: to start, the trust is broken and it is not likely to return and it will always be in the back of your mind (and theirs); but more importantly, you went into their accounts because you expected to find something, wanted to even, and you did. You got your proof so what more do you need? No explanation will make you feel better or change what you found. Game over.

We can spend countless hours stressing out and pondering whether or not the person we’re dating is trustworthy, but if you’re doing that I have to ask why. WHY are you dating someone who is causing you such anguish? It’s not healthy. Furthermore, what does it solve? The answer to that is nothing. If you think someone is lying to you or cheating on you, worrying about it isn’t going to change the fact that they're they’re going to do it if they want to.

Before you snoop ask yourself the following questions and answer honestly:
1. Why do you want to go through their things?
2. Do you expect to find something incriminating?
3. What will you do if you find something incriminating?

And then, if you haven't already, really ask yourself why it is you're with someone that you don't trust. 

***I wrote this because approximately 10 people in the past few months have come to me with some kind of story of finding something in their significant others phone/email or vice versa. My first question was: why were you/they going through your things?
***special thanks to the above for the inspiration, for the guys I've dated that deserved my trust, for the ones I dated who didn't (because they made me appreciate the worthy ones all the more) and to Jax for not canceling the order when he found out that I knew what it was. :)

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