How many times have you talked to someone who has “trust issues?” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I wouldn’t be up to my vegan chin in student loans….I’m lookin’ at you, Sallie Mae!
Trust and respect are, in my opinion, the foundation of a solid relationship. Trust and respect for one another will help build a solid friendship so that even when the period of fiery sex thrice daily wears off, you still have a bond. If someone is unfaithful or lies to their partner (a serious lie, not in the “that dress looks great” kind of way), then both trust and respect are broken.
Nearly everyone who has ever been hurt–which is pretty much everyone–has developed their own set of trust issues—and how can we not? We are hopefully learning from our experiences. What has been on my mind a lot lately is what happens AFTER your partner f*cks up big time. You either scratch “Douche” on the side of their vintage Camaro and peace out, or—if you think the relationship is worth it–you try and move past it together. I’m turning a big question over you to folks: Has anyone ever successfully regained trust in their partner once it has been broken?
I’ve been asking this of several of my friends, and most of them say no, never. The ones who say yes follow up with something like, “Yes, so and so did ___, and I got over it. But I still got really mad when he/she hung out with skanky co-workers/went out drinking without me/insert scenario here.” Uhm, I hate to break it to you, but you’re doing it wrong. That’s not “getting over it.” That may be repressing it, but it doesn’t sound like there is any trust there.
I have never been in a relationship where I have successfully gotten over a bout of broken trust. I’m usually a bit too trusting in the beginning, following along excitedly like a loyal Golden Retriever and then later finding out how stupid I’ve been. You know, the epiphanies that go sort of like this: “No, no no. That’s not a hickey. Yesterday he was hanging out with his baby cousin, she is like 2, and she was just sort of gumming his neck. You know….like babies do…it’s not…it isn’t…why are you looking at me like….f*ck.”
In every relationship I have been in where trust is broken, I have never bailed right away. I have always tried to stick it out and move forward—I’m an advocate of forgiveness. When I was younger, a relationship with no trust turned me into a raving, jealous loon, frothing at the mouth and driving by my boyfriend’s house over and over at midnight, howling. Okay not quite, but you get the point. Without trust, I became insecure and questioned everything. As I have matured (cough), I have stopped doing this, because it obviously only further damages the relationship and makes me look like a bunny boiler.
For a while I thought by not giving into jealousy or insecurity, I was getting over my partner’s offenses. Looking back, I realize that no, I have never regained trust. Instead of spewing my insecurity like verbal diarrhea or romping around like a jealous she-wolf, I now internalize it for several months or years. Then I make a swift exit, leaving my partner in the dust going, “But, really? Still?…I thought we moved past that.”
I have realized that what I do now is steel myself emotionally while still in the relationship, wait until I am no longer attached, and then peace out. It’s actually quite cruel because my partner thinks we’re fine, and then—surprise!–I’m off, seemingly unaffected. It makes me look cold. I’m not cold! This is just how I deal with my “trust issues.”
So please, weigh in here. How do you deal with your trust issues? Have you ever been able to mend a broken trust? Or once trust is broken, should you leave on principal, dignity still intact? Should you hightail it to the library to take out How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal? What gives?
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog