Trust. A little word with so much power. Having had your trust betrayed and abused, how do you ever move on from that, and be happy in another relationship? And does that clarity equal intelligent self-preservation, or self-sabotage?
Anyone who’s ever been hurt can relate to nerves and anxiety that accompany the start of something new. So why do we do it? Why not hibernate emotionally and close off your heart for the rest of your adult life?
Because that risk, that leap of faith, is worth it. Love brings the biggest pain, but also the greatest pleasure. Love connects us, unites us, makes us feeel a part of something. That bond, that intimacy, that sense of peace – there’s nothing like it.
The great thing about getting through a break-up, and feeling really low, is you realise just how amazing it feels when you’re back on top of the world again. In a new relationship, with your eyes open, and cautious optimism. To experience the sheer joy of being back in each other’s arms, you have to go through the pain of missing them. Whether a business trip, a holiday or an illness, it sucks to be apart from the person who gives you a sense of utter calm and peace. But knowing how far you can fall, you need something to hold on to; a balcony, a support rail.
Life was easier as a teenager. You could fall impulsively in love, fall out of love, get hurt and bounce back. But as we get older, and relationships start to mean something more, each split becomes that much harder to recover from. You question the intentions of men, whether they have an agenda or a gameplan, and whether it’s even worthwhile getting involved in this ‘love stuff’. What’s the point in starting something if you’re going to get hurt? You can’t help but wonder – why bother? In our throwaway culture, it can seem as though humans discard one another like bin bags.
The scary thing about getting close to someone is the fear of being rejected, like a bolt out of the blue, unexpected and caught unawares. If it happened before and damaged your confidence, you think it likely to happen again. That can make you clingy, needing to hear those three little words. But those three little words aren’t always enough. Because the words you want to hear, and say, are “I trust you”. As the proverb goes, you may not trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. Anyone can say I love you. Not everyone can show it. And not everyone that says it, means it. It’s about seeing how they treat you on a daily basis, and deciding whether to trust them based on their actions.
When trust is broken, it can feel impossible to get it back, or to put your faith in another person. Yet it’s not about trusting that person; initially, it’s about trusting your own judgement. How can someone you believed in, someone you idolised and adored, hurt you so callously? And if they were capable of such things, how do you know the next one won’t do the same? And therein lies the crux of the problem – we can only control ourselves (and even that can be tricky sometimes). The real question is therefore – how could I let them do that to me? The only thing we know for certain is that life is uncertain. But by trying to block out the lows, you miss out on the incredible highs and stunning experiences.
You have to believe in yourself, believe in your judgement, not overanalyse and read into every little comment, look, or action. Trust that the person(s) who hurt you weren’t meant to be in your life forever, and that the incredible experiences you’re sharing with someone new couldn’t happen if you were still with your previous. But most importantly, see them for the person they are, not just a ‘typical bloke’ or a ‘typical woman’. Maybe they’ve been hurt too, and they’re nervous about trusting you.
As for me? The horrendous breakup I went through has turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. It gave me the opportunity to leave my job at an organisation I no longer believed in; to go back to my true vocation; to reconnect with old friends; to leave a miserable city and enjoy a slower pace of life; to be me again. I can say with absolute certainty that I trust myself not to make reckless relationship decisions again, and that my trust is something that has to be earned. But I see now that it works both ways, and I need to earn the trust of others. Most importantly, I refuse to bring my baggage from my past into this – because he has done nothing to warrant it. Now, I trust myself to listen to my judgement, and I’m starting to trust him too.