Is Lack of Trust Warranted, or is it Born of Fear?

Trust is obviously huge in any relationship but especially in intimate relationships. No one is completely trusting all the time but some are far more cynical than others are. What leads us to withhold trust from the people we love? It’s worth examining, because it really depends on whether or not the ability to trust, or the lack thereof, is warranted or is based in fear.

If your spouse has given you good reason not to trust him or her, such as engaging in an affair or lying about other things, it’s much more difficult to rebuild a sense of trust with that person. That is an issue for another discussion, and in fact, has been addressed in Can a Marriage Survive an Affair? and Surviving an Affair.

However, sometimes we are unable trust even where the particular person on the receiving end of our distrust has done nothing to deserve it. It may be because we have been hurt in the past, and we still live in self-protection mode. It’s simply fear of being hurt again, which isn’t unusual, although it can be very damaging.

It is much more common if the person you are currently in a relationship with reminds you of the person who hurt you in the past. Even if the two are very different, sometimes issues that feel comparable can arise and may trigger fears of being hurt in a similar manner.

If you find that this is the case, it is important to try to separate the present time from the past. It is important not to hold the person you are currently in a relationship with accountable for the wrongdoings of someone from your past. Even where the situation feels eerily similar, you can’t instantly assume that he or she will not betray or deceive you. That doesn’t mean blind faith, but it does mean extending the benefit of the doubt when there is no reason to suspect guilt.

We all compare current and past relationships at times, but it’s important to try to avoid doing so too often or to an extreme degree. It’s also wise to assign blame where it really belongs instead of punishing the person you are currently involved with for the sins of another.