Posted on | June 17, 2014 | 1 Comment
You may know this and you may not, but I’ve been in a relationship in my past where I was cheated on. And if you’ve ever been cheated on, you know that the memory of that heartache stays with you like a hovering cloud of distrust. When you find yourself in a stable relationship, you still hover right alongside the edge, ready to leap off into the land of crazy where every buzz of the phone is someone else encouraging your significant other to leave you.
It’s a terrifying way to live.
He’s out with friends… or is he? Because maybe your ex was never actually out with friends.
She gets a text but doesn’t read it to you… maybe it’s from another man. Because the texts to your ex were always from other men.
The longer I’ve been in my relationship with Banks, the more I’ve realized something about distrust.. It’s not just about or affecting you… even though you think it is. When you strap your current to the yoke of your ex, you basically are saying to them “You’re just like them.” And you know what? It’s completely disrespectful to the person you are with. (not to mention to yourself… you can’t change? You can’t make better choices?)
Bear with me because some of you are probably all “But I HAVE to read my husband/wife/significant other’s texts and emails!” because if you didn’t… what… the world would end? They would cheat on you?
Here’s the thing… you can’t force someone not to cheat. You can’t make someone love you enough to be faithful to you. You can’t follow up on, dig into, or examine every interaction he or she has with another person. And by trying to do that, by trying to reassure yourself that they aren’t cheating TODAY or YESTERDAY, I think that maybe… without even realizing it, what you’re doing is saying to your partner that they are most definitely going to cheat TOMORROW. You’re announcing to them that you don’t believe that they have the capacity to be faithful, to be honest with you… to love you as much as you love them.
And I get the need to snoop, I do… because you tell yourself it’s not that you don’t TRUST them… it’s that you’ve been hurt before and you don’t want to be hurt again. But stop for a moment and think about the worst, nastiest, most awful person you’ve heard about in your ex’s past. The wife who cheated, the girlfriend who got pregnant with his best friend’s child, the man who abused physically and mentally… think about that person in your ex’s life. And then imagine if every day, your partner looked at you and said “I think you might be just like them.” Imagine that every day, your love chooses to remind you of that person in his/her past who hurt him/her and not only to remind but to say “I know we’ve been together for x months/years… but I still don’t believe that you aren’t that person as well.”
It’s a pretty lousy way to be in a relationship, isn’t it?
And I’ll admit, I did my fair share of snooping when Banks and I were first dating. And I’ll admit that it can still be hard NOT to snoop when his phone is unattended because those old familiar feelings creep in and I think “I could just reassure myself for a moment…”
But then I think about Banks with J, Banks with me, Banks just being himself. I remember that love is a gamble between two people who both throw caution to the wind and say “Yes. You could break me into tiny pieces. But I’m going to trust that you won’t.” It’s so very hard, but I trust that Banks will not hurt me. I owe him the respect and admiration and love that he gives to me. I owe him the gift of saying “I know my past. I know your past. I trust that we can both put that behind us and love each other the best way we can.”
So now when I see his phone lying on the table and those old familiar feelings creep in and say “Just look. Just once.” I shake my head and smile, knowing that I love Banks enough to respect his privacy… to honor him with my belief in him and my trust in his promises to me. It’s a struggle sometimes, it is. But I think it’s the only way to really be in a relationship.
Because if you truly love someone, you owe them your trust. And if you can’t give them your trust… then maybe you should figure out if you really love them at all.