Monday, April 1, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Trust in me

Last night I had an exceptional conversation with two very superlative people I know and am close with.

This is long, so if it's "too long, didn't read" I don't give a shit.  Go look at more pics of Grumpy Cat or argue about the benefits of good mornings vs stiff legged deadlifts.  If I'm too "rambl-y" don't read it.

The conversation centered around trust, why people struggle with it, why other people want it, and how to develop it in situations where it has been broken.  I spent some time reading more about trust, ruminated on my own struggles in regards to it, and found some common themes related to trust and building it.

Trust - 

People always want you to trust them.  Especially in romantic relationships.  You want your girl to trust you, and you want to be able to trust her.  This of course, is normal and what happens in a healthy relationship.  The problem with having unconditional trust however, are many.

To start, trust is something that is actually developed at a young age through your parents.  If you had a good relationship with them, and they never did anything to betray your trust then you probably grew up feeling like it was ok to trust people.  That could change as you encountered new relationships in your life or if your trust was broken in a devastating way by someone later.

But it all starts with mom and dad.

For someone who has had their trust damaged, devastated, or broken in some way early in life, it can be incredibly difficult to find a way to trust again.  Not only that, it can be hard to sustain relationships because the person you are with may take it personally that you don't always feel like you can trust them.  They may not get that your lack of trust isn't because of anything they did, but because of things that conditioned you to distrust people in general.

There are ways through this.  For one, you have to believe that trust can be restored and that ultimately trust, like love, is a decision.  Not a "feeling".  You can decide to trust someone unconditionally if you want to.  As hard as that may be, it is possible.

Second, if you don't feel ready to trust unconditionally, there are healthy steps to get you there.  Namely, using moments to build trust between you and him/her, and getting yourself to one of the following stages.

Conditional trust - "I will trust you again, but the things that caused our trust to be broken must be fixed."  For example, you make an agreement to stop talking to an ex, or not run through all the money in the bank account.

Guarded trust - "I'll trust you, with limitations.  Just in case it happens again."  This like a trust probationary period until enough moments of trust have passed so you can decide to trust wholly.

Selective trust - "I'll trust you with X, but not Y."  A Marine buddy of mine told they had a saying.  "With your money or your life, but not your wife."  In other words, you could trust me with your money or life, but I might bang your wife if given the chance.  So don't trust me in that regard.

Let's get something in the open right here.  There is nothing wrong with any of these forms of conditional trust.  Especially if you have broken the trust of the other person, or if they have a background where trust has been devastated.  They may be working very hard to move past these things, and if you love them you will be patient and do the required things they need in order to find a way back to making the choice to trust unconditionally.

Which brings me back to people who get upset when their significant other doesn't trust them, or doesn't trust them completely.

They will often say things like "if you can't trust me then we shouldn't be together."  

I get that.  I really do.  However, that statement taken at face value can be very, very unfair to the other person.

Openness -

If you want someone to make the choice to trust you unconditionally, what are you willing to give up for that trust?  Nothing in life is free, and unconditional trust is one of the biggest things you can ask of someone.  Possibly the biggest commitment you can ask of them in a meaningful relationship.

"Throw your heart and feelings over here.  And believe that no matter what, I won't ever step on them.  Come on, I'll take good care of your trust."

"Well I don't know you very well but sure, have at it!"

Doesn't seem very natural does it?  To trust someone with so much of yourself.  So what is it that you are willing to do in order to show that person they should be able to make the choice to trust you unconditionally?

You need to open up your life.  Completely.

No lies, no secrets.  Nothing that is "off limits" to discussion.  Ever.  Nothing.  You can never lie about anything asked of you.

You can't ask someone to trust you without reservation, then have areas of your life that is off limits to them.

"It's not your business to ask me about my past, or who I slept with or my friendships."

Oh really?

You want me to believe everything you tell me, and that I have no reason to ever doubt you, yet you're going to have things you can't tell me about, or that are not my business?

I think not.

You should never trust anyone who tells you that parts of their life is off limits to discussion.  Never give up your trust unless the other person also says that they have nothing to hide, and that they are willing to use those moments of discussion to build trust.

"Who is that person?"

"Just some guy/girl I know."

"Did you ever date them?"

"That really doesn't matter does it?"

This is NOT a way to continue to build trust.  It is disingenuous, arrogant, and comes from the mouth of someone that isn't worthy of your trust.

"Who is that person?"

"Just some guy/girl I know."

"Did you ever date them?"

"Yes.  We dated a few times.  What would you like to know?"

This is a person that wants to build trust and leave nothing to chance in the way of being "blindsided".  I can tell you as a guy there is nothing worse than dating a chic, feeling pretty good about shit, then hearing from a buddy "oh yeah my friend used to hit that on the side."  

Some guys or gals may read that and go "who the fuck cares what she did before me?"


People generally don't change a whole lot.  Understanding someones past can give you some indications about who they are, where they came from, and their decision making habits.  I never understand people who tell me shit like "I don't care what that person did before me."

You wouldn't want to know that he/her cheated on their former significant other 17 times?  Yeah, I would.  Upon receiving that newsflash from the city, I'm out!  Why would I ever give my unconditional trust to someone who showed before me that they were not a trustworthy person?  Doesn't seem too smart.  Yet I read this shit all the time.

"Doesn't matter how many people they slept with before me."

"Doesn't matter what they did before me."

"What happened before we met is irrelevant."  

You think it's a good idea to make the choice to trust someone unconditionally whose past you have no knowledge of?  Would you put all of your money in a bank that had a history of being robbed twice a week, or stole from their customers?  I'd hope not.  I would hope that you would be smarter with your money than that.  Yet you would give your heart, time, feelings, love, and trust to someone whose history you cared to know nothing about?


I personally think that a lack of wanting to know about and understanding someones past shows quite a bit of apathy or ignorance.  And not caring is never a good thing when you're talking about spending your life with someone, or trying to foster a deep and meaningful relationship with them.  I personally would want to know as much about the person I want to share my bank account, house, and life with as possible.  I really cannot fathom why someone would not.

The weight of the truth - 

The drawback to having a completely honest relationship is that sometimes you're going to find out shit you may not have wanted to know.  In other words, if the person who wants your trust really decides to be honest about everything you ask, you need to be careful about what you really want to know.  Sometimes people find out things they may not can live with, or that cuts very deeply.

What I'm getting at here is, you don't really have a right to be angry at an honest answer you asked a question of.  Understand going into a discussion that you may hear things you don't like.  And you could inevitably ruin your own balance of trust if that person starts to think every time they are truthful with you, that you get mad.  What do you think might start happening after that?  Maybe that person doesn't feel like having a knock down drag out argument because they are honest with you, and General Jessup shows up to tell you that you can't handle the truth.  Now the balance of trust is gone.

Hey sometimes you can't....

Sometimes the truth comes with a heavy burden.  Decide how important it is for you to carry the weight of that truth if you ask for it.  In other words, if you don't REALLY want to know that the previous boyfriend knocked the bottom out of it and made her convulse from orgasms so hard she shattered her back teeth, then don't ask if that was the case.  It could be true.  Like wise ladies, don't ask who had gave a better BJ, you or the ex.  You will hear this every single time.....

"You do baby.  The best!"  

Making it all fit - 

So I could have given a high level overview and simplified this however that's not what bloggers do, is it?

Basically I see it like this....

  • Trust is a choice.  You can decide to trust someone unconditionally if you want.  You need to come to terms with that if you struggle with trust.
  • However, if you aren't ready to trust wholly, be with someone that respects that and will help you by using opportunities to build that trust.  It can happen.  It just takes the right kind of person.
  • If you are asking for trust, take the handcuffs off of your past, and your feelings.  Always be an open book and never hide anything.  ANYTHING.  Always be honest, even if you know the person may not like it.    
  • Don't ask questions of the person trying to build trust with you, that you may not want to know the answer to.  If you do hear an answer that angers you or makes you upset, go lift weights or kill a bear with a sword.  You can't be angry at someone for honesty.  You have no right.  
  • If you want someone to give you their unconditional trust then you are asking to be responsible for it.  It's your job to be the caretaker of that trust.  Have some integrity with it.  You'd want the same if/when you hand over your trust to your significant other.  

I hope errbody has a great Monday.


  1. Paul, this is an absolute gem!

    "For one, you have to believe that trust can be restored and that ultimately trust, like love, is a decision. Not a "feeling". "

    Every piece of this article is completely true, and it`s something i base my relationship on for over a decade.

    If i give you my 100% i`m expecting 100% in return. And then you have to be a man, and deal/learn to deal with truth!

    "I don't care what that person did before me." says someone who is not prepared to give his all, to accept whole of the person in front of him, and who probably doesn't find that someone for a person he is prepared to spend his life with

    And i would add that i believe people can change, use your best judgement for who you open your heart to, and believe in change, give your best, and you will be greatly rewarded. If things go south, you will know that you approached someone with open heart and that they were not worth of it! Don't be afraid of failing!

    This article is a base building for a relationship :)

  2. Excellent post Paul. I grew up pretty distrusting and started off my relationship years with hiding things to keep from hurting feelings of the ladies in my life. As I've matured, I found the one component to truly not hurting someone is to tell them the truth, being open and honest.

    I noticed that I feared a premature end to a relationship. I started thinking on the fear and realized if I had to lie to keep things together then it was going to end anyways.

    I felt freed recently when my previous relationship ended.. all because of my goals with being open/honest. It felt good to be able to cleanly say that I didn't hide anything or that they should not be blind-sided by my choice.

    Thank you! Took me awhile to realize this myself!

  3. Paul, you never cease to amaze me with your writing. Training and Life. Another excellent post.

  4. hey paul have u ever experienced knee pain on only one knee? If so how did you go about remedying this or if you have any ideas for me?

    1. You ask about knee pain in relation to this post?

      No, never had any.

  5. Probably the best article on here, and I have read them all. Thank you so much for your wise words, Paul!

  6. Thanks for turning me on to Grumpy Cat. He is absolutely adorable!

  7. Excellent post! The first post that I have had my wife read. Great and very meaningful. Thanks