Building Trust in Relationships

Question: Hello Luise: I have a good feeling about writing to you about my trust issues. Your answers feel very real to me. I have been married twice. My first husband was unfaithful and left for greener pastures. I’m presently divorcing again because my second husband turned into a control-freak and became mean. A new man has come into my life and I wonder if I can do this again. I don’t know much about building trust in relationships. I don’t even trust myself because my choices have brought me such grief. Helen

Answer: Dear Helen: Thanks for bringing your question to No wonder you’re gun-shy…this is tough stuff! The thing about trust is that it only exists in hindsight. By that I mean, someday you may be able to look back at years and years with someone and say that he *turned out* to be totally trustworthy. Trust is built slowly, over time. There is no way to predict it in advance. You can increase the odds by picking someone with a great track record, but even that doesn’t give you a 100% guarantee. There aren’t any. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that once you stop looking for guarantees, you can relax and take life as it comes at you. Take your time with this new guy. You are older, wiser and more able to judge who will fit into your life comfortably and who won’t than you were previously. Spend time with him around your place and his, around your family and his. See how he reacts to pressure and crisis, since they are normal ingredients in everyday life. Problems come and go, always. How does he handle frustration and disappointment, for instance. Talk with him about your experiences and listen to him about his. You’ve both been burned. What is he looking for? Do you fill the bill? Above all, know that there is no curse on you. No wicked witch, dancing around a boiling cauldron, decreed that you will never find peace and happiness. Don’t buy that for a minute! Blessings, Luise

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