How do you decide whether someone is trustworthy? Do you trust blindly, until someone gives you a reason not to? Or is it earned? I like to think I learn from my mistakes, so when blindly trusting people hadn’t worked out well for me in the past I decided from now on trust must be earned.
When you think about it really it’s the most logical approach. If you think about coming to trust people in other relationships, trust is earned. Like at the office for example, it’s not unusual to see teams subjected to ‘trust building exercises.’ It’s a process where trust is built up over time block by block, typically you don’t dish it out to just anyone.
Lara and I had been getting to know each other for months before we finally got together. By the time we got together I thought that she had already earned my trust. Throughout our friendship she had been as honest as I could ever ask her to be. I learned a lot about the person she was and the person she wanted to be. I like to think I was equally as honest back.
We identified with each other when we talked about past relationships, mistakes we had made. I already mentioned that these conversations are what led to us becoming friends with Lara’s ex Heidi. I suppose it was when Lara was telling me about this time of her life that I began to trust her.
She told me some hard stuff to admit, things that should have made her appear callous and unfeeling if it wasn’t for the honesty and remorse that she now showed. Lara told me about Heidi, nicknames she had for her before they got together, that she never really felt attracted to her, that eventually over time she came to feel something for her and eventually I think Heidi won her over with a letter she had written.
Up to this point however Lara had admitted to being almost cruel to Heidi, she called her Hippo behind her back and would joke about her not ever having a chance with her, she even slept with one of her friends. It was strange to me to think that when she was telling me all of this it didn’t change how I felt about her. It was the honesty that had drawn me in.
If there was any chance that I thought she would ever treat me that way I would have bailed, she appeared to feel so ashamed of the way she had treated her, she had apologised and been forgiven and found friendship with Heidi. Clearly she’d grown as a person, learned from her mistakes. Honesty was all I asked for, this might have been the first brick in the wall towards building up my trust for Lara.
It didn’t occur to me that although she had been honest with me, she might not have necessarily been so honest with Heidi. I know that when it ended tempers ran high, since Lara cheated with another girl she had met online. By the time we were all friends I think it was about a year later. It wouldn’t be too long before it was all water under the bridge and I would forget that they had even dated. Heidi never would.
It wasn’t the only discretion Lara confessed to me, it seemed her past was full of this pattern. With her first girlfriend she felt taken for granted and used, eventually however she would cheat her way out of that relationship with her girlfriend’s sister. That one was a shocker I can tell you. Still she was much younger when she had started dating her and I wrote it off as being young and silly and so did she.
She was always honest with me throughout our friendship, when she confided in me about her feelings for Emma, or lack thereof. Or when she told me about a guy on her college course that had fancied her, that it had confused her and one time she’d even kissed him. Even the silly revelations about most embarrassing experiences, all I focussed on was one thing, the complete and total honesty.
I think in the end it came down to wanting to trust Lara. When I look back now I only see reasons not to trust her. Maybe that’s just my ‘life experience’ kicking in. Now when I look back I see the pattern, the way that Lara had never had a relationship where she hadn’t cheated in the end, that instead of opting for single life at the end of a relationship she would prefer to move onto the next person.
I had made my own set of confessions, nothing that I haven’t already laid bare in this blog. Lara knew about the open relationship, she knew about my colleague Rachel, the new years kiss, the way I hadn’t been interested in Katy when I first knew she was interested in me, the violence that there had been between us, the lies and cheating that I had put up with, she knew I found it hard to trust.
Lara was patient if I ever questioned her, since it was so very clearly just my insecurities, I wanted to believe her. So when I could see that she was still encouraging a close friendship with the guy she’d kissed on her college course I asked her why, she claimed they were just friends and I believed. Sure I got annoyed when he’d message her something inappropriate, I felt that she wasn’t drawing a clear enough distinction that he was just a friend and found that disrespectful.
Shortly after we had our first argument about this the situation changed, Lara quit college. A longer time after that I didn’t think she was still in touch with him. I didn’t like the way she had handled things, but she had always been honest with me, I could deal with the rocky patches if this was as bad as it got. I could trust her when she was so clearly honest with me.
Now when I think about who I might trust next, I think their past matters, it’s one thing to learn from your mistakes it’s another when you hear that someone has made the same ones over and over again. I still think trust it built and not freely given, it just has to be built with the right materials.