Be Real With Yourself: Is Your Past Behavior Causing Your Own Trust Issues?

October 10, 2012  |  

Whenever we talk about someone having trust issues, we always try to get to the so-called root of them. Meaning it’s usually not our current partner’s actions that are making us insecure, but likely something that happened to us a long time ago, either in a previous relationship or even as a result of observing dysfunctional interactions between our parents and other couples. One thing people rarely think about, though, is how they cause their own trust issues. Sometimes it’s not just what someone did to them, but what they have done to other people.

Last night I was catching up with an old guy friend of mine who I hadn’t had a heart-to-heart, what have you been up to the last few years convo with in a long, long time. He was giving me the rundown of a pretty trifling young lady he’d been involved with as he confessed to be in the “healing” phase of recuperation after that relationship. But later when he mentioned excitement over becoming a father one day, I asked him if he was interested in getting married and in a far less enthusiastic tone he said he wasn’t too sure about that. Loosely reiterated, he said something along the lines of having dealt with too many married women and not being so sure about a potential future wife’s ability to be faithful.

A couple of things went through my mind: one, he clearly waited too long to check in; and two, this is one of several prime examples of why you don’t get involved in messy situations like this. When it comes to infidelity, we tend to only think the person cheating and their unsuspecting partner are the only ones who get damaged. But the sidepiece doesn’t exactly come away unscathed either. Sure, their feelings may not be completely invested – although there are plenty of mistresses who walk away bruised because they thought their lover was going to leave their committed partner for them – but at the very least, interrupting someone else’s relationship tends to leave you jaded and in anticipation of the worst happening to you somewhere down the line as well. This is why people often say when your partner keeps hounding you and questioning whether you’re cheating, it’s likely because they’re cheating themselves. It’s paranoia run amok.

My friend reminded me a lot of an ex last night as I thought about my old boyfriend running that same line down to me. I don’t recall him ever telling me he’d been cheated on by a girlfriend, but when it came to me having male friends and spending any significant amount of time with them in-person or on the phone all of a sudden his antennaes were on ten. Why? Because like a fool he’d chosen to get involved with a married woman in the past and now had a tainted view that all women were just looking for time, space, and an opportunity to be unfaithful. I personally wasn’t interested in paying for his mistakes and had to not so politely remind him that he wouldn’t be so suspicious of other people doing dirt if he hadn’t done too much of his own.

Trust issues are a very serious and legitimate barrier to healthy relationships. Unfortunately, some of us can’t help the things we were exposed to at a young age or the poor character judgments we’ve made that allowed someone else to trample on our heart. But when your skepticism and apprehension is a result of your own wrongdoing, it’s time for a little self-examination into why you did the things you did so you can understand not everyone has those same issues and is going to be the messy individual you once were. And if you’ve yet to cause someone else heartbreak in this way or rack up a pattern of disloyal behavior, let this be another reminder not to. Sometimes it’s not enough of a motivator not to hurt someone else with your actions but when you remember that you also hurt yourself and your chances of allowing genuine love into your life down the line by doing others wrong, it ought to be enough to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Have you ever been the cause of your own trust issues in a relationship?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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