Have a problem with love or life in general? Send Ogonna your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and get them answered here in her column. You can also tweet her at @askogonna
Reader: I’m having major trust issues and they’re starting to affect my relationship. It’s not really my current partner, but even still I feel myself distancing myself, and I don’t know why or what to do.
Ogonna: I may not be a song off of Drake’s 2011 album “Take Care,” but I know a lot about having “Trust Issues.” I also know that the most important value you can have in a relationship is trust. Love, affection, attraction — those are all great enhancers, but without trust, a relationship is quick to fall apart.
The very definition of a relationship is, according to Google, “the way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected, or the state of being connected.” Trust, according to the same dictionary, is an arrangement in which someone’s property or money is legally held or managed by someone else for a set period of time. Now, looking at trust from a relationship perspective, you are basically giving one another some type of prerogative over each other’s emotions and lifestyles. For this reason, many people are afraid to trust in a relationship.
When you trust your romantic partner in a relationship, you are holding on to the idea that your partner will remain faithful to you. You hope this person always keeps in mind your best intentions and puts your well-being first, and that he or she will give you a sound mind and a happy heart.
Of course, trust looks like a lot of different things, too. So then, what does distrust look like?
A lot of unhealthy relationships usually stem out of distrust. And many times, it might not even be anything the other person in the pairing did, but rather something brought about by the past. Trust issues are the messiest to navigate because most of the time, they go far deeper than the surface. Perhaps you were scarred by previous romantic partners, or even by family members or friends; this could easily be reflected in the current relationship as wanting to either distance yourself completely or become very attached in order to feel secure.
Many times, when it comes to distrust in a relationship, we lie. We lie because we don’t know what the other person will think of the truth, so we present something they want to hear as opposed to what we actually want to say. We don’t trust that they will care about our issues or validate our feelings. We spew lies and deliberately make mistakes and sometimes intentionally hurt them because we’re simply scared. And when we’re scared, our fight-or-flight responses take control.
But running from problems of any nature has never led to a proper solution, so the only thing we can actually do to overcome them is face them straight on. The best thing to do now is think about your concerns and talk about them with your partner. The root cause of the issue might never fully be handled, but it’s important for both sides to explore the issue together and do whatever they can to best understand and support one another. Both of you can find ways to get through your issues together and maybe discover more about each other along the way.