When entering into a relationship, there must be a level of trust for intimacy to take place. Trust is the gateway to intimacy; without it, there is no possibility for closeness to happen. But when trust is broken, and betrayal shows up, then you must make a decision about that relationship and all others. Do you use this experience as a benchmark for all other relationships? Or do you learn how to trust again after a betrayal?
The Genesis of Trust
Trust implies security, meaning that when you have trust in someone, you feel secure that they will be honorable toward you. But this doesn’t always happen in relationships. The breaking of trust happens more often than we think. You could say that lying is the natural state of being for us humans. Let’s look at some evidence.
The first thing that comes to mind is the first story of betrayal- The Garden of Eden story.
God gives Adam paradise; then, he introduces Eve. His only rule is to eat anything in the Garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Of course, a serpent seduces Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and God expels them from the Garden. No more bliss and joy, only suffering and pain.
God trusted Adam and Eve to follow the rules, but the temptation was so great, they wanted to know what it felt like to have this knowledge of pain and suffering. What was it teaching us? They knew how incredible bliss and love were like, but what else was there that they could experience? And if God put the tree there to tease them and test their devotion, well they proved that they could not be trusted after all.
This is a parable for the nature of humankind.
Ok, so this Bible parable is a cautionary tale, but does it apply to everyone? The simple answer is yes.
In Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s book, Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, he claims that our Google searches reveal the truth of what we typically present. Essentially, even though general statistical poles based on peoples, interviews or surveys aren’t consistent with our Google searches.
This can make a lot of sense if you’ve been in a relationship with someone who is telling you they are faithful, but when you “accidentally” check their history, they are on porn sites every night after you fall asleep. Or if you’ve been in what you believed to be a monogamous relationship only to find your partner is texting another lover. Internet/digital date can reveal the truth.
Why we love, why we cheat
In Helen Fisher’s TED talk about romantic love and why we cheat, she shows that the idea of “love is blind” is accurate for us all. When we fall in love our dopamine uptake is intense, we become possessive, we covet, we obsess, and we intensely crave that person we love.
She put people who were in love, in an MRI and revealed that the part of the brain that lights up is the same part that gets addicted while on cocaine… similar to sugar. We crave that person. She believes that love is the most powerful drive we have, and she thinks it’s more potent than our sex drive. We die for love.
With the different brain systems that are involved with romantic love, we can be romantically in love, but also feel desire for another. We are genetically capable of loving more than one person.
She also suggests that with the rise of female economic strength, and world trends, “infidelity is a worldwide phenomenon that occurs with remarkable regularity, despite near-universal disapproval of this behavior.” She reveals more in the ten facts about infidelity.
In fact, the current trend for romantic relationships is that the structure of our relationships is changing. Even though we focus on one individual, we are becoming more open to different forms of relationships where we have more than one sexual partner, but have an understanding of loyalty with another or feel romantic love for yet another.
Who is the betrayer?
If we are naturally, genetically predisposed to be liars, then are we betraying our partners? Is the idea of loyalty and honesty in a relationship an impossible expectation?
Or are our expectations just too high? Should we expect to be lied to?
And then let’s ask the real question; who is the betrayer. Like my 3rd lawyer said to me, “Well, you picked him.” He was right; I did pick him. I saw what he was, but decided to focus on the good stuff and ignore the dismissiveness and selfish behavior. I made excuses for him. I self-eliminated. I made myself unimportant in the relationship. I betrayed myself.
We can go around pointing our fingers, staying the victim, or we can take back our power in the relationship and look at how we betrayed ourselves. …How we lied to ourselves and decided to project onto our partners. We picked that partner so that they could play out a pattern of betrayal that was modeled to us on some level by our primary caregivers. These patterns go deep and are active when it comes to romantic relationships.
How to trust again
If, according to Dr. Fisher, we are wired for infidelity and we all lie in relationships, then is fighting to change this behavior going to make your partner, not a liar? Of course not.
But how do we accept it and then learn to trust again?
We forgive. Most importantly, we forgive ourselves for putting ourselves in a situation where we knew we would be deceived. Even as unconscious as we were or blinded by all the good things we saw in our partner, on some deep level of awareness, we knew.
We have to forgive ourselves and our partners for playing out this pattern of lying. Then we work towards defining what we truly want in our relationships.
With clarity, we focus our energy on those characteristics that make us feel respected, considered, desired, and adored. Once we have the emotional clarity, we change our energetic resonance, and then we start to attract those characteristics that we want.
When we trust ourselves to maintain loyalty to our goals, focus on self-care, self-devotion, self-promotion, then we will attract the same. The idea of betrayal from another will become less traumatic as we focus on our trust for ourselves, rather than place all of our trust in another. And over time, trusting a new partner after a betrayal will be seamless, because betrayal will simply no longer happen. And that’s the truth.