Trust is my biggest issue in life. I’m naturally honest (which I’ve found in itself to be an acquired taste), and I work hard at being trustworthy, even when I’d get more of what I wanted with manipulation and self-serving exposure of other people. That’s because *I’m* not wired to immediately trust people, despite my weird (sometimes destructive) habit of nearly always seeing the best in them.
I admit that I’m prone to looking at the world and other people, particularly if I like them, with rose-colored glasses, but I still commonly examine motives behind kindness directed at me. I do tend to have an innocent willingness to always WANT the kindness to be genuine, and I’ve been taken in and afforded too much faith to a few people who later turned out to be unworthy. But I’ve never been wrong about kindness I DID find suspect from the beginning. They always DID want something from me. ‘Can I copy your Spanish?’ ‘Will you save me a seat <because I plan to be rudely late>?’ ‘Will you call <popular ladies’ man who is a friend of mine> for me?’ This lifelong hyper-apprehension and skepticism usually comes off as standoffish, if not outright mean. I know this. It’s made it hard to make and keep friends my whole life, and it made dating borderline hostile.
Most people I know approach life openly trusting until they get burned, and even then, they go right back in without much hesitation, sometimes even with the people who burned them. Related to this, they seem to believe everyone else approaches (and *should* approach) life the same way. You’re cold and unforgiving if you don’t approach relationships that way. I go the opposite direction, though, and I know it frustrates and sometimes hurts people. I can feel that they’re insulted because I don’t imminently trust them. This *especially* applied to the men I dated. All of them, to a man, *expected* me to have this immediate, assumed trust in them.
A lot of them actually asked, usually early, and usually after trying physical contact I wasn’t ready for, ‘Why don’t you trust me?’
My answer was always a (slightly) more tactful, ‘Why WOULD I?’
Things customarily ended quickly and poorly.
Except with J.
Many things about J stood out when we met. He was noticeably different from all the other men I’d seen in a wide variety of ways. But perhaps the most striking difference was that he began with me expecting to PROVE he could be trusted. He deliberately found my boundaries and respected them. He questioned my comfort levels often: ‘Too soon?’ ‘Too much?’ ‘Do you like <this>?’ ‘Want to try <this>?’ He never seemed insulted about my wariness with speed and vulnerability, or even flat out, ‘no’s.’ He always honored my anxiety, but never recoiled. Looking back, I know he was taking mental notes, like, ‘Ok. She’s afraid here. Gotta work harder on this to show her I’m safe and it’s alright…’ He never tried to push me; I just got a calm, ‘You let me know when you’re ready.’ And on many things? I also got an implied, ‘It’s okay if you never are.’
J showed me genuine care (and still does). Not just with me, but in his life in general, he operated as if he was working to EARN people’s trust (and still does). He’s never tried to talk me into anything. There was never a literal or an implied, ‘Why don’t you trust me?’ There’s always been an implied, ‘Allow me to demonstrate how much I can be trusted.’ I know I’m always safe with J. He’s never tried to coerce or take from me in any way about anything; he’s always just shown me he deserves my trust. And that’s what makes me want to hand it over to him about everything, and why I can feel secure it’s never a mistake to give him more.
I trust J now with all of my material assets, my feelings, my innermost thoughts, fears, dreams, and desires, my body, and my very LIFE. I’ve never regretted giving him all this trust, and he still proves he can be trusted with all of it **every day.** I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses with J. His true colors are just trustworthy.