The song, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, was made famous by Aretha Franklin, and she sure had it right as far as it being a really important aspect in relationships. But as you may have guessed, respect is only one of the main ingredients to building a solid foundation.
As a relationship expert, I’d like to discuss another very important foundational aspect to any solid relationship: trust. The online dictionary defines it as “a firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.” I have no doubt that you’d agree.
Based on your past experiences in life, most people tend to be trusting in general. When you start to get involved with someone and form a deeper relationship, it’s assumed that you can rely on this individual’s integrity and character. Plain and simple … you just trust that, as part of the relationship, the two of you trust one another; you don’t really speak about it or question it.
Periodically, under certain circumstances, that trust between the two of you is broken. Sometimes it may be a small breach like when one of you has promised to do something for the other and hasn’t kept that commitment. Other times, it’s a significant one that ranges from emotional or sexual affairs to financial infidelity.
Here are two other types of trust that get broken - ones that many people don't even think about initially. If you're out in public and you humiliate your partner ... make fun of him or her, you've also broken a trust. What you've done is created a situation where your mate doesn't feel safe with you. The second is if your partner has revealed something very personal to you. Then, in the heat of an argument, you throw this information back at your mate. This is truly a violation of trust and will lead to your significant other feeling that he or she can't be emotionally intimate with you.
I was at a workshop at a conference once where the workshop leader indicated that these last two breaches were more hurtful than affairs!
The truth is that any time trust is breached, it can be devastating to your relationship because it has rocked the foundation upon which the relationship is built. How can you continue to be close to someone with whom you no longer feel safe?
Though the breaking of trust is devastating, it can be healed. However, it’s a process to do so, and both parties have to be willing to work on that process. Of course, it’s best to be mindful of how important this quality is and not hurt people who you care about … but I also want you to know that mistakes can be healed. (There are also lots of other tips to make for a strong connected relationship.)
When you open your heart to healing, it leads to a greater sense of empowerment.
To an Empowered You,