Trust is everything.
Sharing one's body is among the most intimate things we can do, so how can you establish the level of openness and trust necessary to feel comfortable? Here are 10 different ways you can identify a trustworthy lover, while valuing yourself and your body.
1. He realizes that sex is your choice, not a gift.
Sex isn't something you give away to someone else — it's a decision you make for yourself. It's not something you provide in exchange for gifts, guarantees or security. Making choices about sex begins with you, not them.
2. He proves you can trust him through his actions.
Naivety and gullibility are results of inexperience or ignoring intuition, and result in extending trust where evidence is lacking or questions remain. What someone says, even how they make you feel, isn't what trust is built on; it's the degree to which you know them and how consistently their actions match their words. Explanations and excuses in any part of life are a sign of incongruity.
3. He doesn't force exclusivity.
Exclusivity is a decision made for one's self, not a conditional demand that can be placed on another. Both individuals must make this decision of their own free will, not be pressured by the other to come to the same terms at the same time.
Any decision made under duress is worth little. The reality is that this is the most challenging of all relationship decisions, as there's no guarantee that exclusivity will be offered in return.
4. He respects your personal choice to wait.
It's a myth that men are more interested in sex and women in relationships, and that therefore women hold the sexual currency and men hold the relational currency. Waiting to have sex or practicing abstinence aren't tools to control the behavior or choices of another. No one has the right to demand abstinence or exclusivity of another.
Intimacy is a gift that can only be given, not a commodity offered on specific conditions. This is true, regardless of the nature or length of the relationship. The idea that someone owes us sexual availability, exclusivity or mutual abstinence is about control and an inability to manage the risks of intimacy.
5. He doesn't define your worth by whether or not you have sex.
The value of an individual is determined by the consistency of their behavior when observed under stress, particularly what one demonstrates toward those who can do nothing for them.
6. He bases exclusivity on the value of your relationship.
For our grandparents' generation, this was linked to mutually beneficial survival and child-rearing. Today, the standard is much higher, as both of these are fairly achievable when single. Partnership and exclusivity are based on the ability of two people to connect on many more levels and a much greater depth than ever before.
Those who partner out of need for support, or who require completion, do so on a faulty foundation when one or the other matures and requires the same level of depth to feel a connection. High-value individuals have multiple options. It would be naive to assume that because you choose not to be intimate with them for any reason that they don't have other options.
7. He only commits when he's ready.
Maturity only occurs from having done the work to overcome the challenges in life. The evidence is in being successfully independent with abundance in each area of life. Co-dependency is a delusion of commit that arises between two individuals who seek support or completion in each other, rather than completing their personal work before seeking another.
8. He accepts the that risk comes with intimate relationships.
Anyone looking for security, demanding guarantees, or who requires control will contribute to the failure of any relationship that can only be built on trust. There's no riskier activity than sexual intimacy — pregnancy, STDs, and broken hearts. Control is only possible through abstinence from intimate relationships, not abstinence from sex.
9. He wants the same thing as you when it comes to relationships.
There are some more interested in sex and some interested in relationships. Both choices are valid. What frustrates some people is the inability to determine with certainty if the intentions of others are primarily sexual or relational.
For these people, solutions of "ten dates," "30 to 90 days,' or "wait until marriage" are strategies that attempt to create an inescapable test of intentions. The gaping hole in this approach is it doesn't control whether the other individual exercises options with someone else.
10. He recognizes that only he can control his choices.
We can't control the choices of any other human being, not even those of an intimate partner. Be a trustworthy partner and watch for all signs of congruence in a person's life. People with nothing to hide, hide nothing.
One thing is certain: the point of an intimate partner is intimacy. Sooner or later it's going to happen, and when we choose to have sex is a much less significant question than why we're choosing to.