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Trust and Suspicion: Where to Draw the Line


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Trust and SuspicionIf there is a single, gossamer thin thread that binds us to the person we love, it is trust. Trust is the only area in relationships where we deal in absolutes. The strongest relationships are where we can trust another absolutely – to be faithful, to be a good provider or fellow parent of one’s children, in short, to be responsible. While trust provides such a strong foundation, it is paradoxically also the most delicate and fragile element in a relationship. A single whisper, an alien perfume on a partner’s clothes, or similarly small out of the ordinary occurrence can make us feel suspicious and destroy the trust so necessary to sustain love.

Trust has to be about several basic issues – love and loyalty, a responsible attitude to money, not being sexually wayward or succumbing to other temptations – all these are equally important in retaining the trust of your partner. When these basic parameters are violated, marriage can become a living hell. “It is only because my daughters are still small and I am not yet financially independent that I am still with my husband,” says S—–, her eyes full of pain and anger. “My husband has betrayed me with virtually every maid servant we have had, with his office staff, his cousin…the list is endless. The first time I found out, it was so hard to bear. I confronted him, and he promised it would never happen again. So I relaxed and decided that it was something too small to spoil our marriage and out life. But it has just become worse. Once he was caught red-handed with a servant when his mother was staying with us. The woman objected, and kicked up a fuss. Yet my husband was embarrassed and ashamed only for a short while. Then, its back to betrayal.”

The agony of S—– is indeed a difficult plight to witness. Her husband seems to be addicted to sex in the same way that others are addicted to drinking or gambling. In such situations too, they repeatedly betray the trust of their families, who believe in them and want them to shun the offending behaviour. But while S—– is easy to sympathize with, there are other spouses who are at the extreme end of suspicion. Quite a lot of us know at least one wife who is extremely suspicious of everything her husband does – she will want to know she is calling every time the phone rings, go through sms messages on her husband’s mobile, and keep tabs on all his actions with the help of his secretary and friends. In my large Tarot practice I have wives come stealthily to see me, after having given their drivers the slip. Often their husbands have specially hired these people to report on their wives’ movements. Behind this extreme tendency to suspect another is the desire for control – a need to pin down one’s partner to the shape and form we want them to be.

The break down of trust between partners is painful to both – the one who is being suspected, and the other, who can never be truly happy while the devils of doubt are playing havoc with his or her mind. In fact, in holy matrimony, it is best if we remember some basic rules governing trust.

·Trust is too serious a matter to be destroyed by a single, small indiscretion. There should be room in a relationship for forgiving and forgetting.
·In trusting one’s partner, let us follow the dictum ‘Innocent until proved guilty’ and in matters where it is someone else’s word against our partner’s, let’s give the benefit of doubt to our spouse. This however, will not hold if there are repeated instances of the same situation.
·Trust often revolves around respect for another person’s privacy. While you may be entitled to see everything in your partner’s pockets, or handbag, repeatedly rifling through these will show you up as a dangerous, suspicious person.
·A breach of trust should be handled by honest communication. Convey your hurt by all means, but do not let it seem like eternal condemnation to your partner. Its OK to say, ‘I feel extremely hurt and I hope you don’t do this to (me, us, our family) again’, rather than ‘Why do you always do this? Can’t you ever change?’
·Following any incident where trust has been dented and your partner is making a very determined effort to win back your approval, do remember to smile and reassure. Sulking kills the instinct to try and win your trust.
·If trust is being repeatedly broken by an alcohol, gambling or sex addiction, consider getting outside help and counseling for your partner.

Here’s wishing you many years of happy matrimony, filled with trust!

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