I’ve been in a few toxic relationships in my life.
I’ve also been with cheaters. My story with each one of them was different, but they all had one thing in common: the trust talk.
They all told me at least once, “You just need to trust me,” or “I’m sorry I broke your trust.”
And I told them more than a hundred times, “But I trusted you, how could you do that to me?” or “I can never trust you again.”
We all talk about trust in our relationships because we all want to develop it. I know I want it badly because I recognize the consequences. I know how challenging it is to rebuild a broken bond and put yourself back together again.
But, is talking about trust enough?
I’ve had countless conversations about trust within my relationships. We gave each other reassurance and validated our authentic emotions. We went to the moon and back for each other. But, it wasn’t enough.
I had always overlooked one important detail in relationships that cost me my energy and time. I forgot that without setting boundaries, there can never be trust.
Boundaries is to trust is like hot water is to a tea bag—we can’t get tea if we don’t have the essentials for it. Similarly, we can’t get a trustworthy relationship if we don’t define our own essentials.
Going to bed with someone might be our partner’s only boundary. But, they might not regard flirting with other people or sexting as cheating. On the other hand, we might believe that flirting, sexting, and any physical contact are considered a betrayal.
This is when boundaries differ.
Having different boundaries is not the problem though. The real issue is having different boundaries and not talking about them. We instantly jump to the “trust talk” and disregard discussing what we accept and don’t accept.
It’s amazing how much trouble we save ourselves when we learn about our partner’s boundaries. They might still cheat, anyway, but at least we gain a better understanding of how our relationship is supposed to roll.
Talking about trust without marking limits is most of the time empty talk. It might be challenging to bring up discussions about boundaries, but without them we are less likely to enjoy a healthy relationship.
We will keep on disagreeing and fighting over what’s right and wrong so long as we keep our boundaries to ourselves.
Here are a few steps that can help us set things on the right path:
>> Don’t be afraid to talk about boundaries. We can always discuss it in a mindful way that helps both partners to be honest.
>> Take advantage of trust problems if they happen. Let it be your chance to bring the matter up and explain the importance of setting the same boundaries.
>> Be open to the possibilities. You might have different values, but you could agree on something mutual that satisfies both of you.
>> Trust that without communication, your relationship can’t be healthy.
>> Discuss your expectations.
>> Have the courage to talk about what frightens you, what could break you, and what has hurt you in the past. Let your previous painful experiences ground your present relationship.
>> Encourage your partner to talk about their own painful past as well.
>> Remember that when you set boundaries, you also establish respect, mutual understanding, and self-worth.