Based on a very unscientific study of my friends’ Facebook statuses, everyone’s lives seem to be at the extremes. One person is excited to be expecting their first child, while the next laments that they just can’t find anyone to date. One person is getting married, while the next has a broken heart from a cheating lover.
It’s that last one that I’ve really been thinking about lately. I am just blown away by the number of people I know who have found their mates cheating—and lying about it. I’m even more blown away by how many discover the indiscretions through Facebook and text messages. (Fox News agrees with me.)
I’ve always been dumbfounded by the notion that we should automatically trust our mates from day one. Often, you start dating a complete stranger. In all other areas of life, you wouldn’t trust a complete stranger. You wouldn’t trust a stranger alone in your home. You wouldn’t trust a stranger with your kids. You wouldn’t trust a stranger with your money. But, for some reason, we’re supposed to trust a stranger with our hearts.
While we’re all expected to blindly trust this new stranger, a staggering 50 percent of people report that they have been unfaithful at some point in their life—which probably means the number is much higher and many people are too scared to fess up. And only 2 percent report being caught.
When I think about the components that are involved with being faithful (physically, emotionally, and mentally)—respect for the other person, desire to make that person happy, fulfillment from the relationship, not wanting the relationship to end, and the list goes on—they are all things that are the result of knowing the person and knowing the relationship. They take time to establish.
Ru once profoundly described relationships as auditions. In the beginning, we’re all trying to get a certain role, reading certain lines, trying to figure out what the director wants. When it’s all said and done, though, what really matters is who we are when the script isn’t in our hands. That’s the person you have to love and trust.
As with anyone else in our lives, trust between mates should be earned over time, as each person discovers who the person without the script is and fully realizes the worth of the relationship.