Learning to Trust Again
Eleven o'clock on a weeknight I found myself phoning a man whom I'd recently met. We had been talking regularly and I just wanted to hear the sound of his voice.
No answer. After four rings his answering machine kicked in and I hung up. How strange. This man made a point of staying home during the week in order to get up at 5:00 a.m. for work. "Call me any time before midnight," he had suggested. "I'm usually reading or listening to music."
There could only be one explanation - another woman. I'd met him through a phone dating system. Obviously he had made a date with someone else and at this very moment could be in her arms. I stalked back and forth in my living room. Why had I expected him to be different? Just because he was punctual and said he "really really" liked me didn't mean that I could trust him.
The next evening he called to say that he'd fallen asleep early. The phone had jarred him awake at eleven but there had been no message. He still sounded annoyed.
"Probably a wrong number," I said quickly. Good thing he couldn't see my face, because I could feel my cheeks flush.
That was when I realized that I had an issue with trust. Of course it takes time and experience to get to know someone - but I'd been quick to jump to conclusions. I took a long, hard look at my life. I claimed to have no luck meeting suitable men over the age of 40 and none of my relationships lasted more than a few months. Why? Looking back, I realized that I had chosen men who were unavailable - either physically (separated by distance) or emotionally.
Deep down I believed that men could NOT be trusted. Upon further reflection, I saw that my belief could be traced to feelings of betrayal in a long-ago relationship - the disillusion and let down I had experienced in so many ways by the man I'd married.
In the years following my divorce I had dated men with charm and charisma, who were also unreliable or unpredictable. I just wasn't attracted to serious, responsible partners - they seemed boring by comparison. I poured my energy into my career and creative work and largely ignored my here-again, gone-again love life.
What had changed? With time I grew tired of relationships that were going nowhere. I decided that I wanted to meet an honest man with integrity, someone I could truly respect and appreciate. I also decided that I'd rather remain happily single than be with anyone who didn't fit the bill.
That decision opened the door to a different kind of relationship - one based on friendship and trust.
How about YOU - are you ready to trust again? Here are some ways to tell:
What I discovered is that I don't need to trust a man as much as I NEED TO TRUST MYSELF. That is, to know that I am strong enough to leave a relationship that isn't working for me. To do this, I need a high level of self-esteem and I must be used to treating myself well. Moonlight and roses just don't cut it for me anymore - not if that's all there is.
Copyright © 2004 by Thelma Mariano
About The Author
Thelma Mariano, life coach and author, is dedicated to bringing clarity and direction to people's lives. See her on-line coaching programs, articles and column at http://www.u-unlimited.ca.
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