July 30, 2020


by Janet Tingwald in Dating, Relationship

When it comes to love and relationships, the #1 thing we all want is to be able to feel safe and secure in our relationship. We want to be able to trust that the other person will never hurt us.  

Several years ago, at the end of a date, I had invited the gentleman back to my place. We were on the couch making out (I was very physically attracted to him). As men will do, he was trying to “move the evening along.” And, while I was interested, something inside me made me stop and look at him and say, “I don’t know if I can trust you.” He in turn looked me straight in the eye and said, “Then what am I doing here in your house?”

It wasn’t just a light bulb that went on; it was more like the bright, glaring sun after being in a dark room all day, and, metaphorically getting smacked between the eyes by a 2 x 4. All of a sudden it hit me. I had a habit of placing the responsibility of not hurting me on the men I dated! I was making them responsible for protecting my feelings.

In that moment, I got that my heart, my safety, was my responsibility. For some reason, I had thought I could go through life and others would take care of my feelings! It was their fault if I got hurt.

Until that moment, I didn’t even know I thought that. I thought I had good boundaries and was a strong independent woman and in many ways I was.  But, I didn’t really know how to trust. So I, (this word is still hard to swallow for me) was unknowingly being a victim. I was giving up my power.

I often hear from women, “How can I trust again.” Or, “How do I know if I can trust him?”

What I now know is in order to be able to trust others, you have to be able to trust yourself first.  

First, let me explain a little bit about what I mean by trusting yourself first. I needed to trust that I would speak up for myself. By this point I knew about boundaries and what mine were. I just wasn’t good at saying them. This often left me beating myself up because I did it again.  I needed to trust myself not to deny red flags when I saw them. I often stayed way too long. I also needed to know that I trusted myself to leave a relationship when I knew it wasn’t right for me. Let me put it another way: I needed to know that I would make good decisions and protect my heart as well as my mind and body. Instead I often was crying to my girlfriends, “Look what he did to me!”   

What happens when you can trust yourself? It frees you up to meet the man in front of you instead of projecting the responsibility of your previous wounds on him. It gives you confidence to be yourself. In other words, don’t judge every man you meet by what the previous man did.

And, when you meet that right man because you have the confidence to trust yourself, and really give him a chance, it creates safety for the man in your life, and he relaxes and opens up more emotionally.

So the next time you’re with a man and find yourself wondering if you can trust him, check in with yourself first and ask this question: Do I trust myself to take care of my heart?

One Comment

  1. Crystal R Guilliams
    July 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    That’s a really good way to look at it. It puts the responsibility of taking care of your well being on your shoulders instead of the man when it’s not his responsibility to take on.

    1. Janet Tingwald
      July 31, 2020 at 4:32 am

      Crystal, You got it! It’s certainly not meant to ever excuse or put up with bad behavior, just to ask for something different or move on. It’s true that we teach people how to treat us. Thanks for the comment!!

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