Trust = Love?

There's a great song called Leaving Tonight by Neyo featuring Jennifer Hudson (of both American Idol and Dreamgirls fame). The very first thing Neyo says in the song is:
I believe that love & trust are one in the same/I don't think you can truly love someone unless you trust them/That blind trust, beyond a shadow of a doubt/No matter what this person say or that person/You believe your man
And I've heard this song a lot... but for some reason, these lines struck me (probably because, as this blog shows, I've been evaluating relationships a whole lot as of late). I get what he's saying and really, he's referencing a dating relationship. His point is, and you gather this as the song goes on, that you can't love your significant other if at every turn you're second-guessing everything they do. Searching for proof that they are not who they say they are. If you've been burned in relationships before, trust doesn't come easy. And if you're like me, and you know how ugly people can be in relationships, then trust really doesn't come easy. I do, however, like to believe that I am capable of rising above what I've seen and giving each new person a chance... I digress, however...

Can you love someone and not trust them?

My ex did me badly. I've referenced him before and I'll probably continue to reference him. I'd like to take a side-bar here and make a note: My relationship with this particular guy has all but completely shaped how I view a lot of things. How I felt, then and feel now contribute heavily to my perspective on love and relationships, even non-sexual ones. While he will not go down in history as my only relationship, he will go down as the first one that I was serious about and the first one to break my heart. So while I hope that I never spend an entire post on him and our relationship, I imagine that after a while, the story will be told through my various postings.

In any case, he did me badly and I don't trust him. I don't trust him for a few reasons, but at this point it's mostly because he hasn't earned my trust back. Not that he's trying to. In fact he isn't. We both know that what is currently happening in our lives is far more important than us (I can admit that, and though he knows that inside, he'd never admit it) or our history. In any case, I still love him because everyone has that "one" and he's mine and so I'll love him forever. But I don't trust him. I don't trust him one bit. When we do communicate, I take most of what he says, especially in reference to me/us with a grain of salt. Most of it, I let go in one ear and out the other. I do that to keep myself sane because if I trusted what he said to me, I'd be one of those girls... and you know what I'm talking about... So when we do talk (and that's less and less these days) I talk, he talks and we get off the phone and I don't (well, I TRY not to) think twice about it. Cause I don't feel like I can really glean any new information from what he's said.

I do love him. Always will, I imagine. I think this is the part of the post where I differentiate between being in love and just loving someone, but... I don't have time for that and I feel like anyone who doesn't know the difference, doesn't know because they've never been in love and so even if I try to explain it... it won't register. In any case, I love my ex and don't trust him and as far as I can tell that's how things will be.

Further, take a moment and ask yourself: "of the people I genuinely love, be it a fraternal type or romantic type of love, is it BECAUSE I trust them, or because of something else?" Family doesn't count, because you get who you get and whether you love 'em or not, you got 'em. Friends, et al... on the other hand are people hand-picked by us for us (and some of us, based on the friends we choose, don't like ourselves, but that's another post) so of the friends you have that you love (and no, just 'cause they're a friend, that doesn't mean you love them) why do you?

I asked myself that question (hence this post) and while I don't have a definite for absolutely everyone, I do know that "cause I trust them" wasn't my first thought. Take my BFF for example, J, I love him. I love him on a very platonic but very deep level. I love him like I imagine one loves a close brother (being an only child, I have to make assumptions about these types of things) and I DO trust him. Most likely more than anyone else. He was the first person I let drive my car without spending the ensuing time freaking out about the worst-case scenario. I trust him enough that if he called me up right now and asked me for $1,000 (I don't have that much money, but go with me) I'd give it to him without ever asking when I'd get it back. I trust him like that and there's not many non-familial people I trust that way. BUT, when I considered why I love him, how much I trust him never factored in.

Or even my friend B. Love her like a sister. I've entrusted her with my car (though, I have to admit, it wasn't an easy 2-hrs I spent waiting to get it back), told her private things and trusted her to keep them a secret (which so far, it seems like she's done a good job) but these aren't the reasons I care about her and love her. I mean, let's not discount the value trust brings to any relationship and you surely can't have a functioning relationship with no trust (see my relationship with my ex) but the lack of trust we have doesn't mean I don't love him and the fact that I trust J and B doesn't absolutely mean I do love them... or does it?

Is it possible that while I love my ex sans trust, that I actually DO love J and B because I can trust them? I mean, at one point, I did trust my ex and as time went on, the history we formed and the shared experiences gave me other reasons to love him. I love him now in the way many women love the father of their children. They don't particularly care for their ex-boyfriend/husband, but they do care about the man who helped bring their child in the world. I don't have kids with my ex but I did A LOT of growing up and maturing and self-understanding while I was with him and in some ways because of him. I know a lot more about myself now because of that relationship and while our relationship was NOT healthy (mentioned that before) there have been some good things to come of it. So, in part because I have that through him, I love him.

But I've learned a lot about myself and been encouraged and supported and helped in ways I wasn't with my ex through my relationships with J and B -- so is it not, arguably, all the same? Trust may be a GREAT factor about my relationships that work but it's not the end all be all.

So I guess the new question is, could I have the good relationships with these people (J and B are serving as the case studies, though rest assured there are more) if we lost trust? Hmm... gut instinct tells me that the relationship would be VERY different... and the original question here isn't about whether or not trust is necessary to have a good relationship (which is what I think Neyo is REALLY saying) but rather if trust is necessary to love someone. And so yes, if one of them did something to betray my trust, I'd still love them. I wouldn't trust them as much (that's putting it nicely) but I would still love them. The fact that there was a betrayal of trust doesn't negate the history I share with both of them.

So yes. Trust is quite possibly the most important factor (I always say it's communication, but that, again, is another post) in making a relationship work, but it isn't necessary to have trust in order to love someone. Perhaps trust is the beginning of why you love someone, but to paraphrase a saying I can never quote just right, "If you stop loving someone, then you never really loved them." or as my ex often quotes "True love lasts a lifetime." and I hate it when he says that, but that's because I know he's right...

What is love is the next question but I don't even know if I'm ready to tackle that. LOL.

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