Trusting Men – Why It Can Be So Hard

Dear Karen,

How do I know (really) if and when I can trust this guy I’ve been dating? — Virgine, CA

Dear Virgine,

When a woman talks with me about trust issues with her man, or men in general, we often end up talking about the level of trust she has in herself.  After all, you cannot give that which you do not have. 

Have you ever noticed that we tend to treat others the way we treat ourselves?  So it stands to reason that if we’re only willing to trust ourselves if the desired outcome is guaranteed, that’s how we’ll treat others.

Here’s the rub: conditional trust isn’t really trust. It’s a limited, carefully negotiated and tenuous arrangement, mostly dependent on a certain end result.  

When it comes to successful relationships with men, it is critical that we’re able to give our trust to them.

This includes giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming the best motives or intentions, especially when things don’t turn out the way we’d hoped.

Men Thrive With our Trust and Generosity of Spirit

When you choose (and it IS a choice) to trust, you are basically agreeing with the definition of trust as it appears in the dictionary: “Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing”.

Note that the definition doesn’t include anything about being perfect, infallible, never making an error in judgment, never having a bad or scared day, or never making a mistake.

(This pertains to men that are basically trustworthy. I am not referring to addicts, cheats, etc., so don’t try what we’re talking about with a man who has proven himself to be untrustworthy, as defined above.)

An interesting phenomenon is actually at play in many relationships where trust is either conditional or non-existent: the closer a woman gets to what she’s really looking for in a man/relationship, the more something else takes over:


Also known as: False Evidence Appearing Real…or: Forget Everything And Run!
As you can imagine, this can bring about any number of responses…most of them, counter-productive.

“You Can’t Fire Me; I Quit”

Many otherwise sane and wonderful women, faced with the relationship of their dreams, may be so scared that they try to exit stage-left; they look for reasons to create distance from their man, perhaps by picking fights or zeroing in on evidence that “proves” that the man is not trustworthy.

The purpose: to “save” her from danger.

The outcome: creating the very thing she’s trying to save herself from, which is…

…being rejected and ending up alone.

By recognizing when fear-based actions are taking control, you gain the power to stop acting on your fears and open up the opportunity to build trust in yourself, your man and your relationship.

If you can learn to trust yourself and to trust your man, you will be giving both of you an amazing gift…one that will enhance the quality of your love, and of your life, in a way that will amaze you.