Seems like an easy enough question, but can you really trust love? Believing in the concept of love is usually not a problem, but for some of us, trusting the love you have is real and will not lead to pain or disappointment can be very difficult. Love triggers fears about ourselves and others and makes us question our worthiness of such an amazing gift.
Many things that happen in our past that work against us when it comes to experiencing and trusting love. In our early childhood, the relationship we have with our parents leaves a lasting impact on our sense of self and self-worth. Whether your parent was present or absent, critical or supportive, over-protective and controlling or respectful of a healthy distance, it impacts your attachment style and your beliefs about your intrinsic worth. If we lack a secure attachment style we can experience anxiety in our relationships (anxious or avoidant attachment styles) and become reluctant to trust in the love we receive. Although we are also influenced by friends and role models as well as the media, our strongest imprint is that of our parents or caregivers.
Yet even when you possess a secure attachment style, it does not guarantee success in love. We are only ever 50% of our love equation. Your partner’s upbringing, self-esteem and fears also come into play. Often, when in love, we can overlook traits and behaviors in our partner that lead to problems in our relationship with them and experience pain as a result. When this happens we inadvertently decrease our trust in “love” when the actual cause for our pain had little to do with real love. This is one reason why it is so important to know yourself and to the take time to allow your partner to reveal themselves to you.
When people suffer pain from a significant relationship in their past it can dramatically impact their ability to trust in love. Abuse, broken trust and a host of other hurtful disappointments can lead to significant pain and fears that become intrenched. Unless we take the time to understand the dynamics that lead to an unhealthy union or created the departure from a healthy union, we may inadvertently find ourselves in another unhealthy relationship. Understanding yourself and your partner, accepting what is versus what was hoped for, establishing clearer boundaries, and healing through forgiveness and self-love is critical. When we suffer through a painful break-up we may also fear the same painful result in our future relationships. Our primal fear to avoid pain can drive us to choose “safe” relationships or even avoid love altogether in an effort to insulate and protect from any possible future pain. But, unfortunately, this will ultimately only prevent us from finding and experiencing a truly fulfilling relationship.
Another common false belief is that the hopes and dreams we attached to one person are forever gone once the relationship is over. Fortunately, the truth is, we are the founders and keepers of our hopes and dreams. We choose with whom we share our hopes and dreams, and if they opt out at any point, we lose nothing. Our hopes and dreams remain intact. We simply need time to heal from our loss of a connection with that person and move forward to share our hopes and dreams with another. In reality, whenever we are in a relationship we can only do our best to share ourselves and our lives. When we find love, we imagine it will last forever and that that “forever” means our partner will forever share our views and goals. But as individuals, this is rarely the case. People and relationships are in a constant state of change. We can grow together or apart through no “fault” of either party.
So, can you trust love? Yes, absolutely. However it is very important to understand what love is and is not. It is equally important to understand that our fears do not equate to valid reasons to give up on trusting love. If your trust in love has been shaken by your past experiences, choose to learn why, and how you can heal and make wiser choices in the future. Every relationship ends. Some may last a lifetime while others teach us a great deal in just a short period of time. Nothing we do can guarantee that our relationships will not end in disappointment. We are constantly learning and growing. Yet the better we know and trust ourselves, and we take the time to know our partner and let love grow, the better chance we will have to experience real love and know the full value of trusting in love regardless of the outcome.
Join in the discussion in our comments section. We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.