Straight Talk Blog

Part 1: Trust Again? Yeah, Right… How?

Part 1 Trust Again? Yeah, Right...How?

By Kristin Kalbli

A few weeks ago, I threw a $9 tube of under-eye concealer in my cart at the grocery store. (For the guys and the make-up illiterate, under-eye concealer is the stuff that makes you look like you actually got sleep last night). Anyway, I went through the self-checkout line and when I scanned the eye cream, the thingy didn’t beep, but I dropped the concealer in my bag anyway. Once I was out of the store, an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach prompted me to check the receipt, and sure enough, the eye cream was not on it. I kept walking toward my car, and the uncomfortable feeling grew, and grew, and grew. “Dammit! I can’t even steal a $9 tube of makeup from Giant Grocery Corporation!” I turned around, went back in, told the self-checkout monitor guy that the concealer didn’t scan and that I owed him $9. “Meh,” he said, and handed it to me anyway.

There’s a reason I’m telling this story. I promise I’ll get to it.

As many of us know, trusting again after learning our partners have kept a part of their identity hidden (for whatever reason), or have kept their behavior secret or have been unfaithful, is no small task. To me, recovering the ability to trust works on three levels: there is the challenge of learning to trust other people not to deceive or betray us. And then there is the challenge of learning to trust ourselves to discern when we are being deceived or betrayed. But before any of that, there is the challenge of trusting ourselves not to deceive and betray ourselves.

When I look back at what lead me into a marriage with a closeted gay man, and what lead me to stay for twelve years, I see a lot of self-deception and self-betrayal. No, I didn’t know he was gay, and I didn’t know he was closeted or that I was in the closet with him. But I did sense something was off, and I did settle for a marriage and a sex life that was a pale shadow of what I longed for. I deceived myself that our marriage was actually good, and that we were best friends, and that he loved me. And I betrayed myself by suppressing and second guessing myself and the niggling doubt that haunted me. I made my doubt wrong and made myself wrong for having it. (How could I be a good wife if I doubted my good husband?) I can confess this without the slightest bit of self-blame or self-beat-up. I did what many of us are taught to do from the time we are little: second guess ourselves, deprioritize ourselves, negate ourselves, doubt ourselves, deceive ourselves and betray ourselves.

We do this for all kinds of reasons: to be “good,” whatever that means, to do the “right thing,” to fit in, to rebel against what everyone else is trying to fit into, to make others happy, to follow our religion or faith, and on and on. The reasons for self-negation are endless.

Well, that nonsense has got to stop. If we are to heal, really and truly heal, heal to the point where we can love again and trust others again, we have to begin to build a foundation of trust in ourselves.

And I have a hack: integrity.

In short, there is no trust where there is no integrity. That goes for our partners, but it goes for us too.

What is integrity, you ask? For me, it’s simple: integrity is when actions align with words.

It’s taken me years to understand integrity, and I’m still practicing, I’m still learning and failing. I still feel the pull to take short cuts, to jump the line, to sneak a $9 tube of makeup out of a grocery store. But I also feel a sickness in my gut when I do that. And that sickness in my gut is everything. I ignore it at my own peril. Ignoring that sickness in our guts leads to all kinds of mischief. For me it lead to staying in a marriage with a closeted gay man far longer than was good for me. It led to me betraying myself.

And, I’ll say it again, that nonsense needs to stop. So yes, while we lament the lack of integrity in spouses or partners who may have hid a part or all of themselves from us, or hid behavior from us, or betrayed us, we must cultivate our own integris relationship with ourselves first; we have to keep our word to ourselves.

How do we do that? That’s coming in part 2 next week. But in the meantime, you can check out this week’s OurVoices Podcast featuring Dr. Debi Silber, founder of the Post Betrayal Transformation Institute and author of Trust Again. We talk about what happens to us when there has been intimate partner betrayal, and how we move through it and learn to trust all over again. You can listen to the podcast here.

And come back next week for Part 2: “Trust Others? Yeah, Right…How?”


3 responses to “Part 1: Trust Again? Yeah, Right… How?”

  1. Vincent says:

    Excuse me for this please. The trust I invested in 27 years of marriage to a closeted bi/pan woman,
    Is plenty. Plenty is enough. It’s clear that I have a unhealthy relationship with trust and I’m divorcing it. Mistrust is my new companion . Again, my apologies.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m married 28 years and had no idea my husband was gay. I found out he was on several dating sites and he continues to lie to me. He physically cheated on me recently and I asked him to move out. I don’t know how I will heal from the betrayal or ever trust anyone again.

  3. Mel says:

    How are you doing since…I am in the same boat married 24 years saving money so we can divorce in the next few months..very devastating..hope you are doing better

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