We prattle on in blogs, books, boards, and conversations about trust being the most important aspect of developing a dynamic, finding a play partner, and being a “good” fill in the blank. But is it really? Where does trust come from? It certainly does not just happen. Like a bad rash it creeps up on us over time. Insinuating itself into our psyche often without us understanding how it got there.
Trust comes from many things, but in my opinion, mostly from being consistent. In our actions, words, honesty, and temperament being consistent with our partner becomes the foundation of trust. Can we have trust without it?
If we have a dog, and that dog tries to bite us every time we touch its head, can we not trust it to do so again, the next time around? In the reverse, if we have a partner who consistently corrects us each time we say we are not attractive, smart, or capable could we not believe they would rise to the occasion the next time? Simply put trust is built on the back of, “if A happens, B will follow,” generally without fail. Trust is a personal connection combined with having faith in another person to act in a manner to which we have become accustomed.
If for some reason, we put ourselves down and our aforementioned partner does not correct us what happens? Our brain registers alarm and we begin looking for why. Did they not hear me? Are they not paying attention? They acted differently than expected.
When we meet a new person and begin vetting them, the general expectation is that they will be honest with us. If we find them not to be, again alarm. They have acted outside of our expectation and set a new one. The old adage, “once a liar always a liar,” comes to mind. After that point we are forever wondering if what they tell us is the truth.
If we run across enough liars in the vetting process, our general expectation of people changes. All people lie. So the next person we vet starts in a hole which others have dug for them.
For good or ill an expectation is set, regardless of the expected behavior being positive or negative. Trust can be a positive and or a negative thing.
If Trust can be Positive or Negative, Why Does it Matter?
Evolution has built us to identify different, as bad. Something different means potential danger. Over time we can become accustomed to many things, even horrible happenings in our lives and they become “normal” to us because they have been consistently happening to us.
It is why sometimes people who are abused, stay with their abusers. They know what is going on is not healthy for them, even potentially deadly. But they have become accustomed to their reality and can trust the outcomes of each day. Even if that outcome is a black eye, or worse. Evolution is working against them. The devil you know……
The opposite is also true.
Trust matters because it is a building block. The foundation of the structure built upon it. What we are really looking for in lifestyle dynamics is trust built from positive outcomes. That is the differentiator between a healthy and unhealthy dynamic. To get there, to build that, we need consistently positive experiences.
Of course, there are going to be bumps or things which we do wrong at times, eroding that positive consistency. Hopefully, we have deposited more in the positive bank than the negative. This gives us a head start for when things really go wrong.
What Happens When our Bank Suddenly Overdrafts?
That really depends not on the partner in the wrong, but the partner who has been wronged and their expectations of themselves. Let’s face it, bad things will happen, hopefully not often. When they do, that is likely to late to decide if you are really committed to the relationship.
To survive these events, the consistent expectation of ourselves should have been a foregone conclusion. Before our world gets turned upside down the attitude of, “I will stick,” can make all the difference in the world. It does not matter what cowpie my partner steps in, as long as the relationship is not toxic, I decided long ago that staying committed is the only option. No matter what, we would find a way through it.
It may really suck getting through it, but we both have already decided the outcome to be positive.
Without that consistent personal attitude toward ourselves, we allow doubt to creep in. Doubt prevents us from seeking truth and encourages us to assign blame. Blame never solved anything.
How Do I Get to Being Consistent?
Practice, a lot of it, and holding each other accountable. If one of us breaks the expectations, the other better be saying something. If one of us does something great, we should be expressing our appreciation. It becomes a way of life, a technique we weave into our communication, and an expectation in and of itself. Which, if done well, is appreciated.
It takes the ability to keep an open mind, not jumping to conclusions, and really listening and discussing what is going on. Not assigning blame but finding fact in an effort to design solutions. This no-fault attitude toward communication and accountability frees both partners to be open about more than just what we need to be consistent at but also provides the platform to discuss those things which are extremely difficult. All of which improves open and consistent communication.
Having written expectations, rules, and consequences (good and bad) aids in being consistent also. If we have a primer to follow, we are more likely to use it rather than wing it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we have to wing it, we cannot plan for everything. Yet that document allows us to temper the way we respond, going back to what we have agreed to, before deciding what to do. If gives us time to cool down and think about what is reasonable rather than acting rashly and maybe out of emotion.
Rash action is the enemy of consistency and trust. It almost never serves you well.
How Do We Benefit?
Learning to be consistent in how we treat our partner, and others, not only breeds trust but also confidence in them and ourselves. It becomes a launchpad for ideas because we know that if something we plan for a scene, or even life, goes horribly wrong the outcome will be a combined effort to get back to, “us,” not the destruction of us. What an incredible place to be, knowing that we can explore things which may be vastly difficult, and possibly even dangerous (regarding kink), knowing that our partner will see it through with us, no matter the outcome.
Is that not what most of us really want? That consistent person to explore with? The knowledge that tomorrow really is a forgone conclusion?
Of course, we cannot stop what fate has in store for us. But we can plan for the way we will react to it. Every time we react consistently committed to each other, and toward each other, the stronger that commitment and trust becomes.
The rabbit hole is bottomless. All you have to do is decide to take the dive together, knowing if and when the bottom is found, it will be found together.
Consistency gives us a gift. The freedom to be exactly who we are with each other, without judgement.