The simple answer is YES! I was too trusting. But the question is, has it ruined my trust in men forever?
In my opinion, trust is fundamental to any relationship, whether an intimate sexual relationship, or the relationship you have with friends, family, colleagues, professionals and so on.
I am a very trusting person and I will always give people the benefit of the doubt even if I have prior knowledge of previous behaviour or actions from other people, I like to make my own conclusions and surround myself with loyal people. You can read my full story here, but for now I just want to concentrate on the element of trust in a marriage or relationship with a partner.
When I first met my ex-husband he was a breath of fresh air. I had been single for 2 and half years and thrown myself in deep with my beloved career. I didn’t notice his flirtatiousness or shyness around me, neither did I realise that he would wait in the company car park each morning just to appear as though we had arrived at the same time so we could walk in to work together. He was 3 years my junior, very tall, dark and handsome – piercing blue eyes and a very gentle scouse accent – what wasn’t to like? He had come straight from university to start as an intern at my place of work. By this point I was part of the senior design team and part of a larger team to which he had now joined. Although a massive cliche – we had a drunken snog on a works night out – to which I felt embarrassed and felt I had been a tad unprofessional!
Anyway, we began to date, which turned quite serious very quickly. I met his parents and his sister quite early on and some of his friends back home in the Wirral, but for him, the main event would be when I met his friends from University. He had explained that at uni, he had lived with mainly girls, one gay lad and one strange but very-much hetero-sexual lad. It didn’t bother me that he lived with girls at all. He shared photos and memories of his time at uni and none of the stories gave me any cause for concern that he had feelings for any of the girls he lived with, they were like extended family to him.
At 27 I was a particularly confident girl. I loved my body even though I was a size 16, I loved my job, my home, my friends, my family… but I loved him more. After nearly a year together I made the decision to move with him from the Midlands where my entire life was to the Wirral. This is where he grew up, all his friends are and his parents. We lived with his parents for 10 months before finding a place to rent in the sunny capital of the Wirral, Birkenhead!
He always talked so fondly of ‘the girls’ and finally he arranged for them to come and stay with us for the weekend. They were all a couple of years younger than me, but I felt confident in my own skin and confident with the progress he and I were making in our relationship. The one I was most keen to impress was Charlotte, his ‘best’ friend (not her real name, obvs!). They arrived to the house, 5 girls and 1 guy. The house was buzzing with excitement as the uni friends were all reunited. I felt an instant connection with some of the girls, we had similar sense of humour and I felt comfortable in their company. By the end of their stay we were all friends on Facebook and were looking to arrange the next weekend together.
During our 6 year relationship, he went off to reunions at the girls houses and away for trips several times a year and they also returned to visit me a couple of times. My friends thought I was ABSOLUTELY INSANE to ‘let’ him go away and stay with these girls on his own, but I TRUSTED HIM. The girls gave me no feeling that I shouldn’t trust him and always praised me for acting so cool as their boyfriends and friends of theirs would never be so trusting. I always assured my friends that if he was going to sleep with one of them he would have done it at uni as they spent 3 years living together. If he was going to be with anyone it would have been Gemma, she is a beautiful girl inside and out, such a caring and calming nature… but by the way Gemma acted around him I knew she wasn’t interested.
He rang ‘his girls’ in the week or at weekends and would text and email them during the day at work. He never hid this and would talk to them whilst in the same room as me. I knew the password on his phone and he would never hide his phone or stop me from using it. We shared a computer and he never hid his Facebook log-in or other messengers – they were all there for me to see. May be because he was so open, I never felt the need to check anything. I was never suspicious of a phone call to Charlotte or a text from Vicky as I had met them, they liked me and they called me their friend.
Our Wedding Day was fantastic. All our friends and family celebrating with us. All of his girls and guys and their partners came up for a few days and joined us in celebrating. His best friend Charlotte read a poem at our ceremony that he had chosen for her to read to me. I embraced her and the girls in to my life as I knew he came as package deal with his friends.
So how did I feel when I found that he and Charlotte had betrayed me? That after welcoming her and her boyfriend in to my home and in to my life that my husband and his best friend Charlotte would betray me in what seemed to be the cruelest and most intricately planned betrayal?
At the time it was like my entire world had imploded. I remember not being able to breathe. I felt my whole life had been ripped away from me by two people I trusted. This put my last 6 years in to question – I questioned my behaviour and actions – why was I so trusting? – was I insane to let him go away with her? – should I be like my friends and start an argument if any other girl was EVER mentioned? – was I too trusting to let her stay with us for days on end when she split from her boyfriend, allowing her and my ex to have time alone together in my own house? – I drove myself nuts thinking about all the times they had ‘possibly’ shared a bed, been away together, cuddled on my sofa… I felt physically sick to be honest. Still to this day after all they put me through, I feel a piece of me died… my confidence.
For the last 3 years I have been working on building my confidence in myself back up again. It was my choice to let their actions temporarily destroy the strong and confident girl I was. It was my choice to allow what they had planned for me consume my every waking moment. So it is now my choice to tell you that after all of the heart-ache, loss of confidence and complete loss of trust in anyone, man or woman, that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hurrah!
I have THE most amazing friends and family who have supported me through all of this. I have had some very short relationships since my divorce and I would say that YES my trust in men has been destroyed… but I know in my heart that this is just temporary. I know what I want in a relationship now, I know trust is key, so if it’s not there I know it is not right for me – I am also aware of the need to communicate in a relationship without it being confrontational. Instead of suffering in silence about how I feel about my partner and their relationships with other women, I can be confident in what I have to offer the world and I have learnt how to deal with this kind of situation without becoming a psycho or a stalker! I have also learned that trust needs to be mutual, they need to trust me too, so I would make every effort to make my partner feel confident, loved and secure in our relationship.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your trust has been compromised, don’t dwell on it and don’t dwell on that person – either talk to that person in a calm and adult manner and rebuild your relationship with that person or bring the relationship to a conclusion that is right and healthy for you. It’s ok to be trusting, it’s actually a nice quality to have, but there is a difference in being trusting and being a door mat… I was a door mat for far too long… It’s time for a fresh start.