To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.     George MacDonald

I wrote in Domination, submission and Trust that I believe that trust is vital in any relationship.  It is one of the cornerstones and without it the relationship will soon start to crumble.  In the same way, if you don’t trust, then the relationship can’t really progress. But trusting in someone, especially when you have been let down previously can feel risky. It is also difficult to know who and when to trust. Of course, really the only way to find out if someone can be trusted is to trust them and see what happens.

There are elements which would usually lead to feeling like a person would be trustworthy and often this is based on their authenticity. Commonly accepted characteristics of an authentic person are:

  1. Having realistic perceptions of reality.
  2. Accepting themselves and other people.
  3. Being thoughtful.
  4. Having a non-hostile sense of humour
  5. Being able to express their emotions freely and clearly.
  6. Being open to learning from their mistakes.
  7. Understanding their motivations.

Obviously it is far more complex in a relationship than going through a simple checklist, but over time you begin to get a feel for how authentic, and therefore, how trustworthy a person seems to be. The things that they choose to share with you will be a big part of this as that will allow you not only to see them for who they are, but also to gain a sense of mutual risk and give and take. You become entwined with each other and it serves an emotional, as well as a practical purpose.

There are two types of trust: Cognitive trust which is based on the knowledge and evidence you have that someone is trustworthy, and affective trust which comes from the emotional tie and connections generated by your interactions with them. I guess that really one is from the head and one the heart. I trust HL because he is my husband, I know him well, and he has promised to take care of me. But I also trust him because we have shared intimate thoughts and moments which increase my connection to him.

In this way, over time, if trust is adhered to then it will grow stronger and the risks we take in trusting the other person will grow greater. The way it works means that the other person will see the level of trust we have placed in them in a cognitive sense and in turn this will increase the affective trust in they place in us as a result. In my previous post I made the point in a Dominant submissive relationship trust is tested almost every day. This allows us to be more vulnerable and to take more risks which strengthens the bond further.

If trust is broken then this can be huge in terms of the effect it has on us. It usually makes us feel vulnerable and angry and may lead us to question whether we can trust again. The deeper the trust, the bigger the violation, and probably the greater the effect will be. While to be trusted may be a greater compliment than to be loved, trust also plays a part in love. When we feel love, we tend to trust too and vice versa. The emotional side of trust will lead to a feeling of love that will further the trust that you place in the other person so if that is broken, you may need to focus on the cognitive side and building that back up again.

At the end of the day, trust is vital for any strong relationship as it allows it to have a future. It allows us to take the risks that we need to grow and provides the safety and support that we all crave at times. To have someone trust you is a huge compliment and often it is one which becomes reciprocal. The level of trust that HisLordship and I place in each other is huge but the connection that comes from that is also significant. It allows us to demonstrate to each other our commitment by openly communicating our needs. and putting the needs of the other first.