Trust is a big deal to me. I thought I could trust my ex. After all, I had known him since high school, had unrestricted access to his iPhone and he followed through with his promises.
Oh, except those that had to do with not stealing from your spouse or marrying more than one person at a time.
Obviously, I was on high alert when I started dating again after divorce. One con man husband is enough, thank you.
Hindsight being what it is, I was able to be aware of certain (often subtle) signs that indicate a trustworthy person when I started dating.
You Have Access
I thought I had access in my first marriage. After all, his phone was always out and never unlocked. I was welcomed, even encouraged, to use it, especially because I did not have a smart phone of my own. Of course, he knew I had access to that phone. He either partitioned it, hiding the lies from my keystrokes or, most likely, had a second phone for his second life. I had access, but it was carefully controlled access.
Brock was different. He left me alone in his house early on in our relationship. His phone is locked, but I know there is only one and it or its screen is never hidden. The most important access was that to his friends; he encouraged me to get to know them on my own, not knowing what stories they may tell. There’s no sense of hiding. Of controlling what is seen and what is hidden. It all hangs out.
He/She Reveals the Bad
Be suspicious when someone’s stories always paint him or her in a positive light. Be extra cautious if blame is always pointed elsewhere. Revealing the bad demonstrates that the person is willing to face and accept reality. It indicates they take responsibility for their actions and choices. And it also means they are willing to confide their weaknesses rather than trying to hide them behind a mask.
Friends Stay Around
When I look back at my ex’s life, he tended to have friends for a season. They all seemed to drift away or he would have some reason to cut contact. Now, I realize that the lies became too much to uphold in certain cases and he had to sever the ties.
A trustworthy person tends to have friends that stay around. Look for loyalty on both sides.
He/She Trusts You
Deceivers and manipulators often assume others are like them. If your partner trusts you, it can be a sign that they can also be trusted. On the flipside, also look out for people that seem to trust too easiliy. They may be pretending for your benefit.
Proof That Isn’t Presented
My ex’s stories always had proof. But that proof was carefully laid out or presented for my benefit. It was too neat. Too perfect. A real story will usually have evidence to support it, but the evidence may not be immediately clear or obvious. Trust but verify and approach carefully wrapped proof with a healthy dose of skepticism.
When asked if he wanted to sample a cookie from a shop in the mall, my then-teenage boyfriend replied, “No thanks. I’m diabetic.” He wasn’t. What he was was a lier. Watch out for people that tell those little fibs with ease. They may be practicing for something greater.
All relationships have issues. If you want a trustworthy spouse, look for one that will address matters of concern head-on. After all, lies are meant to deflect, hide or redirect. So pay attention to someone who exhibits those tendencies.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees that your partner is not lying to you. But pay attention, listen to your gut and trust your instincts and you’ll be okay.
And THAT’S the truth!