When we say we trust someone, do we mean that we have faith in their integrity, or do we mean we have faith in our ability to predict their behaviour?
One of the most disorientating things the former Herr Behn said to me was I do not trust you any more. When I challenged this he said I do not trust your judgement. For want of a better way of putting it, he trusted my inputs but wanted to be able to predict my outputs. (We were geeks. Sorry).
That was eight years ago, but I’ve been thinking about the nature of trust in relationships a lot recently. The partner of a friend of mine caused upset and ruckus recently by playing an away game. My friend was shaking, not just with anger and shock and a sense of betrayal, but also with the realisation that a relationship which at times felt too good to be true had turned out to be just that. It’s tough when you turn round to yourself and say I told you so.
More or less simultaneously, I have got to the point when I can pack up and send some books and a valedictory letter off to a guy whose final words to me, in the middle of February, were I’ll ring you next week.
The one thing that was solidly certain during our relationship was that, no matter what happened and what didn’t happen, he would never ever be deliberately cruel to me. I knew that there would be an ocean of hurt, but no cruelty.
My sense of reeling dislocation this spring was not just because I was betrayed by someone else; it was also caused by letting my own expectations run away with me.
Ultimately it was because I had to come to terms with the realisation that I have little or no ability to predict how another person will behave.
So far, I lack the generosity of spirit to thank him for that revelation.