Trust In Relationships

We learn to trust early in infancy; trusting we will be fed, diapers changed; that we will be kept comfortable and comforted. We learn to trust from our parents, our families and our teachers. We grow up and form relationships, in part all based on the level of trust we have learned from these fine folks. Eventually most of us marry.  We join with a partner, a husband or wife and build a partnership on trust. Or do we? 

Are we “building trust” or building walls with those most important to us?

Statistics will tell us walls are being built, and wars have been waged. Our society has a 67%+ divorce rate.  It is more common or “normal” to divorce than to stay married!  As a society we are not building trust in our most important of relationships…And Why not? because most folks just haven’t learned how.

In his newest book: “The Science of Trust-Emotional Attunement for Couples[i]” John Gottman Ph.D. reveals the “how” of trusting as well as the many subtle forms of betrayal that go on in relationship…  

From his book: “A committed romantic relationship is a contract of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual protection, and mutual nurturance.” (The Science of Trust: p 350)

Dr. Gottman has spent the last 30 years researching ‘couples’. He has developed a theory of marital discord and happiness and with great accuracy can predict divorce or a happy marriage!  Quite simply this remarkable research has led to the development of simple tools that work. There is a science of trust and there are specific components that are inherent in trust, trusting and being trustworthy.

In the article that follows I will share the components of trust and how to build trust. I will also share from Gottman’s “The Science of Trust” the 12 specific ways (other than sexual infidelity) that betrayal shows up in relationships.

You have the opportunity to build love and intimacy instead of walls and wars. You, how you are and what you do matters!  And, as you may already know, loving always works better.  

Trust is the deliberate and delicate balance between hope, belief and reliance.[ii] We are always trusting ourselves and others: sometimes poorly, sometimes adequately and sometimes magnificently! It is the hinge to love,

 

caring and intimacy. Trust cannot be nurtured in a relationship beset with betrayal.

Trust like love, is a verb. When we trust we ‘rely’ on something or someone we are trusting. When we can be relied upon we are being trustworthy. The action of relying upon is inherent in ‘trusting’; we are or we are not ‘trusting’ at some level.

Here are the 4 Components of Trust[iii].

  1. 1.    There must be a beneficial and a harmful result possible.  When we ‘risk’ trusting we are hoping for a potentially beneficial outcome over the possibility of a harmful result. If you tell a friend a secret, the hope is that you can trust your friend to keep the secret rather than to reveal it. If you form a business partnership or marry there is the possibility of beneficial or harmful results.
  2. 2.    The result of risking and trusting depends upon the future.   Whether it is a friend keeping a secret, a partner keeping an agreement or fidelity in marriage, the outcomes are in the future.
  3. 3.    The harm must be potentially more harmful than the benefit is beneficial. Why does this matter?  It has to do with the emotional payoff involved!  When we bet on a horse or play the lottery the belief that we will win is much lower. If we bet $5.00, we are only out $5.00, there is very little risk.

When we are involved in a business venture or are in a marriage there are multiple levels and contexts where trust or walls are built. In business and marriage our livelihood and well-being are “at stake” and “on the line”. We have large emotional, physical, financial and other investments in the outcome. When we share a secret with a friend we are risking more if the secret is revealed than if it is not, and the ‘trust’ is more limited to this specific context.

  1. 4.    We honestly expect the benefit to occur. At a horserace or lottery we would like to win, we might hope to win, yet for most of us that is where it stops. We don’t actually “believe” we will win! When we trust, we have hope with the belief that we can rely on the person or thing to produce the result we want. If it is a business venture then the amount of ‘trust’ we have may have to do with our business abilities accepting a certain amount of risk involved.

 

Specifically for Married Folks

In a marriage the issue of trust is multi-faceted. Some agreements are made consciously while many agreements are made covertly and left unspoken until broken. We learn in our marriages to rely partners in some areas, and not in others: housecleaning, finances, children, future planning, emotional support, sexual satisfaction, and more. Clear agreements are made openly, verbally stated and discussed; they can be agreed upon. Most often each spouse has unspoken beliefs and expectations of how things ‘should be’. They “think” these things are agreed upon as “common sense”. These agreements are only revealed when these unspoken agreements are broken, and one partner feels betrayed.

Gottman’ s research shows how these ‘agreements’ that go on in marriage will indicate trust levels by measuring interactional patterns.  The research also shows great accuracy in predicting potential success in coaching or therapy as well as whether a couple will stay together or divorce. It’s NOT just the ‘big’ betrayals that matter: infidelity, lying, emotional or physical abuse. The results of study after study show that the biggest indicator of a lasting marriage is: The perception of trust in the relationship.

There are many ways that we can actively build trust and love in relationship. Gottman recommends a 5:1 ratio (nice to neutral and “non-nice” interaction to insure of a healthy relationship. I have written elsewhere with ways to do so. (See article: Love is a Verb)

I’ll end the article today with Gottman’s list of 12 ways that partners betray each other in relationship. It is my hope that if you recognize these types of betrayal in your relationship, you can do something to change it… and live happily ever after.

Yes, sleeping around is a big way to ruin a committed relationship but there are others that are as devastating. Gottman has identified 12 more, here they are.

Twelve Ways (Other than Sexual Infidelity) to Betray Your Partner[iv]:

  1. Violations of commitment. Your commitment is conditional, and some part of you is still waiting for someone better to come along. You may check out other people, flirt, or in other ways suggest you are still available. Illness, arguments, money issues, distance (travel, work)…when the going gets tough you consider going.
  2. Betrayals of emotional exclusivity. Flirtations or secret emotional attachments.
  3. Secrets, lies, deceptions. These include lies of omission, deceptions, and violations of confidence, broken promises, and inconsistencies.
  4. Coalitions against your partner. You form coalitions that hurt or exclude your partner, talk negatively behind their back, etc.
  5. Disinterest. You are disinterested in or rejecting of your partner’s thoughts, feelings or inner life.
  6. Unfairness or lack of care. Resources, time and responsibilities are not shared equally, and partners do not offer emotional support or understanding. They are not “there” for one another.
  7. Betrayal of affection. Coldness, unresponsiveness.
  8. Lack of sexual interest. Ignoring your partner’s need for sexual intimacy, physical closeness and touch.
  9. Abuse. Social isolation, sexual degradation, humiliation, belittling, threats, property damage, physical abuse.
  10. Disrespect. Partners do not cherish each other, express pride, and complement each other. Instead, thy ridicule, denigrate, mock, use sarcasm, contempt.
  11. Not meeting each other’s needs. (Copied verbatim from p 352): A relationship is about legitimating dependency upon each other. Partners violate the principle that they should try to meet each other’s essential needs cooperatively and honestly. This involves agreeing to emotional presence, openness, emotional availability, and responsiveness to the partner. They do not agree, or act as if they do not agree, that the relationship will entail sacrifice at times, putting one’s partner’s needs or the family’s needs ahead of one’s own.
  12. Breaking sacred promises and vows.

 

Brutal? Yes sometimes.

Is it happening in your relationship? In the relationship of close friend?

 If you recognize some of these various ways spouses/partners betray each other, then ouch and good! Recognition is the first step toward change.

 Acknowledge that something is wrong, talk with your beloved then change! Unless of course you’re building those walls before the final battle; intimacy feels so much better!

It’s not easy, not at all. If you are like so many other couples and just need a bit of guidance please contact me. I offer free sample sessions. Here is a testimonial from a fine woman who DID contact me for a free session last year (2010)

“I want to tell you that you were invaluable to me during a very tough time last year. We only spoke on the phone as an intro, but I will be forever grateful for your words to me that day Jim. You helped set me on a very good path. Thank you! Cindy”

Call 847-748-8006 or write Jim@BDSMcoach.com today, I can help you get started; your marriage is worth your time and energy.

 “A committed romantic relationship is a contract of mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual protection, and mutual nurturance.” (The Science of Trust: p 350)

Enjoy building Trust. Here are other sources for you to help you identify less than healthy patterns in your life. I have written elsewhere about the subtle signs of emotional abuse, lethal patterns that can ruin relationship and how we learn them (Normal? Socialization, Domestication and Consensus Hypnosis & Co-Dependency-Our Social Disease)  Blessings.


[i] The Science of Trust, John Gottman, Ph.D

[ii] Quoted Directly from Lazaris audio download: “Synergy of Trust” www.lazaris.com

[iii] ibid

[iv] The Science of Trust, John Gottman, Ph.D

How do you begin your power exchange relationships? Do you jump in, naming your title or identity? Most people talk about their ‘scene’ limits, but we involved in the lifestyle know well: many power exchange relationships are of the 24/7 type.

As with most things, beginning with the end in mind—knowing what You want first is where to begin. However, most new folks are not aware of the depth, breadth and multi-dimensionality of the world of power exchange. We each arrive to the world of kink or BDSM with our own pre-conceived notions, fantasies and levels of informed education. I have found that most folks have lots of questions.

As I begin to introduce a submissive to the world of kink, my first priority is to help her to be clear with what she wants… So I start with an email on morning 1 of our first meeting.
NOTE: we have already talked 3 times at length via the phone. We have exchanged emails and have begun to develop a ‘equal’ relationship thus far: no subs, no Masters… two human beings. Then the day of the agreed upon submission begins, the first email.

Good Morning ______(new sub student)

Welcome to the world of submission; I look forward to helping you to find just where this fits in your life…and to your submission to Me during the process.

The notion of ‘submitting’ carries with it many connotations; as with most words we each have our own subjective experience. For each person, their particular ‘submission’ varies in degree, context, content, depth and breadth. The world is your oyster, you get to pick exactly what feels right to you… and then change it as you continue your life journey!

By being a submissive there are a myriad of area’s to submit, here are a few examples:

• Sexually: no limits? Certain limits? Total access? Restricted access? Sharing with others?
• Physically: dress, diet, exercise, nails/make-up hair, etc…
• Financially: partial? Current earnings? Investments: Home/car etc…?
• Emotionally: total transparency or no unrequested displays of emotion?
• Time: total? Free time on certain days? All free time? The very definition of free time?
• Friends/Family interaction: agreed upon? Limited? Up to Him?

These are things that normally overlooked or “pre-supposed” by both parties when entering into a power exchange relationship… We don’t do that in Jim’s world  We become clear on what we want as individuals THEN seek out what we want with an Other (or O/others!).

I have included links to two writings. I would like you to read these today before you drive out…we will be talking some about what it means for you to be “submissive”.

1. What Exactly is a Submissive
2. A Slave is not a Submissive

I am looking forward to our first meeting,

___________location and time_________

your Sir …for today,

JimFollowing the first email, I send her one more:

Hello submissive,

There is one more thing I want you to do:

Take this short quiz and forward Me the results before 1pm:

BDSM Inclination Quiz
write Me via email with any questions you have,

Enjoying your submission already,

Sir Jim
As I said, we have talked a few times; I am a Master so I do hear lots and do believe she is submissive… and there is so much more to learn. So patience…

Please notice the nuances in the second email:

I’ve started addressing her a submissive: removing one’s identity via name as powerful implications
I am introducing kink and sex as under My control.
I’m gathering information: the test results will help Me to teach her
I express appreciation for her submission, sub’s love to please.
I am now “Sir Jim”… as she is My submissive.

Day 1-Lesson 1: I invite your thoughts and practical applications!

      A recent posting on the kinky social site “FetLife” spoke to the “Spiritual Nature” of a Master/slave relationship.  But isn’t it just about kinky sex?  About the fun? The adventure, daring and risk? 

NO!

Well, maybe sometimes…. for some of us, it IS just about the sex, the fun, the experimenting with others and with ourselves, our own light and dark shadows… And for many, it is part of our spiritual growth, our emotional growth, our particular expresssion of or developing into our authentic selves!

Well, that post on fetlife?  I responded and included the question/answer below in their entirety.

     So, “Is it just about the sex?”…. well, sometimes it is.  Fun is in fact a life lesson we all have!  That’s right, there’s two: Learning to have fun and learning to consciously create successs.  We all have those two… so SEX is part of FUN for many of us!!!  and there are others….

     There are other reasons we participate in “kink”; as well as other life lessons… I have included an article with two tools I use to help people to discover:

  • Their Life Purpose
  • Their Life Lessons
  • Their Souls Journey

WHY???? Beacause, I want to

  • Inform you
  • Awaken you
  • Challenge you
  • Invite you
  • Love you

Yes, because if You are living in alignment with your soul’s journey… then the world is simply a better place!

Soul Journey, Life Purpose and Life Lessons (vanilla newsletter format)

Please do forward this blog or the above link to those you care about… unless you’d rather they flounder!

Regarding that conversation… Everything I and we do is about our life purpose, our journey.  Sex, eating, sleeping…. how conscious we are of this is the only difference.  Here is the post from FetLife describing the ‘bigger picture’ of one particular M/s relationship.

Who are you, what do you do? (Introductions.)

8 months ago

This is the obligatory introduction thread. Here are some questions to get people started:

Who are you, and who is in your power dynamic with you? (If you don’t have one, what is your ideal?)

What is your spiritual path, and that of the other people in your power dynamic?

How do you relate spirituality to M/s or O/p? Give us a blurb.

-Raven Kaldera

SirJimBliss: 8 months ago

Greetings All!

I am Sir Jim (SirJimBliss) here on fet life. My slave is chela aka cupcake.

What is my spiritual path? A bit longer of an answer here and easier to speak about My soul journey first.

I an am Enneagram 2- the helper/caretaker…this speaks to my souls path. You can find more about soul path of a “2” here: Enneagram Type Two .

My largest lessons related to being a 2 have to do with honoring what I want, loving and being loved. My path of growth is related to developing Myself and setting an example for others—remembering to take pleasure in my existence and to esteem and value others.

On this soul path, in addition to the life lessons we all have of “Success” and “Fun”, there are several others for Me which include: Character/Integrity; Service; Love (a comprehensive understanding); Healing/Teaching and Spirituality—to deeply explore My relationship with God/Goddess All That Is.

My spiritual path is related in part to my soul’s journey: To Deeply explore My relationship with God/Goddess All That is.

AND…My Spirit is WILD! Let Me introduce Him: He enjoys FUN…adventure, exploration, learning, curiosity, more fun and pleasure from it all. Hedonistic? Somewhat… Wild and sometimes dangerous? Well, no danger for me or those I’m with, although the more faint of heart do sometimes cower at what I consider fun.

My spirit LOVES the tastes of life… it is why He decided to join with My Gentle Loving Soul… to come on down and party while journeying and learning our life lessons.

and that of the other people in your power dynamic?

cupcake is also an Enneagram type 2 Helper/Caretaker… some of her life lessons are similar to mine. There is much to be learned here about her path and life lessons as W/we journey together.

I relate Spirituality with M/s as part of My spiritual path as it fits with My role as Master. As a healthy type 2, I like to be the embodiment of the good parent that everyone wishes they had…to open others heart, soul and spirit just because mine are already open… to teach others to be more deeply and richly human. At the same time, I am here to enjoy the pleasures of life, to have all I want! To honor and value the desires I have while balancing these with the honor and integrity I afford others in My relationships.

To guide and teach others in the world is my life work. To guide and teach slaves and submissives in particular to honor their selves and their role is an honor which I hold sacred. When not acting in My official “Master” role I am also: a teacher, a healer, a counselor, a hypnotherapist, a personal coach, a magician, a husband, a father, a friend, a business owner, a lover, a martial artist and a metaphysical being becoming more magickal and powerful everyday.

I was doing some reading  of one of my favorite BDSM authors, Jack Rinella. His new book “More from the Master” is excellent! I’m sure to comment on it again. In a chapter entitled “Daddies & Sirs” he speaks to an acceptance of others inherent in our BDSM culture that is the epitome of health in relationships.

 “And therein lays the beauty of Leather folk.  We don’t agree
  and don’t have to. We are free to explore our own relationships
  and define them as best suits us and our partners.” p. 109 

On the surface this sounds like any other two people, kinky or vanilla. Then notion of ‘being free’ is who we are as a people, its part of our being.  And it’s important to note here… it IS just a notion.

Free? Well, not so much.  What is considered “normal” in popular culture is really co-dependent. “Normal” marriages/families are beset with co-dependency, a denial of ‘self’, a denial of desires, and a tacit agreement to pretend there are no agreements. That’s right; we the kinky folk really do know how to do this relationship thing right…which doesn’t mean that we always do. 

Jack goes on: 

 “What matters is that the relationship between Dad/Mom and
  Son/Girl satisfies the men and women in that particular relationship.
  And it is just that: two people relating for the reasons personally
  defined and meaningful to their authentic selves.” Pp. 109-110

So not only are we more often much clearer in our defining of roles, power dynamics, communication, etc… AND…unlike more traditional/normal relationships, we are honoring ourselves. 

“So Jim, are you saying that in our popular culture It is more normal to NOT honor ourselves?”

Exactly.  You see, unlike our majority counterparts who have tacit agreements to not be intentional and conscious about their agreements… We are intentional; we are or at least work toward clarity in relationship.  We want to be clear about who has power, authority and control and when. We want to be clear about what we want personally and sexually, we strive for balance of self in relationship, talking after scenes or regularly to insure each person in the relationship is getting what they need… at least ideally.

We live among the majority, we have all been there. In that world I help men, women and families to move toward the kind of healthy dynamics that we in the BDSM community consider normal. Way to go folks!

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