Nothing is worse than the Black Swan Event no one ever saw coming. The day America was attacked on 9-11-2001, was a black swan event, and Covid-19 and the ongoing "crisis" is a Black Swan that refuses to leave.
In relationships there are Black Swan Events too. You were so sure of your connection, the deep love you felt, the commitment you had to your partner, and the future that looked incredibly bright until you found pornography on the laptop and text messages from another woman on his phone. The devastation that resulted as the truth was revealed crushed the heart and tears at the soul. Deception reigns where there is vulnerability of the spirt. When distraction is the norm, the truth can hide in plain sight.
Can we ever completely trust anyone?
It seems to be getting harder and harder to trust anyone but ourselves. Even that seems to be a partial truth as we can tell ourselves lies and live in deception. I encourage people to be truth seekers at all times. To challenge why there is distraction and avoidance to honesty. Why is deflection, redirection, and projection the result of direct questions. When someone asks point blank, "Are you having an affair?" and the answer is to blame, challenge, and avoid, you have your answer. If they confess their "mistake" and ask for forgiveness, don't forgive too soon. Really? Yes. If you forgive without setting consequences and conditions for earning your trust again, you will only resent and suspect them of future affairs. This applies to all forms of deception.
How do I set consequences and conditions for earning trust?
When someone has deceived another, they have shown themselves to be untrustworthy. In other words, you can't trust them. So, in order to forgive and move-on, you must rebuild that trust. Forgiveness does not alone create trust. Trust is built by repeatedly doing things that build trust and by developing a pattern of behavior consistent with the things that are said. Actions speak louder than words, and follow-through, commitment, and keeping your word are the actions that build trust. Expectations and conditions that follow consequences are not set by the offender, but by the one who was offended.
Here are a few examples of consequences and conditions:
"You broke my heart when you lied to me. I can't trust you anymore (offense). I want you to sleep in the guest room until you show me I can trust you again (consequence). I want you to put a block on your phone, the laptop, and tablet that will keep out the porn. Covenant Eyes is an app you can download. I also want you to go with me to therapy (conditions).
"When you grabbed me last night during a drunken rage, you hurt me (offense). I can't trust you to be safe anymore and want you to move out (consequence). If you want to come back home, you must go into treatment for your addiction, get a sponsor in AA, and go to therapy with me so we can rebuild the trust (condition).
When the other is willing to accept the consequences and meet your conditions, you can rebuild trust. When they refuse, diffuse, and minimize their actions, you will never be able to trust them again. You will always wonder, doubt, and feel the consequences for their choices that leave you only one option to accept the lie and deny the truth. Eventually, it won't be deception anymore because you know the truth and choose to tolerate the bad behavior. Eventually, you will realize to stay in the relationship means you give up hope, happiness, and love. The Black Swan has come to roost, and you've allowed it to stay.
Many couples will live together miserably rather than be miserable alone. Don't be one of those miserable people who locks themselves up in a prison of their own making so they can blame another for their pain. Unlock the door and set yourself free. No one is keeping you there except your choices. Change your choice, walk in truth, live in understanding, and embrace the life you deserve. It's so much better to chase the Black Swan from your life and set yourself free.