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keobooks's avatar

In what ways should you trust a lifelong significant other?

Asked by keobooks (14303points) September 21st, 2013

I broke up with this guy once and one of his female friends asked me why. I told her that I couldn’t trust him. She freaked out and said “He’d NEVER cheat on you!” But I didn’t mean that I thought he was cheating on me. That never even occurred to me.

What I didn’t like was his financial decisions. I thought they were terrible and potentially dangerous. I also didn’t like that he refused to consult me before making major decisions—like extremely invasive but totally elective major surgery. I thought if I got together with him, he’d wreck my own finances along with his and leave me out of the loop when making major decisions—like up and leaving the State and forcing us all to relocate on a whim (which he ended up doing to his current wife)

Anyway, I am surprised that for many single people, trust seems to be all about and only about whether or not someone will cheat on you. So what else should you trust someone about?

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17 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

Excellent point… Trust could also be making and keeping promises. I promise to stop this or do that more. When there are ultimatums involved things can get a little hairy at times. I’ve seen several of my friends break up over someone who refused to stop drinking or using drugs. If they don’t get help there really isn’t anything you can do. It’s hard to watch someone you care about destroy themselves.

JLeslie's avatar

I just wrote on a Q yesterday that I trust my husband has good intentions when he tells me something that is difficult for me to hear. I trust he is trying to help me. I have a really hard time with doctors, and I know part of it is me at this point, and sometimes I go over with him what happened at an appointment, or he is present at an appointment, and he might give me some feedback that is very upsetting to me; but I want to hear it; I can hear it from him, because I trust he loves me and is only trying to help, not trying to be mean, and not trying to put me down to make himself feel superior.

I also trust him to be responsible. Responsible with money, with our relationship, and just in general with how he conducts himself.

I trust him to take me into consideration.

I trust him to want to resolve things when we have a disagreement and not hold onto anger.

I trust he has a conscience. He can’t sleep well if he feels he harmed someone else. He won’t work for a company that pushes the limit of legal to the line. His integrity is an important part of his being.

GQ.

marinelife's avatar

You should trust you significant other in all ways.

To communicate with you.
To consult you on major decisions.
Not to talk about your personal business

Coloma's avatar

Well..quite frankly, your decision to consider him untrustworthy because of a potential elective surgery while only dating really doesn’t count. Perhaps he should have discussed it with you as a close relational person, however, that was his decision alone and you had no right to expect to influence something so personal
As far as money goes, that is something every couple has to work out for themselves. In my case I abhor tightwad miserly types.

I am a spender, not in an irresponsible way, but I believe that one should enjoy their money and not hoard it, beyond some basic practicality.
None of what you mention are really trust issues, unless the person is spending your money recklessly.
Trusting someone to be honest with you is not the same thing as expecting them to BE YOU, think like you, handle their lives the way you might.
Bottom line, if someones spending habits or personal choices don’t mesh with yours it is more of an incompatibility than a trust issue.

If someone I was dating was critical of my personal choices or spending habits I would consider that controlling and tell them..” If who I am and the choices I chose to make bother you…well….there’s the door, hit the road Jack.”
Adults do not need to get parental style permission form their SO’s.

keobooks's avatar

@Coloma – I didn’t want to go into too much detail about this guy because I dated him like 10 years ago and why not let bygones go.. but the spending was disturbing. He bought a new car from one of his clients because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. But the car was so expensive that he couldn’t afford his bills and he had to sell his computer and television and turn off his phone, internet and cable service so he could make payments. He also quit his job and went to buy into a business with a friend. He refused to check the financial holdings of his friend’s business because he didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings or offend them. I thought just buying into a business without doing any research on it was stupid—even if it were a close friend’s—in fact, I’d want to check the business over then because I’d hate my friend if they brought my finances to ruin with bad business practices. I think spending large amounts of money to avoid hurting people’s feelings is a really bad idea.

As for the surgery, he made this plan after we were engaged. And regardless of whether it was my business or not, he promised he’d let me know the long term risks and specific outcomes of this surgery and we’d talk about it together before he made a decision about it. It doesn’t matter if you think that was right—he PROMISED that he’d do it. Then he reneged and made the appointment without telling me until it was too late.

And he’s a nice guy. We’re still facebook friends. But I sure am glad I didn’t marry him. He just forced his wife to relocated even though she makes more money that he does because he got an offer and he’s the man. He will be a bit stingy with his money until he wants to buy something and then he blows all their savings and then some on crap. His surgery had complications and he’s had to have two more surgeries to fix what went wrong the first time. Everything I thought would happen if I married him happened to his wife instead of me. And that makes me relieved.

Coloma's avatar

@keobooks Sounds like you are pleased with the choice you made. He does sound a little on the reckless side. Big dif. between having fun, enjoying your money and being reckless, agreed.

Headhurts's avatar

I trust my s/o with everything. I trust him with money, he is excellent with it, whereas if I have any unaccounted for then I spend it. He deals with all the bills. I am clueless. He makes all those decisions. With house matters we discuss things, we mostly have the same ideas and opinions, so all good there. I trust him with my life. I know he wouldn’t put me in danger, and if anything untoward comes about then I completely trust his judgement. He knows what I am like and capable of, if he says something is safe or ok, then I trust him.

YARNLADY's avatar

I trust my husband with everything, but he makes mistakes once in awhile. Also, he thinks his way is better than anyone else, which is true most of the time.

I once asked him to get an appraisal on some jewelry, and he left it at the shop. I don’t believe in leaving valuables with anyone else.

janbb's avatar

I used to trust my husband to be there for me until he wasn’t.

bolwerk's avatar

Just curious about @keobooks’ scenario: even if you’re married, couldn’t you just keep separate finances and require the dwelling and at least one vehicle be in your name? A pre-nup can cover other things, like what to do when emergency care is needed, etc..

Not saying this doesn’t sound problematic, but he doesn’t sound strictly untrustworthy either. Like, I would think it’s fair to put these problems on the table and discuss them, and go from there, at the very least.

hearkat's avatar

One should not choose to form a partnership with someone whom they can not trust for honesty, full disclosure, consideration, depenability, etc. You made the right choice – your ex is clearly not a team player.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I would never do that. Money is huge. One of the top three reasons people divorce. My girlfriend who never got along with her husband regarding money was the first one to get a divorce out of my friends. Money was a big reason why, but not the whole reason. Money tends to represent personality, irresponsible and impulsive with money, the person is probably like that in general. Unable to say no even if it hurts you financially, not a very admirable trait. How would she have high respect for him? I can’t answer for @keobooks, but that is how I would feel, depending on how extreme it is. My husband spends more than I ever would on cars for instance, but I knew it going into the marriage, and we never go into unaffordable debt, usually not debt, for a car. He does it responsibly and we always discuss it before he buys anything.

You say a prenup can cover emergency care, what does that mean exactly? So, if a spouse has an illness, she is on her or his own financially? Somehow that dies not go with in sickness and in health in my book. United finances is a united front. Not that people can’t have some of their own money, but when tragedy happens everyone should be rallying the forces for the family, including the money. If not, how can someone feel supported emotionally? I love you, but don’t get sick, because I am not going to help you pay for cancer treatment.

zander101's avatar

I feel it has allot to do with fact vs interpretation, like mentioned in the details of your question the following statement:

I am surprised that for many single people, trust seems to be all about and only about whether or not someone will cheat on you. So what else should you trust someone about? @keobooks

It’s something I’ve noticed that is widespread through generations and it’s an evident pattern, It’s good that you have realized this and are able to distinguish between trust and cheating because usually when someone gets burned in a relationship they are unable to do so. I feel that some people get into relationships for the wrong reasons which is why some are unable to distinguish between trust and cheating, from my perspective I would feel that getting involved with someone from a romantic standpoint would be a trial basis for either a potential spouse or to become a parent or even both and people nowadays are more interested in getting into relationships to satisfy short term needs instead of planning for long term necessities.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: well, that may be you, but a lot of people don’t handle money well. They have long-term relationships too. It was a trust issue for @keobooks, but I don’t really see why it would be unless he actively concealed his behavior from her.

Re prenups, I was thinking more like have a parent or child or sibling or whatever make decisions instead of your free-spending spouse.

Anyway, was just wondering, everybody has their own limits.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Absolutely, it depends on the couple. If two people are find with that type of spending…then match made in heaven. I was talking for myself, and plenty of other people, but for sure a lot of people have an easier time spending than I do, and less worry about rainy days.

I have never heard of that type of pre-nup. Parents usually die before their children anyway. Prenup is usually used to protect wealth in the case of a divorce. Limits how much someone can get, altering what is automatic according to the law. I guess some prenups maybe also have agreements for while the marriage still exists. Pre-nups are pretty unusual for the poor and middle class. Usually you only see them with the upper middle and wealthy. But, I have no problem with a couple wanting a prenup if they both feel comfortable.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: a pre-nup can do all sorts of things, I assume. It doesn’t even need to be a pre-nup though; might be a living will, though a pre-nup might do more good for securing assets in case of likely death (and clears up any misunderstandings before they arise). It’s not unlikely for a middle aged person to have an annuity of some sort; if such a person enters into a marriage, s/he’d probably prefer a pre-nup that explicitly states how the annuity would be spent or who would manage it in case of his/her incapacitation.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk A will dictates what happens if someone dies, not a prenup and not a loving will. I guess if a prenup was done and someone dies and all the money goes to the spouse under the law, maybe another family member could contest it if they had access to the prenup. I don’t know how that holds up in court.

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