Bob over at Thoughts on TTWD and I had a great time doing a collaborative blog post last week, so we decided to do it again. This week, our topic is: What to do When the Offending Partner Broke the Sacred Vow of Trust.
How do you repair trust in your Tih relationship? Here's is Bob's take.
Now I'm going to give mine.
This breaking of trust happened here recently. Since I don't want to speak badly of my husband, and I have a sore bottom for obvious reasons and don't want another spanking, I will speak from my own experience having broken that trust. No, no, really, Jason walks on water and never makes mistakes. (Ok, ok, I'm just teasing. I'm in a good mood today.)
I fairly recently wrote a blog post on the importance of trust in a relationship. It's at the foundation of any relationship, and certainly essential in a Tih relationship.
But what happens when one party violates that trust?
Recently, I did this. I'd rather not go into details about what I did, and really the details don't matter, but I will tell you this. Not only did I disobey my husband, but my actions damaged our relationship. I made him feel betrayed. I was hurt, and in my hurt, I did something dangerous, and selfish.
I didn't even want to tell him, but it lay heavy on my heart. I went to a dear friend of mine and told her.
“You need to tell him,” she said. “He needs to know. He will be angry. But you need to tell him.”
I knew she was right. I was already due a punishment spanking. I figured it would be wisest to tell him this before he spanked me...so we could clear the air, clear the slate, and put it all behind us. In my naivete, I actually thought that maybe he would even take out some of his anger on my bottom.
Boy did he ever.
Boy did he ever.
We sat on the edge of the bed. I was so nervous.
“I have something to tell you,” I said, and I told him everything.
He was furious. “You did what? I can't believe you did that. I told you not to!” He said. He picked up the implement.
“Over my lap!” he barked. I obeyed.
There was none of the tender look he usually gives me, as he places me over his lap and says, “Ok, sweetie, you need a spanking. I do this because I love you. Let's get this over with.”
Oh, no. There was none of that. He plunked me over his lap, bared me, and gave me the spanking of my life. He didn't overdo...he never would. But he did spank me thoroughly.
But that wasn't the worst of it. When he was done, he dressed me, stood me up, and pushed me away. I went to him, expecting the hug and forgiveness that comes at the end. But no.
“I can't talk to you. I can't hug you. I'm too angry,” he said, and he stormed out of the room.
I was reeling. I was left bereft, with the knowledge that I'd betrayed the sacred trust at the foundation of our relationship. And in turn, he'd betrayed the trust I'd given him as his Tih by spanking me in anger, then refusing to forgive me.
I went to him. I tried talking to him. He was too angry. We argued, and I left the room.
I went back to my friend. What to do? We pushed each other apart. I hurt him – there's no question that what I did was wrong, and seriously so – but in his anger, he hurt me back.
“You need to understand where he's coming from,” she told me. Here I was, nursing my wounds. How could he have spanked me and left me with no aftercare? How could he have denied me forgiveness when I'd told him the truth? I hadn't thought about how he felt at all.
I spent some time thinking about this, and I asked myself how I'd feel if I were in his shoes. The realization hit me hard. I'd be devastated. I'd feel exactly as he did...betrayed.
After a while, I went back to him.
“Please can we talk?” I asked him. He put his arms out to me. I lay my head on him and told him everything...how sorry I was, how I knew he felt betrayed, and that it would never happen again
He stroked my hair and held me close.
“Babe, it was so dangerous,” he said. “I don't want you hurt.”
The knowledge that his own hurt wasn't the only problem, and that his concern for me fueled his anger, hit me hard.
He held me for so long, it was the longest aftercare session we've ever had. I stayed with him until I fell asleep. We were both at peace when we were done.
So let's take a look at this situation. One person (in this case, me) did something wrong. I did the right thing by telling him, yes, and that's absolutely the first step to take.
The person who betrayed trust has to admit wrong-doing and ask for forgiveness.
A half-assed apology ain't gonna cut it.
“Well I did that but I....”
“I didn't mean to do that, I...”
No. None of that kind of apology. A genuine apology says “I'm sorry” with no disclaimers attached.
The one who betrayed trust needs to respect the reaction of the person who is hurt.
At first, I pushed Jason away from me by insisting he forgive me. I hate knowing I've hurt someone, and it's hard not having immediate forgiveness. But we need to respect the feelings of the person who's been hurt. As hard as it was to leave him, I made myself retreat and give him space.
It helps to think of how the other person feels.
When my friend asked me how I'd feel if I were in his shoes, my whole perspective changed. I was able to understand his hurt. And when I did, I was able to take the focus on myself (“Why won't he forgive me?” “How could he do that?”) and be honest enough to admit it wasn't all about me.
When the time is right, make amends.
Jason hurt me by refusing to forgive me, by spanking me in anger, and refusing to give me any kind of aftercare. I understand why he did this. We are human. We make mistakes. But when all was said and done, he gave me all I needed. He was in the middle of doing something important when I came to him, but he immediately put it down and gave me what I needed. He gave me the love and forgiveness I craved. He said, “I forgive you,” “I love you so much I want you to be safe,” and “I'm not angry anymore.”
It's impossible to not occasionally break trust. It happens. But if we take the right steps to heal that broken trust, we can re-establish the loving, trusting dynamic we all crave.