December 14, 2004

*I'll Give You a Topic...

Is it possible--or advisable--to completely trust a lover who has blatantly lied to you in the past?

How many times can you forgive someone for betraying your trust?

Even if they make real, tangible changes in their life because they think they've lost you, can someone really change? Or will they revert once they get you back?

Posted by Jennifer at December 14, 2004 07:50 AM


A person can change. But, you really need to see the
changes and the person must do something to win over your trust; must prove they have become trustable. The burden is on the one who lied; not the one who is lied to.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at December 14, 2004 08:12 AM

I suppose it's possible for people to change. However, I believe Psalms 4:19 sayeth "And may God bless me with the nerve to shit upon those who shat upon me." I have an uncle who cheated on his wife, was caught, and came clean. From what I can tell (which may or may not be the whole story) they are happy now. I also know a woman who forgave her husband only to find out seven years later that there were lists of phone numbers, women in different cities, hidden bank accounts - it has all but destroyed her and left the four children somewhere in between angry and confused.

Posted by: shank at December 14, 2004 08:33 AM

People don't change. Never. Ever.

I've seen it in personal relationships as well as business. The CPU in their brains or their genes cannot be reprogramed. Human nature is human nature and while it's possible to go against that nature for the short term, the call of the wild always returns in the long run.

You can act different, look different, etc., but in the are who you are. Even if the person never cheats again, they'll be facing internal confrontaions forever. Because they have to try and control the urge.

Other people don't fight the internal struggle because they don't have to--their programed differently. They naturally don't cheat because they don't believe in it. It goes against their natural tendencies.

I don't cheat. God knows, I've had ample opportunity. I just don't do it. Meanwhile on busnisess trips, I see coworkers do it all the time. My sex drive is close to insatiable, yet I would never cheat. I'm rarely tempted and I conciously avoid situations that would put me in a difficult position.

Posted by: Paul at December 14, 2004 09:14 AM

How many times should you forgive someone? Seventy times seven if you read scripture. I've not found anything on trusting someone again. I've forgiven my wife three times over the past five years, and found out two days ago she's doing it again. I'll forgive her again, but trust has been out the window and never will be again. I would have gotten out the first time, but its not easy when kids and property are involved. Its Christmas time, and I'm shopping for therapists.
If I were advising someone else, get out, don't look back, and never speak to them again....But go ahead and forgive them, otherwise you start looking for someone else to replace them with and punish them for what the other person did to you.

Posted by: Jeff at December 14, 2004 10:40 AM

From personal experience, people never change. Once a liar always a liar. When you've let the person go from your life, keep that person gone. It's the best step forward when you leave the hurtful past behind.

Posted by: cj at December 14, 2004 12:12 PM

Trust is an ongoing process, not a final result. It takes a long time to earn, constant work to maintain, and only a second to destroy it.

Posted by: Ted at December 14, 2004 01:22 PM



Posted by: Pete (Alois) at December 14, 2004 06:00 PM

I think that the only thing that can change a persons personality is a trauma. I also think that being caught in a lie will never traumatise a liar -- they'll only wotk harder at not getting caught.

Jeff, my condolences.

Willfully changing one's behavior without a trauma is hard work at best, impossible at worst. And even if someone were to honestly work hard at changing, they'll always just be "in recovery".

So, on balance, I think taking Paul's advice is the way to go. You might strike gold by giving 'em yet one more chance, but you'd probably be better off just buying Lightening Strike Insurance. I just happen to have a small brochure with me now...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 14, 2004 08:49 PM

It depends on why and how they betrayed your trust. Sometimes people are at a vulnerable or weak point in their life and/or their relationship and "very bad things" can happen. In this case, with some work this can work out and trust can be restored. HOWEVER, this is a RARE. There are some people who just lie, cheat and steal because they can and they enjoy it. These people do not change. It is hardwired behavior. Much like a pedophile can never be "cured". Like Tuning Spork said, someone who betrays may not betray again, but they will always be in recovery. If you're not married to this person, with children, it is best to cut and run. Not every man (or woman) is like that. Paul is a good example (good guy!). My husband is a good example (yay!). He tells me what he has seen go on while out of the country on business - he's always appalled. I've worked for a cheater before - I dated a couple, too (didn't know that one was married, didn't know the other was Satan) - they're heinous. It doesn't matter how wonderful their spouse is, how much they love them, how much they love their kids, what they have to lose. No amount of risk is too great. Run the other way.

Posted by: Momotrips at December 14, 2004 10:28 PM

I'm in the People Can Change camp. Been there. Done that. It's not easy and takes a lot of hard work, but it is doable. That's what AA and all the 'Anonymous's are about. There's even Liar's Anonymous. And Sexaholics Anonymous. I'm not saying that having an addiction is an excuse, I'm saying it's something that can be dealt with. If the person is unwilling to admit or deal with the problem, sure...out like last years Manolo Blahniks...but, if you've based a relationship on love then trust can be rebuilt.

Posted by: Kin at December 15, 2004 03:57 AM