Monday, January 9, 2012

Love Vs Trust

One day, a friend on Twitter tweeted a question that triggered a conversation between us.  Let me paraphrase that conversation:

Friend: “Who is the man a girl should love most?” 

I: “The one who is dependable and whom she trusts most” 

Friend:  “I think a girl must love her father most”

I: “You mean, including that father from Kerala who raped his own minor daughter and then presented her to others for money?!”

Friend: “I knew you will bring that worm as an example. Those are exceptions. But a girl should love her father most”

Conversation ended there.  But the subject refused to leave me, forcing me time and again to consider the inter se equation and relative primacy of love and trust.

What is more important in human relationships? It is Love or is it Trust? Is there a relationship, or should there be a relationship, between Love and Trust?  Can we love someone without trust? Or can we still love someone when we know our trust has been violated? 

I don’t have any definite answers to these questions. But let me share my thoughts on these questions so that, hopefully, we will be able to arrive at better answers (for I am sure there are no perfect answers to these questions). 

When I asked myself the question what is more important to me, Love or Trust, the answer came immediately.  For me the Trust is much more important than Love.  If someone loves me, it is more of that person’s business than mine.  But if the same person trusts me, it places an onus on me to live up to that trust.   In other words, Trust places a duty on me to reciprocate; Love doesn’t.

Same applies to the opposite too.  If I love a person it is a feeling which is internal to me.  I would love that person irrespective of what that person’s action/reaction is.   Love is a one way feeling.  If someone says Love has to be both ways, I will have to disagree with that.  If Love happens to be flowing both ways, well that is a lucky bonus for me.  We love many things without expecting those things to love us back. Then, why do we expect reciprocity in human relationships?

But Trust is definitely different.  The very concept of Trust involves a two way relationship.  Can we go one trusting a person if that person is not ready to live up to our trust?  Wouldn’t that be foolish if we go on trusting someone who has not lived up to our expectations?

It is also important in our life to understand and differentiate Love and Trust.  When we mix these two feelings, we might end up losing both.   In our conversation, I did indeed mix Love and Trust.  I suggested that a girl love the person whom she can place her trust.  But having thought through it more, I now believe my answer was wrong.  A girl (or a boy) will love a person towards whom s/he feels love, irrespective of that person’s reaction.  That has nothing to do with Trust.

For obvious reasons, the answer suggested by my Friend was also wrong.  To say that girl must love her father most is to try achieving Love through prescription.  Being a father or mother or spouse or child does not automatically make one object of love.  That feeling must rise in the heart/mind of the lover.

Loving someone whom we trust may still be advisable to trusting someone whom we love.  The latter could be a disaster in the making.  Living up to another’s trust has nothing to do with love. It is a matter of honour and duty than of Love.  A person who is perfectly in love may still cheat if he is not a person who is bound by honour and duty.  That does not make the person’s Love any less intense.   It only shows one cannot trust that person, though he may still be loved.

In my opinion, Love is an irrational feeling; it requires no reason.  But same is not true for Trust.  Trust must be based on solid reasons.  

We must have reasons (at least a judgement) for us to trust or distrust another person.  It may be based on our past experiences; feedback that we receive from others or even mere gut feeling.  We got to be conscious that while trusting someone we must make a critical choice unlike while loving someone we may just listen to what our heart dictates.  I do not agree with Ernest Hemingway when he says “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”. That way, it will be too late when you actually find out the answer. 

Love may come straight from the heart but Trust must arise from the mind

This Love-Trust dichotomy becomes more important when we move from family and personal ties to corporate ties.  Here, the Love is often termed ‘Like’. But the mistake of mixing the Love with Trust continues. I have seen many an otherwise astute businessman/entrepreneur/leader committing the mistake of allowing personal likes to dictate their business decision relating to other individuals.  Many of them even refuse to admit the need for entering into proper legal relationships because they like the other party and they confuse that Like with Trust.

When the realities of business subsequently affect the ‘Love’, the Trust becomes the first casualty. By then, there is no proper mechanism in place to deal with the relationship. The mistake continues to be perpetuated by confusing Like or Love with Trust.

Before I conclude, let me state that I am still not convinced about the concept of true love or unconditional love.  I am yet to see some.  The least (!) that most lovers expect from their loved ones is complete trust and we know meeting expectations of trust is not very easy.  But more on that in another post!

In personal and family relationships we must be able to give more emphasis to Love than demanding complete Trust; whereas in public/official relations we must emphasis Trust than depending on our individual Love or Like. That, in my opinion, is the best way to balance our relationships!


  1. Profound Thoughts on this topic !!

    What feels better to you being trusted or being loved? What is more important to you? Don't they both go hand in hand? How can you love someone you don't trust?
    These are queries which arose in my mind after going through your post..

    For Me Love and Trust go hand in hand..but then if I love a person be it my Partner in Life..My Friends etc. I would still continue to love even if there is breach in trust..yess I will feel hurt for the break in my trust in that person..but I will move forgive and move on coz I cant be without that person..Finally I swallow the lump of this distrust caused to me and I overcome my grief over it (If at all it is that deep or heart breaking)and will continue to love that person as always..

    Heard on personal basis during my teens about real story of elopement by a married lady who had a very loving husband and 2 small kids..Suddenly she goes missing with a friend of hers who was her colleague too..She goes away with him with all the gold in the house..Finally she is caught along with her paramour by the Police..both have no remorse on their act whatsoever..Elders spite of their behaviour against societal norms..their respective partners take them back..I felt surprised/shocked in those days..that how could a hubby take back his wife and mother of his two kids once she eloped with someone..(also the wife of other fellow who had no means to survive without taking back her out of helplessness too) spent a few days with him and in process broke his heart full of trust..I was shocked when He took her back as his Wife..The reason behind this was his undying love for his Wife who later on realized her folly and tremendous mistake she committed..fell more in love with her Husband and is now a Grandma of 4 grownup grand children..Still happily living with her Husband caring and sharing..Hats off and Salutes to Our Guy..I considered him as a Hero Uncle in my teens..when others continued to jeer and mock him for taking back his wife into his life who had chosen discard him for another man..but The love he had though Trust was breached upon..Won ..So yes necessarily Love is important than Trust..We can sure Love one person without having trust on that person

    Personally I'd like to be trusted by everyone and loved by just a few.I have been equally fortunate in having friends who love me and including a wonderful husband. I think, in the case of friends and husbands, the two go together. I need both. But then again I would continue to love them even if there is a likelihood of being breached of my trust in them..wont just stop loving them. Such things Happen..After all we are Human Beings..:))

    Fantastic Post !!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jay. Truly appreciate it. There is definitely a time that comes in our lives where most of us come across this question.
    I believe that Love and Trust are a medium . . . to connect, and to nurture our life. If there is a disconnect, I found its best to accept it, and work towards what is in the best benefit.
    Yes, I do make sure I do my bit of showing the love and being trustworthy. At times, it does hurt, but if we condition ourselves, I am sure that we can still continue to give / receive love and trust in all aspects of our life, only to make it worthwhile.

  3. If you do not trust a person you do not love them, period. You can trust a person without loving them but you can not love without trust.

  4. Honestly, I think that love can be easily bought whereas trust has to be earned. Buy a diamond ring (for a girl) and a girl will love you. If I bought an expensive gift for trust, they will just suckle on you till you bleed and leave.

  5. Love is a gift, Trust has to be earned. One can accept the Love and may reciprocate to fuel the relationship if desired. As the relation grows further, Trust has to develop during the process of being in relationship..

  6. Love isn’t all that rational so can’t be written about from the mind. Same probably for trust. Real love is unconditional whether you feel trust or not isn’t relevant to love itself. You love for no reason and require nothing. We humans doubt everything so how can full trust be achieved? Maybe only conditional trust or a formed understanding. We can be foolish when in love, desperate and trust doesn’t necessarily play a role. It’s not necessarily more important than love. At the same time, trust which is something we work on to condition our mind or it blindly takes place when we want to feel okay about a bond with humans. However maybe full trust can’t be achieved because we’re prone to doubt unless were confident in someone’s character as a person. To trust we don’t want to have doubts but that’s almost impossible since we doubt in all aspects of life outside of love itself. Even in the strongest love if we do not meet expectations or began to fail as a human we learn that both love and trust with humans might be conditional. Even if we have true love and solid trust established with someone it’s probably conditional and needs duties or action to sustain. We feel it in the heart but our minds complicate things. We see this all the time happening in human relationships. If true unconditional love was practiced emphasis on trust wouldn’t be as relevant. We humans are more fulfilled by love than trust I think but again it’s complicated because our minds are jumpy. To conclude, I would say that for closeness with a human, love is most important. Ideally mutual unconditional love but practicality, sustainability all play a role too in shaping the kind of Love people share. Things like human tendencies, experiences, labels, systems and expectations can complicate unconditional love. The only things that seem to complicate trust is doubt itself or actions of another person.