Very few things are as fragile or as vital as trust. It impacts every relationship we may or may not have in every facet of our lives, but is arguably most important when it comes to our romantic relationships. So, what happens when the mom in your life has trust issues? Do you stick around to see if they'll subside, or do you throw yourself back in the dating pool and hope to find someone who hasn't been hurt before? Someone who isn't guarded? Someone who isn't going going to rightfully require a little extra patience and time and understanding?
Before you consider cutting and running, it's important to know that, when dating, loving, caring for or otherwise engaging with a mom who has trust issues, you have to be patient. There's a reason why those issues exist. It's not to be difficult,or create unnecessary drama; it's not to emotionally terrorize an individual for absolutely no reason whatsoever; it's not to be the center of attention or put you through some "test" that makes her feel better about her life choices. It's because she's been hurt and it's because she's trusted someone before and it's because that person, unfortunately, let her down in a way that substantially changed her. That betrayal is one of a kind, and leaves a scar that only time, patience and a willingness to understand can smooth over until the remnants are slightly faded. Time heals all wounds, even the ones we can't see, and while you should never jeopardize your physical or mental health in the name of a relationship, if you're up to waiting, even the most closed off, untrusting individual can find the ability to believe in someone again.
I was cheated on by someone I once trusted, and when I found out he had been sleeping with our next door neighbor (at times, in our home) I didn't just lose faith in him, I lost faith in everyone. Thankfully, this happened before I became a mother so the only person directly (and therefore negatively) affected, was me. Now that I'm a mom, I am acutely aware that the decisions I make, the people I associate with and the relationships I engage in, impact my son, too. When I am frustrated or find myself crying, it's my son who awkwardly runs to sit next to me, putting his head on my shoulder and placing his small hand on top of mine. When my past creeps it's way into my present and (unfairly yet tangibly) impacts my current relationship, it's my son who notices first; as if he has a sixth sense that picks up when mom feels uncomfortable, unsure or downright scared.
While time moves us all forward and is capable of smoothing over even the roughest of edges, it's not a magician capable of erasing entire life experiences. My current partner — someone I am not married to, but share my life with and raise our son, together, with — still, from time to time, bears the unnecessary burden of my trust issues and a past I can't seem to put entirely behind me. Are they mine to sort through, understand and resolve? Absolutely.
However, as partners sharing a consensual, romantic partnership, we also realize that when we accept one another, we accept the entirely of that person; past, present, and whatever the future may hold until it becomes no longer beneficial, or potentially harmful or abusive. We realize that our past has had a direct influence on the people we are now, both as individuals and as people in a partnership. Just like he needs me to work through my issues as a capable adult, I need him to understand that it takes time. Just like he needs me to take ownership over my past, I need him to give me space to do so; especially when it seems overwhelming.
That's the thing with trust; losing it doesn't just negatively affect one relationship, it can impact every relationship you may or may not have in the future. So when you meet someone who isn't quick to trust you — or if you're with someone for years, and they still have moments when trust seems more illusive than tangible — it very rarely has anything to do with you and most certainly has to do with the lasting effects of a relationship that stripped someone from the safety you automatically feel when you're with someone. What one person takes for granted, another person desperately seeks. Such is life.
A mother isn't just going to look out for herself; she's going to look out for her kid(s), too. She won't pick a person, or start a potentially long-lasting relationship or continue an already long-lasting relationship, who won't be a good fit for her kid, too. So if she's having trouble trusting you, it's because the potential consequences of her decisions — and her inability to know that someone won't hurt her like she's been hurt before — weighs heavily on her. She will take it upon herself to protect her kid as best as she can, and the guilt of potentially putting herself and her child in an ounce of pain because someone can't be trusted, would eat away at her.
Be patient. Be understanding. Be willing to let time do it's dirty work, because while a mother with trust issues is a mother who will fight for those who matter most to her, she's also a human being who needs and deserves time, space, and understanding.