Line One
Marriage in the Long Run
What happens when trust is gone?
The definition of trust includes "reliability of a person" and "to expect," "to hope," and "to believe."

Although many of us who are married to professional drivers are confident in our spouse's faithfulness, the subject of trust seems to be a common theme in letters from readers. Some of you have unwavering faith in your husband's dedication to you. Others may question his commitment, or even his fidelity.

Most of us can define trust without much thought, but it is beneficial to consult the experts before writing about a subject that is hard to describe. As I went to my dictionary to see how Webster defines trust, I found it ironic that the word was on the same page as truck and tryst, and pretty close to truth. It's interesting how words seem to pop out on the page when thumbing through the dictionary.

The definition for trust is long, but it includes "a reliance on the integrity or reliability of a person or thing" and "to expect," "to hope" and "to believe." Every relationship begins with hope and expectations. We believe we are making the best decision in committing ourselves to them for the future. When we decide he is "the one" we believe he will feel the same way about us - forever.

Unfortunately, things change and people change. Our trust in someone can change too. If you find a woman's name scrawled on a napkin in your truckdriver's pocket, do you start questioning his integrity? If you continue to trust your spouse, you will give him the benefit of the doubt and ask him about the note? It could be a dispatcher, a customer or even a waitress who he met and kept her number for a reason. You don't know if the woman is in her 20s or 80s, whether she is single or married, or anything else about her by the name on the note. Don't jump to conclusions about its significance.

If you have had doubts about your partner's integrity or reliability in the past, maybe a note in his pocket is the final straw. Maybe the note followed mysterious phone calls in the night, unexplained motel bills and meal receipts from fancy restaurants. If he calls home less often and is quick to accept the next load when he's off, then there could be a reason.

If you can no longer convince yourself his integrity and reliability is secure, and you question whether you can believe in him, then you have lost your trust in him. What should you do?

Your choices are simple, but the decision will be difficult. You can stay with him and work on rebuilding that trust, or you can leave. You need to determine if he has been unfaithful, or if your suspicions are unwarranted. The longer it takes you to make the decision, the harder it will be on both of you. Do you want to spend the rest of your life together without trust, or can you work to rebuild your relationship to the level of confidence you felt in the past? You need to decide.

The worst thing you can do is to wait and see what he will do. Maybe you are hoping he will dump the other woman and come running home to you with a fistful of roses and a promise to change. You can force him into finding a different job, and you can make him swear that he won't go near that certain truckstop on I-35, but will you be able to trust him?

More than a few readers have written about spouses who suddenly found "someone else" after years of marriage. Many letters describe the pain and frustration a woman feels when her husband transfers his attention to a stranger. Some of you choose to stay and some of you decide you can't live without trust. Whether you start a new life on your own, or continue to work on saving your marriage, you have earned our respect. You have made a decision and have set your sights on making the best of the situation.

For those of us who have never questioned our husband's integrity or reliability, we are fortunate. If you have lost hope in your partner and no longer believe in him, your trust is shattered. Can you rebuild your relationship? What are you willing to accept for yourself? We'd love to hear from you. Tell us how you found a new life for yourself, or how you and your truckdriver overcame infidelity. Tell us how trust has changed in your relationship.

Write to Ellen Voie, Land Line Magazine, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO, 64029 or via e-mail at ooida@aol.com.

Aug/Sept Digital Edition