The Worst Promise You Can Make To Someone Is That You Won't Hurt Them

by Paul Hudson

Trust is the backbone of relationships. They’re built on it. They rely on it for survival.

This goes for all relationships -- not just romantic. It goes for the relationships you have with friends, coworkers, even family members.

Without trust, a relationship isn’t maintainable. In fact, one could argue that a trustless relationship isn’t a relationship at all.

Everyone we interact with, we trust on some level. Even complete strangers we will talk to or interact with only if we trust them not to harm us.

It’s all about safety, about feeling safe. The extent, or depth rather, of that trust defines how meaningful the relationship is.

The more we trust someone, the more we allow ourselves to open up to someone because we trust him or her not to judge, ridicule or use what he or she knows against us, the stronger the bond we have must be.

Or at least, the stronger we believe the bond to be. What a relationship means to one individual obviously doesn’t necessarily mean the same for the other. But that’s a different story.

Now, there’s an issue with all of this that I’m sure you’re already noticing. People are very good at making mistakes and breaking peoples’ trust.

The worst promise you can make to your partner is the promise you’ll never hurt him or her. The fact is, you will.

Hurting your partner is inevitable.

Hurt is a very broad term. It relies on objectivity and circumstance.

Something that one person will feel hurt by, another won’t. Likewise, when one feels hurt, that pain is relevant to what one is already used to.

When we’re talking about emotional pain, getting hurt relies entirely on the difference between our expectations and our reality.

And, as we already know, reality itself is dominantly subjective as well.

The truth is you are going to hurt your partner one day, sooner or later, whether you mean to or not.

Because being hurt encompasses such a grand array of emotions and causal circumstances, feeling hurt and hurting others is an inevitability.

What does matter, however, is how you hurt your partner and how much so.

The true goal of any relationship is both maximizing your partner’s happiness and pleasure, while minimizing his or her discomfort, loneliness and pain.

Love itself is, in large part, painful.

Although we all believe we want to be a part of a loving, safe, trusting relationship, the fact is no one actually wants to be in such a relationship.

This holds true regardless of whether you’re young and ignorant or aged and wise.

Safe is comfortable and too comfortable is boring. I’m sure there are some individuals out there who would like nothing more than to have a bland relationship to call their own, but most individuals require more excitement in their lives.

Excitement requires drama, drama requires change, change requires problems, problems cause us pain.

We don’t just want to be loved; we want to be in love -- better yet, we want to feel like we’re in love.

Love and the feeling of love aren’t one and the same. More importantly, while we want both, we crave the latter.

We want an exciting relationship, one that makes us feel how much we love someone, how much we want and miss him or her.

Wanting and needing, you may have noticed, is just another form of pain.

Of course, there are other emotions involved in the mix as well, but no one can tell me that wanting, craving and missing someone is entirely pleasant.

If it were, then it would put us in a comfortable state; there’s nothing comfortable about craving or missing someone.

While you want the one you love to feel safe and comfortable with you, you don’t want him or her to feel too safe and too comfortable.

Physically safe, yes -- your partner should always feel physically safe with you.

If he or she doesn't feel physically safe spending his or her life with you, then something is very wrong -- most likely, wrong with you and the way you are treating this person.

There is something to be said, however, about keeping the one you love in a state of fear -- fearing losing you. That’s what love is, no? Fearing losing the person you love.

Fearing this person being taken from you, fearing things going wrong or him or her falling for someone else.

This is, of course, a very delicate matter. You don’t want to wave the possibility of you leaving their lives in front of their face.

You don’t want to mention it or state that it’s a possibility.

The fact is that losing someone is always a possibility. Life takes people away from us all the time -- losing the one closest to you is always a possibility.

What you want to do is to make the person you’re with love you so much that even the thought of losing you breaks his or her heart.

In fact, this is really the only way you ever want to hurt the people you love; you want to be such an incredible individual, such an incredible friend, son, daughter, brother, sister or life partner that imagining their lives without you is his or her own personal hell.

Life is a painful experience, but it’s the pain we experience that make us the people we are.

It’s the pain that makes our stories worth telling and our lives worth living. Feeling hurt isn’t always a bad thing, but at the same time, it can be an awful thing.

It all depends on the circumstance and the people involved.

Just don’t promise not to ever hurt the person you love because the truth is your ideal relationship requires that you do. And vice versa.

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