When we distrust in relationships or whilst we're dating, awareness of our distrust is nice. But, managing our distrust is what is key. The thing is, we cannot manage that which we're not sure the root of.
For instance, I've interviewed 300 people who were in the dating phase to determine if they distrusted and, if so, were their distrust issues Specific or Institutional. Initially, 174 of them noted that they have trust issues and 162 of them felt like their issues were Specific. Once I explained to them the difference between the two, they ALL acknowledged the distrust was Institutional.
Institutional distrust is distrust towards a person or a group of people based on negative experiences or perceptions with someone that fits or resembles that person or people in that persons group.
Example: Megyn distrusts Calvin because the last couple of guys that she has met were, in her words, ‘dogs’ and ‘liars’. Calvin has done nothing specific to warrant Megyn’s distrust but she distrusts him just the same. Megyn distrusts the institution of men and Calvin is a part of that institution.
There are several challenges with institutional distrust:
For starters, they who have it find it warranted. For instance, Megyn would defend her institutional distrust by providing countless examples of men who have wronged her. In fact, she would state that not having institutional distrust would make her a fool that was destined to be hurt again. The phrase “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”, comes to mind. But who is the ‘you’ in this scenario? Calvin would argue that he has never fooled her once and thus he does not deserve to be binned in with the ‘you’, that he does not deserve to be guilty by association.
As well, institutional distrust is not generally accepted both ways. Said differently, Megyn may see her institutional distrust as warranted but if Calvin distrusted her because of a litany of negative experiences he has had with women, Megyn would be annoyed and offended.
Perhaps the most pressing challenge with institutional distrust, however, is the effect it has on the dating and relationship landscape as a whole. When we have institutional distrust, what we are really doing is categorizing large groups of people as gold diggers, liars, cheaters, emotional basket cases, etc. The more people that do this over a long period of time, the more that these categorical generalizations become our truths.
The repercussions to this are extensive and include sabotage, refrain and settling. If we don't trust the opposite sex, we will sabotage (unconsciously or otherwise) dates and experiences with them. We may even refrain from dating with a "what's the point?" mentality. Or, we will simply settle, convincing ourselves that the opposite sex is fatally flawed (based on our institutional distrust) but we'd rather be with them than be alone.
Are you living in a state of instructional distrust. If I were to explore trust even further in this MyTake I'd talk about the next layer which gets into intent or capability. As in, do we distrust their intent (motivations, integrity) or so we just distrust their capability to be faithful, communicative, etc. Thats a topic for another day.