Trust issues in the current dating world

To be 'exclusive' is to be hooking up only with each other but without emotional attachment or accountability.As far as I can tell, 'dating but not in a relationship' is an actual monogamous relationship between two people who don’t want to use the word, or it might be a pre-relationship status. The working-class young adults I interviewed used many of these phrases and had a similar reluctance to attaching labels to a relationship too soon.

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My guess is that—just as students tend to overestimate how often their peers are hooking up—working-class young adults tend to overestimate how often their partners are cheating.

That suspicion is a symptom of distrust, and the distrust seems a symptom of a sexual culture that tends towards objectification of the person, as well as an ambiguous relationship script that blurs lines, devalues clear communication and makes cheating easier because it is sometimes unclear what the expectations are.

In our sample of 75 non-college educated young adults, 71 percent described some form of “trust issues” in a relationship, even though this was not typically something we specifically asked about.

Forty-three percent said they believed they had been cheated on, even while only 16 percent said they had cheated.

But, however it started, the path from first meeting to official relationship status was usually complicated.

As one 20-year-old man who worked at Rent-A-Center said when describing the confusion he observes in relationships today, “Some of them say like ‘we’re dating.’ Some of ’em say ‘we’re together.’ Some people that are in a relationship say ‘we’re just talking.’ I don’t know.” For those in college, the path from casual encounter to an exclusive relationship can be similarly convoluted.

Both he and his girlfriend had been with other people, and they agreed, “This isn’t gonna be easy for either of us.” They told each other that they trusted each other, but it was difficult for those words to feel true: [T]here’s always a little thought in the back of your head, even when we were together it’s always just a little thought like, ‘I wanna go out with my girlfriend to the bar.’ Well, what if she gets too drunk and ends up doin’ somethin’ with a guy? So, it’ll never happen again, but that’s what I believe. Likewise, Rob, also in his twenties and living with his girlfriend and their two sons, described how he didn’t trust himself to be faithful.

” There’s always gonna be that thought, but time–I don’t wanna say I’m gonna be naïve, but I’m pretty much gonna be naïve. Well, if it happens again I’m sorry to say I just can’t do it.” It’s like, “It obviously doesn’t mean anything to you, so I just can’t do it.” But, fool me once, shame on you. “My mind,” he said, was the biggest obstacle to marriage.

She observed that they ‘sleep in the same bed every night and dote upon each other affectionately even in front of their friends.’ They were quite clearly in love, but they never described their arrangement as anything other than casual.

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