Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That's a proverb that I heard a lot growing up. If a friend was quick to leave me out, well then it was their loss! If a boy made fun of me on AIM after a couple months of instant messaging, they got blocked so fast they couldn't even type, "LMAO". I was quickly taught how to respond to disloyalty by everyone from my mother to my third grade teacher, but was never truly shown how to build loyalty in my relationships in the first place.
I've never been particularly trusting in nature: a few sour friendships early on in life left me with a slightly bitter aftertaste. When I was 16, and my band-camp boyfriend cheated on me, I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself I should have known better. In college, if a guy used the line, "it's not you, it's me," I was quick to snort in his face and tell him off. I expected people to betray or abandon me; it was my standard setting.
So when I started dating my partner, I spent the first few months on my toes, searching for any signs of fight or flight. I was so sure that the tiniest hint of incompatibility would send them running for the hills, but that day never came. And over time, they taught me how to truly build a foundation of loyalty in a relationship: it starts with the ability to trust, not only your partner, but yourself.