“Say ‘I love you’ ”? *“Say ‘I trust you’ ”

Relationships are hard. I’m not just talking about romantic ones, either. I’m talking about relationships in general – from family to friends to dating to marriage. Relationships are incredibly hard. Despite the popular belief that “love’s all you need,” so many relationships fall apart. Now, I’m no Sherlock, but to me, that suggests that love’s NOT all you need. As I see it, love (be it friendly or romantic) comes second, after another key thing – trust. Sukitte Ii Na Yo, or, for any other non-Japanese-speaking people, “Say ‘I Love You’,” showcases this concept beautifully, in my opinion.

Sukitte Ii Na Yo is a brief anime following the story of Mei Tachibana, a girl who has decided that she wants nothing to do with people, and Yamato Kurosawa, the most popular guy at school. *Cue music* He was a boy, she was a girl, can I make it any more obvious?! *End music*. Kidding, But yes, as you can guess by the title, it’s a romance, and the plot is driven by these two falling for each other. Now despite the anime obviously pushing some themes, such as accepting body image or learning not to lie to yourself, one of the subtler themes that’s not made so apparent is the fact that behind this love story, pushing that along, is a “trust story.”


…Behind this love story, pushing that along, is a “trust story”.

Now, I’m going to focus on romantic relationships for most of this. I’ll look briefly at other kinds later. For now, though, consider this a brief excerpt of dating advice from a single girl who’s seen her share of hard times in dating (and friendships in general). This experience is probably why I empathize so strongly with Mei. As someone who was bullied in elementary school and who was cheated on after 14 months with a guy, I sometimes have those “it’s easier to just avoid people” days in addition to days where just NOT risking another romantic relationship seems more appealing than the alternative.

This post’s not going to be me telling a sob story or throwing a pity party, though. The above was noted merely to show the logic driving my “assumptions.” The reason most relationships fall apart – or simply never start – is due to a trust problem. See, trust needs to be a foundation for any healthy relationship. Why? Trust is something that allows people to do a few things such as 1) be honest and open and 2) respect the other person. All of these things are needed before love can really flourish.

In Sukitte Ii Na Yo Mei and Yamato start things off on the wrong foot – with a kiss. Now no, no one was trying to jump ahead too soon. That original kiss was done in an attempt to scare off a stalker (just… watch the anime and it’ll make sense). However, it threw things into the plot-driving turmoil that leads to the rest of the show’s episodes. Why? Mei didn’t know what to make of that kiss. As much as Yamato could say what he wanted about it, she didn’t know him well and thus didn’t trust him.

Over the rest of the series, Yamato works with Mei to help her learn to trust people again – himself, included. He encourages her to put faith in people, just to give them a chance to show they can be trusted to follow through. He also continues to show her through not just his words but his actions that she can trust him. She slowly learns to trust in him and the friends she’s met through him. As she does this, she also begins to acknowledge her growing feelings towards him.

No anime would be complete without a crisis, though (sort of like any and all relationships). After finally putting full trust in Yamato and accepting her feelings for him, leading to them starting dating, Mei finds out Yamato has been keeping secrets from her – about visiting another girl. Now no, he wasn’t cheating on her. However, at that point, their relationship suddenly begins to falter. Neither one’s feelings have changed – they both still love each other, which makes the entire problem that much more painful. What changed was that something chipped away a little bit at Mei’s trust in Yamato.

Now, of course, being a romance anime, this all gets sorted out, everyone makes their apologies, and the two get their happily ever after. In reality, though, this is not always the case…. In fact, it’s more often NOT the case. In reality, we like to confuse broken down trust with “falling out of love.” We prescribe the wrong fix to the problem. We break up or burn bridges instead of stepping back, negating the hurricane of emotion, and looking at something beyond our unsteady “feelings” in that moment. Now sure, sometimes, we may just stop feeling that “connection” with someone due to entirely different reasons, BUT, often I think the problem lies in a shift in our trust.


In reality, we like to confuse broken down trust with “falling out of love”.

By nature, we are all selfish. It’s human nature to make yourself number 1. As such, we become naturally defensive and wary around those we don’t trust. That’s why relationships are so hard. We’ve all faced betrayal or broken trust in one form or another – be that from family, a friend, or a significant other. That just makes it a little harder to trust next time. Without that trust, though, we’re never going to be able to develop a legitimate love for people around us. Often we say that a best friend is someone who you can be 100% yourself with. In other words, they’re someone you TRUST enough to be fully and completely vulnerable with. The same can be said in finding a good partner.

So, next time you’re in a relationship that’s hit a shaky spot, be that with a friend or something more, before making a knee-jerk decision to cut things off because you “feel” it’s best, stop. Think about it. If you find that maybe, just maybe, they somehow damaged the trust between you, you ought to give it a bit more thought. Sometimes, the damage is irreparable (contrary to popular belief, not all things can be ignored as if they “never happened” – take being cheated on as an example). At that point, maybe it is best to cut ties. However, if it was something minor, or they’re someone who means a lot to you, perhaps you should give them a chance to fix that trust. After all, if Mei never gave Yamato a chance to fix things, they never would have gotten their happy ending!

26 thoughts on ““Say ‘I love you’ ”? *“Say ‘I trust you’ ”

  1. Unfortunately, Yamato is NOT 100 % trustworthy. His ” potential” cheating has been cut at the early stage , because he was found out. If his secret wasn’t revealed , we all know, with 100& certainty, where it would lead to….. a sexual encounter or for sure , encounters , with Megumi. Yamato had done it with another girl for lesser reasons.

    1. Technically no one’s %100 trustworthy. However, I’d have to respectfully disagree that it’s fair to suggest his intentions were bad, in this case. He wasn’t planning to cheat. Holding his first encounter with Aiko against him is unfair. When that happened, 1) he had no girlfriend and 2) he was too gullible to know the difference between someone legitimately wanting help, and someone manipulating him. His intentions at the time were simply to help her. Those intentions are what nearly leads him and Mei to ruin, simply because he didn’t want Megu to feel lonely, so he was trying to help. If he’d intended to cheat, he would have done so. He didn’t, though. He just wasn’t aware that what he was doing could cause so much damage when the intent was merely to help someone. However, when he was trying to help Megu, he had Mei and he was committed fully to her. It would have been beyond easy for him to cheat if he’d wanted to right off-the-bat (Megu clearly wanted him to be with her, and no one would have blamed him for dumping Mei). Yet, he didn’t. That, to me, shows he had no intentions to cheat – he was legitimately just trying to help a friend.
      Plus, as a side note, it’s never really fair to assume someone’s intentions based on a past mistake they’ve made (especially when they’ve acknowledged it’s a mistake). I mean, otherwise if you screwed up one relationship you’d be doomed for life!
      That’s just how I see it, though. However, that difference in viewpoint may be due to differences in relationship experience.

      1. You should read the manga then. the anime is abbreviated . He had sex with that other girl just to let her know that he’s not repulsed by the stretch marks on her body. ( Her BF was ) What kind of a reason is that ? In the anime, it happened only once. In the manga, it was several times. That’s to give her even more confidence and self- esteem. Yeah, right. yamato also has a reputation of having kissed all the girls in the HS. Re megumi… In the anime, at least , it was shown that he was with her several nights before he was found out. Why would he keep it a secret from her. He lied and lied, telling her it was work. But of course he ‘d lie. What kind of boyfriend would go straight to another girl’s house to have dinner with her til late at night , just to keep her company , and lie about it ? Megumi lives alone, she will always be lonely, so when will this stop ? And given Yamato’s disposition to include sex ( if and when Megumi asks for it ) as his idea of altruism, intimacy is inevitable at some point.

        1. I was warned the manga has nudity, and thus don’t plan to read it. Perhaps the manga portrays things differently and that would change my opinion, but I’m going solely off what I’ve seen – the anime.
          Additionally, I’m not saying what Yamato did was right, but it IS a reason. And it at least wasn’t a selfish one. Also, it’s technically never confirmed or denied (in the anime at least) if the rep is true or just rumours. Either way, as soon as he commits to Mei, he no longer gets physically/romantically involved with other girls. Also, with Megu, Yamato was wrong to lie, yes, but he wasn’t lying in order to cheat. As we learn later, he was lying because he didn’t want Mei to worry (naturally this had the complete opposite effect), but he still wanted to be able to help Megu. He figured since we was going just as a friend (not to cheat), then there’d be no issue in lying about what he was doing if it was just to keep Mei from comparing herself to Megu (unaware she already was due to rumours). I also think that it’s not fair to assume his idea of altruism is the same as his previous idea of altruism. His behavior with Mei and his desperation not to lose her despite having his pick of any girl in the school shows his idea about love and intimacy have matured.
          I think this may be something we have to agree to respectfully disagree on, though! I don’t know what sort of experiences influence your view on this – I just have my own to interpret the story by. And as someone who’s been cheated on by a boyfriend (for a while, actually, before I found out), Yamato just doesn’t show the signs of cheating (or intent to cheat) as far as I can tell. So, my viewpoint on the matter is based on that. I may also be biased because Yamato acted in a way that my previous self hoped my ex would have acted in – come clean about it all, showed legitimate remorse, and asked for a chance to redeem himself – instead my ex basically told me (in an excessively rude way, including name-calling and cussing me out), to get out of his life because he preferred the other girl. So, I do have a very, very biased view on the matter of Yamato & Mei. Hope that makes more sense. I’m not saying you’re wrong -I can understand your viewpoint entirely, I just don’t personally agree with it.
          I appreciate the discussion, though. 🙂

  2. Tried watching this a while back, but for me the relationship starts on a very bad note. I’m a guy, but when I see a shoujo romance with the guy forcing himself on the girl and being all smug about it, with the show implying that the girl probably liked it deep down and is sooo falling for him… the emotional disconnect is a lot for me to handle.

    I agree about the points you make, even if I couldn’t handle the anime, though.

    1. Hm. Now I’m wondering how far into the show you got. I know at first it comes across as that, but later you start to see that wasn’t the case at all. As soon as Yamato realizes Mei doesn’t trust him, he backs off and starts helping her make friends instead, working with her at her own pace. It’s only at THAT point, when he’s supporting her, that Mei starts to fall for him – not due to any forcing or smugness. Plus, Mei’s one of the least smug protag’s in a shoujo I’ve seen. XD She actually doesn’t even deny rumors that they’re NOT dating, because she doesn’t care about the label. That’s how I see it, at least. That may just be my biased opinion as a girl speaking, though – especially as a girl who’s really tired of having to be the one to make the first move to get anywhere with a guy. XP

      Glad you agree on the points, though. 🙂

      1. As you might have already guessed, I didn’t get far at all – just the first episode. (So I can’t argue that the show is bad as a whole.)

        I am more into that other shoujo series where the male lead punches his love interest in the face, and while the female lead eventually forgives him, she remains unsure if love is worth hurting her future financial prospects xD.

        1. Haha. Fair enough. To each their own. Guess this was too opposite then because SHE punched HIM in the face. 😛

            1. Haha oh my word!
              So you’re saying instead of kissing frogs, the REAL trick to finding my “prince charming” is walking around the college and socking guys in the face?! Haha! XD

  3. I can’t comment on the series, as I haven’t seen it, but I will say this – trust needs to be the foundation of any relationship. Period, This is true for romantic as well as personal relationships. As someone who was also cheated on in the past, it made it harder to trust in a future relationship – leading to my next relationship being flighty one (and myself ending up violating the trust of that girlfriend by kissing another woman). Broken trust can be harmful.

    In personal friendships, it can be as well. Luckily for us, we have a perfect example of the perfect friend and perfect husband in Christ. He never falters. He never fails. He loves us perfectly AND Is perfectly trustworthy. Everything He has said He would do, He has done. No one else is as trustworthy as Christ.

    1. Mhm! Trust is something earned. And once it’s broken, it can be VERY hard to mend. For it to mend at all, it needs both parties to be willing to work on it.
      But indeed – we have Christ. The one who literally lost His life to prove He meant his word. He promised the impossible, and did it. Perfect track record! 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your insights on relationships! It has encouraged me to practice my faith in others with friends and family and to repair a connection with one of my classmates who has lost his trust in me. I agree with you that trust, which leads to respect and humility towards others, is a core element of friendship to spark.

    1. That’s awesome! 😀 I’m really glad to hear you’re going to try and repair things with a classmate! It’s a long, hard road, but often worth it! 🙂 At the very least, even if they never fully trust you again, I think that it’s right by God to at least try and solve the issue. 🙂

  5. Thanks for writing your article! I just turned eighteen recently, so I’m sort of just entering into the world of dating and romantic relationships for the first time. I really have no clue how they are supposed to work, but I do agree that trust is a crucial aspect in any relationship! The anime that you mentioned really does interest me because I have been a romantic at heart, but I have never been able to find any wholesome shows without any fan service. God bless and happy writing!

    1. Nooo problemo! Haha, if it helps, I’m 19 and I’ve had 3 relationships (and 2 that almost happened but didn’t), and I still feel at times like I haven’t got a clue about them! All I’ve got is some more experience that I can draw on (e.g. a better idea of “red flags” to be aware of telling me to bail out).
      It’s rather cute, Imo! I think I also was biased because I identify on a personal level with Mei – she’s been betrayed by her friends, I’ve faced some betrayal with past bf’s. I’m still waiting for my Yamato, though, haha. 😛
      But yup, Sukitte’s clean. There’s one scene that gets a tad awkward for a moment and maybe a few suggestive comments all throughout, but 0 nudity in the whole thing (just don’t read the manga…. THAT apparently does have nudity XD ). If you like romances, I’d also check out ToraDora and My Little Monster (Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun). They’re both short, cute, clean rom com’s. Clannad’s also really good, if you haven’t seen it! Feels warning on that one, though. XD Nothing bad in that one that I recall, either (and the fact I’ve let my younger sister watch it says anything “bad” can’t even be THAT bad, haha).
      God bless! 🙂

  6. Trust is vitally important to any functioning relationship, and I’m glad you touched upon how sometimes you can repair what seems at the time like a broken relationship by addressing the trust issues. In high school, I nearly lost the open and beautiful relationship I have with my best friend once because (Rather ironically) developing a theory of mind caused me to develop extreme trust issues and anxiety. I think there are a couple cases where trust issues in a relationship develop because the two people are becoming more intimate and not because they’re losing trust. All of a sudden there’s this possibility that they could be badly wounded by the other person, and that brings out all sorts of demons in people. If you can overcome that, you can build something really intense and lasting.

    Romance in a lot of ways is all about trust— The trust that the person you’re with is who you need to be with, and both of your attempts to determine that whether for good or ill. So…While I haven’t seen too many romance anime, this is insightful and lovely. :} Sometimes you’re not falling out of love— You’re getting scared, and you should look into it.

    1. I totally agree! And yup – trust can (almost) always be restored, as long as both parties are willing and work on it. After all, trust is earned in the first place, so it only makes sense it can be earned once again!
      I had a lot of trouble making friends in high school due to trust issues left over from elementary school where I found out many “friends” were really just using me for one reason or another.
      However, yes, trust issues definitely crop up with intimacy. I’ve experienced that first hand. It’s pretty well exactly what you said – we suddenly realize that the more intimate we are with someone, the greater the chance they can hurt us. Thus, we naturally become wary, and when we become wary we tend to turn a molehill into a mountain. Suddenly, if they call off a few too many dates saying something came up at work, you start to worry they’re cheating, for example, in a dating relationship. Or, if a friend cancels plans with you or just loses touch too much, you start to worry they no longer like being around you and they’re just hoping you leave on your own. Thus, we start imagining all these terrible scenarios and becoming increasingly skeptical – and as we do that, we stop trusting them as much. BUT, if they can redeem that trust, then the next time a similar issue comes up, where it may have worried you before, it doesn’t phase you. Why? You two have already overcome the problem. I think this is especially the case in romantic relationships – if someone makes a mistake once and it hurts you and you stop trusting them so much, but you both sit down and work it out and they regain that trust, the new bond’s so much stronger. If they make that mistake again, you already know how to handle it and things are more likely to get sorted out before feelings are seriously hurt.

      Mhm! Relationships are less 50-50 and more 100-100, in that you both have to give %100 effort, equally, to make it work. You have to be able to trust that 1) the other person will give %100 effort like you and 2) they’ll make a judgement call just like you will on if you two should carry on or not. At that point, it’s easier to not worry and just enjoy the ride because you can both trust that should something go wrong, you two will handle it – no matter how things end up, you’ll choose the right solution.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece! 🙂 And that’s pretty much a perfect summary of what I was getting at: Often, your feelings haven’t changed (you still love the person or care about the friend/family member), but the foundation you built those feelings on (the trust that allowed you to invest in the person) has become shaky! If the relationship is worth it, then try and fix it before backing out! 🙂

  7. I loved your insight on the anime, and I share many of your opinions about the series. You wrote it very well and I hope you keep up the great work! 😀

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