Even the most promising relationships can be plagued to the point of destruction by ongoing trust issues.
These issues may stem from the scars left by past relationship trauma or mistakes made in the current one. Either way, the end result will be a potentially disastrous lack of stability if you don’t deal with the root of the problem directly.
Read on to learn more about what causes trust issues in relationships and what you can do to move past them.
How Important is Trust in a Relationship?
All relationships are built on foundational elements like mutual respect, empathy and, most importantly, trust. Fostering a healthy and loving romantic relationship is virtually impossible without trust between partners.
Relationship experts everywhere will tell you that trust is vitally important to the long-term success of any relationship. They’ll also tell you that trust is fragile. It’s hard to build and easy to break.
We all carry our pasts around with us in one way or another. Especially when entering a new relationship, it’s hard to forget the times previous partners have violated our trust. And even though our new boo had nothing to do with those past incidents, it’s common for them to suffer as a result of our pre-existing relationship scars.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that you build trust by prioritizing transparency, openness and honesty. Keeping this in mind will go a long way, regardless of the stage of your current relationship.
What Causes Trust Issues?
Trust issues can originate anywhere, but one typical cause is a lack of transparency between partners. Both at the start of a new relationship and in one that’s ongoing.
It’s important to be open and honest about your past from the very beginning of a new relationship. If you’ve been cheated on, lied to, or hurt by a partner – talk about it.
Letting your guard down will let your new partner know what they can do to build trust with you. They’ll be able to set themselves apart from those past violations with sincere words and actions.
Partners in a healthy relationship should never demand that you update them on every minute of your life. If you or your significant other find that one of you is often withholding information from the other, it could lead to increasingly limited transparency in both parties.
Another good place to look for the source of trust issues in the past. Although every relationship is different, there are often common elements among them, and issues that manifest in different ways across different relationships can still stem from the same or similar sources.
How to Overcome Trust Issues
If trust just isn’t happening with your current partner, think back to your past relationships. Did a situation where your trust was violated ultimately cause the undoing of your relationship?
Or if trust wasn’t the issue, what was different that prevented it from becoming a problem? Trust issues in your current relationship could also be a direct consequence of past relationships, whether on your end or in the past of your current partner. Even if it’s painful, if you can think of the past as a guidebook, it can prove to be very useful.
If you have little to no romantic relationship history, you can still look to your relationships with friends and family for less direct contextualization. It’s likely you’ll be able to find something useful when looking in these directions.
How to Trust Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend
If you show faith in your partner, they’ll display faith in you which can go a long way in building trust in a relationship. The easiest way to build mutual trust is to avoid being suspicious of them when there’s no reason to be.
We know – it’s easy for us to say. But the truth is that so much relationship conflict comes when we project our own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy onto the other person. Don’t let something as trivial as micro-cheating come between you.
If they say they’re working late, are going out with friends, or just don’t feel like talking – believe them. Don’t push them away by asking invasive questions, take them at their word. Do your best to avoid jumping to conclusions.
Communicate openly with each other about both their needs and yours. Try to create an atmosphere where communication is the standard rather than a special request and your relationship will thrive.
Trust in Family
Trust issues don’t just exist in romantic relationships.
Whether your trust issues apply to your family, or to a relationship with friends or a romantic partner, learning to build a more solid relationship with those related to you can be an important step forward.
If you already have a strong family network, using them as a rock to anchor your relationships with others means you’ll always have a standard to hold others up to and a place to fall back if things go awry. On the other hand, it’s easy for the closeness of a familial relationship to deteriorate over time and building that network of mutual faith can be difficult.
The best place to start in how to improve family relations is usually simply with communication. If you place an emphasis on sharing more with your family, it becomes easier for them to do the same. Of course, if you have a history of any kind of abuse, whether physical or emotional, in family, it’s not your responsibility to build up trust with them.
There’s a point where moving on is the best course forward, and finding others you can place your faith in is the best way to build a stable and loving network for yourself and your future.
Trust in Friendship
Sometimes, the very best sources of trust in your life can be good friends, who have no inherent obligation to support you outside of genuinely caring for you as a person. It’s important to build a friend group where you feel like a you can be yourself. We’re all worthy of having friends who treat us well.
Make sure that your friends are people you feel you can genuinely confide in. If they are, you should use that as a solid foundation for all of your relationships in life. If not, it’s time to search for new people you can rely on.
How to Build Trust in a Relationship
If you don’t place enough faith in yourself, it’s easy to end up in a relationship without trust. You need to believe that you are worthy of being loved and that your partner should believe the same.
You also need to acknowledge your perceptions, and trust that there’s some merit in them. If you see red flags, don’t question your own perception, but instead think through the situation as rationally as possible.
From there, you need to be able to have open and frank discussions about how to deal with trust issues and bring up any issues you perceive, which brings us to the next point. Trust also simply can’t work without communication.
If you think you’re seeing red flags in a relationship and you don’t feel comfortable discussing them, things will ultimately end up reaching a breaking point whether or not there was a problem, to begin with. You should try to establish a precedent for an open and frank discussion. Start with showing each other’s phones or search public records for your profiles.
What Does a Trusting Relationship Look Like?
Neither you nor your partner should ever feel afraid to talk about issues, or think that argumentative confrontation is the only way to communicate about problems. Even outside of talking about issues, the more communication you have in your relationship, the better.
You should feel as generally open and familiar with your partner as possible, even if that’s simply from lying on the couch at home and chatting about movies. When you and your partner are having trouble trusting each other, it can often be influenced by a lack of mutual emotional understanding.
Your partner may not be able to understand the reasons you might struggle with trust or the motivations for certain patterns of your behavior, and the same can go both ways. Ultimately, this is a step that builds upon both the ideas of self-value and communication discussed above.
If you can put more effort into sharing with each other and openly discussing and explaining your vulnerabilities, then you can begin to work towards empathy for issues that might not have been in the open before. The ability to see through each other’s’ eyes is an important foundation for mutual trust.
How to Help Someone with Trust Issues
Even if you aren’t personally struggling with a lack of faith in your partner or others, they may be. The steps mentioned above are useful tools for anyone who needs to learn how to deal with trust issues, and you should consider how best to impart them to others.
It’s often necessary to go through a shared process, even if you aren’t the one having issues. Someone struggling with trust can build their way back up much more easily if they aren’t alone in the process. Don’t think of yourself as a doctor with a prescription, but simply as partners undertaking a journey together.
Learning to Trust Again
Ultimately, a relationship will never end up working out if trust can’t be built and maintained on both sides. If you’re having trouble with trust with your partner, or you’re just about to enter into a relationship and unsure about your prospects, keeping the above steps in mind and actively working on them will help give you the greatest chances of success.
At the same time, every relationship is unique. These can also serve as stepping stones to taking whatever path is right for you and your partner. By bringing as much understanding of your situation as possible and communicating and empathizing with your significant other, you can work together with more understanding on building and continuing trust.