Do you feel afraid of opening up and becoming more committed to your partner? Do you sometimes doubt their faithfulness and permanence in your life?
For most of our lives, the pursuit of independence and self-sufficiency often prevents us from being vulnerable. This allows us to focus on our goals and avoid being sidetracked by our emotions. This is especially true for people who have been hurt in the past. Being taken advantage of, lied to, or manipulated by someone you loved can cause you to have trust issues in your next relationship. It’s completely understandable that you feel the need to protect yourself. But if your fear of being vulnerable keeps you from trusting and being closer to your partner, your relationship cannot grow.
If you are struggling with trust issues in a relationship, here are 10 ways to help you overcome them and build a better, stronger relationship.
1. Make sure that you’re ready to move on.
You should be in a relationship because you want to love your partner, not because you want to get over someone who caused your trust issues in the past. Are you over the person who hurt you? Do you still have feelings for them? If you do, you should give yourself time to heal before you move forward with a new relationship.
Sometimes, we become so enthusiastic about a new, promising person that we forget we aren’t ready for another relationship yet. A little patience will go a long way towards ensuring that you can trust your new partner.
2. Choose your partner wisely.
You learn to trust in a relationship by choosing a trustworthy partner. Unfortunately, you might have trust issues because your intuition is trying to tell you something. You might be ignoring some important warning signs because of how badly you want this relationship to work.
Assess your partner’s qualities honestly, and observe their actions in their daily life. This will tell you if they have the qualities of integrity, sincerity, and reliability that make them deserving of your trust.
3. Be fair to your partner.
Has your partner done anything to make you distrust them? If not, you need to recognize that being distrustful of them is placing an unnecessary burden on them. Make sure you’re not making your partner pay for the things others have done to you in the past. Treat your partner as an individual and judge them by their own merits.
Also read: 16 Ways to Stop Being Rude in a Relationship
4. Take it slow.
It’s okay to be cautious. Trusting someone in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to immediately let your partner know all of your vulnerabilities, or allow yourself to rely on them completely. Instead, trust that your partner wants the best for you right now, and in the next step of your relationship. Trust is built over time, slowly and steadily. Taking it slow means respecting your own feelings and taking care of yourself.
5. Evaluate your reactions.
It takes humility and courage to ask yourself if your thoughts and emotions align with reality. Having trust issues can distract you from the actual issues at hand, by causing you to have overwhelming emotional reactions. If you get angry, defensive, or sad about insignificant things like unanswered texts, or your partner going out with their friends, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize that your reactions aren’t always warranted. Acknowledge the anxiety, feel it, but don’t act on it. This will take practice, but it will get easier over time.
6. Improve your communication patterns.
It’s human nature to stick with what’s familiar. Unfortunately, this also applies to toxic patterns of behavior. If you’ve learned a defensive communication pattern, you should try to understand where your partner is coming from before you argue with them. If you’ve gotten used to closing yourself off from your partner and giving them the silent treatment, you should recognize that this is harmful to your relationship.
At all times, encourage communication in your relationship. Even if it’s uncomfortable, and you feel like you’d rather avoid the issues, you have to communicate in order to build trust.
7. Know your needs and your boundaries.
You can only express your limits in a relationship if they’re clear to yourself first. Everyone has different levels of need for reassurance. It’s all right to ask your partner for reassurance as long as your requests are reasonable. For example, it’s unreasonable to keep your partner from going out with their friends; but it’s totally reasonable to ask them to call you if you’re going to be out late.
Knowing your needs and boundaries in a relationship will keep you from second-guessing yourself when you feel like you’re not getting the reassurance that you need to trust your partner.
8. Face the problems in your relationship together.
If you’ve evaluated your needs and recognized that they aren’t being met, you may realize that your trust issues stem from real problems in your relationship. Even if your partner truly loves you, they are still human and imperfect. If your partner has done things that you haven’t forgiven them for, or they don’t do things that you need them to do, you need to discuss these issues openly and make a conscious decision about whether or not they deserve your trust again. Your relationship cannot progress in the limbo of fear and resentment. Building trust in your relationship requires you and your partner to work together, not just yourself.
If you do decide to forgive your partner for past mistakes, commit to your decision and do your best to move forward with honesty in your relationship. Communicate about everything you need from them in order to move past their mistakes, and start rebuilding your trust in them.
Also read: 8 Tips To Rebuild Trust in a Relationship
9. Don’t check on your partner obsessively.
Invasive actions like going through your partner’s photos and messages, stalking them on social media, or asking your friends to spy on them effectively say “I don’t trust you.” Taking away your partner’s privacy tells them that you don’t respect them; also, it tells them that you think they don’t respect you enough to be faithful to you without your constant surveillance. Acting on your insecurities without questioning your impulses will only increase your paranoia over time.
10. Trust yourself and be confident in who you are.
You may be looking for complete assurance that this relationship is going to work out, and that you’ll never get hurt again. Unfortunately, there are never any guarantees in love. But that’s actually what makes love so special – you take a leap of faith to open your heart to someone. If someone betrays your trust, know that it’s their failure, not yours. If you’re giving your best in a relationship, you deserve the best too.
Overcoming trust issues in a relationship means loving with your eyes wide open.
Remember that everything that happens in your relationships, whether they work out or not, are lessons learned that will guide you towards true love in the future. Nothing is impossible to overcome in a relationship with two people who want the best outcome for each other.