Trust issues: everyone hates them, but a lot of us have them. The most common problems in relationships are there because one or both partners find it difficult to trust the other. Trust issues can be there for a range of different reasons, some of that might not even have anything to do with your current partner.
Some of the common signs of mistrust include jealousy and suspicion of the other, but also self-doubt. Being in a serious long-term relationship requires a certain level of trust to be successful in the long run. Normally, it will take time for this trust to be built, but there are some things you can do to help yourself and your partner navigate the trust-building phase of your relationship.
1.Acknowledge and Validate
The very first step, which is sometimes skipped or rushed through, is to acknowledge and validate your feelings simply. By validating your feelings, you are not confirming or denying whether your partner is trustworthy or not. You are just acknowledging the fact that those feelings are there, and that it is okay for them to be there. It doesn’t automatically make you a villain if you don’t trust your partner. They are simply thoughts and feelings that you are going to listen to and reflect upon. Pushing the feelings away might just make them come out in the form of unhealthy behaviours like checking your partner’s phone or doubting their every move.
2. Be Open
Both you and your partner must be open to communicating with each other. Avoid using words that could insinuate that your partner is to blame for your mistrust, and simply explain how you are feeling. Talking about our trust issues can sometimes lead to big arguments if we don’t healthily communicate them. Make it clear that you’re having a discussion, and not a one-way accusatory monologue.
Just as your feelings and thoughts are important, so are your partner’s. Make sure they know that you are listening to them and want to understand things from their perspective too. When we try to understand where the other is coming from, we can see where miscommunications may have happened, or where something could have been dealt with in a better way.
Apart from dealing with the mistrust in your relationship together with your partner, there is also some work that you can do alone. Take some time to reflect on your past relationships or friendships, to understand better where your trust issues come from. In this way, you can also identify certain behaviours or actions that tend to trigger your mistrust. Reflect on what trust means to you, and what you need to see in a partner for this trust to grow. In this way, you can share your reflections with your partner and hear what would help them build their trust in you too.
5. Be Trustworthy
Finally, be a trustworthy partner yourself. Be open about what you’re feeling and let them see your vulnerable side. Challenge yourself on things you feel ashamed to share with your partner and be open to listening to their concerns if they have any.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Lisa Laspina is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist who is currently working with Willingness. She is reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy.