Trust is such an essential ingredient that allows us to be intimate in our relationships. When we believe that we do not have a trusting relationship, we will very likely not allow ourselves to be vulnerable with our partner, and that creates a barrier in our connection with them. This can translate into us doubting what our partners tell us, feeling anxious that our partner might not have our best interest in mind and at heart. A trusting relationship, on the other hand, gives us the space to be vulnerable, to explore and grow with our partner while believing that we are safe to do so.
One important point that I keep in mind when addressing the theme of trust in relationships is the idea that this concept is based heavily on our own confidence in our own judgement of others. When at some point in our lives our trust is broken, we may start to doubt our own ability to judge if a person is trustworthy or not (Gottman, 2012). This means that the lack of trust in relationships is not only based on the actions of our partner, but what these actions trigger in us. For instance, if a partner comes home unusually late from work, one might think that something might have happened to them on their way home, or that maybe they were held up at work. Someone else might, however, doubt their own judgement of their partner and whether their partner is worth trusting.
It is important to be aware of our own relationship with trust, and how we have experienced trust in our lives. In no way do I mean that someone whose trust has been betrayed by a previous partner in the past will be unfairly judging their current partner if they are struggling with trusting them. However, what I mean is that it is important to be aware of how our past injuries and betrayals impacted how we view ourselves and others in our lives. If from past betrayals we formed the idea that we do not deserve to be loved and respected, then we will very likely expect others to do just that with us; to not love us and to not respect us. These messages may leave us feeling very suspicious of the intentions of others, even of those we are in an intimate relationship with.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.