Do you want to learn more about trust in your relationship?
Trust is a chance you take believing that your partner is honest and upfront about their intentions. You can choose to trust your partner until you have a reason not to. Alternatively, you can choose not to trust your partner until you build that trust over a significant time, sharing real-life experiences.
In this article, you will learn what is trust and how you can build trust in your relationship. We will cover common trust issues and how to fix them.
What Is Trust in a Relationship?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of trust is:
- belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.
Trust in a relationship is an expectation that what you and your partner are saying is how it is.
When you trust your partner, you’re taking the chance, expecting them to be honest with you.
When it comes to trust and honesty, you should understand that your partner can only be honest with you as much as they are honest with themselves. In other words, your partner may have insecurities that affect their behaviour. As a result, they may wholeheartedly tell you their intentions, just to go and do something different.
If they are lying to themselves, they will inevitably be lying to you, while believing that they are honest with you.
Alternatively, your partner may tell you a lie with intention and awareness. This, of course, is a red flag and must be addressed right away.
Trust is a choice to assume that your partner is telling the truth.
In other words, they may be completely open and honest with you, but you still may distrust them. It can also be the other way around where they lie to you while you trust them.
Trust in some way is a little bit like faith; you just do it. But if you find out that your partner is lying to you, the trust breaks.
Why Is Trust Important in a Relationship?
Trust is necessary if you want to make your relationship work. Without trust, your doubts and insecurities grow, destroying your relationship.
To know whether you have trust in a relationship, first of all, you have to be honest with yourself.
For example, when you ask yourself, why are you in this relationship, take some time to understand your reasons.
Your reasons could be that you want to have this person in your life. Maybe you are getting on well together, and you share common interests. But there are also other reasons why people stay in a relationship.
Many couples struggle to maintain a healthy relationship. Yet, they do everything they can to make it work. Most of the time, they spend a lot of effort to keep their relationship going for as long as they can. And on many occasions, all it brings is suffering.
Commitment, fear of being alone, unwillingness to break up are some of the reasons why people stay in an unhealthy relationship despite suffering.
So, you must be honest with yourself and know your reasons for being in this relationship. Check if you are happy and if this relationship contributes to your life in any meaningful way.
A relationship involves two people. So your partner has to be honest with themselves as well. They should also take time to understand the real reason why they are in this relation relationship with you.
As long as you and your partner are honest with each other, you can face any issues together. You can use effective communication to share your feelings and needs throughout your relationship as your feelings change all the time.
You may lack physical intimacy in your relationship for some reason. This lack of physical intimacy can leave you feeling sexually frustrated.
Sooner or later, you will have to satisfy your sexual needs. Otherwise, you will be dissatisfied and unfulfilled in this relationship.
It may not be possible to meet your sexual needs with your partner. In this case, one option to consider is to have an open relationship, and another is to find a different sexual partner.
To maintain trust in your relationship, you should tell your partner if you feel unhappy in your relationship and the reason for it.
In this case, a lack of physical intimacy leaves you sexually frustrated. So, a healthy way to deal with it is to stop yourself from acting on this frustration before talking to your partner.
Instead of cheating on your partner, try talking to your partner about your physical needs to see if you can work them out together.
Some people may decide that it’s too hard to say these things to their partners. They would rather keep their feelings to themselves. And when they can’t bear it, they go and sleep with someone else without informing their partner about their feelings, needs and actions.
Such behaviour is unhealthy and does not serve anyone. It does create more problems besides sexual frustration and is particularly dangerous if you have children!
Cheating has two aspects: trust and fulfilment of sexual needs.
If you trust each other in the relationship, you can talk about things before they become problems.
Signs of Trust in Your Relationship
- You are honest with each other regardless of the situation
- You feel free and comfortable expressing your thought, feelings, doubts and concerns
- You do not have the need to question the validity of what your partner is saying
- You do not have the need to check their phone, emails, social media, etc.
All of the above has to go both ways.
How Does Trust Work in a Relationship?
Without trust, it is hard to share your feelings and needs. At this point, the problem is communication. So, to make your relationship work, you must focus on improving your communication.
If you do not improve your communication and find a way to express your feelings and needs, you only have two more options:
- Suppress your feelings, leaving you dissatisfied with this relationship
- Find a way to fulfil your needs without telling your partner.
Both of these options are unhealthy and will inevitably create more problems. If you could not discuss your original issue, what are your chances of addressing these problems?
Before you know it, unresolved problems pile up, and you end up in a toxic relationship without a clue as to how you got there and what you can do about it.
If this is you, now is the time to face your issues and get professional help if need be. A relationship coach can help you disentangle your problems and figure out the source of the original issue.
After that, you can make an educated decision on what is the best thing for you to do.
How to Build Trust in a Relationship?
Trust in a relationship is something that you build over time. The first step is to get to know each other. Get to know each other’s values, beliefs, and interests.
If you and your partner get along well and enjoy each other’s company, you may decide to take your relationship to the next level. In doing so, you could move in and start living together.
The closer you are, the more you rely on each other in various aspects of your relationship and your lives.
In a relationship, trust has four components:
- You being honest with yourself
- Your partner being honest with themselves
- You being honest with your partner
- Your partner being honest with you
A breakdown in any of these leads to trust issues.
You build trust by sharing your personal lives and freely expressing your current feelings and needs.
You and your partner are likely to have some baggage from your previous relationships. Now, it is up to both of you to help each other process this baggage. If you do not, it will negatively impact your relationship and hold you back from making the most of it.
Some things can be hard to share. Tell each other that there are things that you would prefer to approach with extra care.
Trust in a relationship is being free to express your feelings and intentions to each other without the fear of negative response or judgement.
Many trust issues come as a result of poor communication. Whether or not your doubts have merit, talk about them with your partner.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out our workbook on improving your communication. It will help you discuss sensitive topics, and all you have to do is agree with your partner to work with it together.
If you are starting a new relationship, you can choose to trust a person until they do something that would prompt you to question this trust. Alternatively, you can choose to remain distrusting until you have built this trust over time.
Some couples think that they trust each other, but at some point, they realise that they don’t trust each other as much as they thought.
In a serious relationship, you trust each other unless you have the reason not to.
So, if you are not sharing your thoughts and feelings and intentions for one reason or the other, it can become an issue.
Suppose your partner feels afraid that you will judge them or respond negatively to what they’re saying. In that case, they will likely be reluctant to share their feelings and thoughts with you.
You can win your partner’s trust by welcoming any feelings, thoughts, doubts, frustrations and opinions they would like to share.
You can do it by actively listening without interruptions, judgements, premature conclusions and unsolicited advice or a solution.
Your partner is more likely to tell you the truth if they feel comfortable expressing themselves, knowing they will be heard and understood.
How to Rebuild Trust in a Relationship?
The trust in a relationship is hard to rebuild once it is broken.
Trust is an expectation that your partner is telling the truth. So, if they are not, you will feel disappointed. If it happens once, you may discuss it, address the underlying issue and move on with your relationship.
If you find out they are lying, you will never be able to give them 100% of your belief that they are telling the truth.
Let us look at trust from a slightly different perspective.
If you cannot trust your partner a hundred per cent, it doesn’t mean you cannot have a relationship.
Maybe you and your partner are ok to have a relationship where you lie to each other. It may not be a healthy relationship, but perhaps you are ok with it.
Knowing that you lied to each other is already a particular form of trust. In a way, you know you can trust each other with some things and with others.
And if such a relationship works for you and brings you joy, fulfilment and happiness, then who is to say whether it’s right or wrong.
Mutual lying can be a form of trust or a kind of distrust. If you know that both of you are lying, you can trust the distrust.
While this can work for your relationship, there might be underlying issues why such behaviour is acceptable to you.
Trust Issues in Relationships
Trust in a relationship becomes an issue when you are constantly preoccupied about what your partner is doing and who they are with.
In a healthy relationship with trust, you must have your personal lives and a shared experience of your relationship.
You can dedicate your personal time to self-development, learning new things, working on your career, etc.
When you are together, you can share your personal life progress, discuss your relationship goals and spend time doing things that you both enjoy.
It is also OK not to share absolutely everything. This is where your trust is tested. It is normal for each person in the relationship to have personal lives.
Trust issues become a problem when either you or your partner do not feel free to express yourselves openly with one another.
This distrust can breed other negative emotions like anger, frustration and sadness. Unaddressed, these emotions lead to a toxic relationship, which I am sure you would rather avoid.
The distrust begins when you want to know what your partner is doing all the time, where they are and with whom. If you notice such behaviour, it’s a sign of distrust. Talk to your partner, express your concerns, and take it from there.
For a long-distance relationship, if you are starting a relationship and you’ve never met the person you’re talking to, you shouldn’t trust them. Until you meet the person in real life, they are more of an idea created in your mind based on the information they provide. Without being next to them, it’s tough to decide whether the person is honest or not.
When you meet each other in real life, you get a certain feeling that can help you decide whether you should trust that person or not.
How to Fix Trust Issues in a Relationship?
If you identified trust issues in your relationship, there are ways you can try to fix them.
For example, if you do not trust your partner, you must tell them what is bothering you.
Your distrust may or may not be founded on something objective.
It is your responsibility to express your doubts to your partner. In response, they can reassure you that there is no need for you to doubt them or confirm your suspicions.
Whether your partner is lying to you or you are lying to them isn’t as crucial as your awareness of it.
Knowing you can trust each other allows you to build a healthy relationship. Knowing that you can’t trust each other gives you the power to do something about it.
Nobody is perfect, and you or your partner may make a mistake.
If you want to fix your trust issues, you should come clean as soon as possible. If you told a lie to your partner and then you told them the truth, then it’s up to them whether they can accept it or not.
Your partner may understand you and your reasons for lying. They may carry on a relationship with you, or they may choose to end it.
Sometimes it’s better to end your relationship than have a relationship with lies.
Whatever you or your partner did, lying about it can become a burden on your relationship. The important thing is that you deal with it. Be honest with each other and see what happens.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. But how do you build and maintain trust in a relationship?
To have trust in a relationship, you need to build a healthy relationship. If you want your relationship to work, you must trust your partner.
Without trust, your doubts and insecurities can grow into an issue and destroy your relationship.
When it comes to trust, you have a simple choice:
- You choose to trust the other person until they do something where you need to question this trust, OR
- You choose not to trust the other person until you have verified that they are trustworthy, based on your criteria.
Trust is an essential aspect of a healthy relationship. In a relationship, trust can quickly turn into distrust.
Your lack of trust may not necessarily be based on your partner’s behaviour.
Distrust can stem from doubts and insecurities.
In a relationship, you must express your doubts and insecurities to your partner as soon as they arise. Even if they seem small and insignificant, you should share them with your partner straight away.
Suppose you do not talk to your partner about things that bother you. In that case, they can grow into an issue that can make your relationship a lot harder and less enjoyable.
The best way to deal with trust issues is to talk about them openly and honestly with your partner, however awkward or uncomfortable it may be.
How you bring up issues to your partner is key to having the best chance of working it out. If you need some help and guidance about doing it, feel free to get in touch.
Help and Advice with Building Trust in Your Relationship
Tips on Building Trust
- Recognise that trust is an expectation that your partner will be honest
- If you are having doubts, talk to your partner
- Keep an eye on the signs of distrust (e.g. checking your partner’s phone, being overly inquisitive, doubting their truthfulness, etc.)
Relationship Coaching for Trust Issues
If you are having trust issues in your relationship and need professional advice, we are here to help! Check out our coaching options.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get over trust issues in a relationship?
The only way to get over trust issues in a relationship is, to be honest with each other. Whatever your situation may be, talk about it openly and honestly. It could break your relationship, or it could make it stronger.
Can trust be rebuilt?
Trust is taking a chance to believe that someone will be a certain way. When this person behaves differently, it will take more to trust them again. So the trust is about your willingness to take a chance.
Is relationship based on trust?
The closer you are to your partner, the more you rely on each other. Since you are dependant on your partner in many areas of your life, you need to know that you can trust them.
Can a relationship survive lack of trust?
You can choose to stay in a relationship without trust. Just be mindful that such a relationship is unhealthy. So you need to decide if you deserve better.
Can a relationship survive trust issues?
Depending on the issues, a lot of them can be sorted out. If it is a question of doubts and insecurities, you must face them straight away and deal with them in a healthy way. However, if it is a matter of dishonesty, that is not healthy.
How do you know you can trust your partner?
You know you trust your partner when you do not need the proof to verify what they are saying and doing.