Whether you are starting out in a relationship or rebuilding one after betrayal, it is important to start with the basics – building trust. Couples often struggle with wanting to build or rebuild trust in a relationship. In fact, building trust is difficult, whether the relationship is romantic or not. Trust is the building block of all relationships – it is fundamental for getting emotionally intimate with another human. It is far easier to lose trust, and rebuilding trust takes patience, time, and work. But it is not impossible. If both parties are willing and motivated, it can be done. If you and your special one are willing to put in the effort, here are some steps you can take to build, or rebuild, your trust.
In This Article
1. Always Say What You Mean
People are perceptive. They can pick up on the clues if someone is saying things they don’t mean or aren’t true. We are all born with instincts that help us protect ourselves. These skills have been honed evolutionarily over thousands of years for our survival. People just know when someone’s crying wolf. And they adjust their expectations and behavior accordingly. They teach themselves not to trust that person the next time.
So, if you and your partner are trying to increase trust in your relationship, it is important not to say things that are untrue. Also, stop making promises you both won’t follow through on. Learn to refrain from saying things that don’t represent your true feelings. It can be hard if one has an issue with chronic lying or is a people-pleaser, but this is something that needs to be worked on. Even minor, white lies people tell their significant others can lead to distrust.
2. Learn To Be Vulnerable
If you are so afraid of opening up and sharing your feelings that you never go beyond the mindless polite banter with your associates or loved ones, you will never develop trust in your relationships. The person has to know you to believe you or believe in you. The goal is to develop a bond that is tight and honest – which you can’t get with even decades of small talk. This bond can only be created through vulnerability. You have to be truly vulnerable with one another to be able to rely on each other.
In the relationships that we choose in our personal lives, we can only build trust through being open and vulnerable. Some of this automatically develops with daily interactions and time. However, the real test comes when we are talking about emotional vulnerability. Building trust takes blind faith and willingness on your part to open yourself up to getting hurt — whether it is talking about something you did in your past or letting them see a part of you that isn’t as attractive as the rest of your nature. The most beautiful thing about trust is that it is built when we give our partners the opportunity to hurt us or let us down — but they do not. However, in order for both of you to build that trust and pass the test, we must take a chance. But it is important to go about this gradually and not overwhelm your partner.
3. Never Be Disrespectful
One of the most harrowing ways our partners can damage our trust is by belittling us, especially in public. No matter how angry we are, we should never make our loved ones feel less or view them with contempt. You need to maintain a basic level of respect. Respect should be the common denominator in all relationships whether it is between colleagues or partners. The more intimate your relationship is, the more important it is to keep the basic level of respect up.
Unfortunately, when we are deeply attached to someone, we tend to show them our worst. This does mean that we show our vulnerability as well. However, that can’t be an excuse for treating our partners badly. Respect is very important where our loved ones are concerned because constantly belittling our partner can do a lot of damage over time. You need not be formal or polite with your bae – just respectful. Every time you misbehave, treat them in a demeaning way or violate the basic minimum of respect and dignity, you damage your bond bit by bit. It then becomes hard for them to trust you.
4. Give Them The Benefit Of Doubt
When it comes to personal relationships, it is important to give our partners the benefit of doubt. Set your doubts aside and let the person explain themselves. Allow them the space to come through for you. In relationships where you are trying to rebuild broken trust, it may not be possible to set aside all your doubts all at once, especially if it involves substance abuse or infidelity. In such cases, you may still require a certain level of investigation to protect yourself from further pain. But with time, if you both truly want to rebuild trust, you have to be willing to take a chance and let the doubt go — or at least hold the thought before jumping to conclusions — and see if your partner comes through for you.
5. Express All Your Feelings Functionally
Emotional intimacy can only be built if you know that your significant other will be by your side even if you can express your deepest feelings. They won’t dismiss you and your feelings, and will be willing to listen. They will make the effort and time to understand your side of the story, and not shut you down. This will enable you both to talk about feelings without ending up fighting, verbally attacking, or shutting up the conversation.
It is very easy to develop a relationship that is non-emotional and intimate, where both parties pretend everything is fine and none of the partners lets the other one in. However, it is not a true relationship. Neither person trusts the other to handle their awkward feelings and thoughts.
Work on ways you both can talk about difficult subjects while being respectful, collaborative, and helpful. You need to learn to discuss challenging subjects in ways that don’t automatically end up in conflicts. If you truly want trust in your relationship, you need to give your partner the opportunity to make a connection with the real you.
6. Take A Risk With Each Other
Being vulnerable has to be a mutual endeavor. It has to be a joint effort toward achieving something rewarding. Do something new together – go on a vacation or open a joint savings account. Put yourselves out of your comfort zones. The reward would be increased trust.
7. Be Ready To Give And Receive
Reciprocity is essential to build a solid relationship. It is not necessary that each one of you has to give exactly as much as you are expecting to receive. In fact, both partners have to be comfortable with the expectations, and they should feel equal. In a close emotional relationship, it is understood that this balance could and would shift once in a while. No one actually keeps tabs of who is doing what for whom – and that’s because of trust.
In a healthy relationship, you know you won’t end up simply giving, giving, and giving without your partner ever doing something for you in return. That is why a significant component of building or rebuilding trust is to let this complicated process happen. Of course, the expectations change from couple to couple, but the point to be noted is that none of the partners should ever feel chronically unappreciated or undervalued.
That was our list of the ways you can build trust in your relationship. No matter how hard things get, those who have trust in their partners can deal with them way better than those who feel that they have to fend for themselves. Building trust is essential. Without trust, it is hard to truly love and be a part of an emotionally fulfilling relationship.