Tips for Learning to Trust Again
Trust means you put your confidence in someone else. It's not without risk, and many people experience a break in trust at some point. If you hold onto those trust issues, they can interfere with all subsequent relationships, from friendships and casual dating situations to serious relationships and marriage. Focus on addressing your own trust issues to allow for healthier relationships.
Why Is Trust Important?
Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Without it, you're left with fear, anxiety and suspicion. You can't open up and truly let someone else in if you're dealing with trust issues. Trust is not an all or nothing deal. You can have a little trust while still holding onto some anxiety and jealousy. Learning to move toward a stronger trust with your partner enables your relationship to grow. You can feel comfortable and confident enough to make plans for the future.
What Are Trust Issues?
It's natural to question who you should trust. Blindly trusting everyone you meet opens you up to manipulation and pain. Not everyone is worthy of your trust. They prove it by lying, being deceptive and hurting you on a regular basis. However, you should be able to trust those closest to you. If you find it difficult to trust anyone, you may have trust issues.
Some signs of trust issues include:
- No intimacy because you feel like you can't trust anyone
- Constant suspicion surrounding the people in your life
- Difficulty with physical intimacy
- Lots of drama in your relationships
- Assuming you'll be betrayed by everyone or accusing someone of betrayal without evidence
- Inability to share your feelings with anyone
- Unable to commit
- Turning any mistake your partner makes into a breach of trust
- Loneliness or isolation
Identifying Your Trust Issues
Before you can work on your trust issues, you need to pinpoint where they're coming from. What is the extent of your mistrust? Were you traumatized by a former spouse or partner who cheated on you, lied constantly or was otherwise dishonest? Figuring out the root of your trust issues can help you confront them. When you experience a serious breach of trust, it can change the way you think about relationships going forward. You have to be willing to work on those issues, confront your past and make serious efforts to change your outlook on trust.
How to Deal With Trust Issues
Learning to trust again isn't always easy. If you have serious situations in your past involving mistrust, you may need to work with a counselor to break through the issues. Your counselor can help you process past experiences and work to eliminate the fear about the future that those situations cause. If you're currently in a relationship, consider seeing a professional together to help repair the trust in the relationship.
You can also work on your trust issues on your own. Be honest with your partner if you're having difficulty trusting. Share past hurts that led to the development of issues with trusting freely. Openness is also important in everyday conversations. If you don't share anything personal with your partner, your relationship stays shallow and doesn't have the chance to grow deeply in trust.
It may also help to look at the situation from your significant other's perspective. How does he feel when you act suspicious or jealous? What is he thinking when you give short answers without really opening up? How would you feel if the roles were reversed? If your boyfriend hasn't given you any reason to suspect dishonesty or infidelity, work toward taking emotional risks with him. Open yourself up knowing that it could cause hurt but also knowing you can't be truly intimate and close without that risk.
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Shelley Frost writes professionally on a full-time basis, specializing in lifestyle, family, parenting and relationship topics. She holds an education degree and has extensive experience working with kids and parents.