How To Establish, Maintain Or Rebuild Trust In A Relationship

trust in relationship

In today’s society, trust is something that has become harder and harder to find.  We all have trust issues.  These days, we do not trust our government, we question our doctors, we worry about the foods we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.  We lock our doors at night because we do not feel safe.  We might not trust our neighbors, the people who live down the street or anyone who may be traveling through our neighborhood. 

In this increasing environment of fear we live in, our ability to trust each other has also deteriorated.  Instead of trusting someone until we are wronged, we automatically assume the opposite, that they are guilty until proven innocent.

Why You May Find It Hard To Trust People

As we live our lives, there are many things that can make us feel unsafe and distrusting of others.  We first learn how to build trust when we are young.  Growing up in a volatile environment of emotional pain, abuse and neglect can set the stage for developing trust issues from our earliest of days. 

As an adult we may suffer the pain afflicted by others though their put downs, belittling or victimization, where we lose our self esteem and ultimately learn that we cannot believe in ourselves let alone others.  Over time, the scars that we carry around from this deep emotional wounding cause us to shut parts of ourselves down.  We can become fearful of opening ourselves up to others, only to be hurt again. 

How Important Is Honesty And Trust In A Relationship?

Trust is very important if we want to have healthy open and caring relationships with others, be they personal, professional or intimate.  Trust is not something that comes automatically, but is something that is built through time and repetition. 

When we feel safe and secure in a relationship we are willing to be vulnerable.  We are willing to let others know who we are on the deepest level of our being and recognize that they will treat us fairly and honestly.  We recognize that they will not take advantage of us. 

With this, we are given the chance to drop our guard and show our true selves.  We can display our strengths and weaknesses, our problems and concerns. We also have the freedom to show our silly and sometimes stupid mistakes all without fear of reproach. 

When we trust someone, we are also given the opportunity to help create an environment of mutual respect, caring and concern for the others well-being and personal growth.  It is when we break the trust within any of our relationships that problems can occur.  Trust is something that develops over time but once broken, it can be a hard to re-establish.  It needs to be nurtured and rebuilt between the two parties.

What If Our Trust In The Relationships Is Broken?

The level at which the trust needs to be reclaimed in a relationship depends on how severe the precipitating ‘offense’ was.  Was it trivial, where we are not greatly bothered or severe, where our emotional well-being, safety and feelings of security are put at risk? 

There is a world of difference between distrusting someone who accidentally damages something of value to you verses when a serious promise, such as fidelity is broken.  It is important to take some time to recover from the emotional stress that the offense has placed upon you.  This can help you address the issue with a clearer head. 

We can also choose to take steps to ensure that a similar offense will not occur again.  We do this by being mindful of our own thoughts and feelings and creating boundaries.  Then if the issues recurs, taking acting on them. 

For example, if it bothers you that your spouse flirts with a coworker, ask that he or she keep their relationship professional.  If they are unwilling or unable to do so, then it is up to you to determine if you want to reconcile the relationship.  Yes, it is up to you, not them, to determine if you want to recreate a relationship where your trust has been broken. 

What Can I Do To Heal Broken Trust?

When developing trust in a relationship, there are a number of things you can do to help facilitate its recreation and heal your inner wounds. 

If you are the one who broken an others trust, first of all, be truthful.  Do not lie to your friends and loved ones.  Once caught in a lie, everything you say and do becomes suspect.  Next, follow through on your promises, big and small.  This will let your partner know that you are making an effort at keeping your word and that your word can be trusted. 

If you are the one who has been violated, set boundaries.  Let your friend or partner know how you feel and what acts will help to rebuild the trust between you.  In addition, do not accuse of them of wrongdoing or assume everything they say or do is somehow breaking the promise they made to you.  It is important to give them the opportunity to show you that they can be trusted.  Now if they give you a reason not to believe them:  that is different.

How Can I Know If I Can Trust Someone?

If you are wondering if you should trust someone here is what Tony Schirtzinger has to say about trust.  In his article: “Who Can You Trust”, he evaluates trust by how often an individual breaks their word.  If they never or rarely break their word, then you can trust them.  When they break their word on a few things, but not everything, then trust them in the areas in which they do keep their word.  If on the other hand, if they break their word 50% or more of the time, then this person is probably not trustworthy.

Some people, and not making excuses for them, are unable to be truthful.  They are not always intentionally lying or trying to deceive you.  Instead, they are lying to themselves in different areas of their lives and as a result, you end up getting lied to as well. 

Is It Possible To Rebuild Trust In A Relationship?

Rebuilding trust can be a long and painful process.  It forces us to face our fears, release negative and hurtful feelings and experiences from our past.  Rebuilding trust also asks us to be willing to open ourselves up to being hurt again. 

Without an ability to trust, we block ourselves off from experiencing a wide range of emotions.  Trusting allows us to let our guard down which frees up our inner energy.  We can then use this additional resource in more positive, healthy and whole way. 

Trust Is An Important Part Of Any Relationship

Before we go, let me reiterate this here.  It is up to you to decide who you want to trust verses those you should hold at arm’s length.  Just because someone wants or expects you to trust them, does not mean that you should, especially if their words and actions do not warrant it. 

Trust is an important component in our ability to interact with others.  When it is not there, we limit our expression and our interactions with them.  When it is there, we are afforded a level of intimacy that creates bonds that can last forever.

Are you unsure if you should trust someone?  Try listening to your heart.  If you feel safe in trusting someone, then trust.  If on the other hand something within you is telling you to withhold it, then listen to that. Follow your inner knowing.  This is especially true because it is your heart that can be freed when you trust another, as well as broken.

© By Dr. Rita Louise: Copyright Rita Louise, Inc. – All rights reserved.

Get the support you need as you make positive changes in your life. This includes getting support in setting boundaries, or healing broken trust. So don’t wait! Take your next step right now and contact Dr. Rita to schedule a private consultation.

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