Have you ever found yourself monitoring the online activities of your partner? Do you feel insecure in your relationship? Do you find it hard to move on after your significant other hurts you? Answering “yes” to any of these questions may mean you are struggling with trust issues.
Trust means you believe in someone or something. You believe in what they say, how they act, their abilities, and dependability. Some early psychologists taught that trust, and distrust, are formed in the first two years of life and is learned from the environment in which you live.
Meaning, we evaluate how we are treated by others in our life when we are young. If we are abused by parents or other adults, we tend to form distrust. If we feel loved and well cared for, we form trust.
Over time, many other factors go into developing trust in relationships.
Factors Involved in Trust
To trust someone, you need to see they can be reliable. You need them to do what they say they are going to do. They need to follow through with their promises and do so consistently.
Integrity is also a factor to help build trust. You must have faith that the person you love is going to be there for you. They prove this by being there for you many times in the past, so you can feel confident they will be there for you in the future.
Benevolence means you feel certain the person you trust has your best interest in mind and would not do anything to harm you. In fact, they would work to prevent you from harm.
The person who earns your trust is not controlling, communicates with respect and their intentions and motives are positive.
When any of these factors are not met or are violated, you begin to lose trust in someone.
How Trust is Broken
Losing trust in someone can happen after several actions take place. For instance, you may catch your partner in a lie. Even one lie can start to break down the trust you feel. Another instance may occur if your partner abuses you in some way, physically or emotionally.
Their abuse makes you feel as if they no longer care about your safety or well-being, leaving you feeling more alone.
Levels of broken trust can range from high to low based on several elements. The severity of the offense, or consequences, can vary. If someone you love hits you, the damages can be severe enough for you to lose complete trust in them.
However, if someone you love forgets to give you a birthday gift, while it still hurts, you may not lose as much trust in them. On the other hand, if they forget your birthday every year for ten years, your trust in them will be less.
Minor trust violations that happen over and over can turn into resentment and eventually, you may reach your limit of what you will accept from that person. Sayings like, “the last straw”, are often used when this happens. Meaning, you have had enough and no longer believe in them.
Trust is also broken with more severe actions, like if your partner disrespects or deceives you.
How to Get Over Trust Issues
Trust is something you can absolutely get over.
Realizing that trust is just as much a choice as it is a feeling. Trust is an action you take, based on a decision you made. Only this time around, you agree to make the decision to trust based on the knowledge you have gained.
Trust in your future will be based on your evaluation of your relationship. You must decide if it is a relationship you want to salvage. If the answer is yes, it is worth repairing, then there are certain steps you can take to rebuild trust and overcome your trust issues.
Focus On Yourself First
It is easy to lose trust in yourself when you lose trust in your partner. You may start to doubt your ability to choose the right people to be in your life. You may blame yourself for allowing someone to abuse you. You may even feel angry at the decisions you have made.
Getting over trust issues begins with rebuilding trust for yourself. Do not fault yourself for investing in someone who turned out to be untrustworthy. Taking risks is a key factor in living a full, successful life. Some risks will pay off and some will be counted as losses.
Almost everyone has experienced trust issues at some point. The best thing you can do is to not give up on people, invest in yourself and in improving yourself, and recognize that one loss is just one loss. You still have many positive factors in your life. Focus on those instead of trust issues gained from one failed relationship.
Then, rebuilding trust is possible, if you want it.
Explore Relationship Therapy
Every relationship is a little different.
There are several types of therapy focused on improving the health of your relationship with your significant other.
If you are married, you may find marriage therapy helpful in resolving issues that negatively impact your ability to trust. If you are not married, you may find couples therapy helpful in improving your communication skills and overall emotional health.
Related: Does Couples Therapy Work?
Trust plays a big role in developing and maintaining a healthy relationship. If you suspect you may struggle with trust, it's important you work toward resolving the underlying issues sooner than later.
How to Rebuild Trust
If you decide you want to continue in your relationship, the process of rebuilding trust must be followed. Rebuilding trust includes forgiveness. You must forgive yourself and your partner. You must also allow your partner to prove they can be trusted. Give them opportunities to be successful.
Communication is a big key to a successful relationship. Communication builds trust when it is open, honest and respectful. You must decide to trust and stick with your decision. Renew your commitment to the relationship. Be willing to continue working on the relationship for an extended period.
Working with a marriage and family therapist is one of the best ways to help you get over trust issues. A counselor can help you work through your fears, so you can feel confident again in your ability to choose trustworthy people in your life.
A therapist can push you forward in the process so you can enjoy healthy, positive relationships with others.