The happiest, most satisfying relationships rest on a foundation of implicit trust. If you want your relationship to be all it can be, both of you must learn how to create this kind of trust.
Most couples only think of trust in terms of being sexually faithful, though essential, there’s more to it than just that.
PART 1: Committing to Mutual Core Relationship Values
- Stay faithful. If a partner is not loyal, a relationship quickly becomes unworkable. People do recover from an affair but usually need professional help to do it. Make a commitment to be faithful and stick to it. If you’re not happy in the relationship, get counseling and not a part-time lover.
- If you’re faithful to someone, it means you’re faithful on all levels. This means physically but also emotionally. Some people think it’s okay to establish intimate bonds even though they may just be spending time with another person and nothing else; but it’s really not. It will eventually cause problems in your relationship.
- Be clear with appropriate boundaries as much as possible. What is appropriate varies from culture to culture, and often with one’s age. But it all comes down to understanding what is respectful, clear, and comfortable to ask from a romantic relationship.
- Dating a person once is not a committed relationship, for instance. If asking a person out on a date, make sure that is clear; it can be awkward if a woman is not entirely sure she is at a restaurant as a friend or as a date.
- Be clear on if you see your sexual relationship is casual or more serious. Some people are comfortable with “booty calls” and “friends with benefits” type relationships. Others see sexual relations as a very deeply emotional act done with someone committed to a relationship.
- There is a wide varieties of behaviors considered a “committed relationship”, from traditional marriage, to “live in boyfriend or girlfriend” to more radical “open marriages” and polyamory. A person seeking a traditional marriage may be disappointed if the partner is looking for something else.
- If your significant other wants to spend time with their friends, try to be okay with that. You can always talk about what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not, though. For instance, if your partner says that he or she wants to go to a dance club with friends and you’re not comfortable with it, then it’s something that you need to talk about both in this instance and for the future so that it doesn’t keep happening again and again.
PART 2: Establishing Trust on Your End
- If you say you’re going to be home by 5 p.m., then make sure you are or at least let the other person know if something else comes up. The most important factor here is consistency. If 4 out of 5 times, you never bother calling and just come home as late as you want, then that’s a strong indicator that your needs matter more to you than your partner. A happy, successful relationship is when both parties make an effort at keeping up their end of the bargain.
PART 3: Fostering Trust in Your Significant Other
- This is where you have the opportunity to practice vulnerability. Trusting another person often comes down to how you feel on the inside. In other words, if you tend to be insecure about things, then this could fall over into your relationship in a negative way. You have every reason to trust until the person actually does something that shows you cannot.
3. Give the benefit of the doubt. One indicator of trust issues is the tendency to think of the worst case in every possible situation. Just because someone missed your phone call doesn’t mean the person is cheating on you. When you trust your partner, it means you give him or her the benefit of the doubt. Each person deserves a chance to explain her or himself before coming to a conclusion. Only then can it be looked at objectively.
4. Leave your partner’s phone alone. Do either one of you have passwords on your phone? If so, it could be a sign that you have problems with trust. While privacy is important, it doesn’t mean your phone should be protected like it’s Fort Knox. When there’s real trust, the other person will respect your privacy even if he or she has access to your phone. But the bigger issue, however, is if you feel that the person calling your significant other’s phone is a threat to your relationship, then there are definite trust issues that need to be dealt with.
5. Allow your partner free reign in life. Often, when there are trust issues, you want to monitor everything the other person does and with whom. It’s easy to feel territorial and feel threatened by everyone. However, trust is about having faith and allowing the other person free reign. When you trust someone else, it also means you trust yourself, which fosters healthier relationships in the long run.