How to Build Trust in a Relationship

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If you want to know how to build trust in a relationship, then you’re asking the best question possible to make your relationship amazing; as you more able to trust your partner and share your truth, and vice versa, not only will the connection you have to each other deepen, but, as a result, you will engage less in unnecessary drama. So, whether you’ve been dating for three months, three years, or three decades, the rules of trust are the same: Your relationship gets exponentially better the more you are willing to cultivate a deep sense of trust.

how do you learn how to trust your partner, or REbuild trust after it’s been lost? There are 5 keys: 

1.Come up with the rules before playing the game.

It’s easy to become so focused on dating and finding “the one,” that you don’t know what to do when the relationship shows up all of a sudden. As you enter into a relationship, or if you’re already in a relationship, you’re dealing not just with your own issues, but your partner’s issues, which makes things complex. While it’s tempting to assume that everyone knows how to communicate, be honest, and has the same definitions about monogamy, and what a trusting relationship looks like, that’s actually complete bullshit. Just because your ex-boyfriend knew how to talk through issues, or never flirted at the office, doesn’t mean that your current boyfriend has the same ideas about communication and monogamy.

That being said, the first step to building trust is to sit down with your partner and define the terms, the rules and processes that you’re going to follow as a couple.

Here are some questions you’ll want to discuss during this conversation:

  • When will we discuss issues?

  • What is our process for handling issues of trust, honesty, and negative emotions, as they arise?

  • What resources will we turn to?

  • What do we commit to?

  • What’s my responsibility in this process?

  • What challenges will surface, based on my past patterns and unconscious reactions?

This process of coming up with the rules (and more importantly, following them) requires and extraordinary amount of self-awareness, coupled with a willingness to grow and break through negative patterns. For example: When issues come up between my partner and I, my unconscious reaction is to shut down and withdraw. It doesn’t come easy to me to share my feelings all the time. However, because I’m aware of this, I know that it’s my responsibility to open up when it feels the most difficult. I know that I made an agreement with my partner to share how I feel, even when I want to sit alone and stew in my sadness. The more self-aware and willing to be open and vulnerable you are, the more success you’re going to have with coming up with a process and actually following through. 

2.Share every microtruth.

The foundation of truth is honesty. If you’re unwilling to share what Gay and Kathleen Hendricks, authors and leaders in the field of relationship transformation, refer to as microtruths - the smallest truths you might want to withhold from your partner - you’re never going to build a sense of trust in the partnership.

Here’s the key: While it feels like it would hurt your relationship to tell your partner that you’re attracted to your coworker, in actuality, it will make help your partner to trust you more.

This seems counterintuitive, because we’ve been taught to not share things we feel will cause our partner to experience a negative reaction. The truth is that, yes, your partner might experience  negative emotions at first, but he’ll learn how to work through them, and eventually, trust you more. You’re not saying you’re going to go and have sex with your coworker. You’re simply saying that you’re working through something - an attraction to someone else, and you and you want to work through it with your partner, rather than talking about it with your friends and keeping it a secret. The more conscious your partner is, the better equipped he’ll be at hearing your truth and helping you to uncover the root of the issue. 

Underneath ever issue lies a trigger that you’re unaware of. You might be attracted to someone else, because you don’t feel valued by your partner. You might be aging and feel insecure about your body. You might be angry at your partner for not contributing to the household, and because you’re unwilling to express it, you seek the fantasy of another person.

Here’s the key: When you are willing to share your microtruths, you allow the root of the issue to surface, rather than merely being upset about the symptom.

3.Let your partner be human.

Your partner has doubts, fears, and judgment. Your partner says he didn’t feel comfortable when your ex-boyfriend called. He looked through your text messages. He waited three weeks to tell you that he went to a bachelor party after work. Let your partner express the issues and fears he has as they arise, and don’t expect that he’s going to be exactly where you are in terms of the relationship. I’m not saying that you should tolerate a person who cheats, or lies, but rather, that you give your partner the space to express his truth. He might tell you that he was tempted to go to a strip club with the guys, but he didn’t. It’d be easy to jump on him for expressing his temptation, but the truth is, your relationship would be much better if you thanked him for sharing his truth. After all, he didn’t betray you. He was honest, and that deserves appreciation. The more you appreciate him for sharing his fears, the greater the chance that he won’t act on his impulses. 

It’s human nature to be attracted to others and to feel good when they give you attention. It’s not okay to cheat, or act on those impulses. 

4.Stop flirting.

At the office, you bat our eyelashes at Harry, the sexy attorney. While out with your girlfriends, a guy approaches, and all of a sudden, your voice shoots up three octaves and you start twirling your hair. So what? It’s harmless, you say.

No way, Jose.

If you think it’s okay to send out sexual energy to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then you can’t get mad at your partner for doing the same. If you want to build trust in your relationship, you need to be willing to have integrity, and that means that your sexual energy is reserved for your partner. It’s easy to get a quick high by having that cute guy at the office compliment you, but your hurting your relationship on an energetic level. To find out why, be sure to read an article I wrote for Elephant Journal How to Get Rid of Bad Relationship Karma.

5.Heal past trauma.

You have a fear of abandonment. You’re insecure. But not because of your current partner. In truth, you’ve experience past trauma, both as a child and also in past relationships. Most of your fears are a result of the past, not your present reality. You project those fears onto your current relationship unconsciously, meaning, you’re unaware that it’s happening.

So, in order to build trust, you need to do the inner-work of healing past trauma. To find out how to do this, be sure to read:

You can also set up a session with me if you’d like to identify subconscious blocks and work through past trauma.

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Hi, I’m Jessie! I’m a writer, teacher, and spiritual coach. If you’d like to set up a session to identify your blocks to love, or to apply spiritual principles to issues in your life, send me a message. I’d love to work with you.

If you’d like to set up a couples session with my partner Tim (from Selfless Awakening) and I, we’d be happy to help get your relationship back on track.