I think we can all agree that trust is one of the most important components in a relationship. But what is trust really? Trust is confidence in someone else, the belief that what they say is true and being able to rely on them. That’s a lot to ask of someone, or is it? I don’t think so. I think it’s really a part of what gives a relationship a solid foundation and without a solid foundation your relationship will crumble. But is trust immediate, or, does it have to be earned? I would say a bit of both. I think that you need to give your new partner the benefit of the doubt … innocent until proven guilty, right? But what happens when you have built up baggage and trust issues with others? Do your “post traumatic” trust issues play a part in how you react in a new relationship? This post is inspired by a discussion I had recently with someone … but really, I think it’s very relevant for most people out there right now looking for love.
Post Traumatic Trust Issues
The older you get, the more you experience and the more you see. Me, personally, I have seen so much evil that it would be easy to just give up hope in humanity, throw in the towel and become a recluse. Personally, I have experienced being lied to in my ex-marriage, lied to in relationships, lied to in dating and lied to by the people I have trusted the most and it HURT! Through the people I’ve met through my blog, I have also met many people who, essentially, are living a lie, cheating and being dishonest all in the name of their “happiness”, “fulfillment” and “ego”. I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t had an impact on my general worldview. It does make you a little jaded. I mean, who wants to get hurt? No one. But at some level you just need to get over the anxiety and move on, but it isn’t that easy to do. Sure a lot of crappy things happened to me, a lot of crappy things happen to a lot of people, but it shouldn’t define who they are and it certainly isn’t baggage you want to bring into a new relationship! You don’t live in your past anymore, you need to live in the present. So, what do you do? I’ve been through it … I know it’s hard, but, I know it’s possible.
How To Trust Again
Trust issues early on in a relationship, on the most part, are internal and baggage you bring with you from past relationships. If someone has given you no reason not to trust them and given you no reason to doubt them, then why shouldn’t you give them the benefit of the doubt? Here’s how to shed some of that luggage you’ve been carrying around and lighten the load so that you can move forward positively.
- Know where the anxiety is coming from – is it something they did or something you are imagining? This is a very important thing to determine. If it’s something they did, then talk about it with them and clear the air, make sure they know how you feel. The important thing is to not live in a place of paranoia and get your facts and stories straight. If they haven’t done anything and you are imagining things, then you need to realize that and manage your emotions in an appropriate way. Trust betrayal is one of the worst things to experience and it can take time to heal. Name it, deal with it and move on, preferably before moving on to a new relationship.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – we all make mistakes and we all forget things. Pick your battles. If something bothered you then bring it up in a nice way and communicate. It’s all part of getting to know each other and feeling secure in your relationship … and that takes time!
- Discuss boundaries – know your limits. How do you feel if your partner checks someone else out? How do you feel if they have friends of the opposite sex? Boundaries are different for different people, don’t just assume that someone will be faithful, you need to hear it, you need to both say that you will not be seeing other people or pursuing other relationships. You would be surprised how often one person assumes fidelity while the other had no intention of that. I’ve said before, it’s important to define relationships and define cheating in order to avoid confusion.
- Trust goes both ways – be a trustworthy person yourself. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you. Some people who have been hurt will be on the defensive and keep ties outside of the relationship “just in case” as a buffer. This is NOT OK. Giving yourself fully to someone will ensure that trust flows naturally and that it goes in both directions. Be a trustWORTHY and TRUSTING person. Also, making your partner feel secure can go a long way in establishing trust.
- Have a fulfilling relationship outside and inside the bedroom – a satisfying intimate relationship isn’t only about sex. You need to do activities you both enjoy as well. Have fun together, laugh together, be creative together and it will ensure a stronger bond between you.
- You should be a real part of each other’s lives – relationships should be public. This means going out in public, it means being social with others, it means taking part in your partner’s mundane daily activities. The longer you are together, the more integrated in each other’s lives you should be. It should be a natural progression. This fosters trust because your lives are intertwined and leaves no room for doubt.
- Have realistic expectations – as someone said to me recently, 1+1=2 … it does not equal 1. Find your ideal partner but don’t expect to fuse into one person – mind, body and soul. Let’s be realistic here. You should have your own life outside of the relationship and so should your partner and that’s COMPLETELY OK. Just make sure to be honest with each other about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.
There you go, not so hard is it? Well, let’s be honest here of course it’s hard. If you’ve been burned before then your guard is always up. But, you can choose to let your anxiety control you or you can control it. That’s my approach, deal with things head on, name it and get over it. I know I know, easier said then done, but it’s the only way. If you really try and can’t deal with it on your own, then, perhaps, you need to get some professional help and there’s nothing wrong with that. In any case, be an example of trustworthiness in your life by being an open and honest person. Besides, lying takes too much effort and you have to remember stuff you lied about, who needs THAT headache (and I’m a HORRIBLE liar!). Nah, I prefer to just tell the truth … we’re all adults here aren’t we? As Ernest Hemingway said, “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Plain. Simple.
How do you deal with trust issues in a relationship? Have you ever had trust baggage that led to anxiety in a new relationship? I would love to hear how you dealt with it and how it affected your interactions with others.
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
As I always say to my adult kids that it’s always easier to remember the truth than to remember a lie!
You’re right Joanne! It really is easier to remember the truth than to remember a lie! Why bother concocting stories and creating drama? Really?
Wow! This post is going to become my new relationship Bible! You’ve spoken directly to my heart and said exactly what I needed to hear and tried to express myself (not nearly as well as you!). Learning to trust again is so difficult, but so necessary in order to have a healthy relationship. I hope I can do it!
Thanks so much Jillian!! I’m really glad you liked it! It really did come from the heart because I have suffered through the same thing and still have to remind myself sometimes that each individual you meet is deserving of your trust and benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. Always on guard is not a healthy place to be. Just don’t be too trusting either, there has to be a balance.
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