Trust is a fundamental anchor of a relationship.
It’s one of the qualities that drive a relationship forward. Without it, the relationship is a little more… complicated.
I think we all know of or have been in relationships that have ended because one party had trust issues. But having a partner who has difficulties trusting you does not mean the relationship is doomed.
Honestly, loving someone who has trust issues is not for the faint-hearted. It is difficult, but contrary to popular belief, it can be done. Both parties just have to put in a bit of extra effort to make the relationship work.
In short, trust issues refer to one’s inability or difficulties in trusting others.
They result from fear of being hurt, betrayed, abandoned or manipulated. These issues manifest in several behaviors such as:
Wondering how one develops trust issues?
Trust issues can be a result of a number of factors, including past relationships and childhood experiences.
As a result of how one was raised from childhood, they may have an anxious attachment style, making it hard for them to trust anyone. Growing up with unpredictable caregivers whose temper randomly changed can also result in one developing trust issues in relationships.
Past relationships also shape how one handles future relationships. People who have been betrayed or cheated on in past relationships can have a difficult time trusting their partners. They become very cautious with how and when they open up to you as well as how they handle the relationship in general.
It’s important to understand the reason behind your partner’s trust issues, so you know what to avoid and how to help them trust again.
Your partner’s trust issues didn’t develop overnight, so they will not go away overnight. You might have to reassure them a lot more and when they doubt you, you need to try not to take it personally. Keep their past in mind.
Their inability to trust you likely hurts them just as much as it hurts you.
If your partner has trust issues, you will notice that they have difficulties opening up to you. That is because they are hesitant as they don’t entirely trust you. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them too.
Open up and be vulnerable to them. Talking about your personal issues and thoughts will help them realize that you trust them. In turn, their trust in you will also increase.
When dating someone with trust issues, brace yourself for many deep and meaningful conversations. When having one of those, actively listen to your partner without any judgment and interruptions.
This creates a platform for them to express how they feel, their fears, and why they have those fears. These conversations will allow you to properly understand your partner and provide them with the support they need.
Most people with trust issues need a lot of reassurance.
Constantly providing this will help them believe that they are with someone who loves them and doesn’t intend to hurt them. It will also make them notice that you realize and validate their concerns.
Your verbal assurance should also be supported by your actions and how you treat your partner.
In relationships, we often assume that we are on the same page and have the same perceptions of things.
When dating someone with trust issues, that is not the case. Because you have had different experiences, you likely view situations differently.
When they raise an issue, you have to make a conscious effort to view the concern from their perspective. They may say ‘unreasonable’ things, but once you view them from their perspective, you will understand the reason behind.
Lastly, you’re there to support, not fix them.
Because you love your partner, you might see the need to try fixing them so they become more trusting. However, resist that urge with everything in you. Be there to support and listen to them.
In an attempt to fix them you will likely invalidate their experiences. Over time and with the right conditions, they will fix themselves and open up to trusting people. If they are open to therapy, it will provide them with all they need to move on from their trust issues.
In a way, trust issues develop as some sort of defense mechanism.
They come to be as a way of protecting oneself from being hurt (again). Surely these people deserve to be loved too.
If your partner has trust issues, remember you’re not there to heal or cure them. You are there to love and support them, thereby creating an environment that allows them to cure themselves.
An argument doesn't have to be this negative cloud or an ego battle of who can prove their point better.
In fact, they can present an opportunity for you and your partner to grow—and even bond together (yes, it’s true!).
And here’s the thing: Most therapists won’t say a healthy relationship doesn’t include arguments.
Rather, they will acknowledge that a healthy relationship tends to revolve around how you argue (Hint: it doesn’t include “one-upping” your partner or trying to push your point first).
So, is your bickering getting out of control with your partner?
How can you communicate in a healthy way?
Let’s get down to business.
Arguments don’t equate to a bad relationship.
As mentioned above, it’s more about how you handle these disagreements. And at the end of the day, there’s no way two people will ever get along perfectly on each and every point and aspect of life.
The truth is healthy arguments can actually be quite productive. Yet, before we dig into what this looks like, let’s examine the details of an unhealthy argument.
An unhealthy argument usually leaves both parties feeling defeated and unheard.
You both end up defensive or accusing the other. Perhaps there are a lot of “you” statements being thrown around. You end up going in circles, really getting nowhere constructive.
Some common themes here include:
The list goes on. It may even include aspects of emotional abuse, which is, in no way, acceptable in any relationship.
Related Article: 6 Warning Signs to Know if You Are In A Toxic Relationship
Learning the right way to have a bickering match with your partner can help you both avoid the inevitable “blowing up” of a situation, and help you both navigate through life’s undeniable challenges. So, how can you do this? Here are a few argument tips!
Why do you keep having the same argument again and again?
Trying to understand (without accusations!) what went wrong and led to escalation can help you defer from doing so in the future. It can also help you both understand each other better, again, bringing you closer!
Some things you can use here include asking questions to understand. And even asking yourself questions!
Why did you get so mad you had to yell? Figuring these things out are entirely worthwhile, especially if you value the relationship.
This might sound silly at first. But hear us out!
Each week, what if you and your partner had a set time to bring up your grievances?
This removes a ton of factors, such as having a huge argument after an exhausting and stressful workday or getting into it when traveling on your vacation. It also helps you both prime your minds for being open and honest with one another.
This can further help you each gather your thoughts and present them in a considerate and caring way. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things don’t always come out or sound as we intend them to. This gives you a buffer!
You may have heard this before. But active listening doesn’t involve you gearing up for your next response. Rather, it’s all about fully taking in and understanding what the other person is saying.
When having a disagreement, this means not having a response ready. Instead, you listen, then may even paraphrase what the other person said to show your understanding and that you heard them. Asking for clarification if you’re unsure is also ultra-useful here.
A healthy argument is all about being constructive rather than destructive.
This means maybe re-phrasing a few ways you go about your disagreements. For instance, instead of complaining to your partner that they never help you with the dishes, it can be more productive to ask them to help you with the dishes (and doing so in a polite and respectful tone!).
There’s no shame in your emotions getting the best of you.
However, it’s important to recognize when this is happening and remove yourself accordingly.
Therapists even recommend this tactic when things are getting heated. Here’s what you do: Note your emotions are getting heightened and excuse yourself, giving a set time when you will talk again (such as in half an hour or at a certain time).
Then, go and write out all the awful things you’re thinking about your partner. This is simply just to get that frustration and anger out. After this stage, then write out what you could’ve done better in the situation (there’s definitely something!).
Lastly, come up with three solutions to the disagreement, which you will present to your partner once you’ve calmed down. (These solutions may even involve you apologizing for your part in the disagreement.)
Related Article: “Green Flags” To Look For When Dating
Arguments happen. Bickering doesn’t have to.
Reminding yourself that you’re a team together can help put things in perspective. It’s both of you against the problem; not you against each other.
While the above will take practice (using compassion with yourself and your partner can help as you navigate through making improvements), it truly can be a game-changer as to whether you stick together or not.
Keep this article in your back pocket for when you and your partner need to refer to the above to ensure your relationship stands the test of time.