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Last Updated on April 7, 2020

How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship (And Learn to Love Again)

How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship (And Learn to Love Again)

Chances are good that at some point in your life, you will experience betrayal by someone you love. In most instances, this is not intentional because as humans, we make mistakes.

How you and your partner handle the situation is key to your relationship’s survival.

The Importance of Trust in a Relationship

Trust is the act of placing confidence in someone or something else. Trust is necessary for a relationship to thrive. Without it, fear rules.

For a loving relationship to flourish, several aspects need to function optimally. One of the most important aspects is trust. When there are trust issues in a relationship it can create judgment and fear. Over time, suspicions and doubts about the relationship may grow.

To be truly happy in a relationship, both individuals involved must be able to trust each other. At the beginning of the relationship, there is usually a lot of excitement and small transgressions are easily forgiven and set-aside.

Once you get past the initial infatuation, however, and the relationship begins to blossom, you truly begin to learn where the relationship is headed, and a deep foundation of trust can begin to develop or diffuse.

Your subconscious will begin asking these questions:

Does this person honor what they say? Are they open about their feelings, even the negative ones? Do their actions match their words?

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These questions can help you determine if they are someone you can fully trust.

What Causes Trust Issues in a Relationship?

If you have trust issues in your relationship, there are usually two places this can emanate from.

One is from an experience you had in a previous relationship that prevents you from trusting.

The second is when something has happened in your current relationship that has stirred mistrust in this relationship.

If your trust issues stem from a previous relationship, it is important to remember that no two relationships are the same. You cannot hold your current partner responsible for something that occurred in the past and something they had nothing to do with.

If your trust issues are due to your current partner creating mistrust in your relationship, this should be addressed head-on. You need to determine if you desire to move past the betrayal and work on your relationship.

If you both desire to work through things, it is worth a shot. If one or both of you is not interested in repairing the relationship, then there is not much you can do with that.

What If You Have Previous Mistrust Experiences?

Trust issues often come from early life experiences and interactions with our parents, siblings or guardians. These issues may originate as far back as childhood in the form of trauma at school with classmates.

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They can stem from abuse, social rejection or just having low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem are less likely to trust others.

It may also stem from a previous romantic relationship that involved infidelity. Trust issues can be associated with depression, anxiety, fear of abandonment and attachment issues.

Take the Relationship Trust Quiz

Being open, honest, and trustworthy can help your relationship grow. These will also help you build confidence in each other. The key is to open your heart and authentically trust your partner.

It is important to trust. If someone proves to be untrustworthy, then you can start to reevaluate your relationship.

Every relationship has its issues and challenges that push our buttons that arise during the relationship. The important key is to be proactive in addressing these issues and confront them head-on and find a resolution.

You can try taking this relationship trust quiz to help you reflect on yourself and current relationships.

My Personal Experience With Trust Issues

Have you ever wondered if friends of the opposite sex are okay? They are if you know how to set boundaries.

I had this issue come up within our relationship and had to do a reality check. A year into our relationship, my partner had a secret friend of the opposite sex. It was an emotional relationship and not a physical one, but it was on a slippery slope.

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It could have ended our relationship, but fortunately for us, we were both able to move past it. Our relationship became stronger than ever because we are both committed to us being together.

The shift for us was when I found this blog from First Things First. They list some great questions about what is healthy and what is not. When I read them out loud to my partner, it was a huge wake-up call, and he realized how he had stumbled down a dangerous path and hurt me.

Luckily for us, there was a huge shift. We met with an Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) and addressed the issue head-on rather than shoving things under the carpet.

For the first few months after this occurred,  I did not trust him 100%, even though he said he was committed to us and our relationship.

One of my favorite quotes is by President Ronald Reagan:

“Trust but verify.”

So, while I am not proud that I did check up on him for the first few months, it did allow me to get the reassurance that I needed. It helped me realize that he was true to his words, and I learned to trust him again.

Now, after several years, there are times that something will come up that makes me cock my head – like what a dog does when they hear something. It is something that I am aware of may come up again due to my experience in this relationship.

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Our relationship has been changed forever by this experience, but in many ways, it has become stronger and has helped strengthen our bond.

I learned to trust again, and you can, too.

If you have doubts about fidelity in your relationship, you may find yourself having a tough time trying to believe or understand your partner’s actions. They may be constantly trying to convince you of their loyalty.

How to Bring Back Trust in Your Relationship

Here are some ways to bring back trust in your relationship.

  • Open Your Communication. Lack of communication can cause irreparable harm in a relationship, especially if you are relying on “hope” to magically erase issues and to go away. That simply is not going to happen. Sharing how you feel authentically is important.
  • Share Secrets With Each Other. Having secrets just between the two of you can strengthen your bond. Remind each other with words and deeds to express how much you mean to each other.
  • Make Sure Your Partner Knows Your Inner Circle. This will make them feel that they belong, and this can increase your bond and ease any insecurities.
  • Try to see things from their perspective. If they are not feeling comfortable trusting you fully, put yourself in their shoes to see what you can do to alleviate their concern.
  • Seek therapy if needed. Find someone you can talk to individually and together to get to the bottom of your trust issues so that you move on with your life.

Final Thoughts

In the book, Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Shirly Glass mentioned that it is normal to be disoriented and confused for some time after infidelity.

Movies or songs may trigger you and electrify the incident. Betrayed partners cannot seem to stop obsessing about the incident until they have all the answers, and this can take months.

Forgive the pain, but remember the lesson. Things will never be the same again when betrayal has occurred, but you can still heal and have a happy trustworthy relationship with time.

It is possible to rebuild trust in a relationship after it is broken if both partners are interested in fixing the relationship and moving forward. The key is for both individuals to open fully and communicate their feelings and realize that time heals all wounds.

Also, seek the counsel of a trusted therapist. It is ok to get help. You will be glad you did.

More Tips About Strengthening Your Relationship

Featured photo credit: Joanna Nix via unsplash.com

More by this author

Dana Lam

Dana is a busy mom of two boys, author and co-founder of the Surprise Date Challenge.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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