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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

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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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