Trust in a relationship is the willingness to commit, have faith, rely on, and believe in your partner. It is essential for any relationship.
The lack of trust in a relationship makes it hard for both partners to navigate and build a connection on a healthy foundation.
Identifying triggers (lies, infidelity, abuse) and sharing them with your partner is the first step to rebuilding trust in your relationship.
Rebuilding trust takes effort, commitment, and willingness to make the process work from both parties.
Here are 10 steps to rebuild trust in your relationship:
1. Identify the signs of lack of trust in your relationship
Lack of trust in a relationship tends to manifest in a myriad of forms, depending on the individuals involved in the relationship.
Identifying the signs of a lack of trust in your relationship is the first step towards improvement and trust rebuilding.
Here are some signs that your relationship is being affected by a lack of trust
– Self-isolation and resistance to show vulnerability.
Lack of trust in a relationship is followed closely by the unwillingness to share personal details of your life with your partner.
You are constantly in your self-isolating bubble since you fear your partner could misuse your vulnerabilities.
Self-isolation is characterized by keeping your partner at arm’s length, avoiding opening up, and not letting them know you on a deeper level.
Currently, you are content with the safe space you’re in as leaving it might deem you to be more hurt that you don’t want to re-experience.
– Chronic suspicion of your partner’s behavior.
Your partner’s actions never go unnoticed by you and there is always a nagging feeling that they might be hiding something.
You find yourself questioning and doubting their motives and intentions, hence being highly alert and suspicious of their behavior.
Always doubting and being suspicious of your partner, even in everyday situations can be a firm sign of a lack of trust.
Constant suspicion not only shows a lack of trust but also might signal unhealthy patterns within your relationship.
– Avoiding intimacy.
Although fear of intimacy has its roots in your past, not opening up and resisting intimacy is a sign of a lack of trust in a relationship.
Being comfortable with emotional and physical intimacy is one of the core factors to indicate trust in a relationship.
Dodging emotional questions, physical touch, or deep conversations can be a sign you’re avoiding intimacy, therefore indicating a lack of trust.
– You pick fights unnecessarily.
Another sign of lack of trust in a relationship is always picking fights for unimportant events or behavior shown by your partner.
Moreover, to support your arguments, you might be using their past to hold them accountable for their present behavior.
Not being able to leave the past behind and projecting it into the future shows your lack of trust in your partner.
Because it is your insecurities that are making you pick fights with your partner.
– Clinginess and neediness.
You don’t trust your partner if you need to know their every move and be in contact with them all the time.
You lack trust in your partner when you feel a compulsive need to check their whereabouts, activities, who they’re with and why.
Moreover, not being invited/told of any new activities they are trying makes you question their motives and fear of lack of interest in you.
The need to always be in control and know every aspect of your partner’s life further emphasizes your lack of trust in them.
– Projection of past experiences onto your partner.
Another sign of a lack of trust in a relationship is anticipating the worst from your partner such as lying, cheating, abandonment, etc.
In addition, you let the negative perspectives overtake your view of the future without considering new perspectives.
Some signs that your projecting your insecurities on your partner are:
- Comparing them to your ex;
- Thinking they don’t trust you;
- Assuming that they don’t find you attractive;
- Thinking they will repeat the mistakes of the past;
– Always investigating for the truth.
Your partner telling you the truth, but it doesn’t seem to cut it for you.
As a result, you feel the need to check for facts and evidence that support your partner’s claims.
Furthermore, you go to lengths to identify the truthfulness of what they have said, even if there is nothing to be verified.
For example, if your partner told you that they are going out with friends, you stalk their and their friends’ socials to verify the truth.
Cross-checking the facts is one of the most common signs of a lack of trust in a relationship.
– You’re letting jealousy get the best of you.
Your lack of self-confidence causes you to feel threatened by people outside of your relationship.
As a result, you end up questioning your partner’s actions consistently.
Although they might not have given you any reason for doubt, you don’t trust them enough to leave them out of sight.
Furthermore, when your partner confronts you about not trusting them, you get angry and end up fighting.
Excessive jealousy is an outcome of a lack of trust in your partner often followed by being possessive of them, overbearing, and controlling.
2. Identify the cause of distrust in a relationship
After acknowledging the signs of a lack of trust in your relationship, it’s time to find the root causes of this lack of trust.
That’s the second step toward healing and trust rebuilding.
Identifying the cause of distrust in your relationship will give you a specific and concrete problem to work on. Ultimately, making this easier for you.
Specifically pinpointing what makes you relentless and is making you doubt your partner is all rooted in your experiences.
Here are some of the common causes of distrust in relationships:
– Past events and trauma.
Events that were traumatic for you during childhood or adulthood such as accidents, infidelity, or violence can be a cause of trust issues.
The effect of the traumatic experience tends to be enhanced if the events and experiences to cause the trauma involved people close to you.
Betrayal of trust, infidelity, violence, or abuse by past partners or current partner can cause you to lose trust in your relationship.
Additionally, exposure to stress and danger can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading to great difficulties in trusting your partner.
Some symptoms of PTSD are:
- Intense intrusive thoughts(overthinking);
- Being highly cautious and wary of other people;
- Physical distress; etc.
– Fears and inner insecurities.
Experiencing rejection during childhood and adulthood largely contributes to questioning the motives of everyone that approaches you.
Your past experiences of rejection can be a cause for the development of insecurities and fears, becoming a trigger of distrust later on in life.
Additionally, those fears and insecurities can manifest in low self-esteem or self-devaluation, causing you to not trust people who see value in you.
Moreover, you carry those insecurities into your relationship, making you highly alert and distrustful of your partner(s).
Childhood upbringing is the main source of forming attachment disorders.
You’re likely to form attachment disorders if the primary caregiver wasn’t able to make you feel secure and attuned to your needs.
An adult with attachment disorder has difficulties feeling safe, trusting others in a relationship, and being vigilant of their partner’s actions.
Fearing that someone might unexpectedly hurt you, you find yourself avoiding closeness and openness with them.
Reassurance isn’t something that can calm you down. Rather, you’re always prepared in case something happens.
– Personality disorders.
Some personality disorders can cause one to have trust issues in relationships.
A lot of people dealing with personality disorders admit to having trouble trusting and understanding others’ intentions.
Relationships for a person with a particular personality disorder can be intense and stressful.
Some common signs of personality disorder are:
- Being self-destructive;
- Having trust issues;
- Emotional instability;
- Fearing abandonments;
- Feeling unworthy;
Despite the difficulties of personality disorder in a relationship, some strategies you can explore are peer support, journaling, talking to your partner, or consulting with a therapist.
3. Take some time to reflect on the actions that caused distrust
After identifying the signs and causes of distrust in a relationship, you can take some time and reflect on your past experiences.
More often than not, in a marriage or a relationship, trust is broken by actions of infidelity, secret-keeping, or betrayal of trust in its various forms.
Firstly, try accepting that your trust was broken and it will take time and effort to build it back.
Take your time to think, reflect, and introspect regarding trust:
- Define what trust means to you;
- Try understanding if your lack of trust is a product of your partner’s behavior or it’s an internal issue you need to work on;
4. Practice open communication with your partner
After reflecting and introspecting, it’s time to consider the practice of open communication.
Both of you should be open about your feelings, attitudes, and thoughts about what happened and talk about it together.
Avoid keeping secrets, holding grudges, sweeping things under the rug, or letting things go unaddressed.
Keeping secrets or letting things go unaddressed can have a negative impact on your relationship and further plant distrust and suspicion.
Sit down and calmly go through important points that need clarification: actions that caused distrust, reasons, and next steps.
Open communication is key to fixing broken trust in a relationship. Practice open communication by,
- Actively listening to one another’s concerns;
- Being transparent and discussing your worries, doubts, or insecurities;
- Trying to hold a non-judgmental view of one another’s viewpoints;
5. Work on your apologies and ways of reconciliations
Another firm way of rebuilding trust in a relationship is expressing sincerity and honesty when apologizing for wrongdoing.
Let each other know how sorry you are by expressing remorse and willingness to mend the relationship.
That being said, avoid excuses, defensiveness, or accusatory tones when addressing hurtful issues with your partner.
Try practicing empathy, active listening, and forgiveness with one another. That will help strengthen your connection and slowly rebuild trust.
6. Put equal effort and commitment into your relationship
Repairing trust in a relationship is a difficult road that requires consistent effort and commitment that needs to be met by both sides.
You prove yourselves as trustworthy by working tirelessly into mending and repairing the parts where your relationship needs healing.
Some ways that show trust commitment and effort to fix a relationship after trust is broken are:
- Consistency. Showing affection, commitment, and willingness to work things out in a consistent manner;
- Teaming up with one another. Handling issues and being there for one another when in need;
- Addressing your doubts and insecurities;
- Spending quality time together;
7. Give each other time and space to heal
The process of rebuilding trust in a relationship takes time and effort. Hence, the role of patience throughout the process is vital.
Give one another space to sort out your feelings and thoroughly think about the situation while considering every nook and cranny.
Avoid pressuring your partner into sharing things when they aren’t ready yet.
Respect each other’s space, and need for self-care.
The willingness to figure things out together should be there, however, taking time and space to consider perspectives is a way to rebuild trust in a marriage.
8. Be consistent in your actions
Consistency plays an immense role in rebuilding trust in a relationship.
Both partners must show dedication to fix their relationship after trust is broken through consistency and following through on actions.
Both of you need to be fully ready and willing to mend and repair your relationship.
You can show consistency by truly committing to making things work and keeping your promises.
Some ways in which you can show consistency in rebuilding trust in your marriage or relationship are:
- Support words with your actions;
- Keeping your promises;
- Consistent communicating;
- Expressing gratitude in a consistent manner;
- Being there for your partner;
- Expressing affection, care, and love for your partner;
9. Try creating new positive memories and experiences
Creating new memories can tremendously help in mending bitter past memories with your partner.
Your previous memories might have been tainted by distrust now. But, new positive memories and experiences can have a huge positive impact.
Try to reignite the spark that once was there, by:
- Trying out new exciting things with your partners such as hiking, shopping, playing card games, or other activities you both enjoy;
- Try new things in bed;
- Think back to what made you happy in your childhood and practice some of those activities together;
- Explore new things such as food recipes, restaurants, cities, or countries together;
10. Define trust and boundaries within your relationship
Defining boundaries and values in your marriage or relationship can make a very positive impact on the process of rebuilding trust.
That being said, define your boundaries, define what trust means to you, and communicate it to one another.
In addition, you give each other something concrete to work with and you guide one another to each other’s trust.
- Communicate your needs, limits, and boundaries to your partner;
- Be respectful and gentle with each other’s vulnerabilities;
- Discuss what trust means to you, and what’s the best way to prove yourselves as trustworthy to one another;
- Discuss what plays a role in your insecurities about your relationship;
When to seek professional help to guide and rebuild trust in a relationship?
The breach of trust takes a significant toll on all relationships.
You should consider couple counseling when there is no productive communication and escalated fights.
Individual therapy or couple counseling can be a great treatment plan to rebuild trust in your relationship.
It can help develop tools and strategies that can be useful in rebuilding trust in your relationship.
A counselor can help you with finding new ways to resolve your conflicts and reconnect together.
Furthermore, they can also help you consider new perspectives, make decisions, and reflect on your relationship overall.
Repairing trust in a relationship takes time, consistent effort, and commitment followed by the willingness to forgive.
It takes patience and desires to repair the relationship. Trust the process and take care of yourself.
Remember, being gentle to yourself is just as important as being gentle to your partner.