Would you believe me if I said that without trust, society wouldn’t be able to function properly? We need to trust our government, friends, family, and even strangers to some extent. Without trust, the primary instinct upon which humanity prevails would crumble – fear would wrap everything inside its dark shadows. It is perfectly okay to have a few doubts spring up in your brain. But if you have to deal with someone who has severe trust issues, you might feel like there is no purpose of being in a relationship with them. However, the good news is that there are many ways you can earn the trust of someone you adore. Do note that this process takes a lot of time, compromises, and sacrifices – nothing happens overnight – but it surely is possible.
Why Do People Have Trust Issues?
Before we start, you need to understand why someone might have trust issues so that you may get to know how to cope up with them. Trust issues can be a result of past traumas (typically faced when one is still young and impressionable) such as infidelity in a past relationship, abandonment issues – such as one’s father abandoning their family, and domestic abuse (can be either mental or physical abuse, or in extreme cases, both). Being a social outcast can also make one develop trust issues. Sexuality plays a vital role in this case. If one is, say, a guy, but likes arts, music, or poetry, he is immediately stigmatized as being ‘less of a man’. In some cases, if one identifies as being part of the LGBTQ+ community, they also can be rejected from being a part of any decent social setting (which again corresponds to abuse such as bullying as well as abandonment issues).
All of this can leave a profound effect on one’s self-esteem, making them sensitive to disclosing their ‘true identities’ to someone else, be that someone as close as a lover. Likewise, such people tend to push others away while raising imaginary fortresses around themselves to avoid getting hurt.
11 Ways to Deal with a Partner Who Has Trust Issues
If you happen to be in love with someone who has trust issues and is trying desperately to make things work, we’d recommend you deal with everything cautiously and slowly. Here are 11 ways you can make things work with a partner who has trust issues:
1. Be honest
It’s as simple as that. Try to be as transparent as you can with someone who has trust issues. All they want is someone who doesn’t ‘hide’ themselves behind a curtain of disguises. Once they realize that you have nothing to hide, wish them well, and will be there for them no matter what, they might just consider opening up to you. It’s the little things that count.
2. Try to be less defensive
Being defensive has widely been associated with hiding something or lying. When one wants to prove that they are right, they tend to get defensive. One might get irritable, angry, or annoyed when being interrogated about something they didn’t mean to do or say. Although that is likely throwing a tantrum won’t do you any good. Try to understand your partner’s point of view – you might just learn new things about yourself, all the while gaining valuable trust from your partner.
3. Try to understand your partner
We don’t mean that you have to examine each bone in their system, all it takes is a little open-mindedness. Like we mentioned before, trust issues don’t just happen randomly, or overnight. There is some sort of emotional, physical, or mental trauma attached to why one might prefer not trusting someone else. Try to understand why your partner behaves in a specific way and try to talk things out. Who knows? maybe this could be an excuse for your relationship to evolve.
4. Communicate with each other
Communication is as essential as being honest is in a relationship. Without healthy, productive communication, your relationship would be static. If you feel like something’s off with your partner, talk to them. What’s the worst that could happen? They might just appreciate your desire to understand them better. Moreover, it shows that you are straightforward and intend to make things work.
5. Try to support them in any way possible
It isn’t your duty to cure your partner of their ‘disease’. However, you can support them in finding a cure for their problems. Try to be a support system for them – like we mentioned earlier, be honest and try to communicate with them – heck, you may even ask them if they’d prefer visiting a therapist. Your constant determination to make things work will be appreciated.
6. Be reliable
Try to be there as much as you can for your loved one. Like we stated earlier, abandonment plays a huge role when it comes to someone developing trust issues – just being there for them whenever they need your help is enough for them to realize you’re always a call away and that they’re not alone this time.
7. Be patient
maybe one of the most essential of all the techniques we’ve stated so far, patience is crucial when it comes to earning someone’s trust. As asserted earlier, something as toxic as trust issues – which leave a profound effect on your personality doesn’t just wash away overnight. For you to be able to earn your partner’s trust requires you to be extremely patient throughout the process. Do remember that it’s not just you who’s trying, your partner might be trying their best to overcome their fears and fight off their past demons as well. Respect their progress and you might just be qualified to enter their hearts.
8. Assure them that everything will be okay
Just saying ‘you can trust me’ isn’t worth much. Being patient, open-minded, transparent, and reliable is what counts. The next step would be to assure them that you’re different – you understand (or at least try to) your partner’s shortcomings and fully respect their progress. Make sure you acknowledge where you both started and where you are now – it might just be exactly what your partner wants to hear.
9. Don’t take anything personally
Sometimes it may feel like your partner is launching personal attacks on you. You may feel like you’re being punished for something someone else did. It’s not your fault your boyfriend’s father left him when he was seven, neither would it be your fault if your partner was bullied by his classmates for participating in the annual school play. However, it would be your fault if you lashed out at them when they’re already in murky waters. Try to understand that letting go of past demons isn’t as easy as it sounds. Try to remind yourself time and again that they are trying as well, otherwise, you guys wouldn’t be where you are today.
10. Ask them about their past trauma
Sometimes all it takes for a wound to heal is a little bit of air. Although your partner may hesitate at first, once you make them comfortable and assure them that they are in a safe, judgment-free zone, they might be inclined to share some intimate details about their past experiences. Besides, this shows that you’re willing to understand them better and are interested in their life story. It might just help in burying it in the dirt forever.
11. Take things slow
This can be associated with being patient as well. Once you do start seeing some positive changes in the way your partner behaves around you, you might get overly-excited to take things to the next level. However, you may want to test the waters before taking such a risky step. Sometimes it feels like solid ground is quicksand. Thus, to avoid such misfortunes, it’s better to take things one step at a time. Don’t rush anything, you’ll both get there one day or another, assuming you give your partner the time and space they deserve.
In conclusion, it can be said that although trust issues can have a profound effect on any relationship, they might just be a blessing in disguise in the sense that it allows partners to better understand each other, inquire more about their past, and help them in moving forward together with greater commitment and dedication towards each other every passing day. It might seem tricky, but if it’s done the right way, it might just be the best thing you’d ever do for another fellow human being.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé