Do you struggle with trust issues, even though you believe your partner has done no wrong?
Emotional wounds from the past can have a way of sneaking into present relationships and wreaking havoc.
We think we want to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. More often than not, protective actions only encourage more pain. We need to take conscious control of the issue.
Here are five ways to overcome trust issues in your romantic relationship
1. Realize that in romantic relationships, trust should be earned, not given freely.
In the context of romantic relationships, trust is earned, period. Don’t feel guilty about requiring someone to demonstrate their character and loyalty.
In fact, be open about your requirement that your partner prove it. This will scare off the slime balls early in a relationship. At an appropriate time, just announce it.
By the way, I only trust people who demonstrate, over time, that it is safe to do so.
If a potential love interest shies away from this, then you may have just saved yourself some heartache. Trustworthy people don’t have a problem proving it.
A lot of naïve people fall for “Don’t you trust me?” Trustworthy people don’t use that ploy. An acquaintance of mine used this on his worried wife when he tried to get her permission to go out with the boys to a strip club (I was not one of his “boys.”)
2. Be honest.
If you believe you have trust issues, then let your partner know. In all fairness, he or she is entitled to understand what is going on.
When you tell the truth, you make sense out of the relationship and give your partner an opportunity to contribute to your healing.
3. Own it.
Don’t expect the other to make radical changes.Many with trust issues ask their partners to change their healthy behaviors to accommodate the trust issue. For example, one husband asked his wife “never to make any chit chat” with her personal trainer, who happened to be a man.
This is an unrealistic request. It would be awkward not to return the small talk when spending 45 minutes with someone while doing something monotonous.
When his wife could not comply in spite of wanting to please her husband, he demanded that she fire her trainer. Again, not reasonable. You shouldn’t expect your romantic partner to change her healthy and harmless behaviors to make you feel better, especially when it impedes her goals.
Own your trust issues and allow them to motivate you to heal. Don’t expect others to live within the unreasonable limitations of an unfounded lack of trust.
4. Be clear on the source of the problem and focus on healing.
When you have unresolved hurt from the past that is impeding on your present relationship, then deal with the emotions in the proper context (which is NOT your present relationship).
How are you hanging onto the hurt?
What do you need to do or say or learn that would allow you to let go?
Have you grieved your pain?
Have you found someone to talk to that can help you heal?
Is it your goal to let go, heal and trust again?
5. Consider self-sabotage.
Do not underestimate the power of self-sabotage in your relationship. Psychological attachments to negativity encourage us to dwell on the negative, accuse others, invite rejection, and generally feel deprived and out of control.
Hanging onto past hurt and expecting more of it becomes a self-sabotaging, self-fulfilling prophecy.
Learn about self-sabotage and how it can find its way into any aspect of your life.
** If you or someone you know is having difficulty with trust, contact Aspen Counseling Services to schedule an Initial Assessment.