How To Deal With A Partner Who Doesn’t Trust You

Trust is the foundation of any loving relationship.

A relationship without trust cannot truly flourish and become healthy because the person who lacks trust spends so much emotional energy on their fears.

The relationship becomes a source of stress and anxiety instead of a place of love and comfort.

That doesn’t mean that people with trust issues cannot have a loving, happy relationship.

Still, they do need to be willing to step outside of their comfort zone so that they can confront and overcome their trust issues.

Why do people experience trust issues?

The world is a rough place, and people don’t always act with kindness toward others.

Fear and anger drive so many facets of human behavior that picking at one strand can cause several more to unravel.

There can be many reasons why a person has trust issues in a relationship, but let’s touch on some of the major ones.

1. They were surrounded by unhealthy relationships growing up.

People who grow up in broken or chaotic homes may come away with an incorrect view of relationships.

They may have watched what their parents did to one another and think that’s how all relationships are.

Hence, they enter into their relationships, assuming the worst is going to happen.

Their mistrust is built on the assumption that they need to prepare for being hurt.

Emotional distance helps to lessen the blow.

2. They were abused or cheated on in previous relationships.

Being cheated on can shatter everything a person thinks about their world.

It’s not as simple as a breach of trust. The person may find themselves questioning what caused them to choose such a partner, what hints they overlooked or dismissed, and question their self-worth.

The betrayal of someone you love and respect is something that can deeply change a person.

3. There may have been a breach of trust in the relationship.

Sometimes stuff happens in relationships and the couple tries to work things out so they can stay together.

But sometimes things can’t be worked out.

It’s hard to trust through a history of deception. And infidelity is difficult to recover from.

Recovery requires the wronged party to forgive, work through, and manage all of the emotions surrounding the breach of trust.

That includes suspicion and fear of if/when it will happen again, even if you’re determined to not let it happen again.

Not a lot of people can do that. Sometimes a relationship gets broken to the point where it is no longer repairable and just needs to end.

But what if you’re starting a new relationship or you’re determined to work through it? What then?

Step 1: Set boundaries of what is and is not acceptable.

Boundaries are an essential part of protecting yourself from the stress that can come from working through these issues.

They serve as a way to curtail the effect of the emotions, expectations, and behaviors that can come from a lack of trust.

There are reasonable and unreasonable expectations that you may experience.

Reasonable expectations may include things like:

– letting your partner know where you’re going and when you’ll be home.

– check-ins when you’ll be apart for long periods.

– not keeping secrets about what you’re doing and where you’re going.

Unreasonable expectations that are abusive include things like:

– monitoring your communication with friends and family.

– controlling or depriving access to friends and family.

– using location monitoring services on mobile devices.

– forcing you to check-in every hour when you’re out with your friends or working.

– accusing you of cheating for no reason.

– any behavior that attempts to exert power or control over you.

And then there are many gray areas which have to be addressed on an individual basis.

For example, some people just aren’t comfortable with their partner hanging out with their ex-partners. However, you may be in a relationship where they are co-parenting for the greater benefit of their child.

It is worthwhile discussing what your boundaries are with respect to their trust issues so that you both know what behavior will and will not be tolerated.

Whilst some situations aren’t always black and white, you should never tolerate abuse to make your partner comfortable.

This will hurt you far more in the long run and it is of no great service to your partner.

You are not their babysitter. They need to learn to heal from their traumas and handle their own emotions.

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Step 2: Set expectations for present and future efforts.

There is a reason that someone is not trusting in a relationship. And they aren’t going to be able to address and fix that reason if they are not ready or willing to work on the problem.

Chances are pretty good that they will require more than some internet articles or a friendly ear to dive into the source of their mistrust. 

That expectation needs to be met with action when it is possible.

Maybe they can’t afford to go to a counselor to sort out those problems right now, but perhaps they’ll be willing to when they are more financially stable.

Your primary expectation of them should be a genuine understanding on their part that this is a problem that needs to be solved.

If it’s not going to be addressed, the person may not be emotionally available enough to be in a healthy relationship right now. It happens.

Don’t let it languish or fester quietly. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves, and you can’t fix this problem for them. They have to fix it for themselves.

All you can do is try to provide whatever support you feel is fair and appropriate.

Step 3: Focus on building trust by being a trustworthy person.

Trust is hard to establish if you can’t be viewed as a trustworthy person.

Demonstrating trustworthiness isn’t as difficult as people think it is.

It’s about things like doing what you say you will, showing up on time, calling when you say you will, and striving for honesty in what you say and do.

Positive affirmations and support through difficult times can go a long way when trying to demonstrate that you are there and present for their struggle.

They may have a hard time accepting it, but it is worth doing.

These little things add to the strength of your word and overall health of the connection.

People notice when there are discrepancies and inconsistencies. And people who are mistrusting and constantly looking are especially good at picking up on those inconsistencies.

If you want to be trusted, you need to act in a trustworthy way.

Step 4: Be patient and willing to let the person work through their issues.

Patience is a quality that is lacking in today’s society. We are all so busy, have so many things to do, and are accustomed to instant gratification through our technology.

Yet, the process of self-improvement and development is not something that happens overnight.

Healing wounds that may have been quietly bleeding for years requires time and consistent effort.

You need patience to be a partner to someone who is working through their trust issues.

They need to have enough time to unpack that baggage, sort through it, heal from it, and learn healthier ways to function in relationships.

There may be arguments and discomfort throughout that process, but having your boundaries established will help to keep you in a healthier mental space.

But, if you can do that, you’ll find that you come through the process with a deeply intimate relationship that grows from love and respect.

Walking the path of healing with someone is no small feat and brings people together as few other things can.

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing or wanting to work on their issues.

Maybe they don’t have the means. They may not have realized that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Or perhaps they’re just stubborn.

Whatever the reason, it may come down to deciding whether or not that relationship is a healthy choice for you.

It may not be. And that’s okay.