It goes without saying that trust is the foundation of a relationship. Like a foundation, it is built up over time, brick by brick, until it is a stable platform from which everything else rests on.
There are specific ways to build trust, and there are also behaviors that erode it. Let’s take a look at both.
Do What You Say
If you make a commitment; follow through. Be on time. Run that errand. Do the chore. Return that call/text. If you prove to be a man/woman of your word, then you begin to build trust. Your partner needs to know they can depend on you to do what you say you will do.
Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
This can sometimes be very difficult, especially if we have been badly hurt before. The problem is, as long as that wall is there, the trust just sits waiting on the outside. We have to be raw and available in order to allow the expectation of good to grow.
Value Your Partner
They can do and say all the right things, but if you don’t appreciate them, their hard work seems pointless. Someone will not continue to pour into a relationship where they feel taken for granted. They need to believe their contribution is important to you and the relationship.
In addition to doing what you say, you need to always be honest. I’m not talking about the 'do I look fat in this dress’ kind of honesty. I mean the open communication style that allows both parties to freely discuss feelings and situations without fear of being mocked or ridiculed.
With complete honesty, you do run the risk of discovering that the two of you are not compatible. That would indeed be sad, but it is better to determine that now than years down the road after one or both of you have not lived your true self.
Keep A Check on Opposite-Sex Friendships
I was asked the other day if guys and girls can maintain a platonic friendship only. Of course, they can, but it is not always easy. Sexual tension is an underlying biological component we all have. Spending time and sharing ourselves with someone can open the intimacy gate.
Both people should regularly check their feelings to make sure it is still a friend-only status. If one starts to cross the line, steps need to be taken to safeguard your relationship. Never do or say anything with your friend that makes your partner uncomfortable.
If your friendship and your relationship are constantly at odds, there is a problem with one of them. Figure that out and fix the issue.
Most of these points are the opposite reaction to the ones above. It is like putting your love in reverse.
Distrust begins with simple doubt. It doesn’t have to be over something huge. Just a nagging thought that something isn’t right. Maybe your partner didn’t show up when they said they would or forgot a special occasion. If they don’t pay attention to things that are important to you or listen when you are talking, these all create the first seeds of doubt.
A Sense of Anxiety
A step above doubt is anxiety. When someone consistently behaves in a way that is hurtful, the fear begins to set in. We begin to question why? Why would they do that; say that; forget that? What else (or who else) is going on that is more important than me and the relationship?
The biggest clue to someone bailing on a relationship is changing regular behavior. We all settle into routines and for the most part, our lives have a certain dependable pattern. When one side of a relationship breaks that routine and starts new patterns, this is definitely a troubling sign that increases anxiety. It may not end in betrayal, but it does begin to erode the level of trust.
The Broken Cord
Not all breaches of trust are about infidelity; although those are the worse. It can be a betrayal with finances, a family matter or even a selfish decision that impacted the relationship without any discussion.
Whatever the reason, once the trust is severed, it is extremely difficult to weave it again.
As humans, we tend to seek the most immediate and easiest form of delight. In order to maintain a healthy and sustaining relationship, we have to consciously put the feelings and needs of the other person ahead of our own.
When Distrust Goes Terribly Wrong
There are times when fractured trust can be restored. It takes time, more time than the original foundation, and complete transparency.
The one who severed the bond must accept responsibility and reopen the lines of communication and honesty.
However, oftentimes the injured party says they are willing to rebuild, but in reality, they are not. Their insecurity and fears overtake them and their mission in life becomes to prove their partner is still doing wrong.
Their behaviors border on stalking and every movement is monitored.
While this may be viewed as understandable, it is very unhealthy and destructive. It does nothing to truly restore the relationship and only fosters resentment.
If you are truly unable to forgive and work together to move forward with the relationship, then it should be ended. It will be painful, but not as bad as continuing to live in distrust and scrutiny all the time.
We all make hundreds of little decisions every day; from hitting the snooze button (again), what to eat, how to handle a co-worker, when (or if) to hit the gym, and a host of mundane life choices.
The decision to honor our partner, be honest, kind, helpful, open and faithful is one that will put us on the long path of a happy, sustaining relationship.
It’s as simple as the golden rule. So follow it!
Hope With Abandon