More On Building Trust in Relationships

Dr. Larry Cohen (856) 352-5428

We fall in love. We idolize and worship our new lover, and during about the first 6 months, we are on our best behavior.

after 6 months, reality (and your partner) begin to reveal itself. You learn more about your partner’s attitudes toward the world, toward life, toward commitment, toward trust, and toward you. Now’s the time when the rubber hits the road, and you see your partner with more clarity – the fog induced by romance begins to clear.

It is now time to take stock – to really squint hard and see your partner as they truly are. Is this ‘your person’? Or not. Just where are you when it comes to commitment? To a future together? to spending your life together?

The importance of unconditional acceptance of the other: I believe that a couple cannot be fully intimate, and cannot live happily ever after, without unconditional acceptance of each other. If this is really ‘your person’, you need to ask whether you can truly accept your partner for who they are. Not just the good stuff – the sex, the love notes, and the insightful exchange of gifts – I’m talking about all of IT. And some of it you just don’t care for. Such as: you discover piles of unhung cloths scattered all over her house. you discover She’s a bit disorganized; well, no, she’s really a bit of a slob... unconditional acceptance: Can you live the next 50 years in total acceptance of this? If not, your future together may be an unhappy one, as you try to change her, to bring her around to neatness, to get her to see the value in neatness – like you do.

To be truly happy, I believe you must avoid attempts at making your partner more and more like you. They are their own person, with their own peculiar way of doing things (as are you). Unconditional acceptance of your partner. Let it be the law.

 For the past 6 months you have willingly and openly given your heart to him. This is the way of new love. soon, the question of long-term trust must be examined, as you are doomed to fail without it. “can I trust this person?” “do they have my best interest at heart?” “will they protect me like a gem, always careful not to hurt me.” Can you trust this person with your life and happiness? or, Will they lie and cheat? This question takes time to answer.

 The important issues are both “should I trust”, and “how do we build trust”. because Without trust, relationships simply die on the vine. How does one build trust? with it, the relationship will continue to grow.

Before you can build trust, you must understand what it means to you and to your partner. You must find out if you have a mutual understanding of trust - it’s bounds, it’s rules, it’s expectations. This knowledge is essential, so I suggest you Get over the fear of scaring your partner away with big relationship questions. Don’t assume your partner sees things the same way you do. Get specific so you avoid future misunderstandings and betrayals. Be certain to communicate clearly what your behavioral expectations are. Be specific regarding what you are looking for and how you ‘SEE’ relationships. What are your expectations, and what are theirs? Honest, open, clear dialogue and discussion leads the way to building trust.

Ways TO BUILD TRUST IN your RELATIONSHIP:

KEEP YOUR PROMISES, BIG AND SMALL

Trust 101 teaches us the importance of keeping the promises we make. Yet, sometimes the small things are forgotten. Don’t forget, some of the small things are really the big things. When you’re running late, call. Walk the dog as promised and pay the bills on time. Make your promises about small stuff as important as your promises about big stuff. Keep your promises, no matter how insignificant you may believe them to be. Being trustworthy has no size.

DON’T KEEP SECRETS

Keep your personal conversations at home. Do not keep secrets from each other, instead keep them for each other. It is only right to talk about something once you hear your partner bring the subject up in a conversation. Don’t forget, she might only share certain information with certain people, so keep her secret and let her decide who to share it with.

 TRUST IS EARNED

Don’t assume trust exists and always be working to earn it. When we stop taking trust for granted and make it a priority, we will be conscious of our actions and the perceptions of those actions to our partner.

FACE TO FACE: COMMUNICATE OPENLY AND IN PERSON

It is essential that most communication, especially of great importance, should happen face to face. The true meaning of a message can get lost via text, email and sometimes even on the phone. Make sure you are both heard and understood by talking face to face.

PRACTICE UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE AND A NON-JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE

KEY: you might not understand why something is important to your partner, but the fact that it is important is all that matters. Before you can trust, you must respect each other and your differences without judgment. Just because you don’t value certain subjects or concepts doesn’t mean you should brush them off.

BE VULNERABLE

Be real with your partner and that means sharing things that you often keep hidden. The ultimate sign of trust is living your truth and by doing so your partner will be more comfortable living theirs.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE

Taking good care of yourself adds to the health of the relationship. We are better people and better in our relationships when we take the time to work on ourselves. We must remember to grow both as individuals and as couples.

BE SUPPORTIVE

It is essential to be supportive of your partner. Supporting each other is most essential when trust is first forming and growing. No one is perfect, and we learn from our mistakes. Supporting your partner when they are trying something new or are acting outside of their comfort zone can be very powerful. It shows your partner that they don’t have to be just one way; that you will love and support them even when they make mistakes. Being supportive of ‘the person’ completely, whether in good times or bad, allows us to fully be who we are. Knowing our partner has our back regardless of our situation goes a long way toward building trust.

BE FORGIVING

Holding a resentment toward our partner is poisonous. Trusting doesn’t mean mistakes won’t happen - and when they do be forgiving. We need to feel confident that we can make mistakes, be imperfect, and fall flat on our face while enveloped in our partners unconditional acceptance of who we are. sometimes we hurt our partner emotionally without knowing it. And our partner needs to be forgiving and loving regardless. Why? Because there is faith and truth in your bond. The only way to move forward is to forgive, especially those we love the most.

Show a United Front

Disagreeing in public or in front of friends and family never goes over well. If you disagree with your partner, find time to sit at home and communicate with each other later. Shaming your partner in front of colleagues is cruel, and as a loving, trustworthy partner, you must be vigilant in supporting your partner’s healthy sense of self-worth.

To build trust, you must be behaviorally consistent and do what you say you are going to do. Don’t mistake small promises as insignificant. A broken promise is just that, no matter how small or large. Respect and be true to your partner. Be on their side – always. Even when they’re wrong, seize the opportunity to communicate openly, without judgment. Most importantly, be willing and committed to accepting your partner fully. Love all of who they are – without condition - with Arms open and hearts willing.

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