There's no magic trick for a healthy relationship. I mean, there are a few things, like good communication, that most happy couples have. And, we hear a lot about trust in relationships, too, but how do we do it? The problem is, as I'm sure you've heard, it's built rather than just "done." You can't just sit down and decide it's going to be there. It's a process, and it's something that happens over time.
That being said, if trust has to be built, what are its building blocks? Well, the all-important qualities like communication and honesty play a big role. But you also have to make sure you're not undercutting trust. Sometimes— without intending to or even realizing it— we say and do things that undermine that hard-built trust with our partner. It often comes when we're being flippant, or even meaning to be hurtful, but sometimes it's just from us being completely unaware or so self-involved we're not thinking about how what we're saying is going to affect other people.
So how do we avoid that, and make sure our trust keeps building? Well, here are five things we say that sabotage trust with our partners, and how to be more aware of what we're saying:
1. "Well, My Ex..."
Some of us have great relationships with our exes— I have people I've dated who I'm still friends with— and that's fine. But comparing your current partner to your last one is a no-go. It makes them feel like they're not good enough and that you're not quite invested either because you're still into your last partner or that you're just not as happy now as you were with them. And if you're not happy, you're not going to prioritize the relationship.
2. "I'm Not Sure What I Want."
Obviously you need to be honest, and we can all be in muddled, confusing places from time to time. But if you're constantly in flux, can't make up your mind about your partner or where things are going with them, that lack of stability is going to erode their trust in you. This is especially true if they've made it clear they're invested in you.
If your significant other is trying to talk to you—whether it's about something important or just about their day— you need to be involved. Listening is an active process, and if you don't participate, your partner isn't going to feel supported enough to trust you.
4. "I Don't Know What You're Talking About."
Arguments and agreements are tough, but inevitable. We are bound to butt heads in relationships at some point, that's normal and nothing to feel weird about. But no matter how strongly you feel about your point of view, you need to have enough perspective to try to wrap your head around your partner's point. If they are feeling a certain way, you have to try to figure out why. Acting like they're making it up or it's completely inconceivable isn't going to do the trust between you any favors.
5. "What? I'm Fine. Everything's Perfect."
Nothing's perfect. Except peanut butter. And french fries. And pizza. But nothing else. If your partner is taking the time to check in with you and you act like everything is 100 percent hunky dory all of the time, they're going to sense something's up, because that's just not realistic. Somedays you may be over the moon, and that's great, but if you constantly refuse to admit that things are off you're not being honest. And if you're not be honest, they're not going to trust you. Sharing your vulnerabilities and difficulties show that you trust them, which helps them trust you in turn.
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