Trust: Is there anything more vital in a relationship? Doubtful, and when it's lacking, it's truly no good — but what are the signs you don't trust your partner? How can you tell if you and your partner are totally simpatico, or if, in your deepest, truest heart of hearts, you actually don't trust them? Just as awful is the fact that if you don't trust them, they probably don't trust you either, creating a perfect storm of relationship malaise that is destined to ruin your partnership in the long run.
The short answer is that if you feel like your partner is untrustworthy, they probably are. But as we all know, relationships are never that simple, and the feelings that arise within a partnership are so complicated that they often need some sort of key or romantic decipher apparatus to help you sort things out. I've got the next best thing — a gang of dating and love experts bar none, who shared with Bustle 11 signs that you definitely don't trust your partner. If one — or all — of these signs describes your relationship, that is definitely a bummer, but it's OK: Better to know, and be able to take action, than to sit around in a murky not-knowing puddle of unsureness. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. You Second-Guess Them All The Time
This is a subtle sign, but it's worth taking a second look at if it applies to your relationship. "One sign that you don’t trust your partner can come in the form of second-guessing," Marina Sbrochi, IPPY award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life tells Bustle. "This is a sneaky one and you might not even know you are doing it — but your partner knows, and it translates to mistrust." If you're shaking your head, saying, "No way, man! Not I! I never do stuff like that," well, read on.
"Have you ever used this line, 'Are you sure that’s what you should be doing?'" Sbrochi asks. "I had an ex-boyfriend that used to say that to me all the time. My response was an inner WTF, and all I could think was, 'Obviously, you don’t trust me. Am I sure this is what I should be doing? Hello — I’m doing it! Of course I’m sure!" She has a very valid point. Unfortunately, almost all of us have been guilty of such a query to our sig Os. Watch yourself if you do this — and if you do it often, be sure to ask yourself what all that second-guessing is all about.
2. You're Controlling
A sure sign of distrust is "control — controlling behaviors are the sign of the weak," zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. "They seek power to make up for the respect and trust that they feel they deserve or do not get." OK, back up a tick: If you find yourself controlling your partner, trying to manipulate them or be sure they do or don't do certain things, you're probably overstepping your bounds — and you don't trust them.
Plus, if you're guilty of this, you are probably working with your own issues, she says. "Empowered people do not need to exert power, but command respect," Paiva points out. "If you find yourself controlling or 'helping' your partner without their asking for your advice or help, cleaning up after them, etc., you probably should take a look at where you are in your own happiness." In other words, just because you don't trust your partner doesn't mean they're inherently untrustworthy. "Most people that do not trust have had parents who were neglectful or abusive — even if out of indirect means, such as they were not around because they had to work three jobs, etc. — and their brains became wired to not trust, because love meant 'not there for you,'" Paiva says. If this describes you, work it out: Don't "make their partner pay for the sins of others," as Paiva puts it.
3. Your Gut Says They're Not To Be Trusted
"I will always say gut instinct is how you know that you don’t trust your partner," Danielle Sepulveres, sex educator and author of Losing It: The Semi-Scandalous Story of an Ex-Virgin, tells Bustle. "When your gut instinct is making you feel uncomfortable in response to something your partner says or does, I believe you should listen to it." Even if you're not entirely sure why, she says it's important to pay attention to such feelings, and figure out where they are coming from. "More specifically, if you find yourself often dissatisfied by their answers of where they are and what they’re doing when you’re not together, that means you’re doubting what you’re hearing, which ultimately says you don’t trust them." Whatever the case may be, if you're always hemming and hawing about the things they say and do — even if you have no concrete reason — you should likely give things a hard look. Or give yourself a hard look, if your sitch is more like the one Paiva describes.
4. You Need To Know What Your Partner Is Up To All The Time
"A sure sign that you do not trust your partner is when you need to know his or her whereabouts at all times and you go to extreme lengths to find them, and then play the part of a grand inquisitor, needing to know all the details of their time away from you," dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. Even if you're more low-key and less upfront about it, this is real: If you always want to know every little detail of your partner's day, ask yourself why that is so. And it'll only get worse: "This habit seems to grow and intensify as the trust dwindles," he says. "If this occurs from the start of the relationship, you should be concerned if this person is right for you if they make you feel this way." Constant questioning never feels good on either side, and if this is happening, it may be time to rethink the relationship, Van Hochman says.
5. You Check Their Phone All The Time
"If you find yourself checking his [or her] phone or his computer history, chances are it’s because you are looking for evidence to prove the mistrust you already feel," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. Sure, you might just be a snoop. "Some people are just naturally snoop-y," she says, "but in most cases, when you find yourself chronically checking his [or her] phone and computer history, you don’t trust your partner." And you're a snoop, too.
6. You've Got A Trifecta Of Distrust Going On
News flash: "[If you] have the desire to check their phone, question their motives or check up on them in any way," you definitely do not trust your partner, psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. It's just that simple. So, as Van Hochman says, if you're always checking up on your partner's whereabouts — no good. Or as Sbrochi says, if you're always second-guessing them — no good. And if you're just straight-up glancing at their phone all the time, as Masini says — definitely, absolutely, positively no good. If you've got this trifecta of distrust going on in your relationship, as Rhodes says, you have all three, and you have to do something about it — stat.
7. You Don't Check Their Phone Because You Know You'll Find Something Awful
If you strongly believe that if checked your partner's phone, you'd find something that would upset you, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With A Narcissist , tells Bustle, then you do not trust your partner. Maybe you're not a snoop, and it goes against your nature to go that extra step and actually log into your partner's social media accounts, email or phone. Props. Don't do that. Ever. But if you're certain that if you went ahead and did such a thing, you would definitely find something upsetting, then you don't trust them. Talk about it with your partner ASAP.
8. You're Creeping On Their Social Media
So maybe you don't take the plunge and log into your partner's social, but if you're always lurking on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the like, you've still got a problem. "One sign that you don't trust your partner is definitely when you're constantly checking their social media," dating expert LaVonya Reeves tells Bustle. It's fine to drop in time and again and make a comment, but it's not OK to go to every single outlet every day. Don't do it. And if you do, you don't trust your partner. It's that simple.
9. You've Become A Detective
You don't trust your partner when "you feel compelled to be a detective," Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences , tells Bustle. This probably comes from a niggling feeling that you shouldn't be trusting your partner. So then you start trying to piece things together, and "generally try to find out why you are suspicious," Tessina says. No good. If this is happening, you already know you don't trust your partner — and you know you need to get help or break up with them soon.
10. You Question Everything
Do you have a hard time taking what your partner says at face value? "In your head, you question everything he or she says," Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. "You don’t allow yourself to take anything he or she says at face value; instead you question everything as to whether or not it is truthful." Nah, girl — you don't trust them.
Indeed, chimes in psychologist Nikki Martinez, who tells Bustle that you don't trust someone "when they tell you something, and your first instinct is to question if it is true." Let's say they tell you that they'll be at work late, or they're going out with friends, or they've just been texting a lot, and your response to yourself is, "Are they really working late? Will they really be where they say they are going? Are they really texting incessantly with their friend?" Martinez says. "When these thoughts occur to you automatically, there are issues you should ask yourself about how much you trust this person." You have to take what your partner says as it is — unless you truly don't trust them.
11. Your Partner's Tune Has Changed
You don't trust your partner when there are "important things you discussed — marriage, kids, moving in together — and suddenly the tune changes," Stefanie Safran, Chicago's "Introductionista" and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. "If you agree to get engaged or have kids and suddenly your partner says they have no interest in either, how can you trust them?" If there's a wild change of tune, you certainly will have a hard time trusting your partner afterward, unless there is a very valid reason for the change.
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