Trust is as essential to a relationship as cheese is to pizza. But building trust is a complex web of words and deeds that's also pretty fragile. You can basically sabotage the trust in your relationship in seconds, even if took you a lifetime to build it. We all know those huge ways we sabotage trust. Lies. Cheating. That sort of thing. But what about the little, day-to-day things we do that build (or destroy) trust? The ones that can be easy to miss, or that we don't even associate with the trust we're trying to hard to cultivate and maintain?
Well, lucky for you, I have lots of professional experience that showed me how trust is both built and sabotaged in my former career as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certifies Responsible Sexuality Educator. Trust is essential to understand, because no truly healthy relationship can thrive in its absence. No other aspect of a relationship can make you feel more miserable than a lack of trust. Check out this list to see if you're sabotaging trust in your relationship without even knowing it. And then stop doing that. Because it's not good for anyone involved.
1. You're Always Late
Being a person your partner can count on is an essential part of building trust. If you never show up when you say you will, or text when you say you will, you're sabotaging that trust. Being on time is a challenge for some, especially people with ADHD or unpredictable schedules, but it's absolutely something you can work on. It's a small way to let your partner know that you're reliable.
2. You're Judgmental
If you're a judgmental person, it could also be sabotaging the trust in your relationship. Judgmental people aren't easy to confide in, especially when it comes to deep, personal stuff. There could be things your partner has never told you, out of fear you will judge them. This could also be part bad on them for being withholding. Either way, it doesn't make for that dream trust scenario.
3. You Lack Self-Awareness
Do you know people who seems to lack a complete sense of who they are? Like, they say, "I'm the nicest person you'll ever meet," and they mean it, but in your head you're like, "Um, you're not even a little bit nice." Or they're like, "I'm a really motivated, active person," and you're like, "you've been on the couch for 18 years." These people are hard to trust because they seem like liars, even if they mean or believe what they say. If you're talking the talk, make sure you're walking the walk.
4. You Don't Express Your Feelings
If you don't express your feelings, and go deep, emotionally, you're creating an imbalance of trust. If your partner is trusting you with some really intense feelings, and the most intimate details of their lives, they trust you. When you don't do the same, it becomes clear that you don't feel the same. Trust involves a give and take. It may take you time to learn to open up and share your feelings, but it's work that must be done.
5. You Don't Listen
I'm not going to trust you with my feelings if you don't listen. Plain and simple. Eventually, I'll get tired of trying to share with you because I'll know you're spaced out, thinking of your reply, or not invested in what I have to say. To be a trustworthy person is to be a person people can confide in. That means you have to learn to listen without interrupting, changing the subject, not hearing, or not giving your partner's words consideration.
6. You Hate On Their Friends & Family
Imagine this conversation: "Why did you lie about where you were?" "Because I was with Joe and you hate Joe and I knew you would give me crap about it." You can see how this doesn't bode well for trust. I get it. My partner has some super annoying friends that I can't stand. But you can't control who your partner chooses to have in their life, and constant negativity will just cause situations like the one above. If you've made your feelings clear, no need to keep up the hate party. Unless, of course, their friends are truly toxic or dangerous.
7. You're A Flake
Being a flake is such an annoying trait, but sometimes such a necessary one (for example, if you have social anxiety). But having a good reason for why you always flake out on plans doesn't necessarily make it easier for the people you flake out on. Especially if that person is your partner. They need to be able to trust, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that you'll be where you say you will be and do what you say you will do, even if those things are seemingly unimportant, like regular old Netflix dates. You both have to have understanding and come up with a system that works for you. And if you're not an anxiety sufferer or extreme introvert, you need to show up most of the time when you make plans.
8. You Don't Do Your Share
Doing your share of the housework may not seem like it impacts trust, but it's part of being reliable. If you're not holding up your end of your responsibilities, your partner could easily feel like they can't count on you (trust you) to do other things. For example, "How can I trust you to take care of a baby/home/pet/etc when I can't even trust you to do your share of the dishes?"
9. You Have A Temper
I hate to break it to you, but no matter how honest and reliable you are, if you have a temper, you're sabotaging the trust in your relationship. People don't like to tell things to those with tempers. They keep secrets and avoid doing things that might set off your temper. This is a level of emotional and literal dishonesty that other's have had to maintain to keep themselves safe from your anger.
10. You're Super Emotional
Being super emotional isn't necessarily a bad thing. And it's also not always something you can control. But unfortunately, the people who love super emotional partners sometimes find it easier to keep things from them rather than make them upset. This can have a negative impact on the trust in a relationship, from both partner's perspectives.
11. You're Shady In General
You leave without saying where you're going. You sneak in really late at night. You have infinity locks and security codes on your phone, tablet, and/or computer. You whisper when you talk on the phone. You don't like to talk about your day, what you did, or where you were. You don't necessarily have to stop doing these things, and they don't necessarily mean you're not trustworthy but but when you add them all together, they sure do make you look shady. Opening up a little about the life you lead when you two aren't together will help.
Hopefully you notice some room for improvement and make some positive changes, because nothing feels better than having a partner who is your rock.
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