Trust is a huge part of any relationship—romantic or not. Without it, you can’t communicate openly, you can’t be honest with someone, you can’t allow each other freedom and autonomy… there are so many parts of a relationship that require trust. If you don’t have trust in your relationship, it’s not going to last very long. And even if it does last, it probably won’t be a happy, healthy relationship.
Trust doesn’t happen overnight. Like all good things, it takes time to build, and requires both people to be committed to building it.
Here are some of the ways to create a great environment for building trust in a relationship.
Define your boundaries.
We’re all different, which means we will all have different boundaries when it comes to all matters of a relationship. Defining what these boundaries are early on, and making sure your partner is clear about them will give them the opportunity to know you better, and to respect them.
Boundaries can be related to how much alone time you need, or even what you’re comfortable with in your sex life.
In order for trust to grow, it requires a certain amount of opening yourself up and letting your guard down. There’s a risk of getting hurt or being let down, but in order to get closer to someone and let them prove their worthy of our love and trust, we must put ourselves out there.
This might mean you share your biggest fears or dreams with them, you let them see you without makeup on, or you tell them how you really feel about them.
Don’t open yourself up fully all at once—take things gradually, and protect yourself along the way.
Respect each other.
The thing about the people we love the most is, because we spend so much more time with them than anyone else, they often end up seeing us when we’re at our worst. We can lash out, blame them, or say something we really don’t mean in the heat of the moment. But do this too many times, and respect can begin to fade fast.
You won’t always be perfect, but you must remember to treat your partner with dignity and respect at all times. If you do something that belittles them or violates that respect, it will become difficult for them to trust you.
Speak the truth, and listen to each other without judgment.
Being able to speak openly and honestly in a relationship is incredibly important. The more we’re able to have conversations where we say how we really feel, the more we’ll trust each other because we feel listened to and understood when we’re in a vulnerable place.
This means that you both promise that you’ll come from a place of only love, regardless of what is said. That means not raising your voice, cutting in, or shutting someone down.
Pretending everything is fine when it’s not, and avoiding talking about your feelings because you don’t trust each other enough to handle it is only going to leave you feeling unfulfilled or even resentful in the relationship.
Keep your promises.
This applies to the little things—like picking milk up from the store on your way home; just as much as the big things—like booking that dream trip you said you’d take your partner on for ages.
Every time you break a promise you make, you let your partner down, and they can start to distrust what you say. Every time you keep a promise, it goes a long way to building trust.
Be willing to give and receive.
This should be equal in a healthy, loving relationship, where no one feels like they are the one constantly giving, while their partner only takes. This balance will shift through the course of your relationship depending on what’s going on for both of you, but you’ll both be accepting of this because you trust each other enough to know that you aren’t being taken advantage of.
Be willing to give and receive. If your partner is willing to do the same, you should create a caring and supportive relationship where trust grows.
We all make mistakes, and when we do, we should own up to them, and be forgiving when our partner makes the mistake. Holding grudges and bringing up the past will erode the trust in your relationship. Letting things go and starting fresh will help you move on, and build trust based on love and truth.
Talk about commitment.
Feeling like you know where you stand in a relationship helps you to trust your partner, because they’re making sure you feel comfortable and secure with them. Talking to each other regularly is vital, so you’re both on the same page.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the future, or ask questions regarding your relationship.
Trust, like most things that are worth having, takes time. It’s something you earn through experience with another person. So as you grow in your relationship, don’t forget to grow in the trust you have for each other. The more you give, the more trust you’ll get in return.