Got Trust Issues? Here Are 7 Signs It’s Destroying Your Relationships
You’re not sure why you have trust issues when it comes to your relationships with men, but you have serious trouble opening up and allowing them into your heart.
It might be because you were hurt in a past relationship. Maybe your ex lied to you constantly or cheated on you.
It might be because you’ve never actually been in a serious relationship.
It might be due to something that happened to you as a child that has made it hard for you to trust anyone.
Regardless of the reason you have trouble trusting men, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to struggle in your relationships anymore.
Why You Need to Acknowledge and Work on Your Trust Issues
I will tell you one thing that I know to be absolutely true for every relationship in the world: relationships are founded on one thing: TRUST.
- You trust that when you share something, it stays between you and your partner
- You trust that when you’re not together, you’re both faithful
- You trust that he will speak kindly about you when you’re not there
- You trust that he’s being honest with you
Without trust, relationships cannot grow because that—trust— is what a relationship really is.
So if you’re finding that trust is a real issue in your relationship, I sincerely suggest that you get to the heart of the causes of your trust issues as well as work through them so that you can trust and love someone fully.
Not sure whether you have trust issues or not? Read through the following signs to see if any of them resonate, and learn what you can do in each situation.
1. You Don’t Give Anyone the Benefit of the Doubt
Look, I’m not suggesting you trust total strangers. But as you get to know a new man in your life, consider him to have a clean slate as you get to know him. After all, he hasn’t done anything to deserve your mistrust yet, so give him the benefit of the doubt when necessary.
Trust comes with time. It will take a while to fully trust this man, and he does have to earn your trust.
But if you’ve been burned in the past, it can be hard to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
Psychologist Daniel Gilbert coined the term “psychological immune system,” which I find pretty interesting.
Just like our physical immune system protects from disease and illness, we have a psychological immune system that protects us from threats to our emotional well-being. So if you’ve been hurt in the past, you may clam up now at any situation that even resembles the one where you were hurt.
There is some value in protecting yourself from being too naive, but people with trust issues sometimes go too far and refuse to trust anyone.
How you can trust again: Start by realizing that this man hasn’t hurt you. You’re basing your assumptions on past experiences, and that’s not fair to him. Don’t automatically assume he’s lying or wants to hurt you. Talk through your irrational feelings when they pop up so that you can logically admit that you might need to believe what he’s telling you.
2. Once Trust is Truly Earned, You Still Don’t Give That Trust
When Jess and I first started dating, she had some trust issues from past relationships. She was cautiously optimistic with me, but she still had her reservations early on. I definitely worked to earn her trust and understood that it would take her some time to open up to me. We were both rewarded when she did start trusting me at a level she had never trusted any man before.
But for some people, they can’t let go of that fear of opening up. If someone has done all he can to earn your trust and you still can’t give it to him, this is an issue.
How you can trust again: You don’t want this man to feel like he’s wasting his time trying to earn your trust by jumping through hoops. Be open with him about how hard it is for you to trust and make sure he’s okay with it being a long process. If he’s the right guy for you, he’ll be patient. But you have to put in effort too. Acknowledge what he’s done to earn your trust and slowly give him a little at a time.
3. You’re Constantly Comparing New People to Toxic People From Your Past
If all you can do when you meet an amazing guy is think about how the last guy you dated was a raging a$$h*le, then, yeah, you have some trust issues.
Every new person you meet deserves a fresh start with you. The wrongs your ex did to you has no bearing on your current relationship. You’re only giving him power over you by letting him take up real estate in your brain.
How you can trust again: Rather than take the approach of “guilty until proven innocent,” try the opposite. And realize that not every man is a lying, cheating heel. The Universe wants you to be happy, but you have to acknowledge your happiness yourself. When you catch yourself doing the toxic comparison, just take note and let it go. Focus on all the amazing things about this new guy.
4. You Trust All the Wrong People
“Adam, I have trust issues for a good reason. Every single person I’ve trusted has hurt me. My financial advisor invested all my money in crap stocks and now I’m broke. My mechanic overcharged me for my oil change. And the kid selling magazines door-to-door never shipped my order.”
If you seem to have one bad encounter after another, I ask you to look at the motives of the people who have hurt you.
Your financial advisor got a commission to convince you to invest all your money in what turned out to be a bad investment. He doesn’t care that you’re broke because he still got paid.
Your mechanic took advantage of you in a vulnerable moment to convince you to pointlessly upgrade your service because he made more money.
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And that kid who knocked on your door? C’mon. Don’t buy anything from someone at your door! Unless it’s a Girl Scout.
Let’s translate this to dating and relationships.
Let’s say you meet a man at a bar and he chats you up, telling you how beautiful you are. He’s talking about taking you out to dinner sometime. You’re digging it (the beer helps), but then he asks you to come home with him. His motivation for telling you all the things you want to hear is that he hopes to sleep with you tonight. So, no, you can’t trust this man.
So rather than deciding not to trust anyone at all, consider what incentives people have for trying to get you to trust them. A good man simply wants you to trust him so he can get to know you and maybe fall head over heels for you. There’s something in it for you as well!
How you can trust again: If your instinct is to not trust someone, consider the situation from their angle. What’s in it for them? Would they benefit by lying in this situation? If not, try to open up.
5. You Not Only Avoid Commitment, But It Also Scares the Living Crap Out of You
I get it. Commitment can be a pretty scary thing, especially when it comes to long-term relationships. But it’s hard to build trust in a relationship unless you are willing to commit fully to a potential future with this man.
Maybe you were married for 17 years and you found out your husband had a secret family you had no clue about. Understandably, you might be skittish about settling into something long-term again, but I know that deep down you want love.
How you can trust again: If the idea of commitment for the rest of your life is too big for you, break it down into smaller bites. Can you commit to a one-week relationship? One month? Six? Keep in mind that as you get to know this man, trust will gradually come, and so will your ability to commit to him.
6. You Push Good Guys Away
There’s a principle that rings true for most things in life that also rings true for commitment.
If you’re not sure why you seem to avoid certain things, then it’s probably the outcome secretly scares you.
For example: let’s say you’re just a few credits away from completing your Master’s degree, but you keep putting it off. Maybe deep down you’re terrified of being done with school and facing the expectations and responsibilities of the “real world.”
The same thing applies to relationships. If you are terrified of commitment and push away any man who could be a potential love partner, maybe it’s because you’re afraid of the outcome. Maybe you fear the prospect of getting married and then getting divorced again. Maybe you fear having your heart broken again. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll be tied down and won’t have any freedom in your life for the things you enjoy doing.
How you can trust again: Consider the real reason you push good guys away. What is the outcome that you’re afraid of? Can you see that outcome in a more positive light? For example, instead of assuming if you get married again that you’ll just be hurt and get divorced again, maybe you can think that this could be the marriage that would work out indefinitely, unlike your first one.
7. You Snoop
One definite sign that you have trust issues is that you’re looking through his phone to see if he’s texting other women…
…lurking on his social media to see if his ex is commenting on his posts…
…looking through his drawers for evidence that he’s cheating…
…whatever unhealthy behavior you’re engaging in, stop it because it’s not worth it. The moment you get caught—and you will get caught with your crazy behavior—you will break his trust. Then you won’t be the only one with trust issues! He will never trust you because he will know that you don’t trust him, and at that point, the relationship is destroyed.
How you can trust again: Even if you snoop and find what you think is incriminating evidence, it often isn’t what you think it is. You can make yourself crazy trying to look for signs that you shouldn’t trust this man, but again, you can’t make your current boyfriend suffer because of what you’ve experienced in your past. Don’t snoop. Make sure you don’t know his password to his phone so you can’t read his messages. Don’t spend more than a few seconds on his social media.
I hope that you recognize that your trust issues are keeping you from being completely happy in your relationship and that you have an idea of how you can start to let go of that past pain so you can open up to something truly great. If you continue to struggle, I encourage you to talk to a friend or even a therapist to help you learn to rebuild your ability to trust again.
Let me hear from you in the comments below: do you struggle with one of these signs of trust issues more than others? What commitment are you ready to make to let go of these issues to make room for true love in your life?