Trust is really hard for me in relationships. Ever since I was cheated on by an ex-boyfriend, I've noticed that I bring that baggage into all of my new relationships, and it can manifest in different ways. It can be hard to identify the red flags you don't trust your partner in your relationship. But no matter how those red flags creep into your dating life, they are always detrimental.
Sometimes, this might take the form of stalking on social media. You constantly see what your partner is up to, convinced that they are lying or cheating, withholding information, or flirting with someone new. You create scenarios that don't exist and connect dots that aren't there, all based on things you see on that dreaded "following" tab. Other times, it might take the form of codependency, where you distrust your partner so much that the idea of them leaving you for just a second seems agonizing. What might they do when they're gone?
Sound familiar? Here are some of the signs that indicate that you might not trust your partner very much. If you recognize any of these traits in your relationship, it might be time for some introspection and communication.
1. You Stalk Their Social Media
A little light stalking is normal. You want to see what your crush is up to. You might watch an Instagram story, scroll a few weeks back on their timeline to see what haircut they had a year ago, or to see if they posted any photos from the Women's March. Very typical behavior.
However, what is not typical is deviating into full-fledged paranoia about your partner's past or their current behavior and whereabouts when they're not with you. If you're looking at their follower count to see if they've started following someone new or constantly looking at their tagged photos to see who they're hanging out with, then that indicates a lack of trust in your relationship.
Clicking on the names of the people commenting on their photos or getting angry at your partner for innocent social media-related things is usually a sign of a lack of trust in your relationship.
2. You Stalk Their Exes On Social Media
...and their friends, their siblings, parents, cousins, cousin's friends, neighbors, teachers, or childhood pet. The list goes on and on. If you're down a rabbit hole of social media stalking and you now know what your partner's Aunt Debbie makes for Thanksgiving every year, it is time to throw your phone into the ocean.
When we trust our partner, we understand that they will disclose personal information to us in their own time. We accept their pacing and respect their privacy. Following someone on social media is one thing, but deep diving into their private life is another. It's kind of adjacent to hiring a private investigator, and that would be too much, right? In case you paused when I asked that, let me tell you: Yes, that would be too much. I know Kim Kardashian has done it on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, but let's not hold her as the bar for normalcy.
Trusting someone means respecting their boundaries, and not finding out every person they have ever dated in the past by lurking their Facebook, and then lurking their ex's Facebook, and then comparing yourself to them. That doesn't set the tone for a healthy relationship.
3. You're Codependent
Codependency is a sign of deeper issues within a relationship, mainly that you fear detaching from your partner because you're unsure what they might do if left alone. Do you think your partner will forget about you? Cheat? Move on? If you are with someone because you need them, and not because they're a pleasant addition to your life, then you need to look at what void you are attempting to fill within yourself.
Codependency is a control mechanism that does not work in the long run. If you trust someone, you will allow them to be free, and are assured that your relationship is healthy enough to withstand any kind of distance. Suffocation does not make for a healthy relationship and is an indication of a lack of trust. What are you grasping onto?
4. You Pick Fights
Sometimes, in order to test how someone feels about you, you will pick a fight instead of simply asking your partner about something that concerns you. We confuse drama and chaos with love, and usually, that is because you don't trust that your partner will give you an honest answer if you ask them for clarification about your relationship.
If you don't have good communication with your partner, it's also likely because you don't trust yourself to get to a place of emotional vulnerability with them. A healthy relationship requires the courage to talk about issues instead of picking fights about them — and that means you need to view your partner as a safe space. If you don't trust your partner, then it's hard to develop that kind of rapport.
If you're noticing some of these patterns in your relationship, then you might not trust your partner as much as you think you do. Get to the root of the issue, but look inward first. It might be more about you than it is about them. Do you trust yourself?
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