Struggling to trust the person you're with is never fun. No matter how much you love your partner, it can still feel pretty crappy to be on edge all the time wondering if they’re going to betray your confidence. Sometimes, people treat you badly and have to work to rebuild your trust, but in other cases, you might be struggling to trust them for a reason you can’t explain. This could be a sign you have trust issues, which is indicative of a larger inability to trust people in general.
Take it from the experts: Trust issues come in all shapes and sizes. “Trust issues usually stem from a breach of spoken or unspoken expectations or boundaries in a relationship,” says therapist Liz Higgins, LMFT at Millennial Life Counseling. “They can be as clear as something like cheating on a partner, or as ambiguous as having friendly banter or conversation with a person of the same sex on a social media platform.” But whatever is going on, she says, all that matters is the fact that you’re feeling betrayed. Wallowing in your confusion and sadness won’t do any good for your relationship. Instead, try to figure out what’s going on at the root of the situation, and address it with your partner before lashing out. Check out these telltale signs that you might have trust issues — and the best remedies to start solving them.
“Feelings of fear, anxiety, stress, betrayal, and confusion often accompany trust issues,” Higgins explains. The best way to combat these is to pursue honest communication with one another. “Identify your boundaries, needs, and expectations in your relationship — this goes for any aspect of your relationship from outside relationships to finances to sex,” says Higgins. “The more you assert what you want and need, the better equipped your partner is to give that to you.” Don’t expect to know each other’s needs until you talk about them openly!
Always confused about where you stand in your relationship? This might mean you need to check in with each other. “Prioritize time to talk as a couple,” Higgins suggests. “Your communication and checking in about your relationship and how you’re doing with each other is so important.” If you aren’t sure what your partner is up to, or whether you can trust them, talk to each other and decide how much you want to know about each other’s lives. In a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t feel the need to know what your boo is doing every second. Part of a trusting partnership is giving each other some space, but you also need to communicate about what that looks like for each of you.
Finally, your boyfriend or girlfriend might notice that something is up and ask you about it. “Sometimes this will be something that is called out in the relationship,” Higgins says. In this case, try not to get defensive. Decide together how you plan to talk about this. Often times, couples might even need therapy to work through their issues, and this is totally OK and nothing to be ashamed of. “Professionals know how to navigate asking the right questions to help you explore where your trust issues are coming from, why that’s important for you, and how to honor and respect yourself and your partner in the best way moving forward,” Higgins advises.
Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be better for having addressed it together as a couple. Don’t ever feel like your feelings aren’t valid — they’re real, and they matter. But that doesn’t mean you have to just sit in your misery without taking action. Share your fears with your partner and work together to find a solution that makes you both feel loved and heard.