Trust is the pillar of any successful relationship. If you’re dating someone and your relationship has been through some tough times, or you haven't developed clear communication tactics with each other yet, you might find yourself struggling to trust them fully. The signs you don’t trust your boyfriend or girlfriend aren’t always easy to spot, but when you do recognize them, you can take your first steps toward combating them and growing stronger together.
Feelings of betrayal can be the root of many breaches of trust in a relationship, but a lack of trust can stem from all kinds of places. “Past hurts, abusive relationships, toxic or unhealthy relationships with parents, or emotionally damaging family of origin experiences contribute to how we trust and love others as well as ourselves,” explains therapist Liz Higgins, LMFT at Millennial Life Counseling. It's not always obvious where your trust issues arise, but regardless, they can make you feel pretty miserable. As soon as you notice something is off, take the steps to start working through your feelings ASAP. It will take a lot of communication and honesty, but in the end, both partners will benefit. Look out for the following signs that your trust levels aren't in a good place.
1. Your gut feeling says something isn’t right.
“When you are looking for signs that there are trust issues in your relationship, it is important to rely on your intuition,” says Noelle Cordeaux, Life Coach and CEO of JRNI Coaching. “Intuition is a natural phenomenon that allows us to bridge the gap between our conscious and subconscious mind.” Deep down, your subconscious might be feeling insecure about your relationship, which means you’ll get a gut feeling that something is off. Listen to this feeling and try to examine what might be at the root of it. Did something happen in your relationship to prompt this concern in you? Or have these negative feelings been growing for awhile? Consider bringing it up to your partner in an honest and non-accusatory way. If they don't feel like you're attacking them, they can help you understand whether there's really a cause for concern.
2. You feel a tightness in your body when you’re around your partner.
“Your body will often give you signs to how you are feeling before your brain does,” Cordeaux explains. “Begin to notice any emotional discomfort. This could take the form of sensation or tightness in your throat, a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, tightness in the back of your neck, or clenching your jaw.” Being around your partner should make you feel relaxed and comfortable, so if the opposite reaction is happening, it’s a major red flag. Of course, not all tightness in the body is correlated to unhappiness in a relationship, so don't freak out if one day you get a muscle cramp around your partner! In isolated cases, it's totally NBD.
3. You keep obsessing over worst-case scenarios for the relationship.
Whether it’s imagining your partner cheating or wondering where they are at all times, these signs of insecure attachment might indicate a lack of trust. “Feelings of fear, anxiety, stress, betrayal, and confusion often accompany trust issues,” Higgins says. She notes that trust issues usually indicate that there was a breach of boundaries somewhere, and for whatever reason, you haven’t been able to move past it. So, your mind keeps looping back to whatever you’re afraid might happen.
This is another instance where communication is key. If you haven't addressed this original breach of trust with your partner (or if it's been awhile since you discussed it), maybe it's time to have a conversation. Bring to their attention that it's still bothering you so that you two can talk about it, and you can let go of the weight of holding your worries inside.
4. You’re snooping on their texts or social media.
Higgins warns that if you can’t help sneaking a glance at your partner’s text history every now and then, it probably means you’re concerned about who they’re talking to. Maybe they have a close relationship with an ex that you’re not totally comfortable with, or you’re worried about a new person they’ve been hanging out with lately. “If you feel pulled to snoop or are questioning your partner that much, consider it a red flag and find a healthy way to address it instead of taking on the role of detective,” Higgins advises. Breaking your partner’s confidence by looking at their private information will only damage trust even further.
Next time you're feeling the urge to snoop, take a step back and think about why you're concerned. If you can get to the root of your feelings of stress or jealousy, you might realize that you're over-reacting. And again, if it's really bad and you can't stop yourself from obsessing, talking to your partner is definitely your best move.
5. You’re feeling down and questioning the relationship.
Your relationship should be a source of joy and happiness — if it’s not, something worrisome is going on. Whatever concerns you’re feeling, it’s best to address them rather than letting them simmer until they inevitably come to a head. “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.” Be honest if you’re feeling deep uncertainty about the relationship, and hopefully you can work through your feelings together.
Whatever the situation, rebuilding trust is essential for ensuring your relationship can last. Without honesty, vulnerability, and a willingness to see one another’s perspective, your hurt feelings won’t be able to heal. But with love and openness, you can come out on the other end stronger as a couple! If any of these worrisome signs ring a bell for you, it’s time to talk to your partner about boundaries. Approach the conversation without judgement or shame, and you can both help one another feel valued and supported.