Question: What is the best way to build trust?
Building trust is one the most important aspects of your relationship. The more you trust each other the more willing you may be to develop your communication and teamwork. A strong level of trust can help you both open up more and can help encourage intimacy as well.
Having said that, trust can also be the hardest thing to develop within your relationship for a couple of reasons. When you take a look at the factors that can affect mutual trust, three things come to mind:
1. Time: You could be the perfect fit for each other, but trust will still take time to build and the amount of time it takes can very from person to person. If you are more trusting you can trust someone immediately after meeting them while someone more on the cautious side can take weeks or months to trust another person. There’s no one size fits all answer for how long this will take.
2. Your Past Experiences: The amount of time it takes for you to trust someone has a lot to do with past experiences, both good and bad. Your past relationships (both platonic and romantic) can cause you to approach new or future relationships in different ways. If you have been hurt by someone in the past, your natural reaction may be to protect yourself from being hurt in the future, which affects how long it may take for you to trust someone new.
3. Your Partner’s Actions: Trust can take a long time to develop, but a very short time to crumble. If you’re emotionally invested in your partner, and they do something to break that trust, it will take a very long time to be rebuilt. In many cases, it will never be fully rebuilt.
It Takes Two
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes two to tango”. Well, there is a reason why it is so often used. When talking about trust, you both need to be on board when it comes to strengthening it. Building trust takes time and commitment from both parties. It doesn’t mean that you both have to be perfect, but it does mean being honest and putting in the effort.
If one of you isn’t serious about building trust, then you will go nowhere. Having open lines of communication about your progress is key and it will help keep you both accountable.
It Starts with You
Yes, you both need to be committed, but the initial work is internal. To start, you’ll need to go back and look at those factors we talked about in the beginning. Those things will help you better understand why there is a trust gap in your relationship.
If you have trust issues because of events in your past, be honest and upfront about them.
If your partner has hurt you, and that’s the reason why trust isn’t growing, be upfront about that as well. This will be extremely hard for most people, but it’s a necessary step if you want to get closer to a trusting, healthy relationship.
If you have hurt your partner which is causing them to not trust you, again, be honest with yourself. Make amends and take ownership. Owning up to your mistake can be what your partner needs to get closure on the situation.
It Takes Time
Like we talked about earlier, it can take a long time to build trust, especially if you or your partner have personal and past issues. Be patient and work together. You won’t be perfect, but as long as you are committed to growth, you can build the trust. Even if there are bumps along the way, confront the issue and use it as an opportunity to grow stronger, together.
Things You Can Do to Build Trust
Trust and intimacy go hand in hand (literally). Find time to do activities that promote both trust and intimacy.
Physical contact can help boost oxytocin in your body, which helps build intimacy and trust. You can walk around the neighborhood and hold hands or cuddle on the couch while you watch a movie.
Laughter can be another way to build a stronger bond. Don’t be afraid to be goofy or cheesy. Having fun and laughing together can help break down any lingering tension and allow you to get closer!
To end, and this is the reason why we exist, we want to encourage you to continuously date each other. Date night is so powerful at helping to build a stronger relationship. The content we’ve talked about above is exactly what we try and do in every Crated with Love datebox we create! So don’t let date night slip away!
For more on trust, we suggest this article by the Gottman Institute.
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This response, as well as all the content we provide, is not a substitute for professional assistance and should not seen as such. We highly encourage all couples to find a professional therapist to talk with if necessary. Our content is merely a tool to help motivate you to include more interaction between each other.