Overcoming Trust Issues: How to Rebuild Your Relationship

Trust is like the glue that holds any healthy relationship together, creating a sense of intimacy, security and understanding between two people. Although building trust in relationships can take years, it can be broken in an instant. When trust is broken, through infidelity, crossing boundaries or dishonesty, it can have a significant impact on the dynamic of the relationship as a whole. This may leave you wondering how to trust your partner, how to build trust in a relationship, or how to save a relationship without trust. Rebuilding trust can be a long and challenging process that requires commitment from both parties in order to truly heal what has been broken. In this blog post, we’re going to be taking a look at how you can identify trust issues, the emotional implications they can have, how to overcome them and some tips on how to trust your partner and strengthen the relationship after trust has been broken.

Introduction

Trust is like the glue that holds any healthy relationship together, creating a sense of intimacy, security and understanding between two people. Although building trust in relationships can take years, it can be broken in an instant. When trust is broken, through infidelity, crossing boundaries or dishonesty, it can have a significant impact on the dynamic of the relationship as a whole. This may leave you wondering how to trust your partner, how to build trust in a relationship, or how to save a relationship without trust. Rebuilding trust can be a long and challenging process that requires commitment from both parties in order to truly heal what has been broken. In this blog post, we’re going to be taking a look at how you can identify trust issues, the emotional implications they can have, how to overcome them and some tips on how to trust your partner and strengthen the relationship after trust has been broken. 

Recognising Trust Issues

When someone has trust issues, they have trouble trusting people, especially those they are close to, as a result of recent or past betrayals. Relationship trust issues are in fact a lot more common than you may think. Here are some signs and symptoms that you or your loved one might be experiencing trust issues [1][2]

  • Fear of intimacy.

Trust issues can manifest as a fear of getting close to others. Because intimacy requires vulnerability, those with trust issues might avoid this, preferring to be alone than risk being hurt.

  • Difficulty letting go and holding grudges.

Holding onto past betrayals is common among people with trust issues. They might struggle with forgiveness as this allows space for them to be hurt or betrayed again. 

  • Defensive behaviour.

Those with trust issues often have a guarded demeanour, resulting in overly cautious behaviour when sharing personal feelings and emotions. 

  • Tendency to focus on the negative.

When in healthy relationships, people tend to hold a more positive outlook. In contrast, those in relationships without trust are more likely to assume the worst. 

  • Constant suspicion.

Trust issues can often manifest as a tendency to be suspicious of others’ behaviour, intentions and actions. This allows the individual to feel prepared for another letdown or betrayal. 

  • Keep to yourself.

Sharing your personal thoughts and feelings with others requires trust. With that in mind, people with trust issues tend to keep others at a distance. 

  • Fear of abandonment.

Trust issues can lead to a deep-rooted fear of abandonment or rejection. This can be seen in both platonic and romantic relationships. If you notice that these issues have deep roots and you cannot tackle them alone, it may be useful to consult a therapist for couples or relationship counselling to get the additional help you might need.

Understanding Your Emotions

Trust issues can have a significant emotional impact on both the relationship and the individual. These are some common emotional effects you may experience or witness in someone with trust issues [3][2].

  • Low self-esteem.

Trust issues can erode your self-esteem, leading you to question your own value after someone breaks your trust. After a betrayal, a negative cycle of self-doubt ensues, which can greatly diminish your self-esteem. 

  • Difficulty forming deep connections.

Feelings of apprehension towards others can lead to increased isolation, out of fear of being betrayed. By keeping others at a distance, it can be difficult to form deep and meaningful connections.  

  • Resentment and Anger.

Unresolved trust issues can create feelings of resentment, scepticism and anger, making it difficult to form and maintain connections. You might be repeatedly saying to yourself, “I don’t trust my boyfriend/girlfriend”, which can lead to heightened anger and further distance you from your partner. 

  • Anxiety and fear.

Being in a constant state of hypervigilance can lead to a significant increase in feelings of anxiety and fear. This can also manifest physically, as a rapid heartbeat, sweating or an empty feeling in your stomach. 

  • Emotional Exhaustion.

Constantly questioning and doubting the intentions of others can greatly affect your emotional well-being. When you are constantly on guard, looking out for potential betrayals, you will likely reach a state of emotional exhaustion. This can have a significant impact on your mental health and overall quality of life.  

Strategies for Overcoming Trust Issues

In this section, we’re going to lay out some tips and techniques for overcoming trust issues and learning to trust again in your relationships. These techniques will help you to overcome these issues as well as help you to rebuild the trust that has been lost [4][5][6].

  • Practise self-reflection.

Actively reflecting on your own trust issues is a great first step in overcoming them. By gaining insight into the root causes of your trust issues you can begin to work through them, whether they are due to past experiences, childhood influences or personal behavioural patterns. Ask yourself questions like, “What events or relationships have affected my ability to trust?” or “How do these experiences shape my current beliefs and behaviours?” 

  • Communicate openly and honestly.

By practising open and honest communication in your relationship, you can express your feelings, concerns and needs while actively listening to your partner. This creates a safe space to address and overcome any underlying trust issues, building a solid foundation for trust to grow. Schedule regular conversations with your partner to express your feelings, concerns and needs. 

  • Distinguish between trust and control.

It is important to understand the difference between trust and control. You can begin with low-risk situations where you practise trust, and gradually build upon them. Remember, trust means letting go of the need for control. Practise self-reminders that trust involves accepting some level of uncertainty and embracing the vulnerability that comes with it. 

  • Take small, slow steps.

Regaining trust is a slow and gradual process that cannot be rushed. Taking your time can be beneficial when trying to build or rebuild a solid foundation of trust. Start with low-risk situations and slowly build up towards bigger commitments, and learn to trust again. Set small, achievable goals that involve gradually increasing trust and vulnerability, such as sharing personal stories or delegating responsibilities.  

  • Practise self-care.

Consider engaging in activities that promote your emotional well-being. This can include practising mindfulness, yoga, spending time with loved ones or engaging in your favourite hobby. 

  • Talk to a therapist.

If you notice that the trust issues in your relationship have become too overwhelming to tackle alone, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Therapists and counsellors can help support you with valuable insights, tools and techniques to help you get both your relationship and your life back on track. 

Seeking Professional Help

If you begin to notice that despite your best efforts, you or your significant other’s trust issues are having a significant impact on your relationship or overall well-being, it might be necessary to seek professional help. This is especially true if these issues are beginning to impact your day-to-day life, communication is continuing to deteriorate, or mental health concerns arise. There are several different therapies available to help in dealing with both personal trust issues and trust issues in your relationship. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help!

At Therapy Central we offer relationship therapy and couples counselling, as well as more focused therapy such as stress counselling, anxiety therapy and therapy for low self-esteem. This treatment is available in London and everywhere else online. We use evidence-based interventions such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and other approaches to help you manage your relationship problems and tackle your trust issues. 

In seeking professional help, you’ll be able to talk about your experience with professionals who are equipped to provide you with the help you need and support you in regaining control over your life and your relationship.  

Consider contacting one of our qualified therapists today.

You can contact us and request a free 15 min consultation to see whether our help will suit your needs.

Resources 

References 

[1] – LISW-S, W. by: M. R., & MD, R. by: K. F. (n.d.). 13 signs of trust issues & how to get over them. Choosing Therapy. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/trust-issues/

[2] – Bennett, T. (2022, March 10). Trust issues: Signs, causes, and how to overcome them. Thriveworks. https://thriveworks.com/blog/trust-issues/

[3] – Marshall, C. (2023, January 16). What to do if you don’t trust your partner. Self Space. https://theselfspace.com/what-to-do-if-you-dont-trust-your-partner/

[4] – Cherry, K. (2022, January 18). Why you may have trust issues and how to overcome them. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/why-you-may-have-trust-issues-and-how-to-overcome-them-5215390

[5] – Heather Craig, Bp. (2023, April 19). 10 ways to build trust in a relationship. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/build-trust/

[6] – wikiHow. (n.d.). How to overcome trust issues in a relationship: 12 steps. wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-Trust-Issues-in-a-Relationship

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