in: dating + single

How to Cultivate Trust for a Healthy Relationship

Without a foundation of trust, relationships will suffer; without this essential ingredient, our level of intimacy can never reach its fullest potential. The good news: we can cultivate trust in our relationship with just a few simple steps.

 


Trust is one of the most important components for a lasting relationship. Some believe it is the foundation for a happy and healthy union.

If you’ve been hurt before—and all of us have been—trusting in a new partner might be particularly challenging for you. But without trust, you won’t be able to have true intimacy with your partner.

Here are a few important tips for cultivating that incredibly important quality in your relationship: 

1. Do what you say. 

Being a reliable partner, whether you’ve been on a single date or 100, is crucial in a relationship. Even if you are in the newer stages of dating, you’re still setting the scene for the kind of relationship you will have and the kind of partner you will be. Show your partner that you can be trusted by being true to your word and doing what you say.

On those occasions when you can’t follow through on something, be honest and open about why. On the flip side, is your partner reliable? As you learn about each other and get to know one another better, does he/she do what they say?

2. Be real.

Relationships aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, we all know that. Don’t feel like you need to be cheery and happy all the time. If something upsets or bothers you, it’s okay to express that. If your partner asks your honest opinion, share it, even if you think it might conflict with theirs. Don’t go along with something you’re not happy or comfortable with. You can be real and honest without being hurtful or combative.

3. Let your partner in.

In order to build intimacy and trust, you need to be open and let your partner in. It’s okay to take this process slow. It’s not easy to be open and vulnerable with someone, but when you’re able to let them in little by little, you will see how your relationship will flourish and grow.

4. Let it go.

Every single one of us comes with baggage from our past relationships. You might expect your new partner to get mad at you when you want a night with your friends, because that’s what your last partner did. You might expect them to hurt/cheat on/abuse/neglect you because of your past experiences. You have to let it go. I know it’s much easier said than done, but you have to find a way to let go of your expectations from your past relationships if you want to give your new one a chance.

Do some serious soul searching and try to identify what assumptions and concerns you’re still carrying with you. When you’re able to trust, you will be open to receive trust in return, but if you stay closed and cautious, your partner will pick up on this and wonder if they should open up either.

5. Remember: we’re only human.

Don’t expect perfection from your partner because you will be deeply disappointed. Expect them to do the best they can in your relationship, then you can decide if their best is good enough for you.

Don’t be so strict that your partner won’t be able to gain your trust unless they are perfect. Accept that sometimes you will be disappointed and hurt, but if you feel that the person you are with genuinely cares about you and wants the best for you, you’ve found a keeper.

[image: via Scarleth Marie on flickr]

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About the Author:

Meghan

Meghan Stone earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work and Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University. She has worked as a therapist, social worker, teen counselor, and sexuality educator. She currently resides in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she writes, teaches, and volunteers with the local community. Her passions are social work, travel, photography, art, yoga, and learning about other cultures.

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