Real, lasting relationships are built on trust. Trust is foundational because it creates a safe environment for intimacy to grow. If your relationship is going to work you need to be able to trust your partner with your past, your present and your future. Trust takes time and effort, is easily broken and hard to restore but if you’re willing to work at it, the reward is the relationship you’ve always dreamed of.
Revealing your true self
Trust allows you to reveal who you really are. In spite of all the tricks we use to try and impress someone during the early stages of dating, intimacy is founded on knowing and being known. Your partner has to get to know the real you – what you’re like when you’re tired, angry, frustrated, elated or talking to your Mom on the phone
Have you seen or read Bridget Jones’s Diary? There’s one scene where Mark Darcy tells Bridget, “I like you Bridget ,just as you are.” She is floored. Why such a strong reaction to a simple comment? Because Mark is telling her that he really sees her and he likes what he sees. He didn’t say he’d like her ten pounds lighter, or a little more sophisticated, or prettier, or better read. He likes her as she is, unconditionally. She doesn’t have to try and impress him, he’s already impressed. Knowing that you are loved for who you are lets you relax and let your guard down. It lets you be honest without fear of rejection, and frankly, it feels great.
Trust opens the door to honest communication. You can’t communicate honestly if you’re always second-guessing how your partner will react and rephrasing your thoughts to fit in with his agenda. Communication takes concentration. In her article, “Why Can’t We Communicate?” Geri Forsberg , Ph.D., outlines the five steps to effective communication:
Once you’ve cleared up your communication, trusting your partner will help you to fight fair when disagreements occur. Face it, if you’re involved with a living, breathing human being you are going to fight. Whether the fights tear you apart or actually resolve conflicts and bring you closer together depends on whether or not you fight fair.
What is a fair fight? Most experts agree that fair fighting does the following:
Trust doesn’t just naturally happen between two people, even if they love each other. It takes work and if you’ve been hurt in the past, it can be especially difficult. Building trust takes time, you need to show your partner that you are trustworthy and that you trust them in return. If your partner has trouble trusting, you can do a lot to create an environment where trust can grow. Listen to your partner, respect him and his opinions, and accept him as he is. Reveal parts of your own history, show him that you trust him and you will help him to do the same. If you are vulnerable it helps your partner to feel that he is safe to be vulnerable as well.
Don’t rush it. If you truly love your partner and want what’s best for him, you’ll wait. If you’re in a relationship with someone you feel you can’t trust, don’t ignore it. If you have trouble trusting anyone, you might want to seek counseling before you run away from what could be a great relationship. Your past does affect your ability to trust. However, if trust hasn’t been a problem for you in the past and your gut is telling you to protect yourself from this guy, take it as a warning. Take a close look at who he is, how he treats others and how he treats you. Your gut may be giving you good information.
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