"7 dependable ways to build trust in your relationship.” ~ Helen Victoria
Guest Blogger for Love Upside Down: Helen Victoria Is a Relationship Expert & Writer
In our early experiences of love and relationships, the focus is often upon the more euphoric moments. Classic movies and relentless media exposure teach us to crave peak moments of bonding, with their depicted images of partnership perfection. With summertimes seasons of marriages and engagements relentlessly popping up on our screens via social media, it can be easy to idealise what we think a relationship could - or even should - look like.
But beyond the filtered images of sunny proposals and glittering photos of gorgeous honeymooners in the Maldives, what is it really all about?
Being able to trust your partner is integral to any healthy, happy relationship. It’s the cornerstone from which every other important aspect is built. It can also be the difference between success and disconnection. It’s possible to stay in a partnership together without trust for one another, but healthy connection cannot be cultivated without trust.
In other words, you might be able to co-exist or co-habit without the presence of trust. But you won’t be able to progress your connection to a deeper level and your experience of bonding will be greatly limited. Which isn’t what we want, right?
The process of building trust will differ for each couple. In the same way that every person’s experiences of love and relationships is different from one another, the same applies for the journey of trust-building. But there are some definite methods that anyone can put into practice to develop trust, no matter who you both are or how long you’ve been together.
But what are they, and how can we apply them in our own relationships?
Thankfully, help is at hand!
Here are five unique ways you can build trust in your relationship, without breaking either your bank or anyone’s heart along the way;
1) Set your boundaries. When we enter into a relationship, it’s really important to know for ourselves what our boundaries are, in order to be able to build a healthy dynamic with our partner to work from. No matter what shape - or format - your relationship takes, it’s vital to ensure that you are clear about what you will and won’t accept as respectful, in order for your partner to be able to respond appropriately. From there, you can begin to form agreements of trust on where both of your boundaries lie, in order to be able to move forwards together mindfully aware of one another’s feelings and wellbeing. Take a little time to self reflect with a cup of coffee and a notebook, and write out what you feel your boundaries are in a relationship. Amazingly simple as this may feel, you may be surprised to realise where some of your boundaries really are, once you take the time to clearly write them out for yourself.
2) Open up communication. Sitting down together to discuss your relationship can feel like a heavy task. To remove some pressure, find ways to cultivate open and positive communication on a daily basis to build spaces for you both to express how you feel about the life you share. You could organise a tech-free date night once a week, where you can spend time chatting about how things are going. Make sure to include any worries or thoughts you’ve had but haven’t felt able to raise during the busy weekdays. By building in opportunities to raise small concerns, you can help to prevent small concerns growing in your mind, causing unnecessary resentment or fear of the worst. This can be particularly beneficial for those who have had their trust badly broken in the past - it can be especially difficult to trust after such an experience. Having a chance to be open and to allow a partner to support you is a fantastic way to develop trust between you both.
3) Prepare for challenges. Thinking through your natural reaction processes and your personal history relating to stress is important in any healthy, trusting relationship. If you know you are the sort of person who hides away when you are facing difficulties but your partner is someone who needs to be reassured with closeness, then this is a combination that could cultivate a lack of trust from one person to another. By communicating about your needs with your partner, you can avoid a multitude of misunderstandings. Remember - we all deal with life’s curve balls the best we can, and you are allowed to stumble. Just ensure you remain mindful of how your partner feels also, no matter what you’re going through.
4) Seek support. Why shouldn’t we look at the health of our minds and of our relationships in the same way that we view health checking our vehicles? When our computer needs fixing, we seek professional help. Relationships should be no different. If you are struggling with trust issues in your relationship, then there is a huge variety of sources you can seek help from. If you don’t feel ready for professional therapy, or the expense is not a possibility, then there are many online coaches who offer affordable options. There are also many relationship health support webpages and organisations who offer free resources and even some free courses to help you on your path forwards together. The fact you’re here reading these words confirms you are already aware of this, and you’re taking positive steps to educate yourself. Which is a great place to be starting out from!
5) Offer up vulnerability. As uncomfortable as it might feel, vulnerability is pretty much the key to building any foundation of trust. We all have varying personal histories. Indeed, we all have silly decisions we have made and choices we look back on less than proudly! There is common ground found between us in this way. Despite how scary it might seem, sharing who you really are - and how you really feel - with another person is one of the joys of being in a relationship. Create space and time to do so, away from the noise of busy schedules and technology. You’ll be amazed at what you might learn about one another.
6) Take risks together. Instead of thinking of trust being something of a test between you - turn your perspective outwards! By coming together in a joint venture that involves some risk together, you are creating an opportunity to establish your ability to be trusted without feeling directly challenged. You could go on some travels to somewhere neither of you has been before, or start a small part-time creative project or business together. Whatever it is, ensure it’s an activity you both enjoy and that calls for you to communicate about what you can do to support each other throughout. Not only could it be a fantastic memory maker, but it could be your key to deepening your trust as you join in unison to face the world together!
7) Allow for imperfection. Our final and most important point - acceptance. This certainly not to say that you should accept behaviour that causes you harm or unhappiness. You deserve to be treated well, no matter what the current dynamic of your relationship is. But accepting that someone may not respond to your needs and requests the exact way that you would like them to is part of building a healthy connection with one another. If you can keep love and respect a priority, and the rest can be worked out as you get to know each other better - especially when putting our other 6 pointers in this article to good use!
Relationship health is an ongoing process of caretaking and adjustments. But when you are with the right person, it’s worth every effort for the return it can bring us.
It’s said that sometimes you have to have something taken away to know what you’ve lost. Although this seems a harsh lesson in many ways - and indeed rather a brutal self-development tactic - there is truth to the saying in many ways. In the context of relationships, for anyone who has had their trust broken, they will know the true meaning of this concept in its application.
By applying these 7 steps, you will be taking powerful steps in the direction of a healthy, happy, trusting relationship.
Just don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way - you’re worth taking care of!
Guest Blog: Helen Victoria Is a Relationship Expert & Writer