Perhaps the most essential key to success in your relationship is trust. Love is the purpose for being in the relationship but trust is what holds it together. No amount of Love is sufficient when you don't have trust and once trust is broken, it is sometimes impossible for you to regain it .
At times it can be challenging to trust, especially when you have been hurt in the past. Often in new relationships we are suspicious, we doubt the person's motives, and so we don't really ever learn to trust them. This protects us from pain and disappointment, but closes us off from depth and intimacy.
Even when you are in a relationship with someone, not being able to trust leads to loneliness and disconnection. The truth is we want to trust. We want the person we Love to be reliable, honest, and committed. We want to know that we are investing our Love with the right person and that they will come through for us. We've also been in situations where we trusted wrongly and were hurt because of it and we don't want to make that mistake again.
So how do you know when someone is trustworthy? How do you determine whether or not they are worth the investment of your time and energy? Worth the investment of your Love? The signs are there, but do you know how to read them?
In this article, we'll tell you exactly what to look for, how to determine if someone is trustworthy, and how to create a foundation of trust in your relationships.
We've coached many people on this and the first thing we always say is:
The first person you need to learn to trust is yourself.
Whenever someone is struggling with trust, the root of it is always self-doubt. Usually because of past mistakes, we doubt that we know how to choose the right person. We feel like we're going to be tricked or duped and end up repeating the same patterns again, that we'll end up falling for the same manipulative kinds of people that we've fallen for in the past.
There are always ways to prevent that from happening but if you don't trust yourself enough to ask the right questions, to stand up for yourself, to defend your self-respect and dignity, no matter how attractive this person is or how good they make you feel in the moment, you will inevitably fall into the same patterns.
A trustworthy person will never compromise your self-respect, your dignity, or your boundaries.
But you'll have to draw the line to find out if they keep it or not. This is where trusting yourself is critical. Something we often work with our clients on is determining what their personal boundaries are and learning to communicate them in a clear and respectful manner.
A common example: A woman feels that if a man wants to sleep with her within the first few dates that the man is not trustworthy. Due to past experience of being lied to or manipulated by men who wanted to sleep with her, as soon as she feels that a man is showing this kind of interest, she has her guard up. She thinks it's about the man, but it's really about her. Her guard goes up because she doesn't trust herself.
A woman that trusts herself knows that she will not put herself in a compromising position, will not allow a man to take it any further than she wants it to go, will not be talked into or pressured into anything that compromises her self-respect, and that no matter what happens, her dignity will remain intact. Rather than spending her entire time with this man being suspicious and defensive, she is free to enjoy herself while putting him to the test to determine if sex is the only thing he wants.
Early on in a relationship, you have no way of knowing if the other person is trustworthy. All you can do is trust yourself enough to know that if they are not, you will discover that, and you will move on.
In the previous example, if you set some clear boundaries with him, you give him the opportunity to respect them or not. This reveals the character of the kind of man he is. If you say, "We're not sleeping together until we've been on at least 5 dates" and on date 3 he is pressuring you to reconsider, that reveals how little respect he has for your boundaries and whether he is the kind of person you can trust or not.
If he's patient in this regard, that reveals that he is interested in more than just sex. That shows that he is actually interested in getting to know you as a person, that he enjoys spending time with you. Does this mean he is entirely trustworthy? Not necessarily, but it's a start.
When you set a boundary, hold to it. When you don't, you teach people that your boundaries are not important. You deprive them of the opportunity to honor them. You also deprive yourself of the opportunity to see whether they will honor them.
Trust is built in relationships when we respect each other's boundaries, when we make agreements and keep them. It's up to you to set the relationship up on a foundation on which trust can be built. It's up to the other person to honor that. When this is continually done over time, the result is a profound level of trust and respect between partners.
If you've ever felt like there are no good men out there, it may be that you've not developed the skill to determine the "good" from the "bad". When we talk about a "good" man what we're really saying is that the man is honorable--that he is not trying to take advantage of you in any way, that he will respect you, and that he is trustworthy.
There are a lot of men with these qualities. Your job in dating is to determine if the man you're seeing is one of them. You may say that those who find him are lucky. We say they are intentional, but in dating, intention is often sacrificed in favor of the thrill and the "feels". When you look back on every relationship that started out great and ended badly, and you're honest about it, the signs were there weren't they? Many of you, if not most, will answer yes.