Dealing With Trust Issues in Relationships
These five ways to deal with your trust issues in relationships are inspired by The Parable of the Climb. Many relationship problems are related to issues with trust, according to psychotherapist David Richo.
In Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy, Richo describes how we learn early in life to trust others (or not to trust them), why we develop trust issues in relationships, why we fear trusting others. He also explains how to develop greater trust in ourselves as the basis for trusting others, and how to know if someone is trustworthy.
In How to Leave Your Husband, a reader commented that she feels a distance in her marriage. “I caught my husband flirting with another woman and I confronted him about it,” she said. “He told me they are just friends. There’s nothing going on between them and I believe him. It’s just now I have a hard time trusting him and our relationship. I feel like I’m going nowhere in life, career wise. We have a daughter and I want this family to work, but at the same time I feel overwhelmed and don’t have any idea what to do.”
The first tip for dealing with trust issues in relationships is to dig deep into yourself. Do you have past relationship issues to deal with, which are causing problems with trust in your current relationship? Has your partner given you reasons not to trust him, or are you naturally suspicious. Or maybe you’re dissatisfied with your life, and have nothing to be passionate about. So you focus on the worst parts of your relationship. Building trust in a relationship requires self-knowledge and insight.
Before you consider my tips for dealing with trust issues in relationships, take a spin through The Parable of the Climb…
The Parable of the Climb
Once upon a time, a mountain climber was determined to reach the summit of a high mountain. After years of preparation, she began her adventure. She journeyed alone because she wanted to test her skill and strength.
She began her ascent. Soon, daylight faded and she continued to climb until night fell. She was overcome by total darkness – the clouds hid the moonlight and starlight. The mountain climber was surrounded by inky blackness, and could barely see her hand in front of her face.
She was only a few yards away from the summit when she slipped off a ridge and fell at a frightening speed. While falling and falling and falling, she could only see shadow-like figures in the darkness. The mountain climber felt gravity sucking her down, and thought she would surely die.
Suddenly she felt the safety rope around her waist tighten, and her body was yanked to a stop. Her rope must caught on a thick branch growing out of the rock wall of the mountain, she thought.
In desperation, suspended in mid-air, she screamed, “God, please help me!”
Unexpectedly, she heard a thunderous voice. “What would you have me do?”
“Save me!” cried the mountain climber.
“Do you really think I can save you?” asked God.
“Of course You can.”
“Well then,” said God, “Cut the rope.”
There was a moment of silence. Then, the mountain climber tightened her grip on the rope.
The next morning, the mountain climber was found frozen to death by a rescue team. Her body was suspended two feet from the ground, her hands firmly clutching the rope around her waist. She couldn’t trust God and let go.
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5 Tips on How to Deal With Trust Issues in Relationships
Learning how to trust your husband or boyfriend is different than learning to trust God, but I reckon there is a similarity or two! Or five.
The mountain climber couldn’t accept the risk of trusting God and possibly dying, so she clutched onto the rope. She didn’t trust God to save her – she trusted in her own strength and skill. It failed her. This is the risk we take when we trust ourselves, or our partners, or our possessions…or even God, if we expect Him to do certain things in our lives. There is always the risk that we will be disappointed and hurt. Dealing with your relationship issues involves accepting that there is always the chance you’ll be hurt if you let go and trust.
Examine your current and past relationships
The mountain climber couldn’t trust God because she didn’t have a relationship with Him. She couldn’t feel His love or compassion, and didn’t know His nature. If you’re dealing with trust issues in relationships, think about your partner. How have his past actions inspired trust? When did he let you down? The better you know your partner, the more you know if he can be trusted. You might also think about your past relationships. Who hurt you, and how? Your past affects your current willingness to deal with trust issues in your relationship.
Be honest with yourself about your relationship issues
Sometimes we know we can’t trust our boyfriends or husbands, but we don’t want to admit it. We’re scared to be alone, we don’t have money to leave our marriages, we’re in survival mode and not thinking of living fully madly deeply. If you really want to deal with trust issues in your relationship, you need to be honest with yourself. You have the answer to all your relationship questions inside you. But, do you have the courage to face the truth?
Expect men to fail you – but don’t be cynical
My pastor once said he will fail us, his congregation. He is not planning to fail us or hoping to disappoint us, but he is human. “Everyone will disappoint you at some point,” he said. “The only thing you can depend on is God.” I believe this. I also believe that no matter how much we trust God, we will face problems and situations that are scary, overwhelming, hopeless, and heartbreaking. Men and women make bad choices, and God doesn’t protect believers from pain or suffering. Is this tip for dealing with trust issues in relationships helpful or depressing? I guess it depends how much faith you have.
Set aside time and energy to deal with trust issues in your relationships
Searching for and reading tips on dealing with trust issues in relationships is a good start, but you need to go deeper. If you’re serious about getting emotionally healthy and strong, you need to take time to work through your trust issues. Talk to a counselor, read books like The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships by Cynthia Lynn Wall. Go to workshops, or join a support group for women. Learn how trust issues are created, and how your first few months and years of life affect who you are today. Take small steps towards learning how to trust.
I welcome your thoughts on dealing with trust issues in relationships. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it might help you to write about your experiences with trust.
There comes a point in a relationship when you realize that you trust someone enough to let them keep their secrets. – Robert Brault.