Trust is vital in a relationship. Many people would agree with this statement. However many couples struggle and lack of trust is often cited as a problem. It is impossible to feel emotionally safe in a relationship when there is a lack of openness and transparency.
There are secrets that clearly destroy trust in a relationship, such as having affairs, a hidden addiction or the secret use of money your partner is not aware of. We know these are wrong.
There are many ways that trust can be eroded when information is withheld. This is often done to avoid conflict. There is often fear that the conversation will not go well so in an effort to keep the peace, information is intentionally not shared. Is this a secret? Some may argue that point, but the bottom line is it will erode trust in a relationship. And when this information comes to light, it will appear more serious due the fact that it was withheld. The discovering partner may think, “There must be a reason he/she wouldn’t tell me this, there is probably more going on.” Over time, this breeds mistrust.
Lack of trust puts people on guard. It serves as a protective mechanism for the hurt they anticipate they will experience. They want a close and loving relationship, but they have a dilemma – fear of being deceived and hurt. So they stay on guard. They are ready to call out their partner on any information that appears untruthful.This creates a negative spiral with both partners feeling miserable and with little hope of change.
Couples may remain together, but sadly they will not feel safe and secure in their relationship. They will often fight about this issue over and over without ever experiencing a resolution. Or they may give up and accept the fate of the relationship and continue on, usually feeling lonely as they guard themselves from further hurt.
Couple may separate knowing they want and deserve something more. However, the risk of experiencing the same challenge in another relationship remains present.
But, there is another option. You can learn how to be vulnerable and honest in your relationship. You can find healthy ways to honestly express yourself so that your partner can hear you without becoming reactive. You can create a relationship that feels open and safe. Most couples will need a guide to help them in that journey, but it is possible.
by Mary Joan Brinson MSW, RSW
If you are with a partner you want to be with, you truly love but issues of trust keep getting in the way, let one of our specially trained couple’s therapists help you. Imagine how different your relationship could feel if you knew you could fully trust your partner.