Overcoming trust issues is only possible if you know where they come from. Trust issues can develop due to a cheating partner, or something that happened between you and your best friend, but also when you were raised by parents who were not to be trusted.
People with trust issues usually avoid people who they don’t trust a 100%, which makes overcoming trust issues in general very difficult. Overcoming trust issues is ‘easier’ if you try to trust someone even though that person hasn’t gained your trust completely yet. Overcoming trust issues is all about giving people a fair chance and accepting the fact that everybody makes a small mistake every now and then.
This is not as easy as it looks like. People who had parents who were not to be trusted may need more and stronger evidence that they can trust others than someone who had a cheating partner. It is also more likely that the person with untrustworthy parents has trust issues in every social layer, whereas the person with the cheating partner only has trust issues with current or future partners.
Trust issues - Finding out (or thinking) that your partner has been cheating on you can cause serious trust issues. The one you love the most, the one who you are married to or who you want(ed) to marry suddenly developed feelings for someone else or simply wanted to have sex with someone else. You suddenly can’t trust your partner anymore. And if this partner is not to be trusted why would a future partner be any different? These trust issues usually start small and slowly develop into more serious issues affecting all of your future relationships. From becoming jealous of possible rivals to doubting your partner’s words and checking their whereabouts. Eventually you’ll find something small that supports your trust issues and will fight and without realising it you will be pushing your partner away. In the end your partner will fall for someone else and you will be left thinking that your partner was not to be trusted at all.
Overcoming trust issues when you had a cheating partner is very important if you want to enjoy a healthy relationship in the future.
Of course you can also develop trust issues if your partner hasn’t cheated on you. This may be the case if your partner is simply acting strange. Another reason could be: you have been cheating yourself (or you want to) and suddenly think your partner is also up to something.
In some cases your partner is simply unreliable. Your partner doesn’t keep his promises and your partner’s unreliable behaviour causes problems all the time. In this case it seems obvious that your partner is the one who should change, but you have a major part in this as well.
Your best friend is the one you trust the most. You share your deepest secrets with him or her. You talk about your insecurities and desires. You are at your most vulnerable when you are around your best friend. So it’s a huge shock when you find out that your best friend has been cheating on you. Suddenly your best friend has done something that can turn your world upside down. Your best friend could have told others about your desires or secrets. Or perhaps your best friend even told lies about you to look better herself. And worst of all: what if your best friend has been cheating on you by going after your partner?
All these scenarios can leave deep scars and can have long lasting effects on how you view the world. Most people downgrade that best friend into just a friend, acquaintance or even a complete stranger. But cutting out your former best friend doesn’t make overcoming trust issues any easier. For more information on overcoming trust issues in friendships see next section.
Trust issues from childhood - Overcoming trust issues from childhood is probably the toughest type of trust issues. Not being able to rely on your parents or siblings is horrible for your view on the world. Who and what you can trust is difficult to tell, because you had no good example back home. So the easiest thing to do is to trust only yourself. And by trusting only yourself you are excluding others without giving them a chance.
People with this type of trust issues often have a lot of examples of when someone cheated or lied to them or others. So it is very difficult for them to change their view on the world and to slowly allow themselves to start trusting someone again. Trust issues from childhood often involve several traumatic experiences. And most people with trust issues from childhood have low self-esteem.
Overcoming trust issues in a relationship - Overcoming trust issues is a difficult and scary process. It takes a good while and without good guidance overcoming trust issues may even be impossible for some. The biggest problem is: if you give someone a chance and he lets you down you will trust people even less. So finding out when, how and who to trust is the first step. Knowing what to share and how to share it is step two. But before you start with the first and second step: you have to start changing your false beliefs and negative view on the world. In this section I will briefly discuss how you can overcome your trust issues.
When it comes to overcoming trust issues in a relationship it’s important to find out where these trust issues come from. Do the trust issues come from your partner’s strange behaviour? Or do they come from your troubled past/thoughts? The answer to these questions can help you find the right way to overcoming trust issues.
Unreliable Partner - If you can’t rely on your partner then it’s important to stick to the facts. Try to ignore your imagination and write down what really happened so you have proof later on. What usually happens when someone can’t trust their partner is to take away their responsibilities and “do everything yourself”. This is the easiest way, because now you know for sure that things will be alright. The problem is: your partner starts to rely on you and literally becomes dependent on you. Your partner will stop taking initiative. You, on the other hand, feel as if your partner can’t take responsibility and you feel like you are the only one who can handle this. In short: you are feeding your trust issues by doing everything yourself. The only way to deal with your trust issues is to give your partner a fair chance to make things right. Perhaps it’s easier to start with small things. And realise that your partner can make a mistake or two. Everyone does. Another very important thing to do is to stop telling your partner that you don’t trust him. Telling your partner you don’t trust him will make him more insecure and that will increase the chance of making mistakes.
A Cheating Partner - If your partner is acting suspicious it’s important to stick to the facts. What is going on? What are facts and what are you imagining? If your partner is cheating on you with someone else then you need solid proof. And if you have that proof then there is every reason for you to have trust issues.
However, if you only have the feeling your partner is cheating on you, then the problem may be you. People who think their partner is cheating usually start looking for evidence in that direction. All other evidence showing that your partner is faithful will be ignored. Behaviour can always be judged in a good or a bad way. It usually depends on what kind of opinion you have of that person. And a common thing to do is to check up on your partner even more. Unfortunately, this is not the right way. Soon you will find yourself trapped in this ridiculous behaviour and it will push your partner away from you. Instead, give your partner some space and fight your doubts.
Troubled past - If your (previous) partner cheated on you then it will affect your (future) relationship as well. Finding out about a cheating partner can be traumatic. Without processing such a traumatic event you’ll suffer from it for a long time. Overcoming trust issues in this case is easier with a counsellor.
Best friend - There are several ways in which your best friend can let you down. Think of lying, letting you down, cheating on you or stealing from you. Unfortunately, these things happen and are often not big of a deal. However, sometimes a best friend can deliver a huge blow to your trust in them. When this happens it’s difficult to fully trust that best friend ever again. Perhaps from that moment it’s even impossible to trust anyone like that at all. Overcoming trust issues when your best friend has hurt your feelings like this is very important, because it affects your future friendships a lot.
There are a few things you can do in order to put everything in perspective:
Find out what really happened. Stick to facts and ignore theories or feelings.
Find out why your best friend did this horrible thing to you. It is important that you try to understand the situation from your best friend’s perspective.
Figure out if your best friend has done similar things to you and others before.
Did your best friend intentionally hurt your feelings or was this an accident or out of self protection?
Would you ever do the same thing to your best friend or any friend of yours? If not: why do you think that others will hurt you the same as your best friend did once?
These are simple and easy questions to answer. They can help you get on the way. For some people this is enough to overcome their trust issues. For others it’s important to turn to a professional counsellor.