The thing with trust issues is that you often don’t even realize you’re there. You act out of insecurity and fear, and sabotage your own relationship without understanding why. But there are ways to maintain awareness and understand trust issues so that if they’re there, you can work through them and live out a healthy relationship.
What Are Trust Issues?
Trust issues are when, without being given a reason to, you replace certainty in your relationship with insecurity to the point where it affects your reasoning.
Trust issues aren’t just about suspecting your partner of infidelity. It also means you hold back on speaking freely, opening up, and getting support from your partner.
Why They Can Be Toxic In Relationships
Studies on distrust have found that trust issues in a relationship eventually lead to adverse behavioral patterns like jealousy and suspicion.
This in turn gives rise to negative actions where your partner ends up feeling defensive and you’re constantly critical and accusatory.
Why You Have Trust Issues
The reasons can vary from your own lack of self-confidence to your brain’s coping mechanism from having been betrayed before.
Here’s a Redditor’s example: “In the beginning of my relationship I was young and had ZERO self-esteem, so my mind was wired to believe that I would be left for someone else. As time went on I became more secure in the relationship and within myself, and now I can honestly say I trust my partner 100%.” —TheSmallAdventurer
You’re Tempted To Snoop
Dating someone doesn’t entitle you to invading their privacy. If you have a tendency to look at their phone without their knowledge, always look over their shoulder when they’re texting, or even stalk their social media, then you’re dealing with a bigger issue.
It’s like you’re trying to catch them doing something hurtful to sabotage yourself.
You’re Constantly Imagining Worst-Case Scenarios
You’re preparing for the worst, and it’s fine to protect yourself, but it’s also preventing you from being able to enjoy the present moment. You’ll subconsciously check yourself out and you’ll ruin something before it’s even started.
Give the relationship the benefit of the doubt and if you’re wrong, you’ll deal with it later.
You Keep Trying To “Test” Them
You keep testing your partner’s fortitude and loyalty to the relationship. This may be okay in the very early stages when you decide if you should enter the relationship at all.
After that, they will not be able to pass your tests, and they’ll reach a limit. They’ll end up failing simply because you keep trying to trick them.
You Feel A Need To Bring Up Their Past Relationships
It’s like you worry that they’ll leave you like they eventually left their other partners, so you think if you understand every detail, you’ll be able to prevent the same outcome. Or, even worse, you’re concerned they still harbor some feelings for them or liked them better.
Instead, you should be focusing on creating your own new memories and unique relationship.
You’ve Been Told You’re Too Controlling
There’s a difference between having a type A personality and proactively or unknowingly setting unhealthy boundaries for your partner.
You shouldn’t have a say in how they dress or who they get to hang out with. If they’re out, they shouldn’t need to update you every hour. You’re both free independent individuals despite dating each other.
You’re Tempted To Cheat
If you’ve cheated before or have been tempted to, you won’t be able to help but wonder if your partner is capable of doing the same. More importantly, you need to ask yourself why you’re tempted to look elsewhere.
Often, it leads back to your own feelings of insecurity and need for validation from others.
You Constantly Put Your Partner On Trial
You can’t help but bombard your partner with questions the second they walk through the door 10 minutes late.
You can’t shake the need to know why, where they were, and with who, in order to dismiss your fears.
You Can’t Forgive Even Small Mistakes
You just can’t seem to let go of even the small things because, in your mind, it’s foreshadowing the inevitable. You think the small mistakes will lead to bigger mistakes.
You take them personally, make a big deal out of it, and it ends up starting a lot of fights.
You Have Your Own Commitment Issues
No matter how much you care for someone, you refuse to commit yourself to them because you’re afraid of how vulnerable that makes you.
You’re terrified of trusting someone else with your heart when you can barely do it for yourself.
You Feel Lonely
You tend to keep people at arm’s length so that they don’t hurt you or see your weaknesses. However, this has isolated you or even made you feel depressed.
You have to ask yourself which risk is better, taking a chance on someone and being proven right and being happy, or being proven wrong, learning from it, and trying again anyway?
You Feel Confused About The Relationship
This can come through in various ways. You may be having second thoughts about your relationship right now, or you’re stressed out because of ambiguity in the relationship.
Either way, if you don’t both fully have both feet in, then it’s likely that you don’t trust each other.
You’re Overly Protective
This one is still a little different than being controlling. You genuinely want to protect those you love because you worry on their behalf that someone will hurt them. It’s such a big fear within you that it projects onto everyone you love too.
You can’t bear the thought of being betrayed.
You Have A Need To “Fact Check”
You can’t just take what your partner tells you at face value.
You have a tendency to fact-check even if they’ve never given you a reason to think they’re lying. It’s your own trust issues that trick you into thinking that it’s not the truth unless you confirm it.
You Have A Fight-Or-Flight Urge
Trust issues feel physically urgent, as the fear they cause can be so intense that it gets the mind into a fight-or-flight response. The issue with that is that you then act with urgency rather than clarity, and the trust issues take too much control.
In the flight situation, it may make you feel like you need to get out of a relationship in order to protect yourself.
OK, So You Can Admit It, Now What?
It’s not an incurable disease. Others have found ways to deal with it, and you can too. First, you need to get to the root of what incited your trust issues.
Then, it’s about how you can change your beliefs and mentality. You can even build trust on a person-by-person basis.
Learn To Take A Step Back
Take it from someone who went through it: “Don’t hold back and always tell your SO about what’s going on, try and ease into different situations and don’t lash out at your SO because you’re scared it makes things worse. Just put your mind somewhere else and distract yourself.
“Over time it goes away to the point that you look back and find yourself laughing at yourself for being so silly. Good luck!” —Reluctantaccountforu / Reddit
The Ultimate Trick
The best trick we can provide you with is to let yourself experience the worst, as many times as it takes. Surrender yourself to the fear and just go with it rather than letting it take control over you.
That means accepting that you can’t control other people’s actions, so give them the benefit of the doubt. If you turn out to be right, you’ll get over it. Then you can try again. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes ruin your entire perspective. Try and trust again.