Question – In our relationship, we have no trust on any level. My wife is constantly accusing me of taking money from her wallet. And I think she is always talking on the phone to her many boyfriends. She says she does not have a boyfriend, yet she is gone far too long to have really gone where she says she is going. I want this to be different, yet it feels totally hopeless. How do I get her to be trustworthy?
Answer – Trust within a relationship covers many areas of our lives. Yet it is all encompassing in that nothing in a relationship works if there is a lack of trust. Without trust, there would be no relationship at all. There are various forms of mistrust, which can severely strain relationships. The most apparent is a cheating partner. Yet that is not the number one concern with trust in most relationship. Nor does that feeling start here.
Mistrust can occur if one person is dishonest with his or her choices or not even keeping promises that have been made. It could be that your partner just does not have your best interest at heart. This can trigger the feeling of loss. If they don’t have your best interest in their heart, you may feel they will abandon you or betray you.
The biggest concern is the self-fulfilling prophecy. If people are accused enough for doing something they have not done, they may start to consider doing it. That is a choice that comes from the fear of not being good enough. Their thought may be ‘because that is what they believe me to be, then maybe I really am not good enough to change me or their thoughts of who I am’. Maybe we feel we are not good enough to be their partner or maybe they will never be what I need. They are not good enough.
This is a vicious cycle. Yet there is hope to change this cycle. The keys to change the mistrust cycle are: better communication, understanding, empathy, and then a very important component is to trust yourself and your own life.
Better Communication – The problem with communication is that most people assume it has happened. Keep in mind that both sides need to feel there has been some good communication. Both sides need to feel understood.
Here is a communication formula:
- Choose to see this person as an equal. When you view yourself as better or worse than another person, you make choices that are not beneficial.
- Set your stuff aside and just listen. Listening is the biggest form of validation. Even if you have to tell another person “NO” you don’t like that, they will feel good about it if you have listened to them.
- Ask questions about their thoughts or concerns. Be interested to learn their side of the story.
- This is the most important. Ask them if you can share your advice and ideas. If you ask, then they have to be invested in your answer. If they say no, then don’t share. They usually get so curious, they soon come back and say, OK, tell me your ideas. Then they will be ready to listen.
- Repeat until all participants feel they have been understood.
Understanding – Do not finish the communication cycle until you have an understanding of where they are coming from. Why are they making the choices they are making? What do you need to change and do differently? Understanding is not an easy thing nor is it easy to know when there is a good understanding on all sides.
Empathy – Try to determine if the needs of your partner are being met. What is it like to be in his or her shoes? This is not to just feel sympathy, it is to get deep into his or her understanding so you can breathe and cry with them.
Trust Yourself and Your Life- When you are struggling to believe in yourself, it is hard to see the rest of the world as it really is. It appears as if it is dark and others don’t love us or they are just trying to get what they want from us.
All of us have our own path we need to follow. And we have our own tool set. We do not walk another person’s path nor do we use another person’s tools. If we can understand that one principle, we more easily see that we are good enough for what ever we need to do. We have the tools we need for our paths today. Truly believe that principle and it will take away the fear of not trusting in yourself or your life. There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn. The lack of trust is a good place to learn more about yourself and about your partner.
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the misunderstanding and mistrust; just ask yourself what is the right choice at this very moment. What is more important at this moment? Is it more important to just love your partner or is it more important to teach them a lesson about trust? At this moment, what do you need to let go of and what do you need to change in yourself?
Stephen Covey- “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
You can choose trust.