Relationships; When do we Make the Decision to Trust?

Relationships; When do we Make the Decision to Trust

Trust is considered fundamental to any relationship. Whether it is with a friend, work colleague, business partner, family member or your partner, trust ultimately dictates the type of relationship you will have with a person. Without trust people can never form close intimate relationships or allow another into their world or form business partnerships. They may never divulge concerns to a work colleague or tell a family member how they feel. Trust is the foundation of all relationships, without mutual trust no relationship can ever grow to its true potential.

Although trust is based on how we feel towards a person or relationship, we ultimately make the decision to trust. We may feel secure, comfortable, assured, supported, understood or hopeful but we still ultimately make the choice to trust someone either through intuition or through a history of consistent behaviour.

Trust can be gained in stages and this is especially true in new relationships. We may begin to share a little at a time. And we may increase our level of trust with someone through how they respond to our initial sharing. If they respond in a like manner, by sharing part of themselves, then we are more willing to increase our level of trust. Sometimes we intuitively trust a person straight away. We have a sense that the person is trustworthy. So we are willing to share with them instantaneously. To maintain the sense of trustworthiness they must keep that trust by not disclosing to others and also by showing a willingness to share.

In a marriage or principle relationship it can only be an all or nothing situation. Without complete trust in your partner, relationships can never truly work. If there is mistrust in the relationship where one partner doubts everything their partner says, then the relationship will falter and can never reach its true potential.

A marriage or principle relationship can never flourish if we trust only to a point. For example, “I will only trust you until you do this or I will only trust you as long as you are never late.” One partner is always waiting for the other to fail. While the other partner may feel like they are being judged against a constantly moving and unknown standard.

Trust can often become a major problem in marriage or a principle relationship; ‘How can you completely trust someone when you don’t know them completely.’

Unfortunately many marriages experience a betrayal of trust at some time. It can either come gradually or through a catastrophic act. A gradual loss of trust can be when a partner begins to fail to honour their commitments. This can be either through giving their career a priority over the partner, by constantly arriving late or forgetting birthdays and wedding anniversaries. Catastrophic acts can be through infidelity or finding your partner has a serious drug or gambling problem.

Some relationships never recover from a betrayal of trust while others manage to survive but the relationship has substantially changed. To regain trust after a betrayal or loss of trust has become one of the major problems faced by many couples. With demanding careers, longer working hours and constant interstate and overseas travel, partners slowly drift apart. Keeping trust and regaining trust is a problem faced by many relationships especially those in larger cities like Sydney. If you are unsure then search out a marriage counsellor.

Christopher Swane - Relationship Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand