Trust is an important factor in any relationship. Trust helps us to feel secure in our relationship – that, even if there are challenges further down the line, there’s still a strong foundation to fall back on.
Of course, it’s not always easy to express trust constructively. Things can get in the way – insecurities about the relationship, fears about things that might go wrong, weak points in communication – and it can be easy to fall into common ‘trust pitfalls’.
If any of the following sound familiar, it may be worth having a think about the ways in which you approach trust in your relationship.
The ‘tight grip’ relationship
The ‘tight grip’ relationship is where either one or both partners feel unable to trust the other, and become jealous and controlling as a result. They might raise suspicions about what the other partner is doing when they’re not around them, or get upset when they spend time with other people.
The ‘tight grip’ relationship is rarely a satisfying situation for either of the pair. The person raising the suspicions often doesn’t want to feel like this – sometimes acting out of a sense of inadequacy as much as anything else – and the person being accused feels like their partner has no faith in them.
If you’re in a ‘tight grip’ relationship and you’d like to seek some support, our counsellor would try to help identify where the behaviour comes from – such as by looking at whether there’s anything in the jealous partner’s past that is making them insecure.
The ‘ostrich’ relationship
In the ‘ostrich’ relationship, one or both partners are aware their relationship may have issues that need exploring, but prefer to simply bury their heads in the sand. This can be a result of insecurities – such as the relationship’s future or areas of incompatibility, personality-wise. Although this approach can allow the couple to avoid tricky areas of discussion for a while, it isn’t a sustainable solution: these things are likely to need talking about at some stage.
If you find yourself avoiding certain topics, ask yourself why. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realise there are areas of your relationship that might need work. This isn’t a disaster! Coming to terms with the challenges ahead is a much better place from which to proceed than pretending that everything is perfect.
The ‘scales of trust’ relationship
Some couples find themselves in constant conflict over trust, with each accusing the other of not trusting them enough.
For instance, one partner might insist that they’re perfectly capable of looking after the children by themselves, saying that the other should have more faith in them. The other might fire back that they’re rarely afforded this level of trust themselves.
Like the ‘ostrich’ relationship, this kind of conflict can be borne out of a desire to avoiding talking about things properly. By accusing our partner of not giving us enough credit, we avoid the spotlight being put on the things that we aren’t doing very well. We know that acting as if we’ve been wronged can help us to look right.
Again, it’s best to face tricky topics head-on rather than pretend they aren’t there. Accusing your partner of not trusting you enough is only likely to build up resentment – and then you may end up bringing up the real issues in the middle of an argument.
If you’d like to talk with one of our counsellors about trust in your relationship why not give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.