Trust is the reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Trust is essential to the development of healthy, secure, and satisfying relationships. Although there has been significant research on the subject, relatively little is known about how and why interpersonal trust develops, how it is maintained, and how it unravels when betrayed.
All relationships depend on trust in order to exist. However, sometimes that trust isn’t as genuine or as honest as it should be. If one or both partners question the other’s activities, words, or actions, a lack of trust can form. This leads to problems called trust issues.
What Are Trust Issues?
Individuals with lower levels of trust — or trust issues — tend to monitor and occasionally test their partner’s degree of support and responsiveness in their relationship. When a relationship lacks trust, it allows for the potential development of harmful thoughts, actions, or emotions, such as negative attributions, suspicion, and jealousy. Over time, this can lead to bigger problems, such as emotional or physical abuse.
Trust issues can also be linked with:
- Adjustment disorders (difficulty dealing with certain stresses)
- Fear of abandonment
- Post-traumatic stress
Signs of Trust Issues
Here are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for:
You don’t Believe What Other People Say
Individuals with trust issues have a tendency to “fact check” what others tell them. Even if there’s no reason to doubt the honesty of their partner, friend, or even colleague, they don’t take what they say as truth unless they confirm it themselves.
Always Expect the Worst
If someone expects their loved ones to betray them — even if the people in question never have before — they may have trust issues. A lack of trust may lead to suspicion of other people’s motives and behavior.
Keep People at a Distance
Someone with trust issues may not be eager to open up or get close to others, even if they long for deep and meaningful relationships. They may have trouble letting themselves go, being vulnerable, and/or being physically intimate.
Romantic jealousy is considered a complex combination of thoughts (i.e., cognitive jealousy), emotions (i.e., emotional jealousy), and behaviors (i.e., behavioral jealousy) that result from a perceived threat to one’s romantic relationship.
There are four general factors to enhancing trust in a close relationship:
- Honesty and integrity
- Non defensiveness
- Direct communication
If your friend, partner, or loved one has trust issues, strive to be more honest and transparent in all your personal interactions, learn to be less defensive in communicating with them, accept and appreciate the differences between you and them, and be straightforward in asking for what you want from your relationship. In doing so, you will both feel more open to loving and being loved — and trusting one another.