Trust

Trust provides us with a sense of security and loyalty with our partners.

There are few things as comforting as having a strong sense of trust in your relationship, but it takes time and intentionality to develop.

This section of the course, on building trust, is divided into four parts:

  1. Why Trust Matters
  2. Recognizing the Negative Impacts of Lack of Trust
  3. How To Deepen Trust in a Relationship
  4. How to Rebuild Trust

Let’s start off with why trust is so important.

1. Why Trust Matters

To trust means to rely on another person because you feel safe with them and have confidence that they will not hurt or betray your trust. Trust  allows us to be vulnerable and open up to our partners without having to protect ourselves.

Here’s how trust can impact your relationship for the better:

Promotes Positivity

Trust  allows you to be more open and giving. Trust fosters better understanding and mutual respect. It makes the relationship stronger, where both people can come together without being afraid of judgment.

Reduces Conflict

Trust also allows you to navigate conflict. When you trust your partner, you are more willing to commit to finding solutions to issues because you feel allied in areas that mean the most to you.

Even if your partner does something disappointing, you are more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt and see the good in them if you trust them.

Increases Closeness

When you trust one another, you feel safe knowing that your partner has your back and can be relied upon for comfort, care, and support.

Trusting your partner also allows your nervous system to relax, rest, and reset. By establishing a strong foundation of trust, your relationship can be a source of security and comfort for both parties involved, particularly if this has not always been the case in past relationships with family or past partners.

2. Recognizing the Negative Impacts of Lack of Trust

Trust takes time to build, and if you consistently fail to follow through on promises or commitments, your partner will begin to have low expectations of you.

A lack of trust can also affect your mental health in the following ways:


Lack of intimacy

If you are being deceitful, your partner will likely want to distance themselves from you, both emotionally and physically.

Negativity

If your partner feels wronged by you, they may fixate on this, causing them to withdraw or be angry with you. This can stifle connection and closeness.

Insecurity

Your partner may constantly doubt what you tell them and react by becoming more closed off. For instance, incessantly calling or texting your partner to keep tabs on them can drive them away.

Fear

Your partner might be afraid of what you will do next, or worry that you won’t be there when they need you.

Loneliness

When your partner can’t trust the closest person in their life (you), they are bound to experience feelings of loneliness and isolation.

3. How To Deepen Trust in a Relationship

There are a number of things that you can do to help promote trust in your relationship. These include:

Be Open

  • Be open and honest in expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs, while also actively listening to your partner. 
  • Encourage open dialogue, and be receptive to feedback and constructive criticism.

Be Authentic and Transparent

  • Be honest and authentic in your interactions. Avoid keeping secrets or withholding information that could impact your relationship, try to let your guard down and let your partner in.
  • Transparency builds a sense of safety and reduces uncertainty. Revealing a more vulnerable side lets your partner know that you trust them. It will create an environment where they can do the same. 
  • Strive for transparency while respecting personal boundaries and confidentiality.

Be Reliable

  • Keep your commitments and follow through on your promises. Consistency in your actions and words demonstrates your integrity and shows that you can be relied upon.
  • Avoid making empty promises or commitments you cannot fulfill. Your actions should align with your words, reinforcing a sense of security and dependability.

Be Supportive

  • Offer non-judgmental support (emotionally, mentally, and physically) to your partner.
  • Offer support when they face challenges or difficult situations. Avoid judgment and criticism, and instead provide a nurturing environment that allows for growth and vulnerability.  Offer encouragement and continue to practice the tips we suggested in our section on Empathy.

Don’t Judge Your Partner

  • If your partner feels that you often judge them, they won’t feel comfortable opening up.
  • Let your partner know you’re here to listen without judgment and to help them feel safe.

Stay Engaged

  • Over time, complacency can set in and lead to you being less emotionally engaged with your partner. Withdrawing from your partner can cause insecurities to rise and bring doubts into the relationship. By being present and engaged you can reassure them of your continued commitment to them.

4. How to Rebuild Trust

Improve on mistakes

Be honest and forthcoming when you violate expectations or hurt your partner. 

  • Everyone makes mistakes. What is important is that you can learn and grow closer to each other after you repair whatever was damaged as a result of the mistake. The best way to do this is to own them completely and show how you will do better in the future.

Be Willing to Forgive

  • Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you agree with their actions; instead it provides a sense of acceptance. 
  • If you are able to forgive and move forward with your partner, this helps to build trust by letting your partner know you choose to work on the relationship together.

Work Through Setbacks

If trust has been damaged in your relationship, there are things you can do to rebuild trust, intimacy, and connection. Steps you can take include:

  • Acknowledge and take responsibility for mistakes made, apologize for the harm done, and be clear and specific about how things will be approached differently in the future
  • Be open and willing to work on the relationship
  • Listen empathetically, be present with your partner, and ask questions to better understand them and your relationship with them
  • Talk to one another (rather than giving each other the cold shoulder)
  • Find ways to connect
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say
  • Keep and follow through on commitments you make
  • Create new positive experiences together
  • Continually deepen your own self-awareness so that you can share your most honest thoughts, emotions, needs, and requests

Patience is also important. It may take time to rebuild trust, but continuing to work toward improving your relationship can help you eventually mend damaged connections.


The final key factor in building trust has to do with setting and respecting each other’s boundaries (emotional and physical), and is the topic of our next section.

THIS IS MEN'S HEALTH WEEK | JUNE 10-16TH, 2024

Men's Health Week takes place annually in mid-June, during the week preceding Father’s Day. The week is not just a campaign, but a call to action for men to take better care of their health and for communities to support men in this endeavour.

Men's Health Week 2024