How can I trust my partner more?

trust, nicole mathieson relationship coach

How can I trust my partner more?

Trust can be one of the most difficult aspects of  intimate relationships.

For some of us the struggle is an inner one. The very act of being intimate with someone makes us feel hugely vulnerable and jittery, affecting how we can trust. For others, we may have had trust, but it has been lost through either a traumatic event or a continual corrosion. So, the questions I want to pose here today are:
  1. How do we trust?
  2. How can I trust myself?
  3.  How do we build the trust muscle?

How do we trust?

As humans we doubt, we fear, and we worry so easily. Much more readily, in fact,  than we naturally tend to trust. This is human nature. It is an evolutionary survival tactic that we have inherited from our cavemen ancestors. To trust another human, such as your life partner, is a big deal. It means that we feel safe. Safe on many different levels, but mainly, safe to be ourselves and to be respected, loved and somewhat protected by them. Fear is trust’s opposite. It has us contracting away and closing off. Trust has us opening and letting others (our partner’s) in. In order to be a well-functioning human, we need a good balance of both trust and fear. Safety and openness.

We want to trust our partners

What you want from your partner is to know that they are there for you, looking out for you and thinking of your best interests. Those who have trust issues know very well the damage it can do to the sense of connection in a partnership – often creating, through the mistrust behaviour, the very response that they feared most. Behaviour such as:
  • The checking
  • The asking questions
  • The snooping
  • The not disclosing
  • The not sharing your true feelings
You may try to hide this lack of trust from your partner, but they will feel it and respond to it with their own energy, which will probably set you deeper into a sense of disconnection and thus mistrust. When you are stuck in this lack of trust loop, it may feel like you can’t get out. If you stop being fearful and vigilant, might they take advantage of that? For others, the loop may operate on a more internal level. It may be more about opening your true self to your partner. You may look for signs that your opening was not received with the respect, appreciation or acceptance that you desired and find yourself closing up again. This loop will block you from deeper levels of connection and intimacy with the one you love.

My experience

For me, my marital trust issues looked like the second, more internal,  loop  and centred around sex. The issues were mine from trauma experienced as a young woman, but they were impacting how I could open to my husband despite him always being incredibly trustworthy. You see the problem was that I was focussed on feeling more comfortable by controlling him. No matter how loving, caring and respectful he was of me and my needs, my vigilant self always wanted more. This is a trust trap. A trap that does not lead to what we want, more intimacy and connection but instead more frustration and tension. The only way out of the trap is to shift the focus. I needed to move from focussing on him, to focussing on me. So, the question became:

How can I trust myself?

My past traumas were moments in time when I failed to look after myself. If I had listened to my inner guidance system back then, I would never have got myself in those sticky situations. I would have defended myself more, honoured my own needs and looked after my well-being more. Back then, the result was that I lost my trust in myself. Now, to feel that I could be more intimate with the man I loved, I needed to know that I was trustworthy again. Learning to trust myself meant being there for myself…
  • In my emotions
  • In my fears
  • In listening to my intuition
  • In my needs
  • In whatever arose
  • It meant ME being the one who looked after myself and insisted on the respect with which I was treated.
As I built the trust muscle, the change was that I didn’t have to control my world or my man so much. I trusted me which meant that I was able to:
  •  have clearer boundaries with him
  •  have those deeper more vulnerable conversations
  •  ask him for what I needed
  •  trust my intuition above all else
  •  avoid situations that were not trustable
We start trusting others by trusting ourselves first.

How does this affect the trust I have with my partner?

When you trust yourself and you know that you are going to be there for yourself no matter what arises, you are not as reliant on your partner for your well-being. While all healthy relationships require a good dose of inter-dependability, the truth is, it is not your partner’s job to make you whole and happy. When we trust ourselves with this job, it allows us the inner stability to open a little more to our partner. Opening to them but taking responsibility for our own well-being. If the trust in your relationship has been corroded, shifting the focus back to yourself will still help. It will allow you to feel less vulnerable, less fuckable-with and more empowered to ask for what you need to feel safe.

How to build our trust muscle?

Self-trust is something that is built on experiences and grows over time like a muscle. Growing trust requires attention, effort and practice. It starts with the simple act of tuning in and being present with yourself. I recommend a daily trust check in. Activity – Daily trust building check in 1. Check in with yourself everyday 2. Ask yourself – “How am I? 3. Ask yourself “What do I need right now to feel safe?” 4. Honour your own responses Do not ignore, belittle or deny your feelings or needs. Tend to them all, no matter how insignificant or silly they seem. 5. Take time Give yourself all the time you need. Overtime you will find that you have built a trusty relationship with yourself. And those bull shit stories that your mind tells you – that you need to compensate, that you need to control stuff, that you need to be defensive and vigilant – pale into insignificance in contrast to the warm inner glow that you feel in relation to yourself. A glow that softens your nervous system, so you don’t need to be so fearful and allows you to open to your partner. Trust is yours and is about you. Trust will help you become more intimate with your partner. For help in building your inner trust muscle check out my free resources. In particular the Inner flame fuel. Wishing you all the very best xNicole

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