Good relationships happen when truly compatible people meet. Great relationships happen when they turn that compatibility into long-term affection. But how does a partnership go from compatible beginnings to a lasting, loving bond? The answer is quite simple: it requires trust.
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Trust in a relationship is a vital step towards rock-solid romance. To find out how to build this trust, EliteSingles talked to psychologist Salama Marine and discovered the four factors that can turn a good relationship into a great one.
1. Want honesty? It has to start with you
Honesty. It’s a fundamental part of any healthy relationship. Yet, so often, we only hear of honesty as it pertains to our interactions with other people. And that’s not where honesty needs to start. Indeed, while it’s vital to be honest with a partner, that’s not the first step to building trust in a relationship. Instead, the first step is all about being honest with oneself.
After all, if your aim is to find a partner with whom you can share certain relationship goals, you have to be clear on what those goals are in the first place. And this can only happen if you are honest with yourself about you want. Once you trust that you know what you want a potential partner can too –and that’s a crucial part of finding someone on your wavelength.
Salama’s advice: ‘’Knowing yourself and what you want is the first step towards building trust with your partner. If you are both truthful about what you desire from the relationship you will be able to trust one another whole heartedly.’’
2. Turn your words into actions
As your relationship progress from early excitement to comfortable happiness, it can be only too easy to let certain meaningful words become part of a routine. This is especially true of the ‘big’ words like ‘I love you;’ words that shake your world the first time they’re said but that can so easily become a phrase that’s delivered automatically.
This is why it’s really important to back up sweet words with loving actions. This doesn’t have to mean buying expensive gifts, instead it’s about simply showing them that you care. Do their chores one night when they’re tired, rub their back after a long day at work, cook a romantic dinner – remind them through daily acts of affection that your declarations of love can be trusted.
Salama’s advice: ‘’Show your partner that you love them with romantic gestures and kind acts, not just with words. And, if saying ‘I love you’ is becoming more of a habit, it might help to break out of your daily routine – spontaneity can be a great way to show your partner you love them.’’
3. Don’t be afraid of vulnerability
Another indicator of trust in a relationship is how well those involved deal with conflict. After all, good communication isn’t just about expressing love: if you can discuss the more negative things and still trust that your partner adores you, you’re onto a good thing! And the easiest way to build this trust? Approaching potential disagreements with vulnerability.
Broadly, this means being honest about if and when your partner upsets you, but specifically, it means being honest about the root cause of that upset. Letting your partner know why you are reacting to something (rather than just emotionally reacting) means that they have a better chance of understanding your position. And you may just find that this vulnerability makes it easier for the two of you to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
Salama’s advice: ‘’If [for instance] you feel like you’re not seeing your partner enough because of their work commitments, instead of accusing them of caring more about their work than you, be truly honest and admit the reason you’re upset is simply because you miss them. Don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerable side.’’
4. Accept healthy criticism
Naturally this emotional vulnerability works both ways. If you’re being open with someone, you can rightly expect them to do the same for you. But what also works both ways is the reaction: if you want them to listen when you’re being honest, then you need to do the same in turn. Indeed, true trust in a relationship happens when everyone involved listens as much as they talk.
This is often easier said than done: after all, it’s not always easy to hear criticism without immediately going on the defensive. But before you jump in to explain yourself, take a moment to truly empathise with what your partner is feeling. Chances are, they aren’t actually attacking you: they are simply feeling vulnerable. And, if you can reassure them rather than returning the upset, then your relationship will go from strength to strength.
Salama’s advice: The relationship will not work if communication is one sided – in order to build trust in a relationship you must be able to be truly honest with one another [including] criticising when necessary. The basis of a healthy relationship stems from the freedom to express your feelings to your partner without fear of the reaction.
Trust in a relationship is a vital part of any successful love story. And, if you want that trust to thrive, then you have to put in the ground work: approaching your relationship with honesty, communicating with empathy and, above all, going through each day with kind and loving actions. That’s the route to lasting love.
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EliteSingles editorial August 2015.
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