Caroline Cranshaw: How to get over trust issues in a relationship

Publish Date
Thursday, 8 March 2018, 10:00AM
Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Is trust a major issue in your relationship?

Do you find yourself going through their phone, emails and Internet history, trying to catch them out? Has your partner betrayed your trust more than once, and now you have the skills of a professional private investigator?

I've been on both sides of this dynamic in a relationship, and quite frankly, both of them suck.

So, how do you rebuild trust and move on?

1. Figure out if your trust issues come from this relationship or from your past 

If you feel the need to go through your partner's phone, ask yourself why? Are you suspicious that they are up to something? Have you been betrayed in the past, or has your partner done something to break your trust? Sometimes we bring our baggage from other relationships and punish our current partner for sins they never committed. If your partner has never actually broken your trust, this is something you need to sort out yourself.

I can't count how many clients told me that they finally cheated after being accused of it for years. They figured they might as well cheat since they were being treated as if they already had. If you keep looking for something to find your partner guilty of, you may just create it. If there are genuine reasons for trust issues in your relationship, it's going to take some time to build that trust back up.

A lot of the time, the person with the trust issues is the one who has acted untrustworthy in the past. "If you spot it, you've got it" is one of my favourite sayings. We project our bad behaviour onto others, not realising that we are the one with the traits we are accusing others of so vehemently. If your partner keeps accusing you of being unfaithful and you're innocent, they may be the one who has something to hide.

2. Apologise Or Ask For The Apology You Need

A lot of people don't move on because they don't feel like their partner has properly apologised and taken responsibility. Make sure you give the apology that your partner really needs or you truly receiving the apology that you’re given. Sometimes it takes three or four times for it to sink in. If your partner is aggressive or discounts your apology, sometimes it’s helpful to repeat "I am so sorry I hurt you ..." until they receive it.

Writing a letter or a card is sometimes the best way to get through to someone who does not hear your apology. And remember, no excuses or buts when saying you're sorry. Everything before the but is bullsh*t, and if you are making excuses, you are not taking responsibility.

If your partner is the one apologising, be gracious in accepting it. There’s nothing worse than saying you are sorry to someone and the person being nasty about it. It doesn’t exactly make your partner want to continue the relationship with you.

3. Decide That You Are Going to Move On

I find a lot of people stay together and the partner that feels betrayed refuses to move past their resentment. They continue to bring up the issue, berate their partner, go through their phone and make their life hell. If you are choosing to stay with your partner, you need to also make the decision to move past your anger.

Otherwise, there isn't any point in staying together. Not only will you both be miserable by your behaviour, if you have children together, you are modelling an incredibly toxic relationship. This type of relationship is what they’re going to think is normal and grow up and repeat it. You need to think about whether or not this is the type of relationship that you want for your children because that's what they're going to emulate in their relationships as adults.

4. Be Transparent With Everything 

If you're the partner who has betrayed your partner's trust, you need to give your partner full access to your phone, computer, bank accounts, emails, social media, etc. If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing. As my partner likes to say, only the guilty need worry… If you continue to be secretive, your partner will not trust you again. It's going to take time for that trust to build back up, and if you're not open in the area where you betrayed your partner's trust, your relationship will never truly be repaired.

If you're the partner that's been betrayed, and your partner is refusing to be open with everything, you need to think long and hard about whether or not you want to be in this relationship. They may not be hiding anything, but if they continue to behave like they are, they're subconsciously causing drama. They may like the feeling of keeping you on the back foot. Relationships are hard enough without someone purposely messing with your head or acting suspiciously.

5. Trust Your Intuition 

If you keep feeling like you can't trust your partner, you may be right. I believe we all know the truth at some level, and our intuition can be telling us that something is wrong even if we don't have any evidence. I had major trust issues in several relationships and later found out I had good reason not to trust them.

Sometimes trust issues come from past trauma and family drama and sometimes it's your gut trying to tell you something. If you're suspicious that someone is lying to you or being unfaithful, you very well could be right. I have yet to be wrong when suspecting someone is has been unfaithful.

6. Get Help 

Obviously, I'm a big fan of therapy and believe it gives you your best chance at repairing trust issues. I think it's important to not only see a relationship therapist if you're in a relationship with trust issues but to seek individual therapy, as well, for the best result. A lot of reasons for why we have trust issues stem from our childhood experiences or are from our family patterns.

There is a reason why you picked the person that you are having issues with and created this dynamic. If you're single, this will help you to heal past hurts, as well as help prevent creating this issue again. Trust takes time to rebuild but absolutely can be done. The biggest step is deciding that you can trust again. The thing is, you can't guarantee that someone won't hurt you, but what you can trust, is that no matter what you will be okay ...

Caroline Cranshaw is a hypnotherapist, founder and trainer at the New Zealand Integrative Hypnotherapy Training Institute and the author of The Smoking Cure. Find out more about her at