Everyone has some sense of what trust means in relationships. As it is a vital part of any healthy relationship, it is worth taking a look at. When trust is broken, any relationship is in serious trouble and likely to end.
Take Judy, for example, who was in a relationship with a partner who cheated on her. For a long time, she wasn’t able to trust her partners as this experience “infected” her with jealousy and lack of trust. Years later she fell in love with Jack and she told him about her earlier experiences and her “hypersensitivity”—which, in this case, means being vigilant about something painful that has happened in the past. For Judy, this came not only from her prior cheating partner’s behavior but also from her father’s infidelity to her mother. Jack asked what it would take for her to trust him. She thought about it and asked that they have a “no secrets” policy; for her, this meant no secret passwords, Jack always being available by phone, and no repeated meals or business trips with attractive women. He was willing to meet all of her conditions and then some. Not only did Judy eventually stop being suspicious and jealous, but over time she was able to relax some of the conditions she had needed before.
In relationships, trust occurs when we know our partner acts and thinks to maximize our best interests and benefits, not just their own. It’s that sense that our partner has our back and is there for us and is willing to be consistent in meeting our needs. The first step in building this kind of trust is listening with compassion and understanding to one another, just as Jack did for Judy.
Did you notice the listening part above? Learning how to be a great listener is a skill you can work on. Start with this simple listening exercise to help you become a great listener. As to compassion and understanding, stay tuned for more…