Hello everyone and welcome back to Relationship Views. My posts are about various relationship topics and how I interpret them as a couples therapist.
Imagine with me for a second.
You’re looking for the perfect home. You have alerts set up on your phone to tell you when the house with the right size yard, the perfect price, the right neighborhood, etc. comes on the market. One day you look at your phone and there it is, your perfect house on paper.
Everyone knows though that a house on paper can be very different than in person, so you set up a tour. Pulling up to the house you notice immediately that you love the front door and how stately it is. You love the shutters that are around each window, although you would change the color from red to black because that’s more your taste.
You walk through the house and look for the things that are on your list. Dishwasher? Check. Large island in the kitchen? Check. Dual vanities in the bathroom? Check.
It is perfect.
You shake the realtor’s hand and ask if there is anything in particular you should know about the home aside from what you saw. The realtor shrugs and says, “Not much. The appliances were bought in 2015, the carpet upstairs was replaced last year, and well, there is a giant crack in the foundation, but other than that it is perfect!”
The words echo through you … “giant crack in the foundation.”
Do you buy the house?
If I were to look back on all my sessions with clients and pick the top subject that never fails to come up, it would be trust and trust issues. In every relationship, trust is the foundation upon which the rest of the relationship is built.
Many people who come into my office have cracks in that foundation. We spend sessions figuring out just how big the crack is and if it can be repaired.
The truth of the matter is that when there is crack in the foundation, it is hard to know whether or not the house (or the relationship) is going to remain standing, and that is a very big risk.
Relationships are a risky business, and a lot of the work that takes place while you are in a relationship is around lowering risks.
What I commonly work on with individuals who are in relationships is the idea of taking ownership and accountability for your actions.
Are you being trustworthy? It is easy to blame your partner for doing things that are shady or that flat out break trust, but you can only do what is in your control.
So, what does it mean to be trustworthy? I encourage couples to create a list of deal breakers around trust and what you find acceptable. When couples do this exercise, they are not only introduced to what their partner thinks about trust, but also what they think about trust.
This exercise will give you the baseline for trust in your specific relationship so that you have something to build upon. Examples like, “Cheating is an absolute no in my book” need to be made more specific. This list is a compilation of your deal breakers.
These are the actions that would cause you to walk away from your relationship. This is also a list of your relationship rules for trust.
Outside of this list, I often encourage clients to take a step back from their relationship and examine their own actions.
Do you lie often to your partner? Are you able to share with others outside of the relationship things that happen within the relationship or are you too embarrassed to share your actions? Would your partner be upset by anything you did today if they watched your day on a hidden camera?
Answering these questions can give you a gauge of how you are conducting yourself in your relationship on a trust level. If any of the answers to these questions bothered you, you may need to examine whether or not you are being trustworthy.
Trust is built over time, and in my experience, the best solution to any trust issues and the most simple way to avoid trust issues is to be transparent.
Trustworthiness is a piece of character and character can be defined as what you do when you think no one is looking.
The decision to enter in a relationship is a decision to give your emotions and your heart to another person. When anyone becomes that vulnerable, you have to also decide to be trustworthy. Take the time to understand yourself and what you are looking for at this stage in your life.
Also, please know that not all people are worthy of your trust and those relationships are not worth pursuing.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Also, check out previous editions of Relationship Views on topics like Snapchat cheaters, compatibility, and questions partners should ask each other.