10 Ways Women With Trust Issues Love Differently (& Why We’re Worth It)

We start out in love so innocently, ready to jump in with both feet and believe in the fairytale. That naivety lasts as long as our first real heartbreak, and then we begin the process of becoming more guarded. We try again and again, and our hearts become more closed off with each bad experience. After being cheated on, lied to, ghosted, and just generally treated like dirt, we naturally become jaded and develop some major trust issues. Here are some of the main ways in which we love differently, and how you can help break down those walls if you do want us to let you in.

  1. We’ll be extremely cautious at first. We won’t give you too much information or let you get too close to us, but we will communicate from a distance while observing you astutely to determine if you’re trustworthy or not. The best thing you can do is understand our boundaries and communicate clearly if you do want a second date because we’ll never assume that you do. Our trust issues make us extra cautious.
  2. We’ll hardly ever be the first ones to call/text you at the beginning. This is especially true if we really like you because we’ve been ghosted by several douchebags who thought it was desperate or needy of us to send a simple text. If you really like us, you’ll have to be the first one to call or text for a little while. Eventually, by proving that you really do want to be there with us, we’ll trust you enough to send you that cute good morning text without assuming that the consequence will be never hearing from you again.
  3. We’ll never really be ourselves until we’re sure it’s for real. We won’t fully misrepresent ourselves because we do want to be with someone who likes us for who we are, but, like most people, we probably have a few skeletons in the closet that only a handful of trusted friends know. You’ll have to work your way into our inner circle before we’ll feel comfortable enough to discuss things like financial problems, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, or past arrests — you know, things that make people realize you’re not perfect and run away.
  4. We’ll insist on taking it slow commitment-wise, but that doesn’t mean you should freely bang everyone in town. Every step of building a relationship with someone new is terrifying to a person who has trust issues. From the first time we actually spend the night to the point where it’s getting serious, we’re going to be silently freaking out on the inside because it’s all so scary and we’re still expecting you to either turn into a loser or bail on us at any moment. If you want it to turn into something real, the best thing you can do is show us how patient you can be and not go out hooking up with tons of other girls just because we haven’t had the exclusivity talk yet (that will just confirm in our heads that you’re another douchebag who can’t be trusted).
  5. We’re very aware of our triggers and we listen to them, hoping to avoid repeating past mistakes. Trust issues are far from uniform: everyone has different experiences and triggers. If you’re dating someone who’s been cheated on with an ex who was “just a friend,” they will not want you to have a close relationship with your ex. Someone who’s been in an abusive or controlling relationship will see a great big red flag if you raise your voice to her or attempt to control who she spends her time with. You may see it as paranoia, but we see it as a necessity to protect ourselves from getting hurt again.
  6. If you start acting shady, we will notice. If you used to leave your phone lying around unlocked, and suddenly it’s in your pocket blowing up with texts, we’ll notice and assume it’s probably another girl. If you go to drop your kid off to your ex and end up staying out all night “hanging out with the guys,” it looks an awful lot like you spent the night having sex with your ex. It’s not that we don’t want you to have a life, but you can’t wave red flags in our faces and expect us to look the other way (we’ve done that, and that’s why we have trust issues). The solution is to be open and honest if it’s really your sister bombarding you with texts about her birthday party next week or if you had plans to get a few beers with your friends after you dropped Junior off (honest communication will put us at ease).
  7. Even after we’re in a relationship, we will still be constantly evaluating it. It’s not enough to just “get the girl.” You still need to work to keep her. Don’t stop trying once we’re seemingly comfortable enough with you and you’re getting everything you want. We know that move too, and we know that we are worth some actual effort.
  8. If we want a family, we’ll make absolutely sure that you do too before we get too serious. Just saying that you want to get married and have kids isn’t good enough, because we’ve heard that line from plenty of horny guys before. You’ll need to prove it by having serious discussions about the timeframe in which you want this to happen, how many kids you want, parenting styles, finances, religion (or the lack of it), and how it will affect both of your career paths. Obviously, this conversation doesn’t need to happen right away, but before things get too serious, you should be ready to discuss it.
  9. We’ll introduce you to our friends and ask them later what they thought of you. We can’t be too careful when deciding who to trust with our hearts. Our closest friends are most likely the only people in the world that we really trust, and they know us well enough to help us discern who’s trustworthy and who isn’t. It’ll be worth your while to connect with them. Not only will their support help you gain our trust, but you’ll be seeing them a lot more in the future if things work out.
  10. Our love is absolutely worth it. Those of us who have trust issues are at a place in life where it’s all or nothing. You start out with nothing, but you have the opportunity to have it all if you are patient, genuine, and kind. Once we trust you and let you in, we will love you with the purest love that exists. Just ask our closest friends how loyal we are, how we always answer the phone when they need to talk at 2 am, and how we will walk through fire if someone we love is at the other side calling for help.

How to help a woman with trust issues feel like she can trust you

trust issues

This is easier than you might think. You don’t need to bend over backward to get a woman with trust issues to feel like it’s okay to let you in. You really only need to do a few very simple things.

  1. Be consistent. Women with trust issues have them because we’ve dealt with one too many people who played us hot and cold, changed their minds about how they felt about us out of nowhere and were generally totally inconsistent. All we want is for someone to be the same person in the morning as they were the night before. If you want to alleviate our trust issues, practice consistency.
  2. Be honest. It doesn’t matter whether the truth will make us angry or hurt our feelings — be honest always. One of the most triggering things for our trust issues is being lied to (or feeling like we’re being lied to because you’re being shady). We’ll respect and trust you so much more if we know that you’re not hiding anything from us or misrepresenting anything.
  3. Be loyal. It should go without saying that if you’re dating us, you shouldn’t be dating (or even flirting with) other women. Women with trust issues will naturally be more suspicious of what you’re up to when we’re not around and whether or not you only have eyes for us. While it’s not your responsibility to totally assuage our fears and paranoia, it is your responsibility not to betray us.
  4. Be patient. At the end of the day, loving a woman with trust issues can be frustrating. We totally get it and we’re sorry that it might take us a little longer than usual to settle into the relationship. All we ask is that you be patient with us as we let our guards down. We’re trying to get there, and we promise that when we do, it’ll be worth it.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.