Toxic relationships can hit us pretty hard. That’s why it’s typically a smart idea to stay single for a little bit after a particularly damaging one. Even if you do spend time solo, you can still be left with lingering trust issues if an ex hurt you badly enough. If you’re dating someone who’s a little nervous about who to trust, here are ways to help them out.
Remember that they can’t easily be changed.
When someone has trust issues, it’s because they were deeply hurt. Being kind to them might be a nice bandage, but it won’t heal the wound. The change needs to come from them. It’s a long process, so if you really like him, things may be hard for a while. If that’s a dealbreaker, that’s okay. Just be honest about it.
Don’t take it personally.
It’s not you, it’s someone in their past. It can be tempting to shift the blame onto yourself, but by feeling guilty for something you didn’t cause, you’re adding to the problem. When your partner literally uses the line of “It’s not you, it’s me,” you need to believe them.
Listen to them about their fears.
They may be a little scared to open up, but when they do, listen to them. Don’t interrupt with your own stories to try to be relatable — just lend an ear. The more they can open up to you, the easier the process of trust will be. Just make sure not to gab about it with your friends.
Keep your promises.
When you tell them that you’ll hang with them this weekend, make sure you do it — and don’t be late. Stay true to your word and make them feel like they’re a priority. If you keep flaking on them, they’ll wonder what else you haven’t been honest about.
Be open with your cell phone.
It’s hard not to feel a little overprotective of your phone. Having anyone read over your conversations is awkward, even when they’re tame. However, acting secretive or making an issue whenever they happen to catch a notification makes it look like you’re hiding something. If you’re not cheating, you have no reason to be so anxious about it. Loosen up and your partner will feel more secure about your relationship.
Don’t get offended if they want to take things slow.
Things tend to hurt more with “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” label. If they’re slow with making it official, it can very well be due to their trust issues, and not because they’re not into you. If you really like this person, patience will go a long way.
Encourage them to block their ex entirely.
It’s possible that there was a lot of abuse happening in the relationship. The more they have to see their ex on social media, the worse their pain will get. They might have refrained from blocking their ex since there’s still feelings attached, or because they’re simply scared of them. But by letting them know that you think it’d be healthy to block them for good, you’re telling them that they’re safe with moving forward in life.
Be the one to plan fun activities.
Dating is supposed to be fun. Make sure to build a bunch of fun memories together that’ll remind your partner of the good aspects of a relationship. As the two of you get older, you may not have the time or energy to go out and explore the town. So, make the most of your time together.
Don’t shrug off therapy.
Years ago, telling someone they needed to see a therapist was almost seen as a diss. These days, there’s not a lot of stigma around it. Going to therapy is healthy for multiple reasons. If your significant other suggests it, make sure to be encouraging. If you’ve been together for a really long time and they’re still having issues with trust, you might even want to suggest going in together.
Leave your negativity behind.
It can be a challenge to wake up and view the world positively every day. But, negativity tends to multiply. If you’re a bummer to be around, your partner isn’t going to feel a connection to you and it’ll put even more pressure on the relationship. People enjoy spending time with positive people, so if you try your hardest to be a glass-is-half-full type, your partner will feel more secure when you spend time together. As a bonus, positive people usually go farther in life, so it’s a good goal to aim for.
Some days, you may just want to tell them to get over it. But their feelings are valid, and there’s a reason they’ve got a guarded heart. You have a right to be frustrated, but remember that your partner has been through a lot of pain and hurt. It’s not like they enjoy having trust issues — it’s just the unfortunate outcome of an unhealthy relationship from their past.
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