Building trust in a relationship is a tough process that doesn’t happen overnight. So many of us have been screwed over by people we have loved and cared about in the past, which is part of the reason so many of us struggle to let people get close enough to break down the walls that we’ve built around ourselves as a form of protection. If you’re looking for ways to build the trust in your relationship, read this.

Give your partner the benefit of the doubt unless they give you reasons not to.

The only way to build trust in a relationship is to be vulnerable. If your partner has only shown you that they’re faithful and honest, believe them. However, if they’ve acted shady and displayed problematic or questionable behaviors, of course you shouldn’t blindly believe every word they say. If someone has shown themselves to be reliable and loyal, try not to let the trust issues you developed in past relationships keep you from allowing a bond to grow in your current one.

Be completely open and honest.

There’s nothing worse than being deceived by someone you care about. Any amount of trust in the relationship will go right out the window if your partner finds out you’ve lied to them about something, even if it’s to avoid hurting their feelings. Even if your partner doesn’t find any proof that you’ve been lying, it’s likely they will pick up on the vibe that you’re being shady the same way you would if it were them. Another thing to mention: if you aren’t willing to be honest the way you expect your partner to be, why work on building the trust and have a serious relationship anyway? You’re wasting everyone’s time, including your own.

Be consistent and expect the same in return.

Consistency really is key to a happy, healthy long-term relationship. It’s so much easier to trust someone who’s consistent and reliable rather than flaky or unpredictable. Some simple ways to be consistent in a relationship are to show up when you say you will, don’t make drastic decisions at the drop of a hat, and be yourself all the time no matter who else is around.

Don’t make empty threats or promises you can’t keep.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is not to make decisions when you’re angry or promises when you’re ecstatic. Try to make decisions when you’re level-headed. If you make empty threats in your relationship when you’re upset or angry, such as threatening to break up with your partner, it will make it virtually impossible to build trust within the relationship. On the other hand, it’s better to under-promise and over deliver than make a promise that you can’t keep. Keep the promises you make in order to build trust in your relationship. If you doubt whether you’ll be able to keep one, don’t make it.

Articulate your emotions but try to do so in a calm and sincere way.

You should always be honest and be able to explain how you’re feeling to your partner without making them feel like you’re attacking or blaming them. Being able to communicate your emotions without letting them overpower you and control what you say or do is a huge sign that you truly mean what you say. You’re not just spitting words out in the heat of the moment.

Always do what you think is right, not just what is going to make someone else happy.

Yes, that still stands even if the person if your partner. If you live with integrity in all aspects of your life, it will be obvious to your partner that you’re the person that you say you are to them, to the world, and to yourself, thus increasing the trust in your relationship. This will also increase your own self-confidence and the trust you have in yourself.

Be someone who your partner feels comfortable and safe to be honest with, especially when it comes to the tough stuff.

Don’t overreact or flip out when your partner is honest with you about something that you might not want to hear or that might be difficult for them to say. If they feel like you’re going to get angry rather than be understanding, it’s likely they’ll avoid telling you certain things in order to keep the peace. Of course, there are certain things where an extreme reaction is warranted, like if they tell you that they’ve been cheating, but otherwise, try to make your relationship a safe space where they feel comfortable being honest.

Trust yourself.

You can’t build trust with someone else unless you have it with yourself. Don’t put on metaphorical masks to the outside world or have a false persona. In order to trust yourself, you have to be honest with yourself first, and then with others. Don’t change your opinions or thoughts depending on who you’re around and whether or not they will agree with you. Trust yourself to be fully honest and fully who you are, and you will automatically become a more trustworthy person.

Admit mistakes when you make them.

We’re all human and we all make mistakes. It’s inevitable and unavoidable. One of the best ways to build trust in a relationship is to admit when you have made a mistake, even if it’s one you can fix or cover up without your partner finding out. If you willingly admit when you’re wrong or when you’ve messed up, especially when it’s something insignificant or easily brushed under the rug, your partner’s trust in you and your relationship will grow.

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