Often when clients in relationships come to see me, one of the overarching themes revolves around trust. It can look different depending on the couple, but the underlying aspect is very often that trust has been broken or lost at some point in the relationship. What then ensues is a power struggle between parties, which is really an underlying desire for confirmation and validation. When trust issues are not resolved immediately, the lingering presence of betrayal and resentment slowly erodes intimacy and connection. Those resentments are built upon over time – evidence to support reasons for lack of trust are gathered and nurtured which results in an ongoing, often unspoken battle between partners. So how is it possible to address such issues without further damage to the already fragile relationship?
Initially it might be useful to really get in touch with what brought you together in the first place. Concreting this by writing it down can really help to solidify those aspects of the other which are appealing and attractive, allowing you to reconnect with the positive aspects of the relationship. Make sure to assess and include all the positive aspects of the other – physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. Think deeply about recent events and behaviours too, seeking the ways in which your lover has pleased or surprised you and ensure you add these to the list.
Once the positive elements have been illuminated, it might then be helpful to reflect upon exactly where or when trust became fractured and why, pinpointing this down to one or two specific concerns. This is important because often when trust issues are unresolved and evidence to support lack of trust is gathered, there eventually becomes a barrage of resentments, usually having little to do with the real issue. Try to be brutally honest about the real concerns within the relationship. Be ruthless in discarding the pent up stories which have been built around the initial issue. Often we can seek confirmation of our negative feelings by reading deeply into other behaviours and this can be destructive. Rate the impact that such behaviours have upon you on a scale from one to ten and render anything which falls below eight null and void.
Gaining perspective in such a way can assist in unpacking these mounted concerns, while creating a balanced understanding of why and how trust in the relationship might be diminishing. Let go of those worries which deep inside you know you are holding onto for the sake of gathering ammunition. Doing this may not be easy and create real vulnerability within you and the relationship. Remember though, vulnerability is a cornerstone of maintaining intimacy within relationship. Breaking down those walls that we cling to so self-righteously might be exactly the action that increases tenderness and bonding with your beloved.