Interpersonal trust is most utterly important for intimate relationships. It is the cornerstone upon which all else is built — including love, commitment, honesty, and intimacy. Trusting each other is one of the most essential qualities in any romantic relationship. 1
A broken trust can lead to serious issues in relationships. In this blog post, we take a look at the signs of trust issues in relationships, the reasons behind them, and how to overcome them.
Struggling in your relationship? Check out our relationship advice guide for help!
5 Signs of trust issues in a relationship
If you’re in a relationship and find yourself feeling suspicious or untrusting of your partner, it’s important to take a step back and examine why that might be. Having trust issues can be considered a red flag in a relationship, here are some signs to look out for:
People with trust issues might feel jealous of their partner’s close relationships with others, even if there’s no reason to be. If you find yourself feeling green with envy when your partner talks to or spends time with someone else, it could be a sign that you have trust issues.
Of course, a little jealousy is normal in any relationship. Moreover, it is scientifically proven that the more you love someone, the more afraid you are of losing them. Therefore, love and jealousy are linked to each other. 2
However, if your jealousy is something you can’t get rid of, or if it’s preventing you from enjoying your relationship, it’s worth exploring why that might be.
2. Constant fear of being cheated on
People with trust issues often worry that their partner is going to cheat on them. This fear might be sparked by something as small as your partner talking to someone else, or it might be a constant nagging fear that never goes away. If you find yourself constantly worried that your partner is going to cheat on you, it might be a sign that you have trust issues.
Take a step back and ask yourself if your fear is founded in reality or if it’s just something that’s been playing on your mind. If you can’t seem to shake the fear, talk to your partner about it. Open communication is key to a healthy relationship, and it can help you work through any trust issues that you might be having.
3. Catastrophic thinking
Catastrophic thinking is when you assume the worst possible outcome in any given situation. If your partner is late for a date, for example, you might assume they’re cheating on you, even if there’s no evidence to support that claim.
Catastrophic thinking is a common symptom of trust issues, and it can be tough to break out of this mindset once you’re in it. If you find yourself constantly assuming the worst about your partner, it’s important to talk to them about your concerns. They may be able to help you see the situation more clearly and put your mind at ease.
4. You don’t open up to your partner
If you have trust issues, you might find it difficult to open up to your partner. You might not want to share your deepest fears and concerns with them, or you might keep parts of yourself hidden away. This can be a tough barrier to overcome, but it’s important to remember that trust is built on communication. In fact, various studies have shown that constructive communication increases satisfaction in relationships. 3
If you find yourself struggling to open up to your partner, try to start small. Share something that’s been on your mind, or tell them about a fear or concern you have. It might be difficult at first, but the more you open up, the easier it will become.
5. You smother people you care about with love and attention
People with trust issues often try to overcompensate for their lack of trust by showering the people they care about with love and attention. This can be a way of trying to control the situation and make sure that the person they’re trusting won’t leave them. If you find yourself doing this, it’s a sign that you might have trust issues.
Ask yourself why you feel the need to overcompensate in this way. What is it that you’re afraid of? Is it fear of being abandoned? Fear of being hurt? Once you understand why you’re doing this, you can start to work on addressing the trust issues that are causing it.
5 Reasons for trust issues in a relationship
Oftentimes, trust issues are rooted in our own past experiences or insecurities and not necessarily in anything our partner has done. Here are common reasons why people might have trust issues in a relationship:
1. Previous hurtful experiences
If you’ve been hurt in the past, it can be difficult to trust people again. A betrayal of trust can be incredibly damaging, and it can be tough to open up your heart to someone else. If you have trust issues, it’s important to explore why those experiences might have been so painful.
Talk to your partner about them, and see if they’re willing to share their own story with you. This can help you understand each other better and build a stronger foundation of trust.
Insecure individuals often have issues with trust. If you’re insecure, you might find yourself feeling constantly jealous or afraid that your partner will leave you. These feelings can make it difficult to trust your partner, even if they’ve never given you a reason to doubt them.
If you think your insecurity might be causing trust issues in your relationship, try to explore where those feelings are coming from. Once you understand what’s causing them, you can start to work on addressing those issues.
3. Childhood experiences
Some people have trust issues because of their childhood experiences. If you were raised in a dysfunctional home or if you experienced abuse or neglect, it’s likely that you’ll have trust issues in your adult relationships. 4
These early experiences can leave a lasting impression and make it difficult for you to build basic trust for other people. If this is the case, it’s important to seek help from a therapist or counselor. They can help you work through your trust issues and learn how to build healthier relationships.
4. Fear of abandonment
If you’re afraid of being abandoned, it’s likely that you’ll have trust issues in your relationships. This fear can be incredibly powerful and can make it difficult for you to open up to your partner.
You might constantly worry that they’ll leave you and might do everything in your power to avoid being left alone. To work through this, it’s important to understand where your fear is coming from. Once you know what’s causing it, you can start to work on addressing those issues.
5. Your attachement style
Attachment style differences can also cause trust issues in a relationship. If you have an anxious attachment style, you might find yourself constantly needing reassurance from your partner. This can make it difficult to trust them because you’re always wondering if they really care about you.
If you have an avoidant attachment style, you might have trouble trusting people because you’re afraid of getting too close to them. Avoidant individuals often push people away in order to protect themselves from being hurt.
If you think your attachment style might be causing trust issues, it’s important to talk to your partner about it. This can help you better understand each other and build a stronger foundation of trust.
How to overcome trust issues in a relationship
Now that we’ve looked at some of the common causes of trust issues, let’s explore how to overcome them. Here are 5 tips to help you overcome trust issues.
1. Be honest with yourself
The first step is to be honest with yourself about your trust issues. If you’re not sure where they’re coming from, try to think back to any past experiences that might have caused them. Once you have a better understanding of what’s causing them, you can start to address those issues.
2. Communicate with your partner
The second step is to communicate with your partner about your trust issues. This can be difficult, but it’s essential if you want to overcome them. Talk to your partner about why you’re finding it difficult to trust them and be honest about your fears and doubts.
3. Seek professional help
Issues with trust can have a bad impact on your mental health. If you keep your trust issues bottled up, they’ll only become worse over time. If you’re struggling to overcome your trust issues, it might be helpful to seek help from a health professional or counselor. An experienced therapist can help you work through your trust issues and learn how to build healthier future relationships.
4. Practice self-compassion
If you’re struggling to overcome your trust issues, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. Remember that these issues can be difficult to overcome and that it takes time. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion as you work through this process.
5. Healthy skepticism is okay
It’s important to remember that healthy skepticism is okay. It’s perfectly normal to be cautious in a new relationship. If you’re able to approach your relationship with a healthy level of skepticism, you’ll be more likely to trust your partner when they’ve earned it.
Trust issues in a relationship can be caused by a variety of different things. If you’re struggling with trust issues, it’s important to communicate with your partner and seek help from a professional if needed. Remember to be patient with yourself and to practice self-compassion as you work through these issues.
Secrets to a healthy relationship: Books every couple should read
It's no secret that a healthy relationship is key in a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship. This list of books about healthy relationships will help you learn how to communicate better, resolve conflict, and deepen your connection. From classic self-help books to more modern reads, these titles will give you the tools you need to build a strong and healthy relationship.
- Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
- Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of Every Healthy Relationship
- Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples
- Infidelity Recovery Workbook for Couples: Tools and Exercises to Rebuild Your Relationship
- Healthy Me, Healthy Us: Your Relationships Are Only as Strong as You Are
Holmes, J. G., & Rempel, J. K. (1989). Trust in close relationships. In C. Hendrick (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (pp. 187-220). London: Sage. ↩︎
Orosz, G., Szekeres, D., Kiss, Z. G., Farkas, P., & Roland-LÃ©Vy, C. (2015). Elevated romantic love and jealousy if relationship status is declared on Facebook. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. ↩︎
De Netto, P. M., Quek, K. F., & Golden, K. J. (2021). Communication, the Heart of a Relationship: Examining Capitalization, Accommodation, and Self-Construal on Relationship Satisfaction. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 767908. doi.org ↩︎