13 Effective Methods For Partners To Build Trust

Updated August 23, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Trust between partners is essential for a relationship to succeed. Trust forms the foundation of good communication. Partners will have trouble solving problems, addressing concerns, and growing together without good communication. Although trust is essential, it is normal for trust to wane sometimes in a relationship. Effective partners take the time to put effort into building, re-building, or maintaining trust. It takes time and effort; building trust in a relationship is a deliberate process.

Below are thirteen important things to do or remember when building trust. The tips below will help you develop and maintain foundational trust in your relationship. If there are significant concerns or problems that you and your partner do not know how to resolve, you should consider meeting with a couples counselor for advanced analysis and techniques to restore trust in your relationship.

Getty/MoMo Productions
Is Your Relationship Lacking Trust?

The Importance Of Trust

Trust between partners is necessary for a stable relationship. A lack of trust exacerbates problems like emotional instability, conflict, and lack of closeness in the relationship. A lack of trust also leads to behaviors that promote deceit and dishonesty, like snooping through your partner's phone without their knowledge. In that case, your lack of trust leads you to behave in an untrustworthy manner and violate your partner's privacy.

Without trust, effectively engaging in a relationship is challenging. This is true of all relationships, not just romantic ones. Relationships with friends, family, and co-workers all need a foundation of trust to build. It is important to be consistently trustworthy as well. Lies and deceit carry more significance than trustworthy actions; it takes very few lies to undo many trustworthy actions.

In romantic partnerships, trust is typically built through good communication and acting in a trustworthy manner. It is up to you to be trustworthy and act in a manner your partner trusts and respects. Communication, however, is a skill that can be improved together with your partner.  

Trust Tips And Tricks

Building trust is an ongoing process, and repairing trust can take weeks of work. Taking time to ensure your relationship defaults to trust is a worthwhile investment. It is much easier to build and maintain trust than it is to repair trust which has been broken. When communicating with your partner, keep the below information in mind. Every conversation should be based on trust, kindness, and respect.

Assume Good Intentions

Assuming good intentions might also be phrased as "don't jump to conclusions." When you expect trust from your partner, you should also expect to give it to them. Trust grows when you assume your partner has your best interests at heart, as well as good intentions for the relationship overall.

Trust Yourself

Building trust with your partner will be easier if you trust yourself. Ask yourself if you trust your intentions and abilities. Determine what you need from your partner and your goals for trusting communication. If underlying factors are relevant to a conversation you wish to have with your partner, ensure you know what you are before engaging in conversation. Knowing what you want from a conversation and what you can bring to it helps you trust yourself enough to bring trust to discussions with your partner.

Getty/AnnaStills

Create A Safe Space

Building trust in a relationship is easiest when you and your partner are in a place where you both feel safe and secure. Establish a safe space with your partner where you both feel welcome to express your ideas and opinions. Keep the safe space on neutral territory; it needs to be somewhere where both you and your partner feel safe and free to express your feelings.

Strive For Transparency

Set a goal for transparency from the first conversation. An expectation of transparency, or genuine openness in communication, is essential to establish trust. Discuss an expectation of transparency with your partner and communicate a willingness to be transparent with them. It's important to follow through. Hiding or misrepresenting information hurts communication. Be transparent from the beginning; it is much easier than introducing transparency later.

Use Trustworthy Body Language

Avoid body language that communicates contempt, disinterest, or disrespect. Don't roll your eyes or turn your back to your partner. Face them and use good active listening strategies, like making eye contact with your partner while they speak. Body language is a large part of nonverbal communication, and your nonverbal communication needs to convey a sense of trust along with your verbal communication.

Start Small

Establishing trust in a relationship requires that a person be vulnerable around their partner. If vulnerability or trust is difficult, start with small, easy discussions to help establish a trusting foundation. Discussing minor issues, like scheduling or meals, is a great way to establish trust before tackling larger, more important issues. Tackling big issues too early can lead to ineffective or harmful communication; it is worth starting small, even if the bigger issues seem much more important.

Communicate Key Issues

Once you have the foundation of trust, use it. Make sure you are communicating the things that are important to you. Be forthcoming about whatever concerns you in your relationship: finances, children, intimacy, or another common concern. Sweeping important issues under the rug leads to resentment, damaging an already trusting relationship or preventing trust from being built.

Trust Your Intuition

Lengthy or complicated conversations about important topics in your relationship can sometimes become overwhelming or difficult to discern. Trust your gut judgment regarding how you feel on certain topics. Have confidence in your perceptions and pay attention to how important details in the conversation make you feel. If you feel your partner is not engaging in trustworthy communication, be vulnerable and ask for reassurance before assuming they are intentionally misleading.

Self-Soothing Is A Must

Trustworthy communication is safe communication. Learning to calm yourself down is essential to communicating trust in a relationship. When communication becomes emotionally charged, one or both partners will likely become overwhelmed. Once you're emotionally overwhelmed, productive conversation becomes unlikely. Take time away from the conversation if your emotions are becoming excessively burdensome. However, it is important you return the conversation once you are calm; don't avoid a difficult conversation just because it raises your emotional level.

Getty/Halfpoint Images
Is Your Relationship Lacking Trust?

Dispute Effectively

Learn how to bring negative concerns to your partner's attention in a trustworthy manner. If you have a complaint or dispute regarding your partner, present that complaint with respect, kindness, and empathy. Remember, you want to assume that your partner had no ill intentions. Tell your partner how you feel using "I-statements" like "I feel frustrated when you leave the house a mess" instead of "you're lazy and you never clean."

Communicate Intentions Clearly

Communicate intentions and goals with clarity and detail. Your partner cannot read your mind, and detailed communication is essential for your partner to meet your needs. Don't assume malice if you feel like your partner is not responsive to communication. Assume the best in their intentions and introduce more detail and specificity into your communication. Trust is not the issue for many people, but understanding their partner's needs certainly can be.

Admit Your Mistakes

Being vulnerable enough to admit your mistakes communicates trustworthiness. Reliability and accountability are important in close relationships, and accountability is a foundational component of trustworthiness. If you make a mistake, take steps to correct it. If correcting the mistake is not possible, at least communicate to your partner that you are aware of the mistake and will try to not make the same mistake again.

Always Tell The Truth

The most important component of trustworthy communication is honesty. Obviously, lying directly opposes the principles of trust. Always tell the truth, even if the truth may bring difficult issues to light. Once your partner realizes you are lying or withholding information, it will become much more difficult for them to trust you. Always face the truth head-on. Admit your mistakes if necessary, and challenge your partner in a healthy way, but always truthfully state what you think and feel.  

When to See a Therapist

If you're having trouble building trust with your partner due to a lack of communication or a history of untrustworthy behavior, online therapy can help. Visiting with a therapist online has all the benefits of traditional therapy while removing some barriers to accessing treatment, like traveling to a physical office. You can attend couples therapy with your partner or attend individually to address concerns unique to you. Online therapists use the same evidence-based techniques as therapists who see patients in person. The methods used by online therapists are just as effective as in-person therapy.  

“My wife and I decided to give online couples counseling a go after finding traditional methods weren’t all that suited to our busy working and parenting lifestyle. Our counselor Donna Kemp has been amazing! We both feel she’s listened to us and given us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone to deal with problems that are easy to avoid. She is encouraging without being pushy. We’ve both responded very well to her and her methods and look forward to continuing on with Donna. Highly recommend!”

“Cris Roman saved my marriage. His approach to therapy taught my husband and I the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and the way we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of the others' feelings and actions without taking sides or placing blame. His ability to make you feel heard while helping you to see and understand why your significant other is acting a certain way is phenomenal.”

Takeaway

Trust is an essential, foundational component of a healthy relationship. Building trust requires good communication, openness, empathy, and a willingness to admit mistakes. If you're building trust with your partner, start with small conversations and gradually work up to larger issues. Make sure you can remain calm if things become emotionally charged and always offer your partner the benefit of the doubt. Building trust takes teamwork. You and your partner must work together, and both be committed to the process.



For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.