Without doubt, one of the biggest challenges at the start of a relationship is learning if and how to trust your new partner.  This can be especially tricky if you’re coming from a past where trust has been broken, or treated in a way that was uncomfortable for you.  The good news is that both you and your new partner are likely to be cautious about it for different reasons, so there’s no need to feel rushed into baring all too soon.

Clearing the decks

The first and cleanest way to begin establishing trust is for you to get rid of any emotional or mental baggage that you have around it, prior to entering into the relationship. It doesn’t matter how you do it or how long it takes, what’s important is that you show up to the partnership as emotionally healthy as possible.  If you don’t, two things will happen a) you’ll actively look for reasons not to trust your partner or b) as right as your relationship may go, at the first sign of trouble you’ll see it as validation that your doubts were right all long.

Knowing what you’ll stand for

It’s essential that you hold on to what makes you who you are, whether you’re in a relationship or out of one.  Without being clear about your morals, your ethics, or beliefs and how flexible they are, you’ll find it harder to recognise when they’re being compromised.  Set boundaries and honour them, or don’t expect anyone else to.

Testing the waters

Start establishing trust with information or situations that are small but significant to you. We’re not telling you to set exams for potential love interests, but don’t go sharing your life story until you have an idea of how it’s likely to be treated.  If someone’s unable to satisfy your needs with the small things, think deeply about how much more you’re willing to give to the union.

Making sharing a two-way street

If the trust isn’t mutual in a relationship then it’s simply not there.  Learning to trust one another means being equally open and honest, even with the risk it could work against you.  Learn how to communicate in the way that is most effective not only for yourself, but also for your partner. Maybe you’re a big talker and he’s more comfortable texting. Meet in the middle, respect each other’s modes of expression and address any breakdown in the most effective way for you both.

Being responsible

Blaming others for letting you down or betraying you will only take you so far.  At some point in life we all need to stop and be responsible for our hearts and our lives.  If you have doubts at any point about anything, from fidelity to commitment, then slow down.  Take your time to let more trust build, engage all of your senses and continue to share only when you feel ready to let go, for better or for worse.

Trusting yourself

Our purest indicators in life and love will always be our intuition.  It’s that little, quiet voice in your heart that says ‘go forward, it might work’ or ‘hold on, something isn’t quite right here.’  Occasionally, you need to learn to block out all of the mental processes (for example, the ones based on fear or bad experiences) and tune into what your natural intuition is telling you.  Trust that it has the answer that is appropriate for that moment in time.  Also trust that you’re strong enough to deal with any outcomes that may arise from the choice you make.

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