Have you ever heard of a cake baked with just one ingredient? No, of course not. You need the whole assemblage of eggs, flour, butter, baking soda, sugar, etc., and a nice, well-functioning oven. Similarly, your relationship needs more than love to go the distance; other qualities have to be cultivated in the metaphorical oven of trust. So, if you’ve come to realize, “My boyfriend doesn’t trust me”, you need to start worrying about your cake.
Trust is an indispensable element of any healthy relationship. Think of the best couple you know, the one that’s your couple goals. What are a few characteristics of their dynamic? Can you spot the unshakeable faith they have in each other? It is quite inspiring to see them together, isn’t it? Chances are, they’ve also put in a lot of work to arrive at this space in their relationship. Don’t worry, you’ll get there too after some troubleshooting.
We’re answering a few important questions today – what can I do if my boyfriend doesn’t trust me? If my boyfriend doesn’t trust me with other guys, what does it mean? And can you trust someone who doesn’t trust you? Let’s discuss the different facets of trust with the guidance of psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Approaching the problem step by step is a wise course of action. Here we go…
What Can I Do If My Boyfriend Doesn’t Trust Me?
This question is not as uncommon as you think. Trust issues in a relationship are as common as Santa Claus on Christmas. Many people have walked this road before you and emerged unscathed – you’re going to be a-okay too! We ask you to approach this piece from a rational perspective. Sentimentality is good, but it often distorts mental composure. Take a few deep breaths as we come closer to the question of the hour – what to do when your partner doesn’t trust you?
The measures given below are general strategies; you don’t have to follow them by the book. Each relationship is unique and requires a distinct method of conflict resolution. Use our advice as a starting-off point and do things your way. After all, no one knows your partner better than you. Without further ado, here’s presenting the 6 things you can do if your boyfriend mistrusts you.
1. Ask ‘what?’ and ask ‘why?’
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Trust is a very broad term so the first thing to do is ascertain which aspect of your personality is being mistrusted. What does he not trust about you? Is it your financial habits, is it your equation with another man, or is it the incongruency between your words and actions? Once this has been determined, the remedial steps can follow.
“After you know the what, take up the ‘why’. Investigate the reason behind his trust issues. Maybe he has been let down in the past and the history of betrayal is a burden he is still carrying. Perhaps he likes to be in control at all times and his control issues are manifesting themselves as trust issues. Maybe he is simply jealous of somebody in your life. Or maybe he has archaic notions about women being answerable to men.
“Now these reasons place you in the clear as they are his personal battles or emotional baggage. But there is always the possibility that his mistrust is not unfounded – that you have been an untrustworthy partner in the past. This is also a major factor you must consider. Think about your relationship history and examine your behavior too.” Become an inquisitive soul and look into these different aspects of your boyfriend’s life.
You can also consider his childhood and think about the role models he grew up with. We emulate the behavior we have seen – if he is a child of a bad marriage then he did not see many healthy relationships around him when he was growing up. Consequently, he might struggle with trust and commitment issues in the relationship he shares with you. Answering the ‘what’ and ‘why’ will give you much clarity on where he is coming from.
Related Reading: Trust Issues – 10 Signs You Find It Difficult To Trust Anyone
2. Communicate with honesty
Hey, we know how repetitive this piece of advice is. Every relationship problem’s solution is said to be based upon open communication. But it really is true! Think of it like this – your body needs eight glasses of water a day to function well and your relationship needs eight doses of communication daily too. This is all the more applicable when you’re saying, “My boyfriend doesn’t trust me and I don’t know what to do.” Being vulnerable and building emotional intimacy facilitates trust significantly.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Resolution begins with communication. Talk to your partner honestly and voice any concerns you have. Bring it all out in the open and give them the space to share too. Keep in mind that listening is as important (if not more) as speaking in such conversations. It is always better to have difficult discussions rather than make assumptions. Keep this thumb rule in mind – never assume. Don’t assume that you know their situation or vice versa.
“Whenever you voice your side of things, talk like you’re explaining things to an 11-year-old. Clarify everything and use simple, short sentences. Be straightforward and avoid analogies or complex metaphors, because they distort meaning.” Those are a few solid tips! They’re derived from communication exercises for couples that strengthen the bond. So, what to do when your partner doesn’t trust you? Talk your heart out, it always works.
3. What can I do if my boyfriend doesn’t trust me? Seek professional help
Self-sufficiency is a remarkable quality to possess. But there are times when we simply have to accept the fact that there are things beyond our control. In these situations, it is wise to seek help from professionals who can guide us through the rough patches in the relationship. It is an option you should consider if you have trust issues in the relationship and don’t know what to do.
At Bonobology, we offer professional help through our range of licensed counselors and therapists. We are here for you in this tumultuous time and you can reach out to any of our experts from the comfort of your home. Therapy has benefited several couples undergoing trust-based conflicts and it can help you embark on the path of healing too. You can consider counseling for yourself if the mistrust in the relationship is getting the better of you.
Similarly, your boyfriend can seek help individually to work on his problems by himself. Dr. Bhonsle explains, “There are always deeper underlying issues to a person’s lack of trust. And this is what any mental health professional will begin with. Anyone experiencing trust issues should consider therapy for sure; the sailing becomes much smoother when you know just how choppy the waters are.”
A reader from Nashville wrote, “My boyfriend doesn’t trust me with other guys and this has been a long-standing problem between us. I kept pushing for therapy, but he disregarded it for a while. However, a recent argument made him see what I was saying. It’s been three weeks since he went for his first session and I can see a small shift in his approach. He still struggles with jealousy in the relationship, but he now realizes that the problem lies on his end. He’s learning to trust me and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
4. Set relationship boundaries
Because while trust is all about openness and transparency, you don’t want to overstep in your boyfriend’s personal space (or the other way around). “But what to do if my boyfriend doesn’t believe anything I say”, you ask? A good way is to keep realistic expectations from each other. You can give him an update of where you’re going and with whom, but he can’t call you every hour and inquire after your whereabouts. For both your sakes, fortify yourself and define what is acceptable and what is not.
If your friendship with an ex bothers him, you can maintain a distance from the ex; but your boyfriend can’t log in to your social media and access your chats. Setting healthy relationship boundaries is vital to avoid such ugly fights over privacy. You ought to do everything in your power to reassure him, but he can’t enter your personal arenas to assure himself. If he does this, he’s exhibiting the traits of a toxic boyfriend.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “Draw the line where your partner’s actions don’t align with your values or belief system. If you think that your selfhood is being compromised at any point, be vocal about it. Again, communication comes into play here. When you’re working on trust, or any other relationship issue, you negotiate with your partner. Setting boundaries makes this negotiation smoother.” How’s this for an answer to ‘what can I do when my boyfriend doesn’t trust me?’
Related Reading: 19 Examples Of Healthy Boundaries In Relationships
5. Exercise empathy and patience
Allow us to illustrate with an example. Shinja has been going to therapy because she’s frustrated with her boyfriend Nate’s trust issues. He finds it difficult to trust Shinja because she has cheated on him in the past. They are trying to move on, but Nate brings up the incident during each disagreement or fight. Shinja tells the therapist, “My boyfriend doesn’t trust me because I cheated on him once. It meant nothing and was a one-night-stand. But he still hasn’t let go of the past. I don’t know what more I can do.”
The therapist, however, proffers a different angle. She explains to Shinja that her infidelity has brought Nate’s insecurities to the surface. Maybe he thinks he is not enough for Shinja. Maybe he’s worried he will lose her to another man in the future. If it has happened once, will it not happen again? While Shinja has known most of this all along, this is a good reminder of what her boyfriend has been put through because of her mistake. The next time they argue, Nate brings up her cheating history again. But Shinja does not get defensive or angry. She listens to him patiently and proceeds to speak her mind calmly.
A lack of empathy in the relationship can corrode it quickly. Try and see things from your partner’s perspective – this will prevent frustration, anger, or bitterness from growing in your heart. Be patient with them, especially if you have been the one on the defaulting end. The thought ‘my boyfriend doesn’t trust me because I cheated on him’, can be rephrased as ‘my boyfriend doesn’t trust me yet.’
6. Can you trust someone who doesn’t trust you? Consider your options
A relationship without trust is not healthy (more on that later). If this problem persists you may want to consider your options by asking a few basic questions. 1) Where is the relationship going if my boyfriend doesn’t trust me? 2) Do I want to be with someone who cannot place his faith in me? 3) Will I be happier if I part ways with my partner? 4) Is there any scope of improvement from his end?
Realistically, you can make one of three choices – continuing with your boyfriend, taking a break from each other, or breaking up with each other. The first makes sense if he is willing to do the grunt work from his side. If he is committed to working on the problem, things will likely improve with time. The second choice is ideal if you just need a breather to think through things clearly. A break from him can help you see things objectively. You can then decide if reconciliation is on the table.
And finally, a breakup is the way to go if the relationship is becoming a liability and draining you. If it is a constant source of stress and anxiety, something is definitely going wrong. Best part ways before the problem escalates. You should also break up right away if your boyfriend is displaying abusive tendencies in the guise of trust issues. Ditto if you’re being gaslighted or subjected to romantic manipulation in the relationship. Evaluate the pros and cons of each path before you and make a well-thought out decision.
Now that you know the corrective measures of this situation, we address a different aspect. We know you’re thinking, “If my boyfriend doesn’t trust me, is there any way of changing his mindset?” The answer is not really a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’; like all relationship questions, this too calls for a deeper understanding and examination. Let’s proceed to the next segment which deals with what to do when your partner doesn’t trust you.
How Do I Prove To My Boyfriend That He Can Trust Me?
Firstly, should you be using the word ‘prove’? Relationships aren’t tests and you don’t have to prove anything to your partner. But we get the gist of what you’re trying to say. Secondly, there is no one-shot formula that can reinstate trust. As cliché as it sounds, trust has to be earned. There are two broad things you can do that will make your partner a little less insecure. Creating a safe space for them is the most effective way of building trust in the relationship.
A word of advice before you proceed – giving your partner time is a must. You cannot expect change to happen overnight, so be patient with progress. Your boyfriend has to come around at his own pace. Moreover, be consistent in your efforts because slow and steady wins the race. Now, go forth and conquer his trust with this two-pronged strategy.
1. Become a trustworthy partner
If your problem, like Shinja’s, is that “My boyfriend doesn’t trust me because I cheated on him”, then you have some work to do ma’am. If you have given your significant other a cause for concern, you will have to rectify the situation yourself. Focus on becoming a reliable and trustworthy person who your boyfriend can count on. And mind you, this will require perseverance on your part.
Dr. Bhonsle says, “If there is a history of cheating or bad relationships on your part, you have to work on building trust in your partner. The same stands true if you tend to manipulate your boyfriend or play mind games with him. For instance, trying to make him jealous by flirting with others. These are immature tricks that harm your relationship. Rise above these, do better, and become a solid support for your better half. A good first step is following through on your promises. Let your actions and words be in harmony.”
Hmmm, food for thought. Cultivate trust by being involved in your partner’s life. Make time for him and try to do things together. Keep him in the loop about what’s going on with you as well. Never lie, no matter how trivial the issue. Recall the words of Bo Bennet who said, “For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” And finally, don’t worry – it is possible to fix things after the trust is broken once.
2. What to do when there are signs he doesn’t trust me? Quit troubleshooting
Nobody likes a girlfriend in Bob the Builder mode 24/7. You don’t have to provide a solution each time someone voices a problem. If your boyfriend talks to you about something that’s bothering him, don’t try and ‘fix’ things instantly. Sometimes the best thing you can do is be there for someone. Lend a shoulder to cry on or just listen to what he’s saying. Because ultimately, you can’t fight someone’s battles for them.
While it might bug you to sit and do nothing, that could be precisely what your partner needs. Give them the time and space to figure out their problem in peace. Provide a supportive and friendly environment where they can turn to you if need be. Don’t compel them to share their feelings all the time. This will be a tad difficult for you if you have control issues, but power through them, okay?
Related Reading: Trust Exercises For Couples To Improve Relationships
What did you think of these methods? You now know what to do when your partner doesn’t trust you, right? You’re armed with sufficient knowledge on helping someone with trust issues and that leaves just one question unanswered – how sustainable is the relationship when your partner has a hard time trusting you? Our last segment tackles this one head on, so keep reading to find out.
Can You Be In A Relationship With Someone Who Doesn’t Trust You?
Dr. Bhonsle puts it best, “You ‘can’ do whatever your heart desires. Some people manage to stay in relationships that lack trust for years. It depends on the kind of person you are and how much you value the components of trust. If you think they’re something you can compromise on, then you won’t break up with your partner anytime soon. A relationship is not a consumer good that comes with an expiry date – it all boils down to the individual experiences you bring to the table. Hence, only you can answer this question for yourself because it depends on your threshold for mistrust.”
Basically, you need to sit down and have a conversation with yourself. Evaluate the past, present and future to settle on a course of action. While you’re at it, do a Q&A session too. “Do I want to be in this for the long run if my boyfriend doesn’t believe anything I say?” or “If my boyfriend doesn’t trust me, what will be the quality of our relationship?”, are the types of questions you should be asking yourself. Weighing the importance of trust in your life is a challenging exercise for sure, but you will find the answers to your questions after some deliberation.
Here we come to the end of our journey. We hope this guide was helpful in resolving your quandary of can you trust someone who doesn’t trust you. You can take over from here and make the best of the situation. Get your boyfriend in the loop by sharing this article and you both can work together as a team. Bonobology is rooting for your success, always.