Did past infidelity in your relationship hurt you terribly and is making you distrust people? Do you snoop on your partner often, second-guessing their motives and their explanations never seem to put you at ease? Do you often find it easier to walk out of a relationship than to make it work? Well to us, these are all signs you have trust issues that need to be tackled soon.
If you have dealt with heartbreak due to broken trust in a relationship or have been betrayed by a friend, trust may not come naturally to you anymore. Not only are you skeptical of those around you, but you may also have a tendency to flee from situations. The moment a romantic encounter starts turning into something more serious, instead of feeling happy and safe, you start to feel scared.
Or when you confide in a friend about something that has been bugging you for a long time, you go home and start feeling upset with yourself and are left wondering, “Why did I tell her everything? She doesn’t care and I should probably not trust her.” If this sounds similar to something that you have been going through, then you’ve come to the right place.
With help and insights from clinical psychologist Devaleena Ghosh (M.Res, Manchester University), founder of Kornash: The Lifestyle Management School, who specializes in couples counseling and family therapy, we explore the different elements of trust and the signs you have trust issues.
Why Do You Have Trust Issues?
It’s important to know and understand that trust is vital for a happy relationship and is also fundamental for a society to function. For people to co-exist, they need to feel a sense of comfort and security with one another. Yet, having trust issues is common among people.
When that foundation is shaken, who to trust and how much to trust someone can be uncertain. And of course, bad life experiences can make one mistrust people and lose one’s faith in them. Quarrels, arguments, friendships breaking – all these things can hurt someone to a point that they develop a fear of trusting those around them.
So what exactly makes up the psychology of trust issues? The psychology of trust issues is somewhat like this: Pistanthrophobia or the phobia of trusting people normally stems from prior bad experiences where your trust gets broken. Past hurt, especially of a relationship, might leave people heavily cautious of future relationships and afraid to invest in them.
Trusting someone is like taking a leap of faith. It is like dancing away to glory but with blindfolds on. It’s a kind of surrender even. Sounds quite magical and rosy, doesn’t it? But for people with trust issues, trust is less of a dance and more of a nosedive from a cliff. And with blindfolds on.
It’s scary and leaves them vulnerable – they do not like the feeling of it at all. If you have trust issues, opening up to people or sharing details of your life cannot come easily to you. You constantly bug yourself with questions like “What’s the guarantee that they are here to stay?” You might think people will break your trust and leave you anyway, so why even bother trying?
What Can Cause Trust Issues?
Before we look into what do trust issues look like, let’s understand what causes them in the first place. A number of factors can be responsible for trust issues.
- Controlling parents: You could have had a toxic childhood and parents who always controlled and distrusted you
- Child abuse: You could have been a victim of child abuse that is why in adulthood you cannot trust anyone
- Picking it up from the behavior of the parents: If your parents were dishonest with each other, growing up in that atmosphere can make you defensive about trust without even knowing it
- Witnessing a messy divorce: Could have seen parents going through a divorce and all the blame shifting that followed rendered you unable to trust easily
- Being hurt by someone you loved: Could have been madly in love in the very first relationship but got dumped, and the terrible hurt left you unable to trust anyone again
- Being afraid of commitment and closeness: Many people are just afraid of intimacy and closeness and end up self-sabotaging the relationship even though they have nothing to worry about
Related Reading: How Saying ‘I Love You’ Too Soon Can Be A Disaster
10 Signs You Have Trust Issues In A Relationship
Glanced at the above factors and are now asking yourself, “Do I have trust issues?” Well, we can answer that for you too. While everyone harbors a certain degree of skepticism about trusting others, if this tendency has come to affect your relationships negatively and is also hampering your life, then you surely need to recognize the signs of it and work on them.
Trust has many little components that make it whole and functional. Most trust issues manifest themselves as a result of childhood experiences – and stay with one forever. They simply seem hard to let go and it is tough to get past them. But it is not impossible. The first step toward dealing with trust issues is to recognize that you have them. Let’s help you get the answers with these 10 signs of trust issues in relationships:
1. You think “Yeah, he is good but can I trust him?”
This is the primary question in your head every time you get into a relationship. Even though you are happy in the relationship, the question nags you at every turn. “What if he is just pretending to be this good?” “What if she is being good to other people as well?” The healthy part of the relationship is overshadowed by the constant feeling of distrust and you cannot seem to shake it off.
It can even make you a bit of a commitment-phobe. As Devaleena tells us, “Anxiety in relationships or observing negative past relationships in your childhood home can make you this way. If you have seen betrayal or affairs in your parents’ relationship or lack of exposure to healthy relationships, you will constantly make you question your present partner.”
2. Taking major decisions for the relationship seems to choke you
Do you feel slightly uncomfortable while talking about the longevity of your relationship? The mere question “Where is this going?” from your partner seems to make you lose control or shut off entirely from them. If they ever bring up things like marriage or kids, you literally want to bolt in the other direction.
In your head, you are awaiting the impending doom of the relationship, because let’s face it, you think this relationship, like everything else, too will end. This kind of belief system that it’s going to come to an end anyway can start to make your relationship turn toxic. Constantly thinking, “What is the point of this relationship?” is unhealthy because you are barely invested in the relationship in a way that you should be for the both of you to be happy.
3. Snoopy should be your new name
One of the signs of a woman with trust issues is if she becomes extremely snoopy and starts asking her partner a horde of questions every time he ends up staying out an hour more than he had promised. A person with trust issues can quickly start feeling neglected in a relationship and start overthinking things, leading to that rapid-fire question-answer round. Glancing at their phone every time a notification pops up or even following their car after work – all these are commonplace for a distrusting partner.
Because nothing your partner says seems to put your racy mind at ease, so you snoop. And you snoop a lot. Checking their phone to see what new WhatsApp text they got or secretly getting to know their passcode so you can check their phone while your partner is in the shower – all add up to your raging bouts of trust issues.
4. You believe them…but not quite
You might smile at your partner’s funny recount of her girls’ night out but your mind is already beginning to not believe her. “Was she even there at that time?” or “She’s lying to me that it was just a girls’ night. I’m sure there were men there” are some thoughts that will start running through your head.
Your attention is spent more on finding loopholes in her stories rather than genuinely listening to what she has to say. You are trying to fathom “what exactly” did she do? Where were the men involved that she is conveniently leaving out of the story that she is telling you?
5. You hate when they go places without you
“Do I have trust issues?” If this question has been weighing on your mind a lot, your hunch is probably not without reason if the concept of personal space in a relationship drives you up the wall. Spending time apart is actually healthy for any relationship. Most people enjoy the individual space that they get.
But because of your trust issues, it’s different for you. You hate it when they go out without you and assume the absolute worst of them. Your trust issues in the relationship do not let you be assured of anything.
Devaleena says, “You will invariably crave their company and always be around that person. You don’t like to spend too long away from your partner because you always have emotions running wild in your head. You’re jealous, insecure, suspicious and always worried that your partner is having a better time without you.”
6. Do I have trust issues? Ask yourself if you get triggered very easily
What triggers trust issues? A simple text with no emojis can make you think the worst of your partner. You worry that they are probably texting someone else on the side and are not in love with you anymore. Sometimes, you don’t even know why you are feeling emotional and vulnerable.
You have crazy mood swings and that completely ruins your day. This is definitely one of the signs of a woman with trust issues. It’s your past experiences giving you the chilly feel that triggers your mood swings now and then. Being distrustful has become your second nature and you cannot help it.
7. Always thinking of the worst possible scenario
Devaleena tells us, “You are always in an overprotective and hyper-vigilant mode. Constantly being on the lookout, constantly trying to search for signs your partner is unfaithful are all signs of a man with trust issues and the same can be seen in women too. This can also make you defensive and expect the worst-case scenario in people always.”
You expect that your partner will eventually betray you and you constantly look out for relationship red flags, which is why parting with them temporarily makes you think that they probably have another relationship going on the side. If you go too long (maybe an hour or two) without contact, you automatically assume your partner is out doing someone nasty at the back of a pub. You don’t need any proof or hint of their wrongdoing. You just keep assuming the worst in everyone.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Overcome Insecurity In A Relationship
8. What do trust issues look like? Always thinking that your partner will hurt you
Whether you have had your trust broken by someone in the past, or been conditioned like that while growing up, you expect your trust will be broken eventually. You simply have no expectations of love and loyalty from your partner. You are only waiting for them to hurt you one day.
You worry yourself about how your partner might show their “real” self someday and how that is going to devastate you completely. It’s like you are constantly awaiting people to break your trust because, in your eyes, no one is trustworthy. Every missed call, every receipt you find, you are like “Well, here it goes! I just knew it. Saw it coming from a mile away.”
9. You put your relationship to the test
If you think your relationship needs to be put to test and you indulge in that practice quite often, you are setting it up for failure. If you think relationships are meant to be catastrophic, you need to evaluate how you look at healthy relationships and how they work. But testing your partner constantly is the worst thing you can do to your relationship.
Devaleena says, “Testing your relationship, throwing curveballs at your partner, creating detrimental situations just to check for signals that your partner may be cheating or hurting you are all major signs of trust issues in a relationship.”
10. You end things before things (read: people) can hurt you
When you have trust issues, you tend to indulge in self-sabotaging behaviors before the relationship can hurt you. The relationship which has blossomed over months is abandoned completely because of your fight or flight response. If you stay, you get hurt. But if you leave voluntarily, you are choosing to leave to protect yourself from heartbreak. And that way, it’ll hurt less. Or at least, that’s what you think.
Devaleena suggests, “The bottom line of people with trust issues is that the moment they get a signal that someone cannot be trusted, their first instinct is to flee. They leave the relationship and run as they were subconsciously just waiting for the signal that they were right to not commit fully to the relationship.”
All of these signs of trust issues in a relationship can make you feel depressed and isolated. Because for all relationships to foster, a certain degree of trust has to be there. But you are the complete opposite as you find yourself lonely and consider it out of your boundary to trust anyone. You feel like you are giving the other person the power to betray and hurt you.
However, with constant and persistent efforts, you can surely learn to trust others. You will need help, but gradually you will learn to trust people, and even if you do get hurt, you would learn to heal from it. And that can indeed make all the difference in your life.
Exercising a bit of caution in the initial part of a relationship especially if you are meeting after dating online is fine. But not being able to trust at all is harmful to the relationship especially after you have pledged your commitment to each other.
Insecurity can cause serious trust issues. Insecurity makes people anxious, further exacerbating the problem of “Who to trust?”
This happens, yes. You could love a person madly but still have trust issues with them. Although trust is the most important basis of a relationship, many people say they can’t help snooping or asking for their partner’s passwords. Your love is what makes you afraid that they will leave you.
Lack of trust can totally ruin a relationship. Trust is the basic foundation of a relationship and when there are trust issues it will ultimately corrode the relationship and lead to its eventual breakdown.