How to Build Trust in a Relationship: The 5 Trust Must Haves
If we want to know the exquisiteness of deep love, if we want to know ecstasy, then we must know how to build trust in a relationship. Trust forms the fundamental building block of vulnerability. This in turn becomes the cornerstone of intimacy that rests at the heart of every Soul Love relationship. Our fulfillment in love, our joy in love, our willingness to surrender in love, depends wholly on our ability to trust. Yet, trust also happens to be one of the qualities of strong lasting relationships that can remain the most elusive.
It might shock you (or not, depending on your perspective) to realize how many people walk into dating and relationships suspicious, protected, and waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of bringing a wholeness and a genuine capacity to trust. It is this capacity for trust that allows the foundation of trust to form between two people.
How to build trust in a romantic relationship
Many imagine that we should come to our dating and new relationship fully trusting. Others imagine we should trust until given a reason not to. Still others come into dating and building a new relationship – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously – expecting the new person to prove they are worthy of trust. None of these approaches actually works well. To build a soulful and sustainable relationship, we need to understand how trust builds naturally.
When it comes to how to build trust in a relationship, we need to approach our relationship with a willingness and a capacity to trust. It’s not about blind trust and it’s not about withholding trust. It’s about an organic evolution of trust between two people.
To understand the natural evolution of trust and how to build trust in a romantic relationship, let’s explore the 5 Trust Must Haves.
1) Resolve the past
We cannot trust nor love another when we keep ourselves guarded and surrounded by invisible walls of protection. As we said, trust in a relationship requires the capacity to open. Yet when we haven’t resolved past hurts, when we approach love trying to protect ourselves from the pain we previously experienced, trying to ensure it won’t happen again, we are not actually available for love. It then becomes essential that we learn how to build love and trust in a relationship.
This means that the very first step in how to build trust in a relationship requires us to look at ourselves. We need to take the time to resolve the past hurts we continue to hold, so that we can open – and stay open – in a new exploration of love. With that, as we learn how to healthily build trust, we must recognize that trust doesn’t come with perfection from another. No human being, no matter how committed to love they might be, will ever be perfect. We will make mistakes. We will go unconscious so to speak, at times, and we need a capacity to trust and love despite our imperfections.
If you find yourself guarded, if you find yourself staying vigilant to the places this new love might let you down, then you’ll want to get the support you need to consciously complete with and release the past so you can open to an entirely new and exquisitely beautiful experience of love today.
2) Commit to authenticity and honesty
The second thing that we need to build trust in a relationship is authenticity and this is much easier said than done for most. True trust in a relationship relies on our willingness to be real, to be ourselves, to be authentic. Trust actually demands honesty.
As we enter into and build a relationship, we want to ask ourselves whether or not we are willing to tell the truth about ourselves and our desires, as well as about the things we do not want. Yes, we must be able to talk about our needs, wants, desires and boundaries honestly and authentically if we want to know how to build more trust in a relationship. If we choose instead to tell our partner, or our date, what we think they want to hear, we will sabotage trust.
On the path of Soul love the journey begins with what we call Ecstatic Authenticity, which means we are actually happy being ourselves – our wonderful and also imperfect self. It means we enter a relationship willing to show our greatness and our not-so-greatness. It includes showing our strengths and weaknesses, the habits we like and the ones we’d prefer to hide. The transition from Ecstatic Authenticity to Ecstatic Intimacy is the first time we are truly available for, and able to trust, love.
Trust and authenticity go hand-in-hand. If we are not authentic, we are not trustworthy. If we’re not authentically ourselves, we won’t trust the love someone offers us.
3) Communicate clearly without withholding
Building on being authentic, if we want to know how to build more trust in a relationship, we have to communicate honestly and authentically, consistently. Withholding information about ourselves and our experience in an attempt to keep someone interested, or to keep the peace and avoid a conflict, will only undermine trust.
We can tell ourselves we don’t want to tell the truth about a topic we imagine might hurt another’s feelings. Yet, withholding that information and perspective will only serve to create distance between you. If you try to make another’s feelings more important than your own authenticity, not only will your partner’s trust in you erode, you will also erode your trust in yourself.
If you take responsibility for someone else’s feelings and emotions, then that misplaced responsibility means that you have to abandon yourself in order to care for your partner.
lf we don’t want somebody to feel hurt, if we don’t want somebody to be upset, then there’s no room for honesty. When you attempt to care for your partner in this way, that self-abandonment will cause insidious harm in your relationship.
No matter the situation, to build trust in a relationship, we want to commit to ourselves and each other that we will make honest, authentic – and timely – communication our priority.
4) Keep your word
One of the basic foundations of trust is keeping our word. We communicate our intentions, commitments, and promises through our written and spoken words. And nothing can chip away at the foundation of trust than repeatedly not doing what you said you are going to do.
This one is pretty simple. Do what you say you are going to do.
If, for some reason, you can’t keep your word, then at the earliest opportunity, let the other person know that you can’t. Apologize for changing what you said. Then make new arrangements. This could mean that you do what you said you would do at a later time or it could mean that you are no longer willing or able to do what you originally said. Ultimately, either is ok. What matters is that you remain authentic and in communication.
5) Practice acceptance
If we want to truly know how to build trust in a relationship, we have said that authenticity is paramount. Since authenticity matters that much, we must make it safe to be real. Acceptance cultivates realness. Therefore, we must make our best efforts, and bring the most love, to accepting ourselves and each other just as we are.
When we bring judgment or criticism of self or other, it feels unsafe. That lack of safety invites us to put our guard back up which again undermines the trust and the love we seek. We create safety through acceptance.
This is where trust and unconditional love meet.
The prerequisite: Trust of self
We must mention, as we talk about how to build trust in a relationship, that trust in love does not depend solely on how much we trust the other person. Trust of another actually starts with, and depends on, trust of ourselves. Said another way, if we do not trust ourselves, we actually can’t fully trust another. As a matter of fact, to trust another without trusting ourselves leaves us exposed to significant unnecessary pain, and even loss. If we want to know the ecstasies of love, we cannot escape occasional heartache; yet we also do not need to open ourselves to needless suffering.
We cannot fully trust another without first trusting ourselves.
How long does it take to build trust in a relationship?
When we desire to know how to build trust in a relationship, we might also be tempted to ask, “How long does it take to build trust in a relationship?” We might imagine that having a time frame for trust could reassure us about how much effort the process will take. We might also want a way to evaluate if it’s taking too long.
However, trust doesn’t work that way. The question about timing implies that we have a formula for building trust. It also implies that once we have built trust it will remain in place.
Trust is not something we “set and forget” in a relationship. Sustaining trust in a relationship does not have a completion point; it is a living breathing part of every soulful relationship. We must cultivate trust every day. We must maintain its depth through our words, our actions, and our presence every day. Every. Day.
Building trust takes time because it is an eternal process.
How to build trust in a new relationship vs. how to build trust in an existing relationship
When we look at how to build trust in a new relationship, we will find, if we have dated consciously and made a practice of the 5 Trust Must Haves, that there is often a time when we naturally relax into an open, deeply vulnerable, and truly intimate place with our new partner. With our deepest courage, our defenses and walls of protection will drop and we can come to know a truly exquisite new love.
If we’re already in a relationship, we may not have previously grasped the foundational and fundamental nature of trust in our relationship. If we haven’t and we don’t have a full openness to trust, then we need to start building trust from our current state of relationship – from the trust and mistrust currently within you, and within your partner. You start with the same prerequisite. You must first find self-trust. Then make a practice of the 5 Trust Must Haves in your partnership.
Then, in either case, new relationship or existing one, we must recognize the essential need to maintain and sustain trust. Trust remains in place until it’s lost, violated, or betrayed. While we all make mistakes in relationship, while we all forget to do things we said we would do, our integrity with our partner matters.
When you break trust, even in seemingly small ways, the sustainability of your relationship depends on quickly cleaning up the break so it can heal. We rebuild and repair trust by taking responsibility for our actions and genuinely apologizing for them so that the overall depth of trust remains intact despite the natural imperfections of our humanness.
You might also take note here that in order to maintain this flow and growth of trust, we must also be willing to forgive in the presence of a genuine apology. (And this in no way means accepting repeated unacceptable and disrespectful behavior.)
Let’s also be clear that the more significant the breach of trust is, the more time, energy, effort and patience will be required to rebuild it. Rebuilding trust takes much much longer than building trust initially did.
A lack of mindfulness around trust can erode it, and even erase it, quite quickly. Years of built trust can dissolve in a heartbeat if we lose our integrity with ourselves or our partner. Stay true to trust, keep the question “how to build trust in a relationship” close at heart. Practice the 5 Trust Must Haves everyday.
It’s infinitely easier to prepare ourselves for love by personally knowing up front how to build trust in relationship. Then as your relationship deepens, you’ll want to become masterful at maintaining and deepening trust, because as you see, it is much easier to sustain it than it is to rebuild it once it’s lost. Breaking trust puts us into a deficit that we must literally climb out of. And that requires infinitely more work, as well as infinite amounts of love and compassion for both self and other.
With our deepest courage, with our fullest capacity to trust, we will find ourselves opened up to experience the greatest of connections, pleasures, intimacies, and joys of available on this human journey – but only if you’re willing to go where few dare to.
Since 2006, highly conscious men and women, with a commitment to extraordinary relationships, have chosen Ecstatic Intimacy to find and cultivate Soul Partnerships from their bedrooms to their boardrooms. Ecstatic Intimacy believes in coveted relationships, for all.
You too, are invited…
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.