When Your Romantic Interest Has Trust Issues

Relationships A-Z
19 Mar 2024
8 min read
10 Strategies When Dating Someone With Trust Issues

Trust. Most define it as a firmly held belief that someone is fully reliable and honest and can be counted on. Others determine trust through things – for example, if we buy a new car, we trust it will run well for at least the length of the warranty. But if our trust is violated, we realize that betrayal from people hurts much more than from things. This pain can be so unbearable that some develop trust issues as a defense mechanism to prevent it from happening. And you can end up dating someone with trust issues, which is also not fun.

So, the question is, how do you date someone like this? The answer is complex and depends on your level of commitment to the relationship. We’ll try to provide this answer to you here.

Related reading: How to Build Trust in a Relationship: 15 Tips

How Does Someone Develop Trust Issues?

When a person has trust issues, especially in a relationship, the challenges of dating them are nothing to be taken lightly. You may be the most reliable, honest, and loyal partner, but it’s not about you. Dating someone with trust issues is about them, and there are several ways for their development.

1. Childhood Experiences

Several childhood experiences can lead to trust issues in adulthood:

  • Losing a parent to death or divorce at an early age: Even after that child reaches the age of understanding, the subconscious feeling of abandonment is still there.
  • Living with parents who let them regularly down: If parents make promises they fail to keep, a child will learn not to trust what others say or promise.
  • Any type of constant neglect: A child who has been subjected to neglect or any type of physical or mental abuse will have trust issues.

If that’s the case, be careful with your partner. Chances are that no matter what you do, they can fix their trust issues only after years of therapy.

2. Past Traumatic Experiences

A history of trauma – like being a victim of sexual assault, harsh and sustained bullying, or domestic violence – forces people to look at any relationship as potentially dangerous. The end result is they don’t know who to trust.

In these circumstances, they may tend to keep their distance and resist getting into romantic entanglements. As in the case of childhood trauma, it’s hard for you to change their behavior if they don’t recognize and work on their problem themselves.

3. Former Toxic Relationship

Abuse is not always the case when it comes to a former toxic relationship, as there are so many possibilities:

  • They had put faith in a romantic partner only to be betrayed when that partner cheated on them
  • They had been involved with a narcissist who drained them emotionally (and perhaps financially) before finally getting out
  • They just read their behavior as signs of toxicity

Whatever the reason, having (or believing to have) a toxic relationship experience poisons their life today and creates trust issues in their relationships. You can be better than their ex to help them overcome this problem.

Related reading: Ex Still Renting Space in Your Head? 11 Tools to Break Free

4. Low Self-Esteem

Suffering from low self-esteem makes it tough for your partner to believe others will like them or find them valuable, much less love them romantically. Thus, they become very insecure and have no trust that the relationship will last or that their partner will stay faithful.

This can lead to more than just trust issues. The non-trusting partner may begin to “smother” their significant other, sneak into their phone, or even try following or using GPS locators to track them. What a terrible way to live – and the saddest part is that it all starts with their feeling of not being worthy of love.

5. A Terrible Breakup

Breakup can be the equivalent of a traumatic experience, especially if some insecurity accompanies it.

Someone is in a relationship for the long haul and believes their partner is too. Without warning, that partner dumps them, and they are thrown into a mental abyss. No surprise they end up dealing with trust issues in any new relationship that may come along.

Related reading: 14 Signs You Should Break Up and 12 Signs You Should Stay With Your Partner

How to understand you're dating someone with trust issues

4 Signs You Are Dating Someone With Trust Issues

In general, someone with trust issues will focus on the negative. They will worry and anticipate the worst-case scenario, even down to small details. That will manifest in common ways, giving clues that your partner has trust issues. Let’s see these four tell-tale signs you’re dating someone with trust issues.

1. Assuming the Worst

People with dating issues begin relationships with the attitude that people are only out for their benefit. So, if they are paid a compliment or shown kindness, love, or generosity, they don’t just have a hard time accepting that. They will wonder what is behind that behavior.

Such beliefs are a self-preservation tool, pretty summarized in a phrase, “If you don’t get close and don’t have any expectations, you won’t get hurt.”

2. Not Feeling Emotionally Comfortable and Safe

When two people are in a relationship, they at least gradually open up about their histories, feelings, thoughts, opinions, goals, and dreams. As that relationship develops, they feel more and more emotionally safe to share all of this with their partners. This is how intimacy and trust in a relationship establishes.

But a person with trust issues has a tough time doing this. They avoid deep conversations out of fear of being dismissed, criticized, or judged. That’s why they tend to keep things light and superficial, not wanting to open up and reveal their deeper selves.

Related reading: What a Fear of Commitment Does to Your Relationship

3. Tendency to Be More Isolationist

Because they fear getting attached and then hurt, someone with trust issues will avoid close relationships with friends, co-workers, and, yes, even when dating someone. They keep their emotions in check, even though they may have romantic feelings for them.

4. Need for Constant Confirmation and Verification

People with trust issues will try to verify whatever they may be told by someone they are dating. They will Google them or get on their social media accounts to check their honesty.

Both men and women with trust issues will keep checking their partners’ honesty. In the extreme, their insecurities will lead to types of stalking to make sure they aren’t being lied to.

Related reading: Need to Catch a Cheater? Here Are the Ways to Do It!

How you can help your special someone with trust issues

10 Ways of How to Date Someone With Trust Issues

If you are dating someone with trust issues, you are certainly facing some challenges ahead. But if you love this person and are in it for the long haul, you have to understand what they are and where they came from and have some concrete strategies to help your partner overcome them and trust you. That’s what makes a healthy relationship.

Here are the key tips and strategies for dating someone with trust issues.

1. It All Begins With Communication

As it does with every relationship. If you recognize the symptoms of trust issues in your partner, you need to address them. But you must do this gradually and diplomatically.

You might begin by telling them about a bad situation that caused you a lack of trust and how you got over it. This will encourage them to open up in the same way.

2. Accept Their Trust Issues as Valid

It’s so easy to dismiss the trust issues of someone else if you have never had them. If you read the earlier sections of this article and watched the suggested videos though, you’ve got a good understanding of where they are coming from.

Just show empathy. Tell them you understand they have trust issues and where they might be coming from, and put yourself in their shoes. If they have told you about a situation that caused them trust issues, think about how you would respond to that same situation. Then, you can relate to what your partner is feeling.

Above all, do not try to change what your partner is feeling right now. Accept it and move forward from there. When you show that you support them for who they are, including all of the baggage they may be bringing to the relationship, their trust will grow.

3. Be Totally Honest and Open

If you want to gain their trust, you have to prove to them that you deserve it. Someone who has trust issues will not take your word for it.

Remember, people with trust issues are likely to check you out. Don’t ever try to exaggerate who you are or tell stories that you know will be compromised on your social media accounts. Their trust will be lost immediately.

4. Don’t Hide Info About Yourself

Someone with trust issues is naturally suspicious. If you try to keep secrets from them, they will come out anyway. And once they do, you have killed what you may have begun with them. If you are committed to this person, just don’t do it.

5. Actions Speak, Words Don’t

Someone with trust issues doesn’t put stock in what you say. They watch and respond to how you behave.

Don’t expect a quick fix to their trust issues. They will want to see your actions over time. It can be slow, but, again, if you are committed to your partner who has trust issues, you will be willing to go the distance.

6. Don’t Let Them Control the Relationship

When you date someone with trust issues, it’s easy to fall into a bit of a “trap” in a relationship, making it all about your partner and sacrificing important parts of your life. Their trust issues can consume your life. Do not let this happen – it can be the ultimate killer of your relationship with them.

You have to be your own person, pursuing your interests and personal activities independently of them.

How to do this so that they are comfortable? You will have to verbally reassure them that they can trust you and that one of the ways to keep your relationship healthy is for both of you to be able to have independence from one another. They may be uncomfortable at first, but as you keep at it, they will see that they have reason to trust you.

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

7. Don’t Take Things Personally

Someone who has trust issues can say and do things that may be hurtful or spark an angry response from you. Do all you can do to resist responding when your partner behaves like this.

You have to understand that they are not lashing out at you but responding to their trust issues and past experiences of trust betrayal.

Be calm and tell them that you want to understand their trust issues, but they are not present with you. Don’t let your disappointment or anger talk instead of you: it may be hard, but that is very important.

8. Learn Their Triggers

People with trust issues have emotional triggers from their past experiences. It can be a word, a phrase, or even a place. When you notice those triggers, take the time to respect them and do what you can when you are with them.

The more you can identify and learn how to avoid, the better off your dating relationship with someone having trust issues will be. If you are hell-bent on dating someone with trust issues, you will want to stay mindful of those triggers and how to avoid them.

9. Make New Positive Memories

One key thing you can do to date a person with trust issues is to make new memories that are positive and show your consistent commitment to earn their trust and make them whole and happy.

As you continue to do this, that person will see their trust issues pushed further back into their history of what used to be.

10. Be Consistent with Displays of Affection

One thing that people with trust issues in relationships have in common is that they have a history of no affection, very inconsistent affection, or, worse, abuse. And they all have a lot of trust issues as a result. What you need to know is the best way to counter the affection issue with someone who has this in their history.

For a person who has had relationships with little to no affection, it’s hard to accept that they have a partner whose affection is real. But they must be able to if your relationship is going to work.

So, how do you intend to deal with this? Get rid of that particular trust issue by showing physical affection whenever you are together and verbal affection when you are not. Keep it up, and they will find it hard to think that you are not genuine.

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Are You Sure You Want to Date Someone with Trust Issues?

People with trust issues represent a challenge for other people who sincerely want romantic relationships with them. There are a lot of challenges to face. but it’s important to understand that, once those challenges are met and overcome, you will have a life partner who will give you love, loyalty, and happiness.

Buckle up. You’re in for a journey with ups and downs. But if that journey lands you at a great destination, you’re in for a lifetime of happiness. And it’s up to you to decide who you want to build that happiness with – and how your happiness will look like.

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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