The Three Stages Of Trust In Every Relationship

“I thought without a doubt I could trust this person”.  The topic of trust in relationships is something that comes up at virtually every session with my clients.  How can I trust him or her again?  I hear this question come up frequently as a couples therapist and relationship expert.  I have worked with a large variety of couples issues over the years.  Whether couples come in for pre-marital help, divorcing or someone had an affair trust always finds its way into couples session.

Generally, when I work with couples I see three stages of trust.  The first stage, before two people meet, they believe they know what trust is and how it appears in relationships.  An attitude of “They will have to prove they are trustworthy” or “How do I know I can trust this person” or some may even have a pre-conceived definition or idea about what trust means to them.  The confidence level of their trust is pretty high ranking and holds much value at this stage.

The next stage I see is when a couple begins dating.    You meet someone and like them so much, trust is given without even realizing it many times. This is what I call the period of bliss or honeymoon of a new relationship.  There is little room for negative thoughts or feelings in this stage.

The third stage, when trust is broken by an affair, a lie or lack of follow through.  The topic of trust becomes a big deal needing lots of attention again. The one who feels betrayed goes back to their original mode of “they have to earn my trust back.  When I work with couples, one of the things I do is help them find their meaning and definition of trust.  Creating awareness about trust is the first step in becoming confident in understanding and giving trust. We rarely learn what trust really means, as we grow into adults. Where do we learn that trust is not a feeling?  We go through relationships waiting to “feel” trust instead being the active participant of the creation of trust.

Couples can have trust back in their relationship again after it has been broken. Where do I begin to learn what trust is for me? Join me for my upcoming three part blog series on the topic of trust, for answers to these questions and more on how you can gain control and learn how to trust again.