Growing up I always struggled with trusting others. I was never at the right point – I either was incredibly distrustful and had alot of walls (still do sometimes) or I was just too fast out the block and was incredibly trusting of people that came across “nice”.
Now, decades later, I’ve come to find out some things about trust:
- Trusting others begins with self-trust. If you do not trust yourself to be able to handle the consequences of something, then it can be hard to have faith in others as well
- It’s a good mix of just giving people the benefit of the doubt and trusting them first and allowing them to trust you by showing them parts of you too
Trust is alot about listening to you. And not beating up upon yourself when you realise that the trust you had in someone was misplaced. When that happens, you pull back, re-evaluate and do something about it to move forward.
Trust can be tricky and is always a delicate balance of how much to give out and how much to retain. But it is absolutely essential in a relationship. It is important to also know what are your trust dealbreakers.
Lies perhaps? But what kinds of lies and in what context?
Here are some great articles (1, 2) from Nat Lue’s Baggage Reclaim on how to delve deeper into trust and understanding your self better for a much relationship with others.
What I thought was important to take note was what she pointed out about being too distrustful or too trusting at the beginning:
Whichever extreme you’re at will put you in the frontline of people who seek to take the mick by at best taking advantage and at worst abusing you. When you’re distrusting, they’ll likely work overtime to charm you or play mind games where you end up doubting yourself, and when you’re too trusting, they recognise your lack of reality and due care to yourself and exploit it.Nat Lue, Baggage Reclaim
#5 Financial savviness/Financial means
This is a HUGE deal. Many relationships end and feelings sour dramatically because of financial issues or just plain not having enough finances to support a family.
I’m actually incredibly surprised at how people never assess this particular quality in their partners when they are dating. You can very quickly tell a person’s attitude towards money by for example, how they act when you guys share a meal – are they okay going dutch, or if she/he paid, are they scrambling to tell you how much you owe them or are they more chilled out about it.
What do they do in their free time? Does shopping, eating out at expensive places, looking and acting “expensive” a big part of their identity? If you are opposite in this matter, it can bring about alot of issues down the road.
I’ve met many married men – interestingly – who were incredibly unhappy in their lives and marriages because their wives are constantly demanding they live lavish lifestyles, wayyy beyond their means. Buying apartments they had to take out huge loans for, huge cars, handbags, eating out, travelling all the time…all these not even taking into account children and the expenses with having kids yet.
Trust me, the disparity between how you view finances and the way you lead your life – because perceived or real financial means tends to go hand in hand with lifestyle and day-to-day living – will start to take its toll on the relationship and any love you’ve felt for each other before.
If you are big on saving and your partner is big on spending, it’s rare that you will be able to see eye to eye, as your worldviews and the values you place on things would already be pretty different.
Personally, I’d never date or marry anyone who is incredibly spendthrift and materialistic, has no concept of saving/little savings and is not willing to work hard to support himself, and is incredibly selfish with money. Those behaviours and qualities just don’t align with my values.
#6 To have kids or not
Another biggie where people can be very divided on. Some people have always known that they want to be parents someday, others are on the fence. This should be discussed early on – if one wants to be childfree, and the other wants alot of kids…no point continuing on.
Like I said above, you can’t really change someone’s thinking and forcing them to share the same value as you – even if they do agree – can lead to alot of unhappiness and resentment down the road.
Having children or not is quite a touchy area for some people and is linked to many other values and experiences. So being clear on where you stand is important. If you do change your mind – and some of us do along the way – it should be because you want to and not because you were pressured by your partner.
Then even though you may both may want to be parents, the way you view child raising can become a point of contention as well. It is important to iron these differences out early, to communicate and see what can be done.
Differences in upbringing can cause alot of stress on you and your partner which will in turn affect the well-being of your children.
#7 Same direction in life
Some of my married clients have pointed out the importance of the couple “growing in the same direction” in life and I’ve found that to be very true of successfully married/partnered people. The thing is – there is no guarantee or certainty that you will want the same things in life all the time.
People can change and you may want different things at different life stages. From my 20s to my early 30s, I’ve changed so much that I doubt if I had married the person I was dating at 25 – that I’d be very happy now.
As with anything in a coupling, discussions and communication is key. Having in-depth discussions about why making certain changes is important to you and seeing where both you and partner can align on is incredibly important to a healthy, happy relationship.
When dating, some people seem to be more bothered about “vibes”, “chemistry” and superficial things like status, looks and where he/she is taking you for dinner.
What really determines whether a relationship can last is actually none of those things and alot to do with what you both value individually.
Values are intrinsically tied to our view of the world, our perspectives, experiences, our beliefs, our childhood. They are also tied to our personality and our dealbreakers – what we can or cannot tolerate.
Take relationship values for example – when to have sex (or not at all) boils down to how you both see sex in a relationship. Some are okay with it on the first date, some prefer to hold off til the relationship is more stable or even til marriage.
Or one of you may feel that as a couple, it is important to meet up everyday to maintain the relationship, whereas the other may feel that once a week is fine.
There’s no right or wrong, just different. The advice here is that if certain values are very close to your heart and you find it difficult to compromise on, communicate them to your partner. If they are unwilling to compromise or you both find that your values are just too far apart, then you may not actually be the right fit for each other.
The biggest sign of respect is how you treat each other in a relationship. When you are down and out, stressed, tired – do you snap at your partner?
When you both have an argument, or are frustrated with each other – are you unkind, use abusive language and dismiss your partner?
When your partner states that they are uncomfortable with a certain action of yours, do you brush it aside and continue doing it?
All these things boil down to respect. Respect cover many things, but on a whole is about knowing and acknowledging that your partner is a whole human being and is different from you. They have their own needs, thoughts, feelings – which could be completely distinct from yours.
Respect is accepting and acknowledging that and working together with those differences. And not trying to control, manipulate, be unkind and rude.
#10 Doing things as a team
Some people are incredibly competitive with their partners. They cannot stand to see their partners more successful at their careers, with more friends, a more supportive family etc.
Approaching love with a competitive mindset in my humble opinion is not only quite unhealthy, it can lead to alot of power struggling down the road.
Relationships should be seen as teamwork – your partner is good at something you aren’t, you complement each other, lift each other up when things are not going well, and sometimes make sacrifices.
If the relationship is all about just meeting the needs and soothing the feelings of one partner, or about trying to calm down or stroke the ego of the other, it leads to an imbalanced dynamic where the couple is trying to one-up each other.
It can sometimes be hard to see your partner as a team-mate, particularly if you’ve been together for an awful long time and have had several spates as well. But your partner is your ultimately your ally and is on your side.
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