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Trust in a relationship – Trusting your girlfriend or boyfriend

Ask any relationship expert what they believe the foundation to a lasting relationship is and chances are that “trust” will appear near the top of the list.

Second to that, the most popular article on this website by some margin is one I wrote last year titled, ‘Dealing with your girlfriend getting hit on’. The comments section of that article currently features over 100 in-depth questions and answers and the recurring topic throughout is that of ‘trust in a relationship’.

This article aims to condense some of the advice given in response to those real-life relationship concerns, as well as give some further insights as to why trust can become such a big issue in a relationship and how you can learn to be at peace with it at all times… :)

Where trust issues arise from:

As with many beliefs and insecurities, trust issues form as a result of cultural learning and past experiences. The past experiences can either be personal experiences, in this case being betrayed in a past relationship, or they can develop by observing external examples of mistrust in society.

There is also a correlation between how much we trust our romantic partners and how much we trust ourselves! A lot of people find it hard to trust their other half because they know how EASY it is to be unfaithful, whether in reality or simply in theory.

A third cause is related to our own self-esteem. Unless we believe one hundred percent that we embody the ‘perfect partner’ and that our relationship is as happy and fulfilling as it can be, there is by definition a fear that there is someone out there more suited to our other half.

Related emotions – jealousy and fear:

Although there are varying evolutionary and psychological theories surrounding jealousy and fear, in simple terms they are both products of our own self-esteem. Jealousy and any related insecurities stem from protection, neediness and scarcity: the thought that if someone steals my loved one away from me, I will be left with nothing!

The only way to fully trust your girlfriend or boyfriend is to rid yourself of any fear of losing them. The feelings may not always be rational because trust issues have a habit of burying themselves deep in our subconscious. I have even had married men (men who are with women that have supposedly committed their entire LIFE to them) who still have this fear of losing their partner and show signs of mistrust every time their wife is away from them for any length of time. This sounds absurd on the face of it but confirms the fact that subconscious feelings of mistrust can often be greater than any logical or justified feelings.

Setting the boundaries of your relationship:

Aside from negative experiences from previous relationships, trust issues arise in a new relationship because people make assumptions for their romantic interests without fully knowing their true beliefs. This pertains to the earliest stages of a romantic relationship developing, where people often assume the people we meet share the same values and beliefs as us regarding monogamy and relationships by default.

There is a vast spectrum of what may be acceptable or unacceptable between a couple and there is also usually a large grey area in the middle. The only way you are going to have a satisfactory level of practical trust with your partner is if you have a clear and mutual understanding of what is and what is not acceptable in your relationship (a common example is how ‘flirty’ to be with other people of the opposite sex).

Having said that, whilst the above compromise may work for many couples out there, it is still suppressing the root cause of any trust issues. In theory, as long as two people are clear and honest about wanting to be in a monogamous relationship, there should be no need for any ‘boundaries’, as any misaligned scenarios will be wholly innocent.

Wanting to know everything your partner gets up to:

This statement is not to be confused with having a genuine interest and excitement to know what your partner gets up to in your absence. This is concerning the people who want to know intricate and nugatory details from their girlfriend or boyfriend (if they’ve been on a night out for example) and then become aggrieved if they later find out they haven’t been told everything.

If you expect your partner to tell you EVERYTHING (especially if they tell you that they will) then trivial details that accidently get forgotten suddenly set off insecure detective mode! It is almost as if we only believe someone is being honest with us if we can build a fully formed picture of their description in our mind. This is of course in the hope that those extra details will ensure that the major ones never get neglected.

A common situation that men in relationships come to me about is in trusting their girlfriend when she is out socialising with other guys, or perhaps if she is still in touch with an ex-boyfriend.

If your girlfriend or boyfriend knows that you will overreact or judge them if they do one of the above two things (even innocently) then chances are they simply won’t tell you about them! This may not be in a malicious or sinister way, but simply to prevent any unnecessary relationship aggro. Of course, if you do then discover what they have been up to, it suddenly becomes a lot less innocent, regardless of their intentions!

The only way to encourage your partner to be completely open with you is to ensure they know that you will never overreact, or more importantly JUDGE them if they tell you potentially undesirable facts.

Fully trusting your girlfriend or boyfriend:

If you know that you experience frequent feelings of jealousy or distrust, it is not something you are likely to be able to rid yourself of in an instant. You can however slowly work on overcoming or desensitising yourself to those negative feelings through repetitive cognition. This is achieved through a combination of being reassured by your partner’s trustworthy actions over time and by not fuelling any anxieties with trust illusions or hypothetical scenarios.

I’ve said time and time again that the most important aspect of a relationship is actively making it as fulfilling as it can be at all times. Doing this and believing it wholeheartedly to be true will conquer all conceivable issues a couple could have. Doing this correctly, mistrust can only manifest if you self-sabotage your own image, much like the causes that lead to being cheated on!

I personally don’t fear anyone whisking Heidi away from me because I don’t believe there is anyone who could! Consequently, I trust her unreservedly and never feel the need to accuse, question or interrogate any of her behaviour. This may sound mildly arrogant but is a direct result of working hard on both myself and our relationship so it is the best it can possibly be at all times. As soon as I start to lose that desire to continually enrich our relationship, is the first sign that the relationship might be subsiding.

Whilst I’m aware that it takes a considerable amount of time to get to a level of complete ease and trust in a relationship, there are a few things you can do to aid the process.

The best temporary measure is to simply suppress any insecurities you may have as soon as they arise. Prevent yourself from displaying unwarranted signs of mistrust towards your partner and the people outside the relationship you fear. This won’t condition a perfect relationship as described above but it will condition a healthy one in the meantime. It will let your partner know that you trust them, which in turn will emotionally pull them closer to you rather than push them away.

“I trust my partner but I don’t trust the people around them”:

A final factor that can affect one’s trust in a relationship is social intelligence. Someone can ostensibly trust their partner on an emotional level, but still fear them getting taken advantage of due to their vulnerability, naivety or lack of social maturity.

If your partner is attractive, they WILL get attention from other members of the opposite sex. All you can do is ensure that they are equipped with the basic social tools so that they can be trusted in any social situation and not risk being taken advantage of. These social tools include things such as being decisive, assertive and never alluding to relationship status.

Going back to an earlier point about allowing your partner to be completely open and honest with you, remember that trust is not circumstantial and you want your girlfriend or boyfriend to be able to tell you anything because they WANT to, not because they feel that they HAVE to!

Trusting your partner’s emotional fidelity is just as important as trusting their physical fidelity… so remember that even if your partner has previous reasons for you not to trust them, what becomes of that is wholly dependent on your input and approach to the relationship! :)

Much love,

Sam

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173 Responses to “Trust in a relationship – Trusting your girlfriend or boyfriend”

  1. Jon says:

    Wow a ton of content here. nice work dude.

    I found over my relationships that trust steadily gets better until you get cheated on which sends it crashing back to square one.

    It seems you have to always have 1 eye on them doing something wrong so you never get taken for a mug. What I mean is that surely if you trust them without any kind of checking in on them then they will do whatever they please? Maybe its me but some people just naturally seem to be a lot more trustworthy than others. Theres a lot to take in with this post so I will read it again for sure.

    Cheers man -J

    • Hey Jon,

      It’s true when people say that trust is something that is built over time and you’re right that once that trust is disrespected, it’s a lot harder to regain it! This is called a ‘positive feedback loop’, whereby every time we trust someone correctly, that positive trust is reaffirmed to us and it becomes stronger the next time. As mentioned in the article though, the majority of whether that trust is respected or not is dictated by our own role in the relationship.

      Regarding your second point, I understand what you are saying but there are ways to go about “checking in on your partner” that are respectful and trustworthy. Like you say, blind trust is usually a route towards being betrayed and worse, convincing yourself that you aren’t being betrayed! There is definitely a balance to be found but the important thing is to never tip over into the insecure, detective side of things. As mentioned in the article above, if the relationship is positive and conducted correctly, you will know what your partner is up to anyway and there shouldn’t be any concerns of mistrust.

      People can definitely come across as more trustworthy by their manner and communication skills as well as their previous track record. It doesn’t necessarily convert to who is actually going to be more trustworthy in reality but I guess these are the sorts of things that will determine the kind of partner you are looking for in the first place. :)

      Thanks for commenting as always, :)

      Sam

  2. Darth says:

    you need a ‘like’ button:) i had to catch up on the past few articles, but they are great, as always. you seem to have an endless supply of relevant relationship topics. keep on keepin’ on!

  3. Jen Goodhue says:

    This is a great article Sam and one I will definately recommend to others.

    I like how you have diagnosed where trust issues come from and how to slowly overcome them along with the bigger picture. I feel I am qualified to comment from the other perspective of the person not being trusted that might give some food for thought to some of your readers.

    My ex fiance had a terrible time trusting me and everytime I returned from being apart for however length of time, after pleasantries he would immediately go into the detective persona you speak of, questioning every little thing I might have done. Of course I had nothing to hide but it really makes you feel unappreciated and disrespected as a woman to not be trusted. In this day and age with social media I think it’s even easier to drive yourself crazy with that attitude and snoop around a loved ones private life. Of course I mean private life meaning the things we don’t have to share all the time like you say in the article.

    At the end of the day, although there were other reasons it was firstly my ex-fiances mistrust for me that slowly pushed me away like you say.

    That’s why I think this article is so important so thankyou for writing it Sam.

    On a slightly random question is there a difference between mistrust and distrust? It has been a while since my grammar schooling days and I got briefly confused when choosing my words there.

    All the best

    • Hi Jen,

      Thanks for sharing your story. There’s a lot that can be learnt from understanding what it feels like to be unfairly mistrusted. Hopefully some of the people who have trouble with trust who read your comment will be able to empathise with how it feels to be on the other side and use some of the advice given.

      It’s interesting how you mention these symptoms evolving as social websites become more popular. I know lots of people who check their partner’s e-mails and private messages all the time. Whilst these people commonly justify their actions by proclaiming “well they shouldn’t have anything to hide anyway”, the basis behind feeling the need to check them secretly in the first place is a gross product of mistrust and insecurity. It’s definitely the first sign that there is distrust in the relationship so you are right to highlight it.

      As for the definitions, I was always taught that “distrust” is a more extreme version of “mistrust”. Mistrust is used to describe suspicion or vague doubts about someone’s authenticity, whereas distrust describes a complete lack of trust. In terms of relationships, persistent mistrust will eventually lead to distrust, which is a lot harder to repair.

      Thanks for commenting, :)

      Sam

  4. Paul says:

    Hi Sam,

    Could you talk more about the “social tools” you refer to? What do you mean by “never alluding to relationship status”?

    • Hey Paul,

      The social tools I was referring to are the ways we communicate to others that we are happily in a relationship and not interested in anything more than friendship. There are a lot of assumptions that are made when a man approaches or interacts with a woman and as women get older and more socially experienced, they become a lot more intuitive towards what a man is sub-communicating when he interacts with her.

      The most common way that a female will learn to diffuse seductive social situations is to simply refer to her boyfriend and relationship in conversation. This can be directly if someone is being particularly forward towards her.

      Alluding to relationship status means making out that you are more available than you actually are. This can be a cause of social naivety (underestimating or misunderstanding someone’s intentions of attraction or seduction for example) or it can be intentional due to not actually being completely content in their current relationship.

      If a girlfriend or boyfriend (typically the younger generation who aren’t as socially experienced yet) worries about any of the above, then by helping them learn those social tools they will feel a lot more comfortable in all social environments where they are likely to be pursued.

      Thanks for your question,

      Sam

  5. Paul says:

    Thanks Sam,

    I’ve sent you an e-mail with more detail.

  6. Anon Emus says:

    I have a question:

    My gf and I have been going out for 2 years now. She’s on a study abroad program for the next 3 months. We’ve been apart for 1 month now. Before she left, we discussed our relationship status, and we agreed that we both want to be together for the long term. We’ve also talked marriage as well. Anyway, we have a slightly modified relationship for the study abroad term. We are allowed to dance, flirt, accept drinks from members of the opposite sex- normally we wouldn’t. My gf didn’t want any rules at all because she didn’t want to be constantly worried about them because in a totally monogamous relationship she wouldn’t feel comfortable flirting, dancing and accepting drinks from guys. She said that If we truly trust one another, and want to be with each other, we won’t need any rules because everything will follow. She said the most she could see doing is making out with someone, but sex or anything romantic is naturally off limits for both of us. She said making out was highly unlikely and probably wouldn’t even happen.

    Anyway, one night she had too much to drink and one of the guys on her trip offered to walk her home. Apparently when he dropped her off, they made out. She doesn’t remember exactly what happened though, but she did come to me and tell me about the issue, so I can trust her in that sense.

    I feel hurt because I trusted her not to make out with anyone, and it seems as if she had. Of course, I don’t know the whole story/ situation so I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I’ve been thinking very negatively about trust and everything.

    Do you have any advice/ opinions about the situation? Do I have any valid reasons to not trust her? I feel as if she’ll make some poor decisions with alcohol in the future on the trip, and that worries me.

    • Hi,

      In a long-term relationship there are inevitably going to be times where the relationship has to deviate from its natural setup. Prolonged time apart is the most common of these.

      Purposefully modifying a monogamous relationship in these circumstances, whilst usually done with good intentions, can lead to several damning situations though. Exemption from responsibility and an overall confusion about the true setup and mutuality of the relationship are two possible consequences.

      The fact that your girlfriend is in a new and presumably exciting environment could make any confusion even more poignant.

      Your girlfriend telling you about what has gone on already does show that she is thinking about the relationship and your feelings, despite what happened. Although it may seem slightly counter-intuitive, she should actually be praised and encouraged to continue to be so open with you.

      The reason I mentioned in the beginning of this response that purposeful modifications to a relationship are not necessary is because they won’t actual deter from what may or may not happen whilst you are apart… How you act and embrace the relationship DURING the time apart is what will prevent any momentary emotions taking over.

      What this essentially comes down to is balancing how often you speak to each other along with how much you miss each other (the times you are not speaking to each other). If her making out with other guys goes against the core values and setup of your relationship then you can let her know how it makes you feel, which is fine as long as it is not done in a needy or defiant way. Do you know how she would feel if the roles were reversed?

      The trust aspect only comes into play when both of you know exactly what is and what is not acceptable in your relationship and this shouldn’t be clouded by circumstances such as being abroad or drinking alcohol!

      Thanks for writing and let me know how the rest of the time apart goes, :)

      Sam

  7. Cora says:

    Hi Sam,

    This was a great article, and one of the more genuine ones that I have yet read. I especially agree that the feeling of mistrust is often a direct result of past experiences and that the mistrusted partner in question may feel unfairly judged as they are stamped with the consequences of the actions of men or women before them.

    My question is, what is the limit to which the partner with the trust issues should be justified in being upset about. Is it right for men to flirt/look just a little? Because they are men? Or is it right for women to enjoy it when another man hits on her? Because it makes her feel special?

    Where is the limit in what we should and should not be jealous about?

    • Hi Cora,

      That is a great question. When it comes to boundaries and trust in a relationship, it is more the intent behind the action rather than the action itself and this differs between relationships.

      Flirting is fun, attractive and validating so in itself is not necessarily a harmful thing towards a monogamous relationship. If there is any sexual intent or intentional disrespect for a partner as a motive for flirting then that will most definitely be harmful.

      The limit of what is acceptable will be different for each couple. Whilst unwarranted jealousy is something specific to work on in a relationship, there is a responsibility as a loving partner to not fuel any insecurity or feelings of mistrust that a partner might feel. In this case the limit will be the point where you know that what you are doing will be seen as disrespectful by your other half.

      Thanks for reading and for the interesting discussion,

      Sam

  8. Julie says:

    So I’m currently having a hard time with my boyfriend. I ask him every couple of months to confirm his feelings for me, and ask him if he will always remain faithful to me, and other misc. questions that are similar. It’s driving his nuts, and it kills me to put him into these bad moods where he is stressed out pushes away from me. We were both unhappy in relationships when we met, and I’m sure that must have something to do with my insecurities. What can I do to trust him to the point where I don’t bother him with these questions?!

    • Hi Julie,

      Asking direct questions about a partner’s feelings and faithfulness are always going to come across as untrusting. Even if they are asked with genuine intentions, think about how they will be interpreted. It is basically saying, “However much I trust you, I have suspicions that you aren’t sincere.” Although those feelings may stem from past experiences, your boyfriend is still going to feel them as a direct scrutiny of his character.

      The first thing to do is to make a conscious effort to prevent yourself from asking probing questions like the ones you mention. When you feel the associated emotions building up, let some of the rationalisation of how it affects your relationship help prevent you asking them.

      A far better alternative to gauge his feelings and commitment is to take some time to plan something special and thoughtful for him, whatever that may be. His reaction to something like that will be a far more genuine reflection of his true feelings.

      You can then encourage him to show his feelings more often through expression, rather than having to verbalise them to you. You can tell him how much you love being reassured of his commitment and desires, although never demand anything from it.

      As the above article discusses, it isn’t your boyfriend that you have to trust, it is yourself, or rather your judgement that you must learn to trust. Some of the short fixes will hopefully help achieve that in the long run.

      I hope some of that helps and thanks for writing,

      Sam

  9. Julie says:

    Thank you Sam for your advice, it’s much appreciated!

  10. Jimmy says:

    Hi Sam,
    I am currently in an akward and hard situation. I have met a 21 year old girl who was 3 weeks from moving 3k miles away from where we met and decided to stay so we could attempt to try and be a couple. Do to her circumstances we were forced to live together right away. I am 26 myself. I knew we were making a mistake from the beginning and we talked about it. I myself havent been in a relationship for 4.5 years do to rough past relationships. I would first like to say your article was unbeleivably helpfull. I do however have a problem trusting her still and i feel its easy to get caught up so easy after only being together for 2 months. I beleive we really do have alot in common past/future etc. But i am bumbed she does have a few things I dislike, going to the beach with friends and guys while im at work without the offer. Constant mood swings and confrontation over minor things. I would like to get into more detail in a later post. But curious on your thoughts and insight.
    Thank you sam

    • Hey Jimmy,

      A relationship progressing quickly and somewhat unorthodox (living together immediately in your case) is always going to be testing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is flawed by default. A relationship is only “moving too fast” if each person’s feelings and intentions are in conflict.

      To start to trust your girlfriend more you want to start by creating a better mutual understanding in the relationship. Knowing how each of you is feeling and what sets off the mood swings and any confrontation would be the first step to solving those issues.

      With regards to your girlfriend going to the beach with friends without you, does it appear to be malicious or simply a misunderstanding or conflict of interests? It’s actually healthy for each person in the relationship to have their own social life as well as a joint one, as long as it is an addition to the relationship and not a replacement for it. Your girlfriend may be doing this simply to take some of the intensity off of living together so soon in the relationship.

      Whatever the reason is, it is in your hands to make an active effort to become more involved with her social life and friends. At the same time, if you are making a conscious effort to keep the relationship relaxed and fun like it should be in the first few months, then living together and any issues of mistrust should be circumstantial factors and not defining issues.

      Thanks for writing and feel free to provide the other details you mentioned if you would like more specific advice. :)

      Sam

  11. Jimmy says:

    Thanks for the reply,
    Well tonight was tough. This past weekend we went to meet the fam (hers).
    Went well somewhat, untill we had a minor disagreement and we had a weird vibe. I always try to push through it and talk about it calmly. She gives me the cold shoulder. I try and ignore that and give her time which ive recently discovered she is not emotionaly ready but want to stay trying and were both understanding of this. She had a break up 6 months before our relationship and i had asked her if she was ready for this with a yes she replys so i mKe an effort of letting myself emotionally go for the better of the relationship. Yes i know its fast but feelings grow fast living together. Back to my tough night, she went to see her xbf to aquire left behind belongings and talk about previous details. I get a text saying she received a call from some girl saying that shes been dating me for a while. Obviously not true. ( either a crazy secret admirer or desperate attempt from a friend of the xbf.) but entirely confused by the whole thing because she now obviously doesnt know what to beleive and scarred of this. I said lol to the whole thing not knowing what to make of it. Not sure what to do let her go/try and explain and hope she comes around? Any info is helpfull and thanks for dealing with the scrambling of words

    • Hi again,

      The relationship does sound rather tense at times from what you’ve described, which is probably heightened further if your girlfriend still seems emotionally affected by her past relationships.

      If you can make an effort to take some of the pressure off in the relationship, then it should help calm some of that tension which seems to be causing conflict. I know you live together and as a result, your feelings for each other have developed very quickly but it seems that a lot of the fun and attractive aspects of the relationship are getting clouded by instances of conflict and the necessity to constantly be solving them.

      You don’t have to verbally explain any of the above but try and make your time together a bit more light-hearted and fun until you both naturally develop a conflict-solving strategy, whilst still being understanding of her emotional needs and desires.

      If the mystery text example comes under the guise of some of the above issues then the same advice applies. If it is something that is genuinely upsetting for your girlfriend then there’s nothing more you can do other than be resolute in your sincerity. Perhaps you can also find out more details such as who sent it, along with their reasoning, to help your cause but try not to give it any more attention than is required to gain your girlfriend’s trust in the matter.

      Take care,

      Sam

  12. John says:

    Hi first of all, i would like to say ur article is extremely helpful but im still having trouble trusting my girlfriend. We have been together for 5 months now and we both just went on a trip to China. However, we are in different places. We always keep in touch txting and a few times webcamming and phone calls, but sometimes we seem to not answer my txts as fast. i wait for over 5 hours from 7 to 12 midnight for her to reply. She said she forgot her cell phone and has told me she is a very forgetful person. I say i understand but in my heart i feel as though she might be lying to me. She is an attractive girl and says she likes to hang around guys more than girls because she believes guys are more “i dont care” type while girls are more “selfish” type. i dont know wat she means by that. I would appreciate some guidance here and i admit your work.

    • Hey John,

      The time it takes for someone to respond via text-message varies considerably. The important thing to notice is HOW she responds when she does. Does she write like she misses you? Does she always seem keen to hear from you? These are the important things to note, not how long it took her to reply.

      Trust in a long-distance relationship, or even if you are just temporarily away from each other, is about letting your girlfriend know that she has a fulfilling relationship with you but that it doesn’t rule her life. You want her to think of you and receive a spike of positive emotions, not feeling that she ever has to check in on you or reply just to appease you.

      The best advice I can give to prevent worrying about what she might be up to or thinking of during the times you don’t hear from her is to keep yourself busy. Take your mind completely off of waiting for her to respond and simply look forward to when you do get to speak to each other and make that time really enjoyable. Forcing her to change her ways whilst she is away, unless she actually wants to, will likely do more harm than good.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  13. Kirby Torres says:

    Hi Sam,
    Thank you for this article it has really helped me a lot. I have some trust issues with my girlfriend that during the times that I am not with her I feel like she is doing something wrong and I also wake in the middle of the night thinking that she might have someone else in her life, or she has another boyfriend. how can I get this FEAR that I have of loosing my girlfriend???? hope you can help me.

    • Hey Kirby,

      It is important to distinguish between trust and fear in these instances. Assuming your girlfriend has never given you justifiable reasons not to trust her, the first step is realising that all of these fears are solely created in your mind and are not a true reflection of your girlfriend’s trustworthiness.

      People deal with these sorts of anxieties in a number of ways and you want to find a way that works for you in relaxing, or somewhat contradictory, busying your mind during these times. Then, each time you are with your girlfriend, reaffirm to yourself just how great your relationship is (a result of constantly being the best boyfriend you can be) and also reaffirm how trustworthy your girlfriend is. Enjoying your relationship and acknowledging the reality of the situation over time will start to act as a positive feedback loop, rationalising a lot of these fears as illusory.

      I hope that give you some ideas to start with but useful advice for any relationship is to always be acting on the thoughts that enrich your relationship, whilst disregarding all the thoughts that you know do not enrich it.

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  14. Glenn says:

    Hi Sam, I am in a relatively new relationship (2 months). I have been having an issue recently where my girlfriend will not tell me about social events within her life. It’s not that I want to know every detail it’s just that I am trying to take a general interest in her life and want to know more about her friends and co workers.

    Recently she attended her first concert, which was with a male coworker. I had no idea she was going to this concert. She never mentioned it to me personally. I found out about it on Facebook when she made a post about going to see this artist. The next day we took a long drive to go visit someone (an hour and a half away) and she didn’t say anything about the concert the entire way. I played dumb about not knowing because I feel something as eventful as a concert should be brought up by her on her own and tell me how fun it was or what songs were played etc. I don’t want her thinking I was snooping her page and that’s how I found out. I feel as if there is a strong lapse in communication within our relationship. I tried talking to her about this later that night, stressing that in the future I would like her to tell me about her social life because she WANTS to and not feel obligated to. She replied by saying that she doesn’t want to feel like she has to report to anyone and just wants to do her thing. I want her to be more open with me without seeming like an over obsessive controlling boyfriend, which I am not. I trust my girlfriend and this is the only thing really hurting our relationship. I highely doubt she is cheating on me, she is very loving and doesn’t do anything to hide our relationship.

    I tried to give this time, but just a couple days ago we were talking on the phone, and she was telling me about her day and that later tonight she was going out with her “coworker somewhere.” I didn’t ask with who or where. I know her coworkers are all males. I just don’t want to be that boyfriend that is always asking these questions that make it seem as if I am keeping tabs on her. How can I get her to stop being so vague about who she is hanging out with by say “my co worker” and just say things like “my co worker Steve and I are gonna check out this bar tonight?”

    What is your advise?

    • Hey Glenn,

      I know exactly where you are coming from and whilst I can tell you are interested in your girlfriend’s social life for the right reasons, it is very easy to come across as insincere when talking to her about it.

      You can’t force your girlfriend to willingly be more open but you can convey interest in ways that show you are interested in what she is getting up to and not why she is getting up to it. As you say, you definitely want to avoid ever coming across as suspicious or overbearing.

      As the relationship is still fairly new, your girlfriend may naturally become more open as the two of you start to integrate your social lives more. Meeting some of her other friends and colleagues and making a good impression with them is one way of becoming more involved overall.

      Aside from that, there is always a right way and a wrong way to get your girlfriend to express herself more readily. Even the example you give regarding Facebook can come across as showing confident interest as opposed to snooping: it is all in the delivery of how you mention it and the tone behind it.

      How often and how specific your girlfriend is in talking about her other plans and experiences reflects directly to how sincere your interest comes across. You should be just as excited to tell her about what you have been up to since you last spoke as you are to hear about what she has been up to. :)

      Thanks for commenting and let me know how things progress.

      Sam

  15. lara says:

    i have been going out with my boyfriend for a bit over a year, neither of us have been in a real relationship before and we have both been hurt by other people, we love each other alot! but are going through a tough time right now, i trust him but sometimes i just slip up and become the ‘controlling girlfriend’ i hate this and we both seem to blame ourselves.. i am determined to change this because i want this to work and i know it can but we want to be a bit less serious less pressure on our relationship, please help thank you

    • Hi Lara,

      Trust has two foundations: first is an understanding of each other’s desires and happiness in the relationship, and the second is being considerate towards each other’s feelings.

      As you both came into the relationship with similar experiences, it should make it easier to empathise and work on these things together.

      It is great that you both love each other so much. One way to take some of the intensity or pressure off is to keep the relationship in perspective. Think of the relationship as two people linked by trust and intimacy through CHOICE, rather than the two of you being constrained to each other.

      However long a couple have been together, suppressing that urge to act controlling or insecure acts as a positive feedback loop within the relationship. Sharing your feelings rather than showing your feelings works in this respect.

      You both seem to be on the same wavelength and wanting the same things from the relationship. Taking a moment to think rationally whenever you feel any negative emotions starting to manifest should solidify that trust over time and in turn increase your empathy towards each other.

      All the best and thanks for writing,

      Sam

  16. Dax says:

    very enligtening article. I believe its a two way street when it comes to trust so here’s my question: is it possible for women in a relationship to make male friends and view and treat them as if they were females?

    • Hi Dax,

      If I understand your question correctly, I assume when you say “treat them as if they were females” that you are specifically referring to desexualising them (i.e. having no sexual attraction towards them).

      It is not a case of having to treat them as a different gender. Men and women differ in a whole host of ways, so it would be difficult to view a masculine male in a feminine manner.

      What matters is that the woman (or man if the example is reversed) in a relationship puts that relationship above any potential romance elsewhere!

      This will initially be a subconscious decision based on how fulfilling that relationship is. Once a woman is completely fulfilled within her relationship, being attracted to other men isn’t a threat to that relationship because she will always be ‘more attracted’ and decidedly faithful to her chosen partner.

      I hope that answers your question,

      Sam

  17. Tyler says:

    Hi Sam,

    I feel that my trust issues are the typical trust issues guys have with their gfs. My gf and I have recently broken up so I can work on my insecurities outside of a relationship. First of all, is that a typical thing for a gf to want (Breaking up so I can work on inner-problems I have outside a relationship?) Anyways, we were together for nearly 3 years and before her I put all my trust into my previous gf who cheated on me with a male “friend” she had. I fear now that any male “friend” my gf will have would be an attraction to her and ruin our relationship by kissing or such. I feel that cheating on someone is something as simple as kissing, so I worry that if my gf is out at bars and such now that we’re not really together guys will offer her drinks and maybe some kissing becomes an option or something. She tells me that this is a time for us to work on things, not for her to screw around on me, but I can’t get myself to know that nothing is going on. I need some guidance as how to know that no cheating will happen with guys at the bar, or any of her male “friends”. Thank you so much for the article and the advice in advance.

    • Hey Tyler,

      A woman will only advocate a breakup if the relationship isn’t working for her, regardless of whose “fault” it is. The way you have phrased it makes it sound more like a typical “going on a break” situation.

      Going on a break represents a conflict in emotions and an imbalance in affection and attraction. I imagine this is where your girlfriend is coming from and although going on a break can be the awakening that some couples require, you must make sure that it actually initiates CHANGES in the relationship.

      In your case, you know the main reasons for the break but if the relationship is going to work, you ultimately want to work on things TOGETHER. Some fundamental factors for trust in a relationship are reassurance, support and a belief in each other. These things are far easier to achieve together. As your example shows, the insecurities become more intense when you aren’t certain of the status of your relationship.

      Although it was your girlfriend that instigated the break, you can be the one to lead the relationship from here; in fact, this is probably what she WANTS you to do!

      As I’ve written about in other articles, being hurt in a past relationship has no bearing on whether you will be hurt in your current one, unless you let those past emotions continue to have an emotional hold over you and your new relationship.

      Think of ways you can make this relationship better than your past relationships in every way, and create a level of understanding and trust beyond what you had before. The sooner you can do this the better, as the next step is discussing these revelations with your girlfriend in a decisive and confident manner.

      There is no need to have a big, emotional discussion; actions speak louder than words in these instances. As soon as you can agree to be together again, you can start living the relationship “in the moment”, without worrying about the past, or about what your girlfriend ‘could’ get up to.

      All the best and thanks for writing,

      Sam

  18. Liam says:

    Hey Sam! Just found this website today and the timing could not have been any better. I feel as though you wrote this article specifically for me because I can associate myself with practically everything you wrote! Now down to my point: I’ve been in a relationship with my girlfriend (Rose) for 7 months, however a month ago my parents decided to move to Europe, so I was forced to come along due to lack of shelter, money, and numerous other necessities. So naturally, going from seeing one another almost every day to using only Skype and email… well, I’m sure you understand :P Up until the move, I have been perfectly happy with how things were.

    However, ever since the move, I’ve started having frequent bouts of severe jealousy and suspicion about what Rose is doing. She tells me everything, suffering through every question of every tiny detail that I ask her, and she does it without complaint. However, about the same time I moved, she began talking to some older guy (a friend of my brother’s and his girlfriend, with whom she is also friends) and naturally – unfortunately even – I became immediately suspicious and jealous. Knowing that there was another guy she regularly talked to, a guy I did not know, brought me to the point where (and I will carry the shame and regret till the day I die) I snooped onto her Facebook to check on what they were talking to each other about. I should have mentioned that by the way, that they spoke through Facebook, but I digress. There I found that he was, in a very obvious and rather blunt manner, flirting with her. She also flirted back, but it was very light and there wasn’t anything in what she said that suggested being anything more than just friends. However, it was clear that he had thoughts that suggested otherwise. It seemed to me (and not the jealous me) that he had hopes of taking advantage of me being 4,000-some miles away from her. However, she spoke of me a lot to him and about how she loves me and how she misses me very much, so it wasn’t as though I didn’t exist in the situation. However, he failed to take the hint and continued to flirt.

    My jealousy was getting more and more severe to the point where one could call it depression. Rose constantly asked me what was wrong, however I always told her it was being apart from her that was causing my moodiness. I just could not bring myself to tell her that I had snooped onto her Facebook to check on what the two of them were saying, because that would mean I did not trust her and I didn’t want her to know that. One night however, it got so bad (my depression that is) that while she was sleeping while we were on Skype I wrote her an email about what I had done and why, and how it bothered me so much that there was another guy that made her smile and that she (a bit of a strong word but I can not think of another) devoted herself to talking with him. Also, I had wrote that it was by no means an excuse for my behavior. Well (and this is just one example of how amazing she is) she forgave me for it and said it was no big deal, that I was just curious and everything was fine.

    She continued to talk to him and I continued to get depressed more and more, until one night I had told her that I was going to break up with her, not because of her, but because of me. I am by no means an idiot, thank god, so I could see just how my depression, anger, and jealousy were affecting and hurting her, and so I decided that the best thing to do was to break up, because then she wouldn’t have to deal with my bullish*t (pardon the use of improper language here :P). However, she convinced me to stay with her, telling me how she loves me and that she needs me in her life. It also helps that despite saying it, deep down inside, I did not want to leave her. On top of that, without even me saying or asking, she promptly deactivated her Facebook without a complaint and told me she stopped talking to him.

    However, again I wasn’t convinced and I reactivated it, checked the messages, and discovered that she had told him her Skype name and that she invited him to continue talking to her from there. Again, I told her this and she promptly created a new one just for me (She doesn’t use the old one anymore). Now, by this point you’re thoughts towards me, both you Sam and other readers, are no doubt purely negative. In fact, I would not be surprised if there will be comments telling me how despicable and untrusting I am, and how she would in fact be better off with someone else, a fact I constantly remind her of. However, she is aware that it is her choice and despite everything I make her go though, she continues to stay with me. Also, I’m really really sorry this is so long haha, but I have a lot to say :P Anyway, so now she stays on this one Skype account and she never went on her Facebook since then. I feel horrible though because of how I’m controlling her life.

    At first I was really afraid that because Rose talks with my brother’s girlfriend so much, that my brother’s gf will either tell the older guy Rose’s number or Rose will ask for her for his to continue talking. This fear, however, has lessened over time thankfully, however it has only succeeded in opening a doorway into a world full of doubt and mistrust. Today, after I had woken up at 6 in the morning to find Rose up at midnight (6 hour time difference from Europe to the United States’ East Coast) texting people. I don’t know who, I didn’t want to ask because I wanted to stay away from reinforcing my mistrust in her even more, however it caused me to send her some things while she was sleeping via text that finally prompted her to want to break up with me, due to my lack of trust in her. Despite everything I had previously said, this caused me to beg her to give me one more chance, a chance I am determined to not throw away.

    Rose means everything to me. She was the one who saved me when my first girlfriend of three months turned lesbian and promptly dumped me, something that cut me deep to my core. I was never big on relationships in the first place, to be honest. Before I had even gotten into one I already had my mind set on searching for ‘the one.’ Well, when my first dropped me, I became severely depressed, losing all motivation and inspiration, essentially losing the will to not only make it anywhere in life, but to also DO anything with my life. Normally I would try and lighten the mood with some light joke about teenagers and love, but for once I won’t :P Anyway, Rose was the one who stood by and lent me not only her ear and her shoulder, but also her heart. I love her deeply, to the point where I would jump in front of a bullet for her and not think twice. I just don’t want to lose her, and when she had told me we were over, well, I panicked and began begging for another chance, as well as making promises that I will change and that I will trust her from now on. However, I’m afraid that despite what happened, despite what I had said and promised (and I did mean it), the moment will again arrive, where she’ll go out with friends or I’ll find her up at night texting a mysterious person and I’ll becoming mistrustful of her as well as jealous and depressed.

    What do I do, how do I go about doing it, and how do I calm and relax myself and let go of these mistrustful and jealous feelings? I DO NOT want what happened today to happen again, and so I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there, to get to trusting her, but I just need something that I can think of that will allow me to let these feelings go. Does that make sense? Basically, when I again begin to feel these negative feelings, I need something that I can think of or do that will stop them from growing any bigger.

    I’m terribly sorry about the length of this post, honest I am. I’ve never been good at summarizing and for your sake, Sam (and for the sake of other readers), I deeply regret not working on that skill. Ah well! In any case, I do hope you can help me with my trust and jealousy issues, and that I can finally again be happy for my Rose that she has a social life that doesn’t keep her cooped up in her house talking to me on Skype/through text all day. Thanks again!

    • Hey Liam,

      Apologies my response rate has been slower than usual. I’ve been away speaking at a few seminars and have had a lot of private clients recently. I will reply to your post as best I can but if you want a more detailed and faster response in the future, I do offer a premium email service for a small fee. If you’re interested, use the contact form at the top of the website to contact me directly. :)

      Now, to your questions…

      A relationship can easily become distorted when there is a sudden change in how it functions. A long distance relationship definitely requires a lot more effort to keep the relationship as fulfilling as possible in every way you can.

      Signs of jealousy and constantly wondering what your girlfriend is getting up to are common when suddenly parted in this way: you’re used to being a big part of each other’s lives and knowing those lives intricately and so it is a big change.

      As for dealing with trust in a long distance relationship, a lot of the same principles apply, as listed in the main article. You do have to have an even more astute level of communication with each other to make it work though. If your girlfriend seems to purposefully hide details during common conversation then that is something to discuss together, however I think you’ll agree that some of your actions have breached a lot of the relationship’s boundaries of mutual respect.

      One thing that is consistent amongst long distance relationships is if you are constantly seeking closure of some sort whilst apart (in this case it is every time you have a suspicion about your girlfriend) it’s going to drive you crazy and ultimately impair the relationship. You have to be even more self-assured and accepting whilst in a long distance relationship than if you were physically together.

      With all that said, you now have the opportunity to properly turn over a new leaf. As you’ve acknowledged, you are with what sounds like an amazing girlfriend who has put up with a lot of mistrust and insinuation. If you don’t believe that she genuinely wants to be with you and only you after all this, then there isn’t much anyone can say to further convince you; you must convince yourself! :)

      The first step now is to restrict the actions that exasperate any negative feelings you have. Make a promise to yourself not to check your girlfriend’s private messages again and not to mention any other guys in the context of mistrust when speaking to her anymore. This may be a tough exercise at first where you’re constantly biting your tongue but the less time you spend nurturing your worries, the less intense they will be! If you instead spend your time treating your girlfriend like a proud and secure boyfriend should (several parts of your comment inform me that you do know what that correct mindset is if you work at it) then you will always be pulling your girlfriend closer rather than pushing her away.

      Long distance relationships are actually great for personal development. They highlight a lot of the insecurities that may get hidden in more typical relationship setups. They also give you the time and space to work on those insecurities without directly affecting your relationship.

      It may sound like a naïve approach but constantly assuming the best from your girlfriend whilst simultaneously treating her in a way that would reflect such a mindset, is the best way to solidify trust. Think of gaps in your girlfriend’s daily accounts as irrelevant to your relationship, rather than as clues leading towards suspicions.

      You’ve got a great opportunity to put the last few months behind you and start the relationship with renewed excitement, attraction and most importantly, trust!

      All the best and like I said, if you want to discuss anything further then feel free to contact me via the website’s contact form and we can sort something out. :)

      Sam

  19. Ryan says:

    Hey sam!

    Well, this article certainly has opened my eyes to some things. :) I am in a long distance relationship.

    My girlfriend is headed off to Ibiza (A tropical vacation spot in Europe) she is but 16 years old and myself 17. I know I am young, and she is younger and I. I really do love her, and im sure she loves me. As we have been in constant communication for 10 months. :)

    The thing that bugs me is that she PROMISES me not to touch alcohol, but still, deep down, it just bugs me. I really don’t know how she would be able to acquire alcohol at a vacation spot which requires one to be 18 to consume it but, it really just bugs me for no good reason. Maybe it’s because the people she lives around tend to get drunk by it. I honestly don’t mind her drinking a controlled amount in a safe environment, but it just scares me.

    I know she would never cheat on me in real life or otherwise, or else she would not be wasting my time in this relationship. (If she did have the nerve to waste my time in this manner, I would promptly break up, and honestly, just laugh at myself for having been so dumb as to get into the relationship in the first place.)

    I do ponder her with the SAME nitpicking questions over and over again, I even ask her friends, (whom most of which I know) and they give me the same answers. ‘she never has touched alcohol! Never will! :)’ ‘She would never cheat on you!’ ‘she’s one of the most trustworthy people I know!’ We’ve broken up four times and have gotten back together promptly in the past, but it was due to a huge mis-trust between us. I feel my trust with her has grown stronger over time, despite the weakness that was show in the past.

    But yeah, thank you for the article, it has really helped. Are there any good ways to boost my self confidence, my confidence in her, and how well I trust people? This may have been a bit much, sorry if I have not summarized right. But thank you sam. :)

    • Hey Ryan,

      I’m glad you liked the article and you sound like a really clued up guy.

      In this case, it is easy to become your own worst enemy. The thing with trust is that although it is something that grows stronger over time, you almost have to give the other person 100% to start with, rather than the other way around.

      Unless your girlfriend does anything to oppose that trust then you must try hard to frame everything as her being trustworthy and your relationship being solid. If your girlfriend chooses not to drink alcohol, or even if she ends up drinking some, it shouldn’t matter if everything else is in place.

      Talking to her friends about those sorts of issues isn’t necessarily bad, as long as you are showing that you care about your girlfriend, rather than you not trusting her. If her friends like you and think you are good for her then they won’t want you to get screwed over.

      A great mentality to have is to assume complete trust in the people that are important in your life and project the image of a guy who won’t accept anything on the contrary. This is a mindset you actually hinted at in the middle of your comment but you have to start fully believing it. People like being trusted and a girlfriend in particular will want to live up to positive attributes that you place on her.

      All the best and thanks for writing,

      Sam

  20. Oscar says:

    Hi Sam, great article. I have lots of issues trusting my girlfriend. I am 35, she is 41. I met her online and we got together while she was in the states. She went back to Canada and we agreed to be exclusive and to be in a long term relationship. we developed deep feelings for each other and we want to build a family. Here is the kicker, we both discussed our previous relationships in depth and details. Crazy!! I know. She admitted to have cheated on one of her boyfriends twice. One of the men was a married man. She had an affair with him for a year. The other one was an old boyfriend that she was with, three weeks after the married man. She kept in touch with the married man after the fact and the guy ended up introducing his wife to her at a social function (shameless, I know). They became acquaintances and my girlfriend even helped them get a condo in Florida (doing research, exchanging e-mails with the wife, etc.). A whole mess. When she talked to me about it she did not seem remorseful a bit. She said that the boyfriend she was with was a long distance relationship and that the sex was unfulfilling and that he was an alcoholic on top of that. My question was, why did she not leave him then? Why have an affair with the married man, travel every month to Bahamas to have unfulfilling sex with the boyfriend and come back to keep having sex with the lover. Complete lack of moral boundaries. She said she did not know, that it was not as easy and that the affairs just served the purpose of fulfilling her sexual needs. Wow. I was floored hearing her talk like this. We have been together for 9 months already and physically about 4 months all together. I am a very moral guy. I don’t lie and I don’t cheat. I have caught her in numerous lies, mostly involving keeping in touch with her ex boyfriends. Contacting them for stupid stuff, but why do it behind my back? She remained best friends with the boyfriend she cheated on twice (he does not have a clue) and I was fine with that. She lied to me too many times and I broke up with her because I told her it is hard enough to have a long distance relationship, to add mistrust to the equation. I told her that her past is a red flag that she is capable of doing deceitful things (the affair happened 7 years ago). She said she has changed, but why after telling me all this, would she keep lying to me? I came back with her and gave her another chance. I told her she needed to earn my trust again. How can she do that? And how can I trust her?

    • Hey Oscar,

      The main reason why people do not recommend discussing past relationships with a new partner is because it can so easily influence how you perceive and how you treat them. Knowing those details is not a bad thing though as long as you can keep your views on it rational.

      Every past relationship is a learning process, whether that process is acknowledged or not. Just because your girlfriend has cheated in the past, does not necessarily mean she will do so again. Everyone is capable of doing deceitful things… It is merely circumstances, moral strength and the nature of their relationship experiences that dictates whether they actually will.

      Verbal trust is not always sincere and someone who has ‘successfully’ lied in the past can get into the habit of lying, even if there is no real need to. What you want to do is actively change your girlfriend’s philosophy towards relationships and honesty. This is achieved in a number of ways, which all ultimately come down to ensuring that your relationship is the best relationship she has ever been in!

      Rather than putting the onus on your girlfriend to EARN your trust, reframe it as your duty to be someone that she WANTS to be trusted by. Respect is a term that encompasses this mindset; you want your girlfriend to wholeheartedly respect you and the relationship! Think of it like there was something about her past relationships and boyfriends that led to her cheating, rather than her being inherently untrustworthy.

      As for sparking change in the little lies she tells, that once again comes down to your attitude with her. People get into the habit of telling small lies due to previous social experiences and by subconsciously weighing up the risk-reward of telling such lies. You want to encourage your girlfriend to be more open with you, which is achieved by having a completely non-judgemental attitude.

      Try and get to the point where you are not in any way judgemental about her past or about her keeping in touch with ex-boyfriends so that she knows and believes this is the case. She will consequently be far less likely to hide stuff from you whilst the relationship is simultaneously happy and fulfilling.

      Her disposition towards cheating is hard to forcibly change but what you can do is continue to create a relationship that she wants to honour, respect and continually be a part of. Mould the ground-rules together, don’t stipulate them! :)

      I hope some of that helps and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  21. Oscar says:

    Thanks for your response Sam. Very good points. While I agree that she might have lied to me in order to avoid being attacked, in my mind it does not justify her lying. You see. I am a rare breed of man. I tell her everything. Whether she wants to hear it or not. She knows everything. She would never be blindsided by anything and I expect the same treatment in return. I prefer a crude and screwed up truth than a beautiful lie. But that’s how I was raised. One of the things, and might be the main thing, she admires about me (according to her), is that I am a stand up honest guy. She always knows were she stands with me. The problem is that she is not. She was raised under different standards. She was raised with different morals and with a total lack of boundaries. I understand I am not all high and mighty or perfect, but is it crazy for me to expect the same respect from her as I give her? We are in a fulfilling relationship but it is hard to not think about her past when her past is what molded her to be the person she is today. She has acknowledged her faults, which is a big step and she claims she wants to change and she admires how I live my life, but I do see the struggle and I do see some of her old self (lying being one of the issues) flashing before my eyes. Like I said, she was able to do pretty screwed up things before me. She has been a mistress twice. Once with a married man while she was with a boyfriend; and before that 2 years with a man who was in a relationship with another woman and never broke up with her. She was the mistress for two years. When I asked her why would she accept to be the other woman, she said she thinks is because it was a challenged and she thought she could win him eventually and pulled him away from the other woman. Wow. This shows a huge lack of self esteem. I adore her because I see beyond these flaws. I truly believe she has a good heart, but she has not had the opportunity to assert herself and really think about what she wants and what she has done. She always chose to forget and keep going. Never learning from her mistakes. I really appreciate your response and she read it and agreed a 100% but like I told her… “does it justify the fact that you lied to me?” her response was NO. It does not justify it but it does explain why I did it. I agree and look forward to keep working with her. She is worth it. I appreciate the response and the time you took to answer it.

    • Hi again,

      You have summed up the discussion perfectly and not only do you sound like an honest and caring guy, you seem to be fully aware and understanding of the whole situation. I am sure you can enjoy a very fulfilling relationship if you both continue working on yourselves and the relationship together.

      One thing that caught my attention in your response was the term “justified”, as in whether your girlfriend’s actions were justified or not. From a psychological point of view, every behavioural trait is justified at the time of event. Even if your girlfriend knows in hindsight that lying is not the best choice, she had very real reasons to do so at the time, even if just to avoid personal anxiety. This is a similar process for how we all make decisions on our own behaviour and like you say, it plays a big part in the person we are today.

      You have partially answered your own questions when you talked about your respective backgrounds and why you might have developed traits that your girlfriend has not. People can change very easily though and you can certainly be the basis for her renewed outlook. In most cases this won’t be an overnight occurrence but it seems that you are already positively influencing her attitude.

      The key from now on lies in cognitive awareness and if you do catch your girlfriend lying, letting her come to her own conclusion that telling the truth is more beneficial for everyone, not by accosting her but by being emotionally strong, attractive and reassuring. :)

      All the best and let me know how things work out,

      Sam

  22. Justin says:

    Hey, I’ve been dating a girl online for about 4 months now.
    I got real bad trust issues. I’ve been cheated on before, so it’s like everything you said. It’s hard to trust anyone now.

    But, do you have any suggestions on how to trust her more? She is in Kentucky, I am in California…The separation makes trusting her even harder for me….I love her like crazy, and I really want to trust her 110%…I really do, I want nothing more then to just feel okay and not worry when she is hanging out with a guy friend.

    Thanks so much for your help already,
    Justin~

    • Hey Justin,

      In a situation like yours it can be difficult to always be secure with the relationship regarding trust.

      Remember that trust is a mutual thing. What you want to do is find the balance between letting this woman know your true intentions and interest, and not being overbearing or needy. Remember this is a new woman. Each new woman should start with a default 100% level of trust, rather than a level skewed by past relationships.

      In such circumstances it is also useful to be more explicit about what the boundaries of the relationship are. You want to know exactly where you both stand and what is expected rather than assumed. If you do have a discussion like this then you want to keep it as casual as possible rather than making it a major issue or becoming too intense.

      The main part of trusting each other is ridding the relationship of any assumptions. The more honest you feel your partner is with you, the more you will be able to trust her.

      I hope that helps and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  23. bob says:

    are there any techniques that may help me not to worry when my gf goes out and help me to trust her more because everytime i have a gf i struggle to trust them for no reason, i think this is because i know how easy it is to cheat, i hate feeling like this and just wanna be able to relax when she is speaking to other lads or when she goes out ?…

    • Hey Bob,

      Rather than dwell on an arbitrary statistic of how ‘easily’ people cheat, instead think about why exactly people cheat. Trusting someone is not about knowing whether they could or would cheat, it is about having a solid level of commitment and respect where neither of you would WANT to cheat. Of course, cheating is only one example of mistrust in a relationship and it is more about being secure in yourself than actually what your girlfriend gets up to.

      Being able to relax when your girlfriend goes out is all about thinking the best of a situation rather than thinking the worst. Men who are completely at ease and trusting in their relationships never entertain any unfounded negative thoughts that creep into their heads. These can be thoughts created from past experiences or from hearsay but they are rarely accurate either way.

      Trust is created when you are both together for times when you are apart, not the other way around. If you have a great relationship the rest of the time then it is purely a case of reframing any negative thoughts with more realistic, positive ones whenever necessary.

      I hope that helps and thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  24. Unknown says:

    Hey there, I read the article and found it pretty useful, but i seem to still not understand how i can change. I’ve been with my girlfriend for about 5 months now, and i feel i can’t trust her, she’s had a lot of flings with guys in the past, and i’ve been hurt a lot by past relationships and flings. I want to be able to trust her when she talks to guys, or hangs out with them with her friends, but part of me is scared to let go, scared to give her my full trust. I say i do and i tell myself i am, but i can’t seem to. I know if I keep doing this and acting like i’m obsessed she will eventually leave me, and i don’t want that. what can i do?

    • Hi,

      Although trust seems like an easy state to achieve in theory, it comprises of so many related emotions that can easily become overwhelming. Gaining full, mutual trust in a relationship is a gradual process, especially if you have had negative experiences in the past.

      One technique that helps aid the process is to disregard the bigger picture along with the past experiences and deal with each testing moment in the relationship separately. Each time your girlfriend mentions talking to another guy or anything similar, think only about conveying confidence and security for that one event. ‘Fake’ confidence breeds real confidence over time and making your girlfriend feel that you trust her at each moment in time, even if you have previously discussed any worries you might have, will start to create a genuine level of mutual trust before long.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  25. Eric Cominski Jr says:

    Hi,
    I been with this girl for about 3 years now, we plan on getting married. Like any other couple we had are ups and downs. She cheated on me before i gave her a second change she mess around again and now just recently she messed around again. talking to other guys on facebook and not letting me see her page. I found a number in her phone after i found dat she told me everything (but i do not think that its everything). I gave her another change but now im always asking question, dont like her going out alot, you know asking as if she cheated on me but i know that will drive her away i love her and want to be with her i really believe she change but if she didnt i want to know can you help me???

    • Hey Eric,

      This issue comes more down to authority and respect than simply trust. Whilst it is great that you have given your girlfriend a second chance and are intent on improving the relationship, be careful not to let her think that she can get away with actions that clearly disregard your relationship ideals.

      Each time you forgive and accept her behaviour, you are reaffirming the fact that you will stay with her regardless of what she does. Instead you want to stand by your morals and let her know that although you are completely committed to the relationship, you won’t accept certain boundaries being abused again. This shouldn’t be in a threatening way, but more in a way to let her know that if she wants to be in the relationship with you, she should know how to treat you and vice versa.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  26. joe says:

    Hi,
    I have been with my girl for 4 months and it is my first real relationship. At the start she went to a party and got really drunk then a lad made a move on her as she was sleeping .. resulting in them having sex. It took her 3 weeks to tell me and by that time I had attached myself to her and I gave her one chance .. we was great but a month down the line I found that she was textingthis lad that had fancied her for 5 years, and insisted that he wasn’t suggesting her getting with him.. after this I found that he was then that caused more trust issues.. then at a recent trip to a club, another lad that had declared his like to her offered to buy her a drink and though I wad her ex.. which j wasn’t happy about one bit. But we spent that weekendtogether and we seemed fine.. but the next dayshe was being really off with me, killing conversation and not replying.. I am lost as to why. She finally come out and said I am suffocating her but most of the time she is the one that suggests we meet ect .. she hasn’t replied to me all night after me stupidly suggesting that she doesn’t care. It really hurts me because of the past and that she is so blunt with me. I love this girl to pieces and often wonder how on earth I have got her as I have a lot of self esteem issues that I can seem to get over :( I am really trying but she isn’t trying as much as I, even after suggesting she wants to start a family with me. This is really killing me and it being my first real partner I am lost as to how to tackle this situation :(.. any help would be brilliant because she has made me more confident but I feel that my lack of self esteem and struggling to trust her is breaking us up. Sorry for the essay :( any help would be amazing !

    • Hi Joe,

      The drunken incident at the beginning of the relationship seems to have set a precedent about how much you trust your girlfriend. If you really do want to give your girlfriend a second chance, then you have to start with a clean slate and not make any assumptions about her actions from now on.

      It sounds counter-intuitive but the more freedom you give your girlfriend (whilst still letting her know that you care), the more she will respect both you and the relationship.

      I am fairly sure this is what she is referring to when she said that you are “suffocating” her. It is not how much you see each other, but how relaxed you both feel whilst with each other.

      Taking what she has already said on board, it is fine to discuss with her why you have some of those feelings of distrust, but eventually you want to agree to work together on those issues. That would be for her to not exasperate any of your feelings, and for you to not make any premature assumptions with regards to trust. If you both sincerely want to be together then that level of communication and understanding should be fairly easy to balance.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  27. John says:

    Hi Sam, great article and very useful follow up to people’s comments… thanks.
    Perhaps you can shed some light on my situation too?
    I’m in a difficult place right now and feel I may have left it too late to save my relationship, which has been constantly undermined by irrational trust issues on my part.
    I met my girlfriend 18 months ago while traveling and we immediately started being together 24/7. After the trip, I moved to her country (she is of a different nationality and ethnic/religious background) simply to “be with her.” I have lived in different places before so the adjustment from that point of view was not too difficult.
    However, even while we were still traveling I started to have serious trust issues. These stemmed, I believe, at least in part from her telling me about her past relationships and a rather Bohemian lifestyle. Personally, I am not against that kind of lifestyle, but for some reason it led to extreme jealousy on my part: initially I would seek more and more details about past events in her life, use these to irrationally question her fidelity to me, and worry incessantly that she would be unfaithful. Thoughts of her with other guys from the past would constantly loop through my head.
    In response, she cut off contact with “certain people” in order to calm me and to a certain extent it worked, I largely stopped obsessing about her past. In addition, I should say that while we have been together she has never done anything to warrant suspicion on my part, in fact, she has never been anything but loyal and honest.
    So over the last few months, I can say that my fears about her have dissipated in that regard. However, they appear to have triggered another problem: she now feels I am too controlling. In trying to placate my worries and trust issues she has started to feel she is unable to have any independence in her life: as she put it, she feels in a “cage.”
    I have tried to relax and be less controlling, but a few weeks ago she said she wanted to go to another city to visit some friends alone. Stupidly, I got drunk that night and we had a major argument with me accusing her – irrationally I know – of not wanting to be with me and looking for someone else.
    Anyway, we calmed things down over the following days, but resolved to have some time apart. We have now been away from each other for two weeks, though still talk regularly on the phone.
    In this period, I have had time to think and I realise that my actions toward her in the past were totally unwarranted, wrong and very harmful to what otherwise would be a fantastic relationship. I also am no longer obsessing anywhere near as much about her cheating on me or torturing myself with imagined images from her past.
    If and when we get back together, I understand what I need to do: be more self-confident, trust her and give her the independence she needs. My question is, how should I do this? How can I avoid slipping back to being jealous, controlling and possessive?
    We have both talked about a fresh start, to going back to being the self-confident, happy, easy-going people we were when we met, but do you think that all of these problems may have irrevocably damaged our relationship? Or can we put them all behind us and move on?
    We both deeply love each other and both agree that love shouldn’t be this harmful.
    Thanks,
    John

    • Hey John,

      There are only a few instances where a relationship is ever truly beyond redemption. If both people in a relationship are listening and willing to give the other a chance, past misgivings can easily be forgotten.

      The time you’ve had for reflection seems to have worked well and treating the relationship as a “fresh start” sounds like a good idea. The main effort will be in truly putting the recent negative moments behind you and making sure they don’t crop up again, even in discussions. Renewed trust comes solely from actions: how you act from this point forward!

      The conclusions you have come to in your comment convey the right attitude to have from now on. Keep those mindsets at the forefront of your thoughts and constantly remind yourself what the right attitude for a mutually fulfilling relationship is. As long as you put priority on those beliefs over any contradictory or irrational behaviour, you should be able to prevent slipping back into any jealous or controlling ways. You know exactly the version of you that your girlfriend desires, how you want to be and how you want the relationship to be. You simply have to keep reaffirming those three things and take the renewed relationship one day at a time.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  28. Hayley says:

    Dear Sam,
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 months now. In this three months we have been through a lot of good and bad moments. My whole family loves him and he is everything I have ever wanted. However, I feel like I keep messing up and that is not like me at all. Even though I haven’t cheated on him He doen’t trust me and wants me to come up with ways of how I am going to show him he can trust me again. I feel like I have repeated myself a million times with telling him I wont drink without him, I wont go to parties without him, and I wont talk to guys. I feel like I need to come up with something more meaningfull. I was hoping you could give me some ideas on what else I could do for him. He means the world to me and I am scared to lose him.

    Thanks,
    Hayley

    • Hi Hayley,

      It’s great to hear that you’ve found someone you like so much. It is also interesting to discuss this topic from a different perspective: someone wanting to help reduce their partner’s issues with trust.

      Although your willingness to not drink, speak to guys or attend parties without your boyfriend sounds admirable, it actually doesn’t help his trust issues; in fact it actually nurtures them.

      The other potential concern is that it frames you as the cause of any problems in the relationship, whereas that is not the case at all. With this method, in the long run you might find yourself worrying about what exactly you can and cannot do, and what details you can and cannot tell your boyfriend!

      Trust issues in the absence of proof are not an issue with the relationship but an issue with the self. Assuming your boyfriend falls under common trust patterns, it is not the actual act of you talking to other guys that is a problem, but that he feels inferior, helpless or insecure at those times.

      Instead of playing into his insecurities and restricting your own lifestyle, you can help your boyfriend by reassuring him of your affection at times when he is least trusting. For example, if you are out with other people or having a drink without him, sending him a text message to let him know you are thinking of him does wonders. As long as it is done with sincerity and respect rather than justifying yourself, it will solidify trust.

      To get to that point where he is accepting that you are a free woman and don’t have to be kept tabs on, you might have to confidently discuss your position. I know you say you feel like you have repeated yourself a million times, but you do want to come to a compromise. The onus should not be solely on you to keep the relationship mutually fulfilling.

      Take some time to think of ways you can confidently assure your boyfriend of your feelings for him and let him know that you can be trusted at all times. He will feel far more secure in the relationship once he believes that you are trustworthy because you respect the relationship, and not just because you are forced to be trustworthy by limiting your lifestyle. In the long run this is what is going to enrich the relationship and increase his trust for you, rather than postponing those feelings and risk something innocuous getting blown out of proportion further down the line.

      All the best and thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  29. Cassandra says:

    Hello Sam,
    Wonderful post! I’m not sure if you’re still responding to replies but I would love your help. I’ve been with my love for 2 years now, we are best friends and do everything together. This past 6months have been hard on our relationship because he is now at a university where he has met new girls (says they are easier to talk to) which are his friends. See we have diffrent values, I believe it is inappropriate to speak with the opposite sex about sex and ones personal relationships. I just think it opens the door for misleadings and having our relationship seem vulnerable. I’ve expressed my feelings and conserns but my love says this is how friends talk. So my question is are my values irrational?

    • Hi Cassandra,

      All values and beliefs can be rationalised by the person who holds them true, so it is not for anyone else to judge them. The important thing is to understand where they personally come from and how they are useful. It is also important to remember that they are your values and may not be shared, and certainly shouldn’t be imposed on anyone else, least of all a romantic partner.

      You do not have to share the exact same values to enjoy a fulfilling relationship, but what is important is that you respect each other’s values. In this case, good communication will probably play an important role.

      You say that your real concern is the relationship might become vulnerable or misrepresented. Those are the factors that you want to help your boyfriend empathise with, as a completely separate discussion from the fact that he has made female friends. If you try too hard to influence his behaviour then you are likely to encounter resistance, which can lead to contempt.

      As I mentioned, when it comes to values and beliefs in a relationship, think carefully about whether they are mutually beneficial. With regards to trust, you want to make sure that your views are not based on insecurities and that everything you do is because you truly believe it is the best and most enlightened way to conduct your relationship, for your sake and your boyfriend’s.

      Thanks for commenting and reading the website,

      Sam

    • Cassandra says:

      Thank you!

  30. Piper says:

    Hey Sam,
    I’ve been dating this guy for about 5 months now, our relationship is going pretty good for the most part, we’re still learning about each other. But recently I’ve been having some insecurity and jealously problems. My boyfriend is very honest with me and tells me whatever I want from his past, but now I’m afraid I know too much because it has been really eating at me. I keep constantly thinking about it and comparing myself yo the other girls. Which I know this is not good at all. This is not like me either and lately I’ve been jumping to conclusions about things. For example he didn’t tell me he was with another girl doing a project til after I asked what he was up to. I don’t know if that is wrong of me to jump to conclusions because he didn’t tell me right away. Usually he does tell me things and he said he just really wanted to get the project done and make it to class and forgot to tell me, he didn’t think it was a big deal. Normally this isn’t a big deal granted I would have been fine if he told me before but from my point of view I thought it was shady of him. Now he has not given me a reason not to trust him, so I don’t know why I am acting like this. Although I do believe it may have to do with my past relationship, which I read in your article and you’re right I can’t bring that into this relationship because it will destroy it and push him away. your article is very helpful I just need some guidance on this one.
    Thank you

    • Hi,

      Although some information from your boyfriend’s past may seem undesirable to know, you can never “know too much” if you want an honest and trusting relationship. As long as you understand that the past is the past and what counts now is the trust you share in the present, it is always best to have everything out in the open, free of judgement.

      In the same way that there are reasons why you are no longer in your past relationships, there are also reasons why your boyfriend is no longer in his previous relationships. You are together now and have the opportunity to have the relationship exactly as you both want it. There is no reason to compare yourself to other women. You are the girlfriend that he chooses to be with now, which puts you in the ascendency by default.

      Jealousy and insecurities fall along a linear scale. They can increase or decrease in intensity but it is always a gradual process. The easiest way to start heading in a positive direction is by maintaining positive affirmations and remaining rational at all times.

      It helps to give your partner the benefit of the doubt in most cases, whilst they remain trustworthy. The more you start jumping to conclusions, the more you will start to torment yourself by creating imaginary scenarios. You can actually influence what conclusions you jump to, so try to always make those conclusions positive. You have already acknowledged that your boyfriend is honest and trustworthy, so try and reframe every situation with that to be the absolute truth.

      If something really is a big deal or threatening to the relationship, it will always be shrouded in contempt or secrecy. There won’t be any ambiguity if you make an effort to remain level-headed in such instances. If your boyfriend acts like something genuinely isn’t a big deal, then chances are that there really is nothing to worry about.

      It sounds like you have a great relationship. Learning about each other in a relationship never ends; it is within your control to make sure it is always learning based on positive assumptions and not negative ones.

      Thanks for reading; I’m glad you like the articles,

      Sam

  31. Kat says:

    Hi Sam,

    Great to read all of your responses. I have some similar issues that have been brought up in previous posts on this thread about trust but hope you can take some time to look at this and give me your insight.

    I have been in a relationship for a little over a year. We live together now and we have some great times but when we argue it’s bad.

    My bf told me a lot about his past and discussed things openly with me. He never really wanted to know about mine. Unfortunately, his telling me about these past relationships (I’ll give examples) has made me insecure, I think he wants someone like these gfs from the past, and like you mentioned in other response I end up believing in situations I create in my mind etc. One example, his ex-wife got implants and a tummy tuck (with child support he was paying her) and became a stripper. He was friends with this woman (before we met) on Facebook and made comments about her body (she has implants too), and carried on about her (they never dated). This made me think he wanted someone with a bigger chest and liked women that were looking for attention. I am the same age as him, I am attractive and in shape but now that I know these things I have started to question my attractiveness etc.

    He also told me he had a brief “situation” with another woman his friend set him up with just for sex and he then had to tell his friend about the sex. They (my bf and the woman) made videos etc at first he said because she wanted to but then later said he did because he thought it would be cool to see him with her versus porn, he even showed me what she looked like on Facebook, and she was not attractive, but he hasn’t made one with me and keeps making excuses why he doesn’t.

    Also, the same friend took him to a strip club and paid for a lap dance for him. Of course the girl was young and had implants.

    He also used to watch a lot of porn. And has told me about that.

    I find I think about these things from the past and ask him questions about them, think that he is thinking about them. At this point I just want to forget about these things and almost wish I didn’t know them. I logically know thear are in the past, but emotionally I let the thoughts tear me apart.

    He has a job where he is now going to have to travel, which make me uncomfortable, wondering if he is going to go to strip clubs, which he says he won’t. His ex wife was always texting him and asking him for hugs and I asked him to put a stop to that as it was inappropriate, and he did stop it.

    I just don’t like him being around her, and unfortunately his best friend is married to her sister so she is always around! It drives me crazy that his best friend knows about this other woman he set him up with just for sex. I feel like I have to compete with the past and I have trouble trusting in what he says he finds me attrative, I am the best he’s been with etc.

    He has not cheated, we are together most of the time. We have shared interest and get along on all other aspects. I want to be able to not let the past keep getting in the way.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Hi Kat,

      Once negative or illusory thoughts about a relationship start creeping into your mind, it is easy for them to snowball and get out of hand. Your worries are not so much about trust as they are about self-acceptance and self-esteem.

      Although I can think of counter-arguments to each of the negative assumptions you’ve mentioned, it is only you who can break the pattern and let the logical thoughts you mention take precedence over the emotional thoughts. Even if someone showers their partner with compliments, they will only seem sincere if that partner already believes those compliments to be true.

      One thing I will say is that regardless of any positive attributes his past girlfriends might have, he is no longer with them for a reason. His ex-girlfriends do not have any bearing on your relationship and the less you bring them up or even put thought to them, the more content and relaxed you will be in your relationship.

      I can only speak from personal experience but a woman being completely comfortable in her own body is infinitely more attractive than a woman being what is considered “the perfect shape and physique”. This is true for the majority of men I know. Looks and indeed cosmetic surgery are by definition superficial, so it is a lot more important that you regain your love for your own body. I have a feeling that you will start believing your boyfriend’s attraction for you once you do, which will in turn allow you to regain that level of trust.

      Take care and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  32. Kat says:

    Hi Sam, I really appreciate you insight. It was very helpful reading it. I know you are right that I have to break the current thought pattern because I am not relaxed and content.

    Thanks again!

  33. Serah says:

    Hi Sam,

    I’m very glad I found your site. Your articles have been very helpful!

    So I guess the #1 way to be able to fully trust your partner is by having a good amount of self-love and self-esteem yourself huh? Because if you love and accept yourself 100%, there will be enough space between you and whatever undesirable situation arises with your partner that you will be able to deal with it in a rational and healthy way rather than letting it attack your self-esteem. Also if you love and value yourself you will know that you will get through any challenge just fine.

    I like how you said that you’re not afraid of anyone whisking your partner away because you don’t think anyone could and in another article, that you have to believe that you are the BEST option. That’s really something I’m working hard toward.

    My boyfriend and I moved in together (to a different state with no family or friends) about 2 years ago and we went through a difficult time in the beginning. I had never lived on my own before, (he had), so I had some trouble adjusting to new responsibilities. During that time we had a few horrible arguments. :(

    About 3 months after living together in a whole new city, I found out that my bf had subscribed to a dating website. I found this out by looking through his phone because one day I just had this feeling that I needed to and sure enough first thing I saw was the website account. He had been emailing a few girls, just normal “getting to know you” type of stuff. I was devastated. I’ve always had trouble with my self-esteem but that nearly destroyed it. I confronted him about it and he told me everything. He said he was just curious “what else was out there” because I’ve been his only real gf and that the fights we were having contributed to him straying. He said he never met up with anyone and deleted the account. After that I was in hell. Always wondering what he was doing when I wasn’t around. Long story short, he did the same thing (joined two other dating sites) and browsed the craigslist personals ads on a few different occasions and months in between an after that. I found out about all of them by looking through his email, cell phone or computer.

    The last straw was this past September when I checked his phone and saw he had joined another website. He said he was just looking for “friends” this time but I didn’t buy it; they were all girls. Anyway, before, I had resisted breaking up because I was afraid of being alone but this last time I was ready to break up and to accept being alone. It was then that he said that he wanted to be me and that he wanted us to be happy and put everything behind us. We had a long conversation and I agreed but I made sure to tell him that it was the last chance because we would not survive another situation like that. He promised that he was committed to me and our relationship and that he was going to be faithful from now on.

    I know some people would judge me and say that I’m stupid for staying with someone who has hurt me in the same way more than once but here’s the thing: what he did was only online, and consisted of normal ‘getting to know you’ conversations, nothing sexual. It was still very wrong and was cheating but I’m glad that it wasn’t physical and that I found out about it in time to put a stop to it. And the other thing is that I, myself, went through a phase of doubting my partner and made similar mistakes of my own, so unfortunately both of us made the stupid mistake/decision of being unfaithful to each other at some point. I’m grateful though that neither of us had any kind of long term affair or sexual affair because that, we would probably not have survived. Through my experience I’ve learned a lot about myself, my partner, and a lot about forgiveness and compassion. It’s a complex situation that people wouldn’t understand unless they went through it themselves.

    The thing I’m struggling with now is that even though he has been loving and faithful for the past 6 months like he promised, I sometimes still feel the need/urge to check his phone, email or computer to make sure that he’s being faithful. I haven’t found anything at all suspicious since the last time, which I’m very relieved about, yet I feel that an involuntary part of me does want to find something, so that I can feel self righteous, leave him and have the egoic satisfaction of thinking that he’s a bad person for hurting me. I know it’s ridiculous and dysfunctional! This reminded me of the article where you talked about your friend who checked his gf’s email everyday and was overjoyed when he finally found proof that his gf was cheating and he could justify his mistrust. I do not want to get to that point. :(

    I hate checking my bf’s things..it makes me feel like a slave to circumstance and mistrust..it makes me feel like an insecure loser and I feel guilty for not fully trusting him and going behind his back to keep tabs on him. He says he trust me fully so why do I have trouble trusting him fully? I want to stop looking through his stuff because I know that if I keep doing it’s just going to cause stress in our relationship and even worse, bring about the very situation that I DON’T want to happen again.

    If you could please offer me some advice I would be very grateful. How can I get rid of the urge to check up on him? How can I tell if that need is legitimate (that something is wrong) or that it’s just worry and fear based on the past? And how do I leave the past in the past and move forward in a healthy way? (like you said in one of your articles that the cheating in the past no longer matters and that if you both choose to stay together and work it out, you have to leave it in the past.) Does it all boil down to my self-esteem, self-acceptance? Would my need/urge to “protect” myself and to be in control by looking through his things dissolve after I’ve learned to love myself 100%?

    Sorry for the lengthy reply. I just REALLY want to stop sabotaging myself and my relationship because despite our mistakes, I know we do really love each other, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived our difficulties right? I just want to do my best to give our relationship the best chance possible.

    Thank you very much for you time! I really appreciate it. :)

    • Hello; welcome to the website! :)

      Developing solid self-esteem is a great basis for any healthy relationship. There are obviously external factors too but the main thing is to actively learn from every experience and let it enrich that self-esteem rather than negatively affect it. I love your opening insights about the value and importance of self-esteem and confidence.

      For a couple to successfully get through a previous blip in trust, several things must occur. The first is to understand what led to your boyfriend wanting to go on dating websites in the first place and secondly, what things you can both do to void such desires outside of the relationship. Assuming your boyfriend’s explanations are sincere, I like the way you have rationalised that it was only online and that it is something you can both work through. This aspect is actually a separate issue from trust and is more a case of making the relationship as mutually fulfilling as possible, something that all relationships should be constantly applying.

      With regards to trust, you want your boyfriend to be aware that it is the secrecy and dishonesty that affects that trust and not necessarily his actions. It doesn’t matter how you found out about his activities because in a monogamous relationship, no one should have anything to hide! If you can make your boyfriend feel that it is always better to be honest (from a place of confidence rather than fear), then this will become far easier for you both.

      That being said, you do want to do whatever it takes to not look at his private messages and email without his knowledge. Now that you have got through the whole online dating drama, hopefully your boyfriend will see the benefit of being more open and honest about his feelings from now on. This should be based on the result of having discussed the situation fully and not simply assumed.

      In order to create a sincere interconnection where you feel like you can tell each other anything, you want to encourage more discussions about how you see the relationship, and not just when something goes ‘wrong’. Leaving the past behind you is mainly to prevent jumping to conclusions with regards to future behaviour. As I mentioned above, every incident is an opportunity to enrich the relationship: take the lessons that you can to learn from the experience before completely moving on from it.

      Learning to “love yourself 100%” will help with almost every aspect of a relationship but mainly in the sense that you will hold yourself to higher standards. You can have perfect self-esteem and still not trust someone. The difference is that by having unshakable confidence, you will not accept being treated anything less than perfectly, and your partner will know this.

      I’m currently writing a new article on the topic of boundaries in a relationship and in writing this response to you I’ve noticed several crossover points. It should be up on the website within the next few weeks; you might enjoy reading it to get a slightly different angle on some of your questions.

      I’m glad you have found the articles helpful so far and it’s great to have you here, :)

      Sam

  34. thisislife says:

    what are some ways to make my crush trust me more? and how can i understand her more, so as to make her share her problems with me?

    • Hi,

      The only way to get someone to trust you more is to consistently be the epitome of honesty, authenticity and reliability. Some people have their own insecurities that make it hard for them to fully trust someone regardless of the reality of the situation. In such cases, all you can do is continue to reassure what trust they do have and give them no reason to ever justify opposing feelings.

      Having a woman share her problems with you is not necessarily a good thing. You want to be her source of positivity and happiness as much as possible, not an opportunity to vent. Learning to read a woman’s sub-communications is probably the best way to understand her better and really know how content she is. If you have a browse around the website, you will find articles where I discuss those topics in further detail.

      Thanks for your questions,

      Sam

  35. Serah says:

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my questions and offer great advice. It was very helpful.Looking forward to your new article!

    Best wishes!

  36. thisislife says:

    Hi Sam, thanks for taking your time to reply to my question. Another question is, what are ways whereby I can give her security? With that, she’ll probably get used to around me, and then trusts me gradually. As for sub-communications, are they related to body languages and all that>

    • Hi again,

      Security in this context is much the same thing as trust and reliability. Being reliable means never contradicting something that is assumed of you. This is not to be confused with spontaneous or unpredictable, attractive behaviour; it applies to anything that she assumes is a foundational aspect of the relationship. You are right that this is a gradual process if such trust is not already present.

      Body language is a big part of sub-communications but it does extend to things such as tonality and expressions. The overall aim is to have a gauge for how the other person is feeling at any given time. That way you will know when to pull them emotionally closer and when to give them a bit more space.

      I hope that clears up the answers a bit better,

      Sam

  37. joe says:

    hi sam, thanks for your great post
    i think i kinda have a deep (actually very deep) self-esteem problem. i know my girlfriend is honest to me and never leave or cheat me. i know it by my brain. but every time we are away from each other or she cant be with me, the negative thoughts rise in my head and make me insane and lead me to insult her and breaks my security feel. i ask my self”
    “what if that guy with what nice car rush on her and now she is talking to him?”
    “what if she is just trying to get rid of me somehow so she dont answer my phone?”
    “what if that cousin she always talks about kinda have a relationship with her?”

    and every time she talk about another guy like this: “john doe is a really nice guy”
    i think she is kinda telling me “hey you crap, john doe overs you, i wish i were his gf”

    and i really get mad, cant do anything about it, just more drink and smoke.
    my life is being ruined that way. what am i gonna do?

    • Hi Joe,

      You’re right that this is a self-esteem issue and the only person who can turn it around is you. There are people who can help you and if your girlfriend is particularly empathetic, she can too. You don’t want to expect or pressure her to do so though. You also must resist reacting badly when she mentions other men or anything else that you could build a negative illusion around.

      There are an infinite amount of “what ifs” that you could create in your head. None of them matter because none of them are based on reality.

      What you have to try and do is remain present as often as possible and make sure the logical thoughts (that your girlfriend is honest and trustworthy) always overpower the negative fears. There are lots of great books that discuss these mindsets in great depth (a popular one is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle) but ultimately the alignment of positive thoughts and confidence must come from within.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  38. Kiri says:

    hi sam,
    i’ve a problem wid my gf cauz i cant trust her…
    plz give me some advice…
    n she loves me alot i knw bt she makes me feel jealous sometime…
    n she dnt have any past like exx…n all…
    n we were together about 1.5 years…
    when i took name of break up..
    dat tym she cried alot..n alott…
    n when she go for outing..wid her family or friends….
    i’m scare of lossing her..
    sorry for my bad english..
    i hope u understand my feelingss..
    thanx.

    • Hi Kiri,

      The first thing to do is spend some time getting to the root cause of all the feelings you describe and trying to truly understand them. The first step to overcoming issues related to trust is to become fully conscious of their cause and relevance. Only at that point can you work on dissociating from those feelings that you know do not benefit your relationship.

      At the same time, it may help to discuss the issues more openly with your girlfriend. A lot of people worry about doing so as it can reveal too many insecurities and too much vulnerability. Emphasise that the priority is to make the relationship as mutually fulfilling as possible. If you are able to empathise with each other, you should be able to complete some of the above thought exercises aimed at overcoming jealousy and trust issues together.

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  39. kiri says:

    thanxxx broo….
    for giving me ur precious tym….

  40. joe says:

    Dear sam,

    Me and my girlfriend have been together roughly six months and had a previous relationship together for a couple weeks that had to end due to movent of adresses, things are perfect except i did reaahd a message tht shoe had talked to a guy during the beggining of our courting the second time abou two three weeks before we became official, she told me thy only went out once and they went as a group but actually thy went on two dates alone, i asked the guy and he told me he was jealous.of me.and i was a lucky man and that they were not phsical and he could obviously tell she was in to me, im just curious if this is. A neccesary reason to lose trst and if i should confront her or not? On a side note she did think i was just going to play her because she believes thats wat i did the first time.although i didnt i just was scared to get attached wth her leaving and all

    • Hi Joe,

      On the face of what you have written, it does not sound like there is any genuine cause for concern about losing trust in your girlfriend. She went on those dates before your relationship had properly been established and confronting her on what she no doubt views as past and trivial is unnecessary. Instead, focus on the relationship now, especially working on changing any lingering assumptions she might have about you “playing her” or indeed, not trusting her.

      At this stage in your relationship, you can talk to each other about topics like trust in a general sense, but picking on what seems like an isolated incident from some time ago will not achieve much.

      Backing this up is the fact that this other guy does not seem threatening or resentful in the way he has spoken to you.

      Unless there is a genuine concern about something in your relationship, you should always choose the option that increases your trust for each other over one that could potentially ruin your trust for each other.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  41. afdan says:

    I read your article and I totally get it. But just because i understand something doesn’t make it easy to apply. I’ve had major trust issues, partly because my brother that was happily married ended up being cheated on, and partly because of all the various girls I’ve met through out life. Now I’ve found the love of my life and i cant stop my self from over analyzing everything, the other part that doesn’t help is that its a long distance relationship being that i am in the military. Do you have any advice in getting rid of these insecurities and fears?

    • Hi,

      You are right that knowing how to have a happy and trusting relationship does not automatically make it easy to apply, but it is still the first and most important step. Knowing that it is possible to have a fully trusting relationship leads to knowing that it is possible for YOU to have a fully trusting relationship!

      The first thing to do is to recognise that all the other reference examples you have given, such as your brother being cheated on, are independent events and the result of certain factors specific to that relationship. Of course, those certain factors (deriving from insecurities and subsequent behaviour) can be repeated, but understanding what helps and what hinders trust is what allows one to break the pattern.

      A long distance relationship can actually work in your favour if you make a conscious effort to do things that distract your mind from overanalysing. Distance does not mean an absence of feedback and communication: you just have to become better at doing it and make a continual effort not to sabotage the relationship.

      There aren’t any instant cures for removing insecurities or fears but know that how you think and feel and how you represent yourself do not have to be identical. Forcing the latter to be how you want it to be usually helps the former over time.

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  42. Allison says:

    Hey! So i just read your stuff and I wanna ask for advice. Throughout all my past relationships, I been loyal but I was the girl always cheated on. I am an international model so therefore, my past boyfriends would think a hook up would happen when in reality, it didnt. I am now in a relationship with this amazing guy and we are both graduating high school now and going to the same college if his parents don’t change colleges at the last second.

    He has all this faith in me and loves me for me. But i have a hard time trusting him though because of my past experiences. I hate the way I do this to him because he deserves to be fully trusted around the opposite sex. But I have been slowly getting used to it and it has been easier to trust him now. But I just recently went on a cruise to the bahamas to do a photo shoot for a magazine so I wouldn’t have my cell phone with me due to no service and roaming charges when I did have service.

    I come back and he is upset with me because many of his friends told him I was cheating on him on the cruise. Many are his friends and never have met me so he took their side and he honestly thinks I did. I been telling him I havent but he asks for proof and asks for a way to show I was a faithful girlfriend. He said he is loosing his faith in me and that he is not wanting to be apart of this relationship because the trust is not there.

    How can I fix this? I know that I haven’t done anything wrong and I know that I haven’t crossed boundaries with anyone because that is disrespectful to him. I have had my heart broken before and I promised myself that when I love someone, I will fight and protect for what’s mine. But now he’s giving up on us because he doesn’t know if he should believe me or not.

    Now I’m getting the cold shoulder and he doesn’t seem too excited to talk to me and is just more reserved. What can I do to get his trust back even when I been faithful the whole time?

    Please respond soon.

    • Hi Allison,

      It is a tough position you’ve been put in; trust is something that comes from within, so your boyfriend needs to convince himself of where his loyalties lie more than anything.

      Whether your boyfriend’s friends sounded sincere when making their accusations or not, this could be your boyfriend’s way of testing your faithfulness. Try not to get visibly emotional for the wrong reasons. Obviously show that you care but try to be as assertive as you can. There are ways to assert honesty and they involve being direct and conveying that sincerity through more than just words: eye-contact, body language and presence. Explain to him your overall stance on trust that you started to describe here.

      As for your past experiences affecting this, being loyal is a great attribute to have but be careful not to come across as overly supplicating. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, a man relishes being challenged by their woman occasionally, in a respectful way of course. If a man thinks he can walk all over you (by cheating or by not trusting your word) then he is more likely to do so. It’s great that this relationship has left a lot of those trust issues behind you and hopefully your boyfriend will come around to this cheating business if you remain congruent and consistent.

      Thanks for writing,

      Sam

  43. Carrie says:

    Sam! You are wonderful and I appreciate your article as well as your attention to everyone’s comments. I visited originally due to trust (which I now know are insecurity) issues. My bf is wonderful and caring. Due to past relationships, I project my mistrust of men to him, which I knowingly do, yet can’t always stop myself! I have recently begun to search his phone and our computer (and hate myself as I do it). I never found anything until the other day when I found a porn site that was visited. I know this is normal of most men, but since he doesn’t have mags or any other things like that I can’t stop thinking about it and feeling bad that he is going there and not to me. I (of course) confronted him and he said he hated that I felt bad about it. Basically, do I just need to suck it all up and not look at the computer history daily (yes, I know), and is there a mantra or an example you can give of a positive affirmation to repeat when confronted with the mistrust/insecurity/jealousy feelings? I appreciate any time you may have to respond!

    • Hi Carrie,

      I know it may be difficult to break the habit without become uneasy but you really must try your hardest not to check your boyfriend’s phone and computer for the wrong reasons. Given an indefinite amount of time, there will always be messages or other things that can be misconstrued as distrustful.

      Instead, work on crafting a perfect level of communication with your boyfriend so that you are always fully aware and understanding of each other’s needs and desires within the relationship.

      As for discovering that your boyfriend has viewed porn sites, I wouldn’t necessarily read into that as your boyfriend being dissatisfied sexually. You can actually use it as an opportunity to enrich your sex-life together: talk about new fantasies or perhaps even find some couple-friendly porn that you can watch together.

      It’s good that you know those sorts of things about your boyfriend but in the future, encourage him to tell you directly by being non-judgemental and trusting, whilst doing your utmost to respect his privacy and in return trust him directly.

      There are loads of insightful thoughts and quotes relating to trust out there but I recommend simply reminding yourself of a few things whenever you feel signs of distrust: are these feelings based on reality in the present; what is the best way to act for the sake of our relationship; am I playing my part in creating a trusting and respectful relationship. By all means search for famous insights and quotes related to trust though, as even a simple sentence can change how we think about certain topics.

      All the best and thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  44. Zack says:

    Sam, good article, and I just had some issues I need help overcoming. My girlfriend and I have been together for about 4 months, and it’s going great. I do not drink alcohol, simply because of the terror I’ve seen it cause to people around me in the past and I know that mentally, it makes you unstable. My girlfriend has also never tried drinking, but she has said she is going to whether I like it or not. I trust her totally, but I don’t trust alcohol. But ever since she’s said that, I’ve been wondering what’s happening every time she’s with her friends, etc, purely out of fear that alcohol will cause her mental state to be vulnerable and maybe some possible straying or inadvertent flirting, ya know? I don’t want her to drink at all, but she is going to try it anyways. I just need you to help me work through the constant stress and worrying about what she’s doing because I don’t trust alcohol. Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

    • Hey Zack,

      Alcohol does lower people’s inhibitions and can lead to those people becoming more vulnerable or susceptible to the actions of others. With that said, it will not make someone do something that goes against their innermost morals or desires.

      If you can continue having full trust in each other’s beliefs and intentions at all other times, the alcohol should not change those fundamentals. Your concentration can then go towards making sure she stays safe and makes good decisions when she is out drinking, which is a separate issue to trust.

      That includes making sure that she has good friends around her and that she lets you know her plans where possible, in a non-controlling way of course. That alone should help reassure you that there is nothing to worry about.

      Alcohol consumption in the manner you are describing is a phase that many people go through, and an experience that can actually help people to grow from a personal viewpoint.

      If you remain a great boyfriend before, during and after her drinking sessions and don’t openly judge her behaviour, then she will always want to honour the relationship, even whilst in a state of drunkenness!

      Thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  45. LoveisComplicated says:

    I stumbled upon your website; love all your articles and great advice!
    Like everyone else I am going through some relationship problems. My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years now and about a year ago he broke up with me. I was really depressed at the time and according to him was very negative and “needy.” He said he didnt want me in his life anymore. We got back together after three months. He wasn’t with anyone else during that time but flirted a lot via facebook. Which he said was his way of forgetting about me. Anyway since we’ve gotten back together I hold it against him and I cant seem to get over it. Even though its been a year now I still feel betrayed and hurt and angry like I just want to hurt him! I was going through such a vulnerable time in my life and for him to leave me like that makes me resent him. Even writing this brings back all the anxiety and sadness I felt then. I do love him and I know he loves me. I want us to work but I just can’t seem to get over him breaking up with me. We’ve had a million conversations about this. We have great communication; he knows how I felt I know how he felt. I thought maybe I was looking for closure? I don’t know. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. How do I get over the past and move on?

    • Hi,

      Moving on from negative, past experiences in a relationship is much the same as moving on from any negative, past experience. It is about accepting the past for what it is and using those experiences as lessons to learn from, rather than memories to cause anxiety.

      The most positive people are the ones who can take negative experiences and view them as ultimately being for the best. In fact, negative experiences are often the catalyst for gaining clarity and really making changes in your life and relationship.

      It is great that you and your boyfriend are communicating well about your feelings but for this relationship to work, you must give each other a fully clean slate. Try to think of your relationship as starting completely anew, and catch yourself as soon as possible whenever you are starting to focus on the memories in question.

      Any closure is created purely by you and your mind, and nothing your boyfriend says to justify his past actions will help without a willingness to forgive and forget. I’m sure your boyfriend’s outlook has changed in the past year, much as yours has. It sounds like you can have an exceptionally happy relationship together, as long as you focus on the present as much as possible.

      Thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  46. LoveisComplicated says:

    Thank you very much for your advice. I showed it to my boyfriend and he agrees. I really need to start working on myself and be more positive before we can start anew. Well, since we are starting off on a clean slate I have one last problem.
    From the beginning of our relationship my boyfriend was a bit controlling. He had some insecurities and I made it worse by not being 100% honest with him about certain things from my past. He made me cut ties with my girlfriends who in his mind were lets say promiscuous and also my guy friends because he said men and women cant be friends because men usually have other intentions. Sounds crazy but I let go of everyone because I thought it would make him trust me. Which ended up making me depressed and I actually picked up on his negative behavior and applied the same to him. This has gone on for three years. He’s not a bad guy at all he’s really caring and listens to me. I think he just reacted that way because I was not 100% honest with him.
    My question is how can we set new boundaries in our relationship and get rid of our negative behaviors? I would really love for him to trust me when I speak to other men and vice versa when he speaks to other women. Like trust me enough to have guy friends again. I’m not sure if its a trust issue more so an insecurity issue.
    Also, I read your article on how to be the best option for your partner. My last question is how can I make him feel like he really is the best Option for me? I don’t think he believes that. I do love him and feel like there are no other options for me. He really is the one and I want him to know that.

    Hope you come out with a book soon! You should do skype couple therapy sessions!

    • Hi again,

      That’s great that you are embracing the potential changes so positively and also that you are involving your boyfriend with the process. One of the worst things to occur during such stages of change is for anyone to feel isolated or misrepresented, so it is great that you are being so open about it all.

      Whilst most issues in a relationship can be solved with personal development, they can certainly be helped from both sides. Issues may seem individual, but there is always some crossover.

      With the main issue you describe, it is actually important not to buy into irrational fears imposed upon you, such as the one restricting who you socialise with. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, it actually gives credence to something that should not be an issue in a relationship. Instead, you can heighten the factors that you are in control of, such as being 100% honest from now on like you mention. If your boyfriend truly believes that you are being honest with him (a side-product of agreeing to start the relationship with renewed honesty and trust) then the factors that don’t directly relate to your honesty should not affect the trust you have for each other.

      One of my more recent articles on this website is on the topic of boundaries in a relationship if you haven’t read it yet. The key is learning to understand and empathise with each other, whilst not allowing any irrational or destructive behaviour to take precedence.

      Worrying about who your partner socialises with is an issue of insecurity, but it is influenced by mutual trust. The thing to differentiate between is how much of that trustworthiness is justified, and how much is based on personal fears. Depending on the severity of those factors, it may take some time to overcome those fears completely. If you are communicating well and working as a unity then any relationship issue is fairly easily to overcome.

      Your partner sincerely believing that he is the best option for you is as much his responsibility as your own. On your part, make sure you show him love and affection through actions that back up your words. Being authentic and having integrity are character traits that will indirectly make someone trust your words and actions. If your boyfriend has any personal issues preventing him from fully trusting you, then that is something for him to work on privately as well as with you.

      I am currently working on two books, each covering a separate aspect of dating and relationships in detail. More details will be posted here and on my Twitter profile as and when I have updates; thanks for showing interest.

      As for Skype consultations, they are something I have done in the past and would consider doing again if there is interest. I generally find that face-to-face or email contact is more productive, depending on what the discussions are about, so that is where I currently focus my services. Feel free to contact me via the Contact Page if you ever want to enquire about any of those services or ask further questions.

      All the best,

      Sam

  47. Maria toledo says:

    Hi sam I really Appreciate this article. My trust issues have really ruined my relationship with my boyfriend of a year and a half. I’m a junior and his a senior and I been hearing rumors about him from people that i thought were my friends. Every time I would hear something I wouldn’t ask him, I would just accused him of all it. But every time he would deny it or it was just a miss understanding. The week before school ended I accused him of a rumor and he got so fed up with me that he decided to end our relationship. I was very upset by his decision. But a week later he decided to give us another chance. But his mother doesn’t want him mentioning me and he says that he will only mention me to her when he sees a change in me. But honestly I don’t know how that’s going to happen, because in two months he will be going to college which is a long way from Texas. Please help me to get rid of these trust issue

    • Hi Maria,

      Being physically apart magnifies certain aspects of the relationship. If a relationship is happy and fulfilling then that will result in dearly missing each other and actively wanting to hear from each other. If there are negative aspects to the relationship, such as issues with trust, then they are also likely to be magnified whilst apart.

      That is why it is imperative that you solve any issues before he goes away. You will actually have to trust each other beyond what is expected, as you will have less tangible evidence to compare your partner’s actions and words during that time.

      The first thing to do is understand and deal with the source of trust issues for you. The rumours you mention are obviously a part of that and so you want to start by logically deciding for yourself whether they actual have any credibility. Those thoughts should be influenced by how your boyfriend presents himself and whether there have been significant changes in his behaviour.

      It is usually best to ignore any rumours unless you have your own insights backing up those rumours. You should be in charge of how and why you trust your boyfriend and those points should never have to be backwards-rationalised. Note that there are many reasons why someone would make up or embellish rumours: jealousy, spite or simply a pathological urge to lie. Becoming better at reading people in general will help to know where the truth lies for you.

      Now that some of this is out in the open with your boyfriend, speak to him and discuss the changes you both want to make for the relationship to work. You have to convince and show each other a level of mutual trust that you both believe can last being physically apart. How you actually manage the relationship whilst you are apart will be a product of how successful those discussions are.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  48. Kahlil Reweti says:

    Hi sam, firstly i think this is an awsome article ! your right on the money with what youve said . ive recently started seeing a girl and its been great so far , i know i do have sum trust issues from previous relationships and i really do want to trust her . its just im finding it really hard at the moment . She recently recieved a comment on her facebook page from a guy who she has never told me about , who has never commented on her page before but i know they have been in touch and it really bugs me to know this . i know that the start of a relationship is the most vulnerable so i want to basically rid myself of these trust issues so we can move on to better things . am i over thinking things ? am i just being controlling ? why cant i trust her ? please help me … what do i do ?

    • Hi Kahlil,

      In some ways the start of a relationship is the most vulnerable, but it is also the biggest opportunity to cement your trust and show the best side of your true self. How you act now will be the foundation for the rest of the relationship.

      The first thing to ensure with regards to trust is that you both know what is expected of each other and that you are both equally committed to the relationship. Sometimes those points are assumed, which can lead to an unintentional abuse of trust.

      The second thing to consciously remind yourself of is that you are her boyfriend, meaning you automatically get a head start over any other man she interacts with. You have a constant opportunity to leverage the things that attract her to you and make her want to be in a relationship with you. All other interactions of hers, especially insignificant ones such as a standalone Facebook message, are secondary to the relationship you have.

      The overriding point is that YOU are in charge of how much you trust each other at this stage. Furthermore, how you act now will dictate how much you actually WANT to trust each other in the foreseeable future!

      Thanks for reading the website and I’m glad you like this article so much,

      Sam

  49. johnnie says:

    Hi Sam,
    I have a little issue and I’m hoping to gain some kind of insight on this situation I’ve allowed myself to be in. My fiance is obviously the love of my life. She does all kinds of things that any one I’ve ever been with has and makes me feel incredible. But there’s a HUGE twist in our relationship that throws it off kinda. You see my fiance is a female escort. Now, when we first got together she told me this is what she does tho she’s fairly new to it. I figured it wasn’t an issue because she told me that nothing physical happens with any client they pretty much only get nude photos and hold dirty talk (more so them than her) and go out to eat at random restaurants. Now I had not one issue with the idea of it for sometime. Abt 3 months ago one morning I made the insecure decision of going thru her phone. I seen messages abt how some guy couldn’t wait to treat her like an Irish Lass and taste her and there was a contract involving not getting and std and using protection. The same man sent Holiday Inn confirmations because I guess that’s where they meet for buisness meetings. I guess most of these guys have spouses and they wanna get away for a prettier and more interesting person over lunch or dinner. But after seeing that, it was hard to believe. When I finally confronted her abt it she was upset speaking on how not having trust would make no sense in there being an “us”. Which I understand but whenever I ask her how her night with whomever (she barely gave names) went it was very much a two sentence answer. I feel her level of discretion is a problem especially because she says she’s tell all of them abt me. Now one of her regulars is this apparently creepy guy who takes naked photos of her which again is fine. But given his personality flaw of being socially awkward I can’t even exist in his mind. This guy says he wants to support her financially and gives her $1200 dol a month for various favors like cleaning his house or taking pictures of helping other women he takes pics of get their make up on. But as of late he considers her his girlfriend and she wants to milk him for everything he’s got saying its for our wedding. He even bought her a car due to an accident where some lady stole it and totalled it so he “came to the rescue” I even had to leave her apartment that day because it would have been “awkward” I tell her how these things bother me and she presses the issue of how its for us. How she loves me and so forth and so on. We’ve gotten pretty deep abt the situation but she’s a) not comfortable with doing it b) would stop doing it if I asked. She claims she feels its pathetic these guys would pay to meet with her for a few hours. I think I have a problem with the lack of integrity involved and I also my ego slightly stands in the way. But I know we are a really good match and IF she actually is borderlining prostitution then that’s awful of her because she has a 7 yr old daughter that is reaaaally attached to me. Says “your the best mommy has ever been with” cuz she’s witnessed her in a domestically abusive relationship. I really want this to work and I want to get over my insecurity towards this situation without cutting off her cashflow since she’s on disability and will probably be getting another back surgery soon. I don’t know what to do and I’m in serious need of advice because she can tell when something is bothering me emotionally. I have alot of resolve and patience but I just don’t want to be the sucker who goes out of my way to be the man that I am and watch her kid while she’s out doing whatever with whoever. Oh, might I add ever since our engagement we’ve only had sex twice in one month instead of 8-9 times. As well she doesn’t seem to go escorting when she’s not in the mood. And barely when she’s on her period. I think I’m over thinking it. What do you think?

    • Hi Johnnie,

      When dating someone with a profession such as escorting, trust exists in a slightly different form and the transparency between what you tell each other must be as unambiguous as possible. Two identical actions can have completely different meanings to your fiancée depending on whether she is in work mode or not.

      On your part, for this relationship to work, you must be 100% accepting of what she chooses to do, knowing how you feel about her work. I am sure you don’t want in depth details about her work activities but let her know what your best way to be accepting of it all is and what level of detail that involves.

      Another aspect of that trust is to be more open about what your future goals and ambitions are, on a personal level and for the relationship. Knowing whether escorting is something she actually enjoys beyond the financial aspect and how it will affect your future for example.

      Your fiancée’s dismissive attitude towards her work and lack of details could be a self-esteem issue, or it could be because of how she feels you will react. If you ever make her feel like you can’t handle certain details that she could reveal, she is unlikely to feel comfortable discussing them with you.

      I know that a lot of men would not be self-assured enough to date a woman that does escorting, so I am impressed that you are putting the relationship ahead of any personal feelings. The next step is to see if you can expand that level of trust to encompass anything she could potentially encounter on the job, rather than what you hope her limits are.

      Thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  50. Jeremy says:

    Hey, I read this artical twice, and i’ll honstly say this has helped me alot. I’m currently in a long distance relationship, and i’m going read this to my girlfriend and have us discuss things we can do to help trust eachother an avoid jealousy- which is a huge problem for both of us. I hope great things will come of this!

    Thanks for posting this!!!!
    -Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for the feedback. I think it’s a great idea to discuss the topic positively with your girlfriend and I hope your relationship benefits as a result.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  51. Jonno says:

    Hi Sam, thank you for such a great site.

    I have had a problem in the past with trust in my relationships. I had an affair and consequently left my last partner to be with the new person. Obviously the way we got together was always going to give us an obstacle to overcome with regards to trust! My partner is very flirty in nature, and often engages the opposite sex in quite lengthy conversations appearing to seem interested in them. I questioned this behaviour early on in our relationship, to which she replied she was only talking to them. I am aware that I have probably got a complex because of my actions and infedelities in the past.

    I encountered a situation over the christmas period where my partner went out. I was ment to meet her but changed my plans to spend some time with a friend, possibly meeting up with her later on. She was unhappy with this decision saying that her friends were expecting to meet me. She was angry about being let down and this was clear during our Phone conversation. The night drew on and it was approximately 3am I tried to call her but she failed to answer her phone. I tried several more times and at approximately 5am she answered saying she would be home shortly, and that she had been back a party at a friends house. When she came in she was acting all suspicious and I could only describe as sketchy. When I Asked her about how her evening had gone she was very vague about what’s gone on and the events that had taken place. She had gone back to a house with some fellas and some other female colleagues from work. Due to being suspicious I checked her phone and saw that she had called a chap just before arriving back home. We argued for a while and finally agreed to go to bed. This was one event that left me wondering or gave me cause to concern. Then on a second night out with colleagues she didn’t get in until 5:30 after agreeing last time that it was unfair to come back so late.

    A month or so ago now I had a phone call from one of my best female friends informing me that at a friends wedding someone had seen my partner kissing her partner. I waited until I got home to ask her about this and she admitted that she has kissed him, but was very vague about what had actually happened, stating that she was very drunk.

    I was really cross but also at the same Time not surprised that she had acted in this way. I went out for a drink and a chat with a friend to discuss what has happened and decided that we needed to be completely honest If we were to move on. I asked her if there’s anything else you would like to confess whilst having the truth session. She admitted to something happening at another time, and i asked her whether it was with the chap at the Christmas do. She had admitted yes that something happened with the chap from the time she went out at Christmas.

    At first she said they only only became slightly intimate. Then later the next day she admitted that they had, had full-blown sex. At this point I was completely gutted having never thought that she would have taken things so far. I asked her about the chap and she said that he was a cleaner at work and that she had not seen him since. I still felt that she was being untruthful

    We recently decided to take a holiday as a way to see if we still had something worth fighting for. Before we left I had asked her to be screened as she hadnt used a condom with the other chap. Whilst on holiday we received some more bad news that she had acquired something else that night. We were both gutted and I felt incredibly angry that she had passed something on to me and that, not only is she disregarding her health she is disregarding my health. I also delved deeper trying to find out more information about the chap she had slept with. I was shocked to discover that she still has contact with him and that he is actually a working colleague still, and that she has regular meetings in his company. She had previously denied seeing him any more saying that he had moved department. I felt really let down and the fact that we had both agreed that we would be completely honest with each other and now it turns out that she had been even more untruthful.

    We have toiled with what to do, but we both believe that you need to address the reason why it happened not just the fact that it happened. What advice can you give us that will help us repair our relationship as we have decided that we want to make a go of this. As we still love each other but probably just became complacent in our relationship.

    Many thanks in anticipation for your reply.

    Jonno

    • Hi Jonno,

      There are lots of separate events in your story that have all contributed in some way to how the relationship has developed. I agree that you should address the causes as well as the actions and it will take a good degree of humility in accepting each of your roles in that, without trying to deflect any blame or responsibility.

      Your girlfriend should acknowledge the misrepresentation, lies and secrecy, whilst you should acknowledge reasons why she might have felt like she had to act in that way. This includes accepting that getting together via an affair was circumstantial and not indicative of how relationships should be, as well as actions of jealousy or distrust since then.

      It is only by both acknowledging those mistakes and sincerely wanting to change that you can both trust each other going forward.

      The first thing to garner a mutual trust for is that you both genuinely want the relationship to work and all the components that would allow that to happen. It is only by both embracing the changes and putting the past experiences behind you that you can actually rebuild your relationship the way you want it to be. Complete honesty is a good starting point as you suggested, as long as trust and freedom is still prevalent.

      At first you may have to be overly considerate when dealing with repeat scenarios that led to problems in the past. For example, when your girlfriend has nights out without you, her part will involve being more communicative about what she is up to and her plans for the evening, whilst you must be unassuming of any further details. This is at least until you both find a natural compromise during such times, where neither of you feels temporarily disjointed from the relationship.

      A lot of the things your girlfriend has done would be shocking to most people, but to move on from it you must accept that there were reasons (although not excusing the behaviour) and the priority should be avoiding those possible reasons from now on, together.

      Thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  52. Chris says:

    Hi Sam,

    The whole website is really helpful, especially with the comment section! I just wanted to ask you a quick question. Ive been with my girlfriend now for 2 years and we both love each other very much.We are only away for the summer which could be worse but still.

    I know she loves me, but the thing is everyday i see examples of people that love each other very much “make mistake”. Because of that, i have a very,very low trust in people in general. My girlfriend has never done anything that would make me thing she is unfaithful. However I always,always get the feeling that she is doing something i woulndt want her doing. I am truly horrified of the idea of her around other guys on a boat in a bathing suit. No matter how much she says she loves me or woulnt do anything bad I always feel very uncomfortable and jealous when she does stuff like a afternoon on a boat.

    I try to keep telling myself that all these toughts are made up in my mind and that she loves me, but deep down inside I feel like i will never genuinely trust her.

    Is there anything i can do to improve my situation? i am scared she is going to push me away if i become to paranoid. Thanks for your time and your great website!

    • Hey Chris,

      You are right that conveying too much jealousy or paranoia will push your girlfriend away, especially if she is enjoying her summer and has done nothing to warrant such behaviour. The good thing is that this is the perfect opportunity to overcome any fears you might have and indirectly prove your trust for each other.

      Trust is an internal quality but it is based on how we interpret our surroundings. If your trust is not based on rational input then that is what you must focus on achieving first. Projecting confidence and respect is a result of first regaining positive association with trust for your girlfriend and people in general.

      As you say, all of these trust issues are created in your mind; you can choose exactly what your thoughts and assumptions are! For example, rather than imagining your girlfriend on a boat being hit on by other men and dismissing her relationship back home, imagine her innocently having fun and still thinking of you! I am sure that deep down you know that the latter is closer to reality. Every time you have a negative thought, reframe it for a positive and more realistic one, with the knowledge of how your girlfriend really is.

      Other seemingly happy relationships do contain mistakes but try not to compare your relationship to others unless it is beneficial to do so. Your relationship should be better and more solid in your eyes than any other relationship you encounter, or at least striving to be. If everything has been going well in your relationship prior to this time apart then nothing really has to change. If anything, you can leverage the time apart to miss each other even more, which would only help with any trust issues.

      If you can keep your mind straight during this period and fight any fears that surface on your own, you will have passed the toughest test you will face regarding trust and it will be easier to trust your girlfriend from then on!

      All the best and thanks for your compliments about this website,

      Sam

  53. Kat says:

    Hi Sam,

    I stumbled upon this site and has read a lot of helpful information for which I thank you.

    I hope to get your advice as well. You see, I have been with my boyfriend for a year and we are now looking for a place together (his idea). He is wonderful and we are very much in love but I have self-esteem issues that affect every single day of my life.

    I am his first girlfriend and I am afraid that soon enough he’ll get tired of me and want to see “what else is out there.” He is only 21 and I, 22. I fear that moving in together will only expedite these feelings and lead to him cheating, physical or emotional. I have only had one serious boyfriend before (for 8 months) and I found out that he cheated on me in the beginning of our relationship which was heartbreaking and if it happened with my current boyfriend, who is my first love, I don’t think I could handle it. My boyfriend never gave me any reason to think so (I am ashamed to say that I have gone through his phone before).

    Is it possible to stay with your first love? Or is this relationship doomed to fail with our move?

    • Hi Kat,

      I know of and have worked with countless couples that are each other’s first serious relationship, so it is definitely possible.

      Experiencing different relationships is as much about discovering what you don’t want in a relationship as it is about discovering what you do want. That same level of relationship maturity is still possible in a single relationship as long as you avoid falling into patterns of discontent, and constantly question and learn together.

      Just like with any relationship, success and longevity comes down to how much you fulfil each other’s emotional and physical desires. Your boyfriend will only want to “see what else is out there” if he feels that something is missing or lacking in his relationship with you.

      Moving in together is a big sign of commitment, so the desire to be together is already there. Part of trust is in trusting that things will always work out for the best. Try not to predict what may or may not happen in the future; simply work on having the best possible relationship now and see how it develops.

      Take care and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  54. Joseph says:

    Ok so the situation Im in seems a little different than most but i need some answers. My fiance and i have known each other for 4 years and off and on been together. We also have a 14 month old son. Things that happened to her as a child and things i witnessed growing up cause us both to be untrusting to each other. We say we do but in the subconscious state we tend to say things that hurt one another and dont mean them but never let them go either. I love this girl til death and i feel it but I cant shake what i think sometimes or how i react to certain situations. She says there is no truth to my words when I dont lie to her and could never cheat due to fear of being cheated on. I catch myself saying sorry all the time and sometimes I dont even know why. I want us to fix our relationship and become a healthy couple so we can take the next step but I dont know where to start or if we are able. Please help us..

    • Hi Joseph,

      In some respects you have an easier path to regaining full trust than others because your girlfriend has experienced similar feelings. It should allow you to empathise with each other and work together on overcoming any trust issues.

      With that in mind, communication is going to be your main tool, specifically positive communication. Make sure everything you discuss is rational and based on how the most secure, trusting and confident version of yourself would act. If the two of you can agree to have a trial of assuming everything is happy and secure in your relationship, you should be able to feel the difference without anything tangible in the relationship changing.

      If trust is the only aspect of your relationship that is causing problems, it should be easy to isolate the specific triggers that cause a lack of trust in this relationship, and this relationship alone. The first mindset change is that you are always in control of how you think and how you react. That is what will allow you to work together on overcoming this issue, either by avoiding the triggers, or by being more aware in the immediate aftermath of those triggers.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  55. Tom says:

    Wow Sam, thats a great article. it hits every single issues i am going through.

    Well my situations is quite Strange.

    I am in a very good long term relationship for 2 years now things are well and thinking of marriage etc…. However the last few months maybe 9 or 10 months, my insecurities have been getting worse and worse.
    I love my girlfriend dearly but i don’t seem to trust her as she trusts me. Everything was going great until i slept with another girl secretly and no body knows about it, she doesn’t even know. i chose not to tell her, i don’t want to cause her pain and also that girl means nothing to me. from that day on i have realised that i have been suffering with trusting her, i have become insecure about the relationship, i don’t seem to truly believe that she loves me and only want me and really struggling with jealousy and fear. now here is the thing, i did the nasty when we were together for like 1 year and a few months and around 1 month after i done it, she confessed something to me, she told me that a few months back, when we got in a argument, and she was away for a weekend, our argument lead her to drink and gotten tipsy and one of the friend of her male friend kissed her and it didn’t last for even a second and she pushed him away, she told me that she has never been in a situation like that and didn’t know whether to tell me or not but she coudn’t hold it in anymore, thats why she told me. i was really really hurt and she was really upset about how it made me feel, she cried a lot apologised etc… then i thought well, being 18 she probably doesnt have the social intelligence to read situation and probably lead the guy on without realising it etc.. but i explained to her certain things and we talked about a few more boundaries on it. 10 months later, my dark secret and that incident is destroying me more and more, i feel sooo insecure, and although she promised and have been doing everything to make me trust and believe her, i am still struggling, i only act on my insecurities some times but most of the times, i keep it in and really suffers with unwanted imaginations and hearthaches.
    I dont want to continue like this and fear of losing this great girl i have got due to my fears and insecurity.

    Can You advise me on what to do, How to get myself better. and i will not tell her what i did because it will cause pain to her, and she doesnt deserve that. What should i do?

    • Hey Tom,

      Your insecurities surrounding trust definitely seem to partially stem from the fact that you have secretly abused trust from your side of the relationship. Even though your girlfriend kissing another man is a less extreme boundary, it is a reminder of how easy it is to engage in acts of distrust.

      To fully overcome these heightened insecurities, you must first clear your conscience. That doesn’t necessarily mean telling your girlfriend about what you have done, but is more about truly forgiving yourself, accepting your mistake and learning from the experience.

      Trust issues are difficult to instantaneously eradicate, but you can reduce rather than intensify them by using strategies listed in this article and elsewhere on this website. One example that is relevant in your situation is not allowing past insecurities or ‘mistakes’ to create future projections based on fears.

      From your experiences in this relationship so far, you know that you can both cheat easily, but you also know that it is far more likely to happen when the relationship is not at its best. Your focus now should be creating a mutual understanding whereby you are both constantly CHOOSING to be trustworthy, rather than it being unconditionally assumed.

      Once you unreservedly believe that your girlfriend is consciously choosing to be with you in a monogamous relationship, you will start to trust her fully once more. That point can only come about once you fully trust yourself once more, especially regarding why you cheated and why you won’t do it again.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  56. Sammi says:

    Sam! Me and my boyfriend have been going out for two years. We have a great relationship and love each other too bits! But I still have my insecurities. He went away with his friend a while ago and a girl kissed him. he said he pulled away and explained that he had a girlfriend. But now when he goes to parties I still feel uneasy like it could happen again. I also feel like he is a flirt but without realising. I get crazy jelous at the smallest things, when he goes to parties e.c.t I cry with fear! I really need some advise I don’t want to act on my jelousy and loose him! What should I do?

    • Hi Sammi,

      The main thing to focus on from what you have said is that your boyfriend knew when a boundary was being crossed and was honest with you about what happened. That is actually something to commend and carry forward in your relationship. Although there is unknown contextual information, he has shown in that one example that he can be trusted and that he does respect the relationship.

      If you can let those thoughts supersede the jealous thoughts, it should help reassure you of your boyfriend’s true loyalty and intentions. As long as that continues, it doesn’t matter how “flirtatious” he is. If you try to stifle certain aspects of his personality then it may actually confuse some of his boundaries; he will be behaving disingenuously as a result.

      What you want to do as often as possible is give yourself small reminders that your boyfriend is trustworthy and that the fears are in your head. Don’t be afraid to talk to him about topics such as boundaries and honesty if you need any further reassurance.

      Sam

  57. John says:

    Great article! I’ve been dating a girl for a little over a year and a half, and I really love her. I feel like she is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’ve been having some issues with trust recently, since we just started at separate colleges. We’ve been in touch, and she does go out and party a lot, which is fine, but still kind of unsettling. I’ve been going to parties too and I’ve found that most people who go there are just trying to hook up with people. I don’t know if the parties are the same where she is, but if they are it is a little scary. I trust my girlfriend, and I know that she loves me very much, but she lacks decisiveness and I fear that it could lead to someone trying to take advantage of her. I’ve been working to trust her more and working toward losing feelings of worry and whatnot. We are not very far in distance but I doubt we will see each other often. I feel as though she’s kind of changing as a person a little and it scares me because I really want to be with her for the person with whom I spent the best times of my life. Any advice regarding how to talk to her about these issues without making her feel mistrusted? I never want to make her feel bad, but I do want to be able to discuss these things with her in a better manner than just questioning faithfulness. Also, is it normal that the thought of her being with someone else hurts me pretty deep?

    • Hey John,

      You are right that a large proportion of people at parties are looking to hook up, whether they are doing so consciously or not. You can’t change that fact and it is something that you should be putting as little focus on as possible. Instead, focus on your girlfriend still enjoying your relationship despite being physically apart and focus your trust towards her.

      She isn’t changing as a person… she is growing as a person! One of the most important aspects of a college or university relationship is that you are both growing equally, and embracing the positive changes wherever possible.

      Visiting her as soon as possible is by far the best way to relate to her new lifestyle. In the meantime, if you do want to discuss some of these issues with your girlfriend, make sure to keep an impersonal perspective: talking about trust from the perspective of other people, rather than your girlfriend.

      You definitely don’t want your girlfriend to feel a burden from any insecurities you might have, or that she might receive unfair accusations further down the line. As with most discussions that directly affect your relationship, it is best to convey a non-judgemental attitude and slowly gauge your girlfriend’s opinion, rather than force it.

      It is normal that the thought of your girlfriend being with someone else hurts. The simple answer is to not think about it! What happens in the future is irrelevant now; whilst you are together, try as hard as you can to quickly dismiss any false images you create in your mind.

      All the best and thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  58. zaytoven says:

    Hi sam! Just want to start by saying I absolutely love you and if things don’t work out with my girlfriend ima leave you my # (just joking). Anyway me and my girlfriend love each other to death! I met her at my job 2 years ago but for the first year she had a boyfriend and made it known to other colleagues as well as myself. We became really close and she constantly began to tell me about how her boyfriend ignores her and they rarely even has sex and how he’s never home..after a year of being close friends we ended up having sex a few times..she later cut me off completely to try 2 make things work with her man but months later we were back at it and she began to pursue me as a boyfriend..I told her that it would be crazy to do that when your currently cheating on someone..she ended up leaving him and moving back to her parents house just to convince me how serious she was but I stil made her wait a year to officially become my girlfriend..she’s been absolutely wonderful our entire relationship but because of how she did her last boyfriend..its been a number of times when I’ve suspected her of sleepin wit other people and when the feeling is too strong to ignore I can go into detective mode but we always discuss our issues and try 2 never argue..I even admitted to looking in her phone once but explained my reasoning..we have each others phone passwords and everything but I still feel like she’s just deleting text from guys she hangs out with..the guys r mostly her and her older brother of 1 years friends from high school but I’ve neva met them leading me to wonder y when she’s met all my friends..I guess my question is does what her boyfriend did make it okay to cheat or did I make a mistake of turning a hoe into a houswife..all my family loves her as well so I want it to work just terrified of making a bad investment and wasting my time..that fact that she makes a lot more money and pays for a lot makes me worry that she’ll leave my broke ass for a baller lol..she can’t wait to marry me and talks about us having kids and everything but I can’t stop wondering if the insecure shit I’ve already done doesn’t have her feeling like she made a mistake??? and wut if wut I did is already prompting feelings of promiscuity..she’s very beautiful and social and goes for rough neck guys like myself and I’ve had one night stands with a few women who had boyfriends n my past however I neva neva cheated n my life nor have I been cheated on..I feel the act is unforgivable so I want to do whatever it takes to prevent that..I’ve been very respectful and loyal to the woman in my past so I feel like my girlfriend now is a gift from GOD but at the same time I feel we all gota get cheated on at some point…PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME!!!

    • Hi,

      You’ve actually answered your own question. Your girlfriend was not happy in her last relationship and her boyfriend was not treating her how she really wanted to be treated. Of course, that doesn’t justify the way she cheated, but it does justify WHY she cheated!

      The foundation of trust is feeling that you can talk to each other about anything, which is something she clearly didn’t feel she could do with her last boyfriend.

      Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the more freedom you give your girlfriend (such as permission to be with other men if she REALLY wants to), the more trustworthy and loyal she will be, assuming you still keep the relationship fun and fulfilling at all times.

      The second part of the equation is how relaxed and self-assured you are. Making your girlfriend wait before getting into a relationship and the whole thrill of how you got together has probably had a positive effect on your relationship as a whole. The main thing is that you maintain a mutual level of control in the relationship. If you start doing insecure activities such as checking her phone without her knowledge, you will by definition have less control in the relationship!

      As the article discusses, you earn trust, and in contrast, you can also earn disrespect. As long as you concentrate on what makes your relationship fulfilling and continue listening to your girlfriend communicating her true desires, she is not more likely to cheat just because she has in the past.

      I hope that helps and thanks for your opening compliment, haha!

      Sam

  59. zaytoven says:

    Thanks a ton sam..u truly have a gift

  60. Moh says:

    So like ive been with my girlfreind for like 10 months now, and well she about 2 hours away from me. I cant trust her even tho i really want to , the hurt feelings just come in and i cant do anything about it :( i try tell myself that shes not gonna do it but the feeling takes over . i do really love her , she has lied to me before , and we did break up for a week cause it was gettng too stressfull , but we worked it out . But when we did break up she began to really talk to other guys and it made me feel like i was nothing to her , that i didnt matter . Well , we are back toghether , and its just hard cause i think shes just gonna find somebody better and leave , and i feel like i have no standing in her life . i constantly ask her questions and things and she gets sick of it , and i try stop myself . I really wana trust her , but the feeling takes over really badly i say things that hurt her , and i accuse her when i am not supposed to , and later i feel bad , but its cause she lied to me before . Please help me , i realy wana be with her and make this last :) thnaks

    • Hi Moh,

      The root of these trust issues is getting into a cycle of constantly assuming the worst. An exercise you can do, which will benefit many aspects of life as well as your relationship, is to start assuming the best of people and situations. This may sound easier said than done, but if you focus on consciously catching your thoughts and feelings whenever they are becoming negative, you can gradually implement the process of change.

      Whilst assuming the best, if something or someone does not live up to those expectations, then you can deal with it accordingly at the time. Until then, try and set your default attitude as one of positivity and confidence, especially when concerning your girlfriend.

      Trust issues are often a catch-22: trust issues are caused by certain actions from another person; that person does those certain actions because they are not trusted! Breaking the cycle requires one person to forcefully shift their justification for the part they play.

      In your example, put the fact that your girlfriend has lied to you behind you, and start treating her like she won’t put a foot wrong from now on. Talk to her in such a way that starts to purposefully create a relationship based on trust. No person wants to be mistrusted; equally, no person wants to cause their partner to have feelings of mistrust!

      When trust is not there, lying becomes one way to try and artificially force it. Lying aims to create trust through ignorance. As you know, if you discover the lies it only heightens any insecurities. That is why you must start from the ground up, whereby you give your girlfriend the benefit of the doubt from now on; give her no reason to lie to you or do anything else that may cause feelings of mistrust and see how she adapts.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Sam

  61. Moh says:

    Aw thanks alot :) , yeah i will start trusting her fully , i always say that to myself , however i end up feeling hurt somehow :/ its my first relationship as well , and im 19 , ive waited for the right girl and she is m but yeah just that hurt feeling . But i have to trust her , thanks :)

  62. Ric says:

    Finally became exclusive with my girlfriend after a year of dating other people. I don’t know if she was ready for it, but I basically had grown tired of waiting for her to decide and gave her the choice of going our separate ways for a while, and having myself potentially become serious with someone else, or making a committment.

    She choose me, and I’ve been excited about this. Unfortuantely, I discovered she was texting multiple guys. She told me she broke it off with them a few days later, they were hold overs from when she was just “dating” me. Unfortunately, she didn’t stop with a couple of the guys, and I know for a fact that one is her ex boyfriend from a couple of months ago and by her own admission he wants her back.

    Now it gets rough. He texts her every day, multiple times a day. She has NOT told him that she’s in an exclusive relationship, and I know she spent time with him yesterday behind my back. I had already confided in her that this texting worried me, and I had fears that she might be out doing things. I told her, if she felt the need or urge to do it, to tell me before hand so we could talk about things and that I wouldn’t be as hurt if she was upfront with her feelings and desires.

    She still doesn’t realize that I have put 2 and 2 together to figure out she’s spending time with him. She actually lied to me about who she was going to be attending the event with. I understandably have trust issues now, which never existed before. Do I just give her time to end things with the other guy gracefully, or do I expect her to not see the ex, even if she thinks its platonic?

    • Hi Ric,

      In general, relationships are best when they progress mutually and naturally. Women especially, will base the progression of a relationship predominantly on subconscious emotions rather than a logical decision. If you treat her like an exclusive girlfriend, she will reciprocate if it is in alignment with her own desires.

      If she felt pressured into stating that her relationship with you is exclusive, she may have a different interpretation of what exactly that entails. It doesn’t necessarily mean that she is being unfaithful, but that there is a forced miscommunication between what each of you expect from the other.

      Rather than try to mould her into the behaviour you want, take the time to fully understand exactly what she wants, including the reality of her ex-boyfriend. The conversation you had about being more honest with your feelings and desires is good; it is something you can remind her of in a non-needy and general manner whenever relevant.

      You don’t necessarily have to have similar views and opinions in a relationship, but what you must have is a similar level of respect and influence. Telling her not to speak to her ex-boyfriend might have a negative impact, depending on her genuine feelings; taking her mind off her ex-boyfriend and actively showing her that an exclusive relationship with you is amazing will always have a positive impact. With the latter, it doesn’t matter whether she is talking to her ex-boyfriend or not, or whether she is doing so through politeness or genuine friendship!

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

    • Ric says:

      Quick follow up to this situation, and probably another little cry for help.
      We had more conversation, she insisted she wasn’t being unfaithful, and really sat down and defined what it meant. At the same time, I know she is still texting these guys and when I actually told her I knew that one of them was her ex boyfriend, she flat out denied it (i’ve seen the text in question, i know the truth.) She went on to say that they were just friends, with no history, despite many texts to the contrary.

      I was taking the advice and trying to just have fun and fulfill her needs and make sure our time together was full of rewarding experiences. Unfortunately, now she has cut much of that time out from her schedule so that she can spend time with her “friends.” I’m unhappy, and probably going to confront her with how much I know, but I’m not sure if that’s the healthy way to approach the situation. She already knows I desire more than 1 day every two weeks with her, but she feels like that’s asking too much.

      I want to be honest with her, but I’m trying to see things from her point of view, and maybe I am just being greedy.

    • Hi again,

      If your girlfriend insists that she is faithful and trustworthy, all you can really do is accept or reject her words for now. If you genuinely do not believe what she is saying, and you are certain that this is an issue with her and not self-inflicted, then you are probably never going to be able to fully trust her: you have conflicting perspectives.

      If you want this relationship to work then you have to decide whose “truth” you want to believe for now, and concentrate on other aspects of the relationship that you can directly control and improve. As with anything in a relationship, perspectives can very easily get skewed; what is more important is truth in intention rather than truth in action. If you are constantly trying to catch her out or purposefully find evidence to contradict what she says, or make assumptions about her intentions, you will find it harder to embrace those other aspects.

      A big part of trust is accepting your partner’s words without feeling the need to know all the facts surrounding them. If you do not trust someone’s words and they are an isolated example, then by definition you will not be able to trust that person!

      More confrontation and accusations will not help at this stage. It is the positive aspects of your relationship that are going to wash out the negative aspects. Hence I would reiterate the point about temporarily dropping the trust issue and focus on making her want to invest more of her time and emotions to the relationship first. Whether she has a habit of lying or not, her being with someone that she feels does not trust her is only going to distance the relationship, rather than unite it.

      If you are determined to tell her what you have discovered, be very delicate with how you convey your assumptions. If she sticks to her side of the story and there is no compromise, you will be taking steps backwards rather than forwards.

      Think about reasons why she is restricting how much she sees you and think how you can change that. Improving that aspect will undoubtedly help with all the issues related to trust an honesty.

      Take care,

      Sam

    • Ric says:

      Thanks for all your advice. In the end, I found the written evidence of her cheating, and confronted her with it. She agreed that what she was doing was not appropriate, but didn’t know how to stop being the way she is (in her words, “screwed up”.) We broke up this weekend, but at least it was all out in the open with no more secrets. She agreed that it was for the best that I found things out, even if it was underhanded.

      She thinks she will be able to work on her issues, and perhaps reunite with me in the future, but she knows I’m not waiting around and that we will have to take some drastic steps to rebuild our trust.

  63. Moh says:

    Well , now unfortunately , like my girlfriend is saying i dont make her happy :( and that shes bored with me , like iloveher so much . I dont have a car , i am trying to get one for her , and she has given me a deadline that if i dont get a car within the given day she will leave me , block me out of her life and just not ever contact me again . This makes me so sad , like i love her ! idk whats going on , im scared of letting her go , and the thought of her being with another guy or even talking to them in that way just gets to mee and hurts me so much , i just dont know what i can do to change this . I spent 40 dollars just do bus to her every 2 weeks , and she says i cant do anything for her . This is my first relationship , like actually i love her , but yeah i need help :'( i dont think i can move on , and because of her i have pushed all my friends away and theyre sick of me doing that :( im just so broken , she has given me one week . please help :'(

    • Hi Moh,

      If your girlfriend says that you do not make her happy and she is bored with you, what she really means is that she is bored with the relationship as it is now. Your true self and how you are behaving in this relationship are in conflict due to the emotions involved, so try not to take her comments personally.

      With that said, your girlfriend is treating you with a distinct lack of respect, as well as several other traits that are fundamental to a mutual and loving relationship.

      Firstly, I would strongly suggest not getting her a car at the moment, not because you don’t love her, but because it will now have supplicating implications. With any gift or offering in a relationship, especially one as extravagant as a car, it should be solely your choice to do so, as a gift of your love and appreciation. It seems like your girlfriend is to some degree taking advantage of your feelings for her, without giving much back.

      The most important thing to re-establish in this relationship is an equal level of control; at the moment, your girlfriend seems to have all the control! Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the first step to achieving this is to take yourself out of the firing line: start standing up for yourself, making your own decisions and stating your intentions more confidently. I know that is not easy to do when you love someone, but relationships only work when there is a mutual understanding about what you both want.

      Attraction and reigniting passion can come later, but first you must make her feel that you are a man, one that she respects and actively wants to be with, not because you bought her a car, but because you are confident and desirable!

      There is only so much detail I can go into in this comments section. If you would like to work together on some of these topics further then feel free to contact me using the Contact page at the top of the website, and we can discuss options.

      All the best,

      Sam

  64. scott lee says:

    hello sam,
    ive been dating my girlfriend around 6 months now. i do have trust issues, i dont know why, but i always think when she is not with me that she is up to something. we live together and she always seems to carry her phone around most of the time with her, to me that seems suspicious but perhaps its probably not. if she gets a text, sometimes she will say its from her mum or friend, then other times she wont say anything. a number called her phone the other day a few times. she did not answer it and said they would leave a voicemail if they wanted her. well i did notice she had a voicemail left her but when i asked she said she had not. that to me sounded suspicious. i said that i would answer it if it rang again but she said not to bother. i can text her and get nothing back, then when i ask did she not see my text she just says her phone was on charge or something. i dont want these issues and i know they are to do with me.i keep trying to think of the good things between us but then the doubts creep in. a friend who new her from a long time ago said to me that she used to be a bit of a goer, now her past is her past and does not bother me, as long as she is faithful with me. things do go round in my head quite a lot. i think i need to try and focus on the good things. some days she will want a kiss and cuddle, other days she will not which then makes me think she does not want me.

    • Hey Scott,

      You are absolutely correct that you should focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. A lot of the issues you are describing are self-inflicted, at least in the sense that they cause you anxiety. That anxiety is independent of whether your girlfriend is actually doing anything behind your back.

      When you start to regularly make assumptions with regards to trusting someone, it is very easy for those assumptions to become exaggerated and habitual.

      What you want to start to do is turn the habit of being suspicious into the habit of being carefree. This is something to consciously implement every time your girlfriend does something where you have a choice about how to react or interpret.

      A lot of people think that when you develop a carefree attitude towards things that don’t directly affect you, you open yourself up to being emotionally abused and manipulated. In fact it is the opposite!

      If you develop a more carefree attitude, which is a fundamental aspect of trust, you will find that your girlfriend actually keeps a lot less secrets from you, whether she has anything to hide or not.

      Try to also not let her changeable behaviour affect yours: be as positive and self-assured as you can be at all times. If she is not as physically affectionate one day, don’t automatically assume it is personal; change her mood, not her mind! Trust her by default unless there is substantial evidence otherwise. All the examples of her being secretive about her phone use are trivial if you are putting effort into the relationship as a whole.

      I hope that helps and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  65. Moh says:

    Yes thanks Sam , i do try and stand up for myself , and as soon as i do , she says if you say one more word ill dump you . Its like so sad :(

  66. Johnny says:

    This was a great thing to read, and i feel that it will help me. My girlfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, and yet we still have some minor trust issues. I love her very much, and i know she loves me too…and that’s all that should matter. I shouldn’t be having any trust issues if we feel this way. I used to go on her facebook and look at the conversations she was having with other guys. One guy was flirting with her a few months ago and said he wanted to hook up. she said she would if she didnt have a boyfriend. this really hurt me, and i talked to her about it and she said she was just saying that so the guy wouldnt get mad or something.
    Recently, she has been a lot better with not talking to as many random guys. i dont go on her facebook anymore, as i have began to regain that trust.
    It’s hard for her to open up to me…let alone anyone. I dont want her to keep her feelings in all the time.. and as you said, i want her to WANT to tell me things, not because she feels like she HAS to. How can i get her to open up?
    On another note…i will be joining the marine core next year. we have talked about this a lot, and she has reassured me that she will be okay by herself for long periods of time at a time. We have been talking about marriage for a while, and we agree that me joining the marines would help us a lot in the future. Is it wrong of me to still worry about her when im gone for so long? I know that i shouldnt worry, and i should trust her..but it is kind of hard, because i dont know what she’ll be doing, who she’ll be with, and what kind of guys she’ll be hanging out with. How do i know she wont be saying the things she said to the guy on facebook?
    I have changed dramatically for her…i quit smoking, got a new job, cleaned myself up a bit, physically mentally and emotionally, but i feel she hasnt made any effort to change herself to help our relationship. She gets mad very easily, and gets really defensive. id like her to try to work on these things so we can minimize the number of stupid little fights.
    Even with the stupid stuff that goes on sometimes, we still love eachother very much and our dream is to live a happy life together and get married and have kids.
    Sometimes she gets mad at me for constantly wanting her reassurance. She says she has said it a thousand times, and yet i still want to hear it.
    I feel i am a good boyfriend…i do anything to keep her happy, and i put her needs before my own. Is this a bad thing? all i want to do is just keep her happy, because if she’s happy, im happy, and vise versa.
    (i know this is a lot of questions and stuff :( but i just need some advice from an outside source. If you can help me out and give me some advice about the things i mentioned, that would be great.)
    Thanks! :D

    • Hey Johnny,

      It sounds like the most important aspects of your relationship are present: you love each other and want to be together. Although your girlfriend telling another guy on Facebook that she would date him if she didn’t have a boyfriend seems a bit tactless, it actually shows she is trustworthy rather than the opposite.

      As for getting her to open up more, you achieve that by LETTING her open up more, and never forcing the issue. It is achieved by making her feel that she can completely trust and respect you, and never fear you or your reactions.

      Joining the marines will obviously be a big change for the relationship, but it is counterproductive to worry about what the impact on your relationship may or may not be. The most important thing is to concern yourself with your own life and only “worry” about what she is up to when you are actually talking to each other.

      It is great that you are both keen for the relationship to work in the long-term, but try not to use that as a strict rule for how you should both be acting whilst you are apart; still treat the relationship day by day.

      It is also good to hear that you are working on improving yourself physically and mentally. You can influence your girlfriend to make positive changes in her own life, but you can’t actually change her yourself. Just like she will only tell you details about her social life if she wants to, she will only make personal changes if she wants to. You can encourage and support her following through, but be careful not to come across as controlling, needy or frustrated; let her make her own choices.

      The most important thing is that you both want to be together; everything else is essentially misunderstandings and miscommunication. Listen carefully to what your girlfriend tells you. I get the impression that she does tell you what you need to know, such as when you want reassurance about her commitment and even with the Facebook incident at the beginning of your comment.

      Thanks for reading; I’m glad you like the article,

      Sam

  67. Kelley says:

    Sam,

    I’d like to say, first of all, that reading your article helped me immediately as I am currently sitting at my apartment having feelings of jealousy, insecurity and distrust. I never thought I would be the type to reach out in this way, however I have exhausted my friends and my family, and noone has been able to reach me the way your article did.

    My story is simple…divorced parents due to cheating, cheated on by an ex. Currently living with my boyfriend of a year and a half. I feel like my issues are in two different areas tht strongy influence one another. I’m well aware that my own insecurities and my relationship history are the main cause of my problem. However my boyfriend has also given me small reason to be concerned, and I have attached that small problem to his drinking, so now anytime he shows interest in drinking…I panic that he could be drawn to cheat. The only thing I have ever “caught” him doing is texting another women (happened to be an ex whom he claimed to have only dated for a month as had a friendship both before and after the relationship) “I love you” when he was drunk at a bar. We discussed it, him claiming he tells everyone he loves them when he’s drunk…yadda yadda. I “forgave” him, however now when he drinks I fear that something worse could happen.

    99% of our relationship is amazing. We rarely argue, this (trust) being the only thing that ever sparks an argument. And while its a BIG thing, we are apart so rarely that we fight, get over it, and things go on fine…until the next time he shows interest in drinking, and then I panic all over again. I’m sorry I dragged this out longer than I had planned.

    My basic question is what can I do…in the moment, to help me trust him and calm myself down when he is out without me? If I text him he gets annoyed, if he doesn’t respond back I panic. As the clock ticks later and later I draw up more and more scenarios in my head of what he could possibly be doing in that moment that is more important than checking in on me. I know it sounds crazy. I just don’t like when he is out with his drunk friends because I fear it puts our relationship in a vulnerable and susceptible position to be ruined. Or for mistakes to be made. I feel the need to prevent that from happening by staying on the forefront of his mind, where in turn that just annoys him more. What can I do, right now? I’m literally writing this message to you to avoid texting him and bothering him, bc he has told me many times now that he needs his space and if I don’t respect that he won’t continue on in a relationship like this. I need to know how to control this anxiety I get when he’s out drinking so that I don’t ultimately push him away altogether.

    Thanks for listening.

    K

    • Hi Kelly,

      Drinking alcohol is something that commonly highlights trust issues, but the consumption of alcohol itself does not directly cause people to abuse trust within a relationship, even if it is sometimes used as an excuse. Try not to think of your boyfriend drinking as a separate entity, but rather as the same person in a different state.

      The level of trust in your relationship at its deepest level is exactly the same regardless of whether anyone is drunk, as well as any desire to cheat. The steps to overcome any trust issues are also the same.

      The example of him texting his ex-girlfriend as an isolated incident, along with his explanation, is not a big deal. It is only if such behaviour seems constant, premeditated or callous that there should be any concern. As it is, it seems the fear of him doing something wrong far outweighs his actual wrongdoing.

      You have already highlighted where some of those insecurities may stem from in your case. Using some of the advice found on this website and elsewhere, focus on reassessing why those incidents should affect your personal choices and self-esteem now, rather than searching for quick fixes for trust based on what your boyfriend MIGHT do. Your relationship sounds like it is amazing most of the time and positive affirmations about how much trust there actually should be in your relationship given how it is should be an ongoing exercise.

      As for some practical advice in the meantime, the first thing to do when your boyfriend is out drinking is keep yourself busy and your mind occupied on something either unrelated to your relationship, or positive thought towards it. You can only worry about something if your mind is free to overanalyse the situation.

      There is nothing wrong with texting a significant other whilst they are out, or expecting them to text you. It is the subtext of those requests that dictates how your boyfriend will feel. Any text you do send should never sound like you are checking up on him, but instead be something that will make him smile or laugh. The same applies when asking him about how his night was the next day. Even if the words are exactly the same, there is a distinct difference between how something can come across: light-hearted interest, or suspicious and insecure.

      Remember that it is healthy for your relationship if you have unmonitored time apart every now and then. Trust is not something that has to be reaffirmed at all times; trust should be something that is created when you are together so you don’t have to worry during the times apart.

      I’m glad you like the article; watch this space for lots more on the topic,

      Sam

  68. Clarissa says:

    Hey Sam,

    After reading your article it brought me to think a lot of things….

    Here’s my story. I’ve been hurt by so many people, they took advantage of me, lied, cheated on. Until I found this great guy who I’ve been knowing since I was a child. I never knew I’d ever be with him because we hated each other, we’ve never talked growing up…. Until 2 years ago things got serious. We became official and everything was perfect, then after maybe 4 months I became insecure because we were in different areas, I barely saw him, never did we have that passionate kiss/hug…. All the relationship was in video chat. I was lost I didn’t know what to do so I ended up breaking it off but then I realized I needed him in my life even though he screwed many things in his life because I felt a strong connection between us. We got back together a year later but I noticed things aren’t the same anymore we became distant with each other…. That love we had was slowly fading but yet we forced it to be together. He’s never really cheated on me but has lied to let me know how it feels to be lied to and have a broken heart. I guess I deserve that…. I’m trying really hard to prove to him that the same old girl he fell in love with is still here…. After 2 years of being together he has to move and my insecurities went back…. I love him, I want us to make it work. I don’t know what else to do… I’ve had trust issues in my past and I don’t want this effecting my relationship with him. I’m always afraid of someone taking him away from me and he lost his love for me. What should I do? I’ve asked my friends for advice but nothing really helped…. Please if possible can you advice me on what to do because I don’t want to end up losing that person that I really care about.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Clarissa,

      The first thing to try and do is strip away the negative self-talk. The issues you have highlighted are as much to do with self-esteem and positive action as they are to do with trust. Instead of talking about what you hope for or what you think you deserve, start talking about what you WANT, including how trust would be for you in an ideal reality.

      You mention forcing the relationship and trying to get him to see the same girl he fell in love with once more. That is actually good advice, but the emphasis should be on what the relationship has going for it in the present and ways you can enrich that with the relationship as it is now.

      Understand that your past is in the past and does not have to dictate how you are now. Every time you catch yourself sounding confused, helpless or fearful, try and force a more proactive and positive mindset. The insecurities and lack of trust that you possess now are things that you can unlearn with the right attitude. That attitude is one where you can actively discover areas of personal development and work on strategies without becoming overly emotionally.

      The way to successfully do that is to ensure you are positive and happy as often as possible. You will find it far easier to treat your relationship as you actually want it to be if you are in a positive state of mind, forgetting about any past issues with trust.

      Drastic changes do not need to take place if the two of you want to be together. Work on all of the above at your own pace, but make sure you are actually progressing to where you want to be with regards to trust, effort and contentment. Self-esteem and trust are relative; as one increases, the other will increase too.

      Take care,

      Sam

  69. Michael says:

    Hey Sam,

    I read a lot of comments and thought you gave excellent advice. I was hoping you could help me out as well. My girlfriend and I have been dating for nearly 10 months now. We did break up for a month though and have recently got back together a couple weeks ago. We always lived around the corner from each other in the same city because of school but now live an hour and a half apart. I am having severe trust issues with her. I always had them a little bit before but now because we broke up once already and because we are living in different cities, I am having them to the extreme. I went as far as checking the history of her phone and hacking her facebook just to make sure she wasn’t with anyone while we broke up. As it turns out, I found nothing. I know it was wrong of me to do that but I was just so paranoid. I am still paranoid everytime she goes out now on the weekends when I’m not there.

    I need to find a way to trust her or this will never work. Before we started dating, she had admitted that she slept with a lot of guys before me. We also slept together the first night we met. I think both of these things have helped cause my mistrust. I’ve also seen a number of girls I know cheat on their boyfriends before. Do you have any advice on how I can learn to trust her again? If I can’t learn to trust her, we will never be able to make this work.

    • Hey Michael,

      To repeat advice that I have said to others, it is not your girlfriend that you must learn to trust… you must learn to trust yourself! I imagine that you would have similar trouble trusting anyone else who was as close to you emotionally as your girlfriend is. The truth is we ALLOW other people to hurt us by making ourselves unnecessarily vulnerable.

      All of the above advice on trust is really just a screen for learning to become more self-assured and garner a more accurate intuition. If you work on those two aspects of your own development, you will always have a realistic view of how your relationship actually is.

      To give a hypothetical example, if your girlfriend were to breach your trust at some stage without there being obvious problems in the relationship, presumably she is not the person you thought she was and you can gracefully move on. At the moment you are actually making her become that person you don’t want her to be, solely in your mind!

      An exercise that will help you reach a more realistic view of your relationship is to ask yourself, “How would I act right now if I fully trusted my girlfriend?” This can be applied when you are feeling paranoid about her going out, and even more so when you are directly fuelling a lack of trust such as checking her private messages.

      The short and facile answer to trusting someone is to simply trust them! Act like you trust them, assume that you trust them and ultimately treat them like you trust them. With that done, you can concentrate on what is really important: making your relationship awesome, despite the distance, despite the recent breakup and despite any insecurities.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  70. thisislife says:

    Hi Sam,
    This is a great article. I have a lot of trust issues that cause me to push my fiance away from me. I know I am hurting our relationship and I have been going to therapy for the issues I have that come from my past. My fiance works all different hours, starting and Ending at all different times. He usually leaves before I wake up and comes home after I am asleep. It has caused me a lot of heart break without him breaking my heart. I constantly ask him if he truly wants to be with me and he always says yes but I know from the past that even someone who is cheating will still hold onto the person they are cheating on. I am so scared of being hurt and I don’t know how to trust him and I believe I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone I am in a relationship with not specifically him.

    • Hi,

      You mention that you wouldn’t be able to trust anyone whom you are in a relationship with, and not just your fiancé. That acknowledgment should help you to realise whenever feelings of distrust arise that they are just feelings; they are not necessarily a result of your fiancé’s actions.

      Detaching the feelings of distrust from a specific person and making them more abstract should prevent those feelings from affecting the relationship whilst you focus on regaining trust within yourself.

      If therapy is working for you then keep using that. Make sure you are simultaneously taking steps towards how you want to be. From my experience, therapy only has real and lasting effects if you are using it as motivation and reassurance for personal development.

      Everyone (aside from a few extreme cases) is born with the cognitive abilities to be confident, trusting and content. Negative beliefs are collated on top of that core potential through experiences. There are a number of techniques to reverse the process and rid yourself of those negative beliefs, but they all boil down to two methods: changing your experiences and changing your thoughts.

      It sounds like you are in a great relationship now, so the first part should be fairly easy to achieve. Although your fiancé’s schedule should not directly influence how much trust there is in the relationship, finding ways that you can communicate and keep in touch during times apart will help the logistical aspects of the relationship and feeling emotionally intimate.

      The second part comes from separating your past issues and fears from your true self and how you know a trusting person should act. Constantly ask yourself questions that challenge any insecure behaviour: why you feel a certain way and why you fear certain outcomes, for example.

      Reality is always far more manageable in hindsight than our negative thoughts were at the time; trust issues arise when one lets those negative thoughts BECOME their reality!

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  71. cisco says:

    Hi sam
    My gf went on a salsa trip for the wekend and she called everyday she keep me update bout everything but she went by her self to the trip didnt invite me and the salsa thing finish on sunday but she stayin in another hotel till tuesday by her self.she act like nothing its goin on.but its normal goin in a trip by ur self and acomodation by ur self? Want to trust…but can even sleep.i love her but ur opinion will make see this in a different view.our relationship its 9 out of 10.but this trip with her salsa pasion away of the coutry its killim me.do you think its normal go in a trip to dance with the hot boys and stay in hotel by ur own?she said she meetin friends there.but some friends livin the sunday and she stay sayin she wants more time of in malta repeat by her self! I know players i was a player and in this situation its dificult to know wats goin on?
    Thank you sam.

    • Hi,

      Your girlfriend going on a trip without you does not automatically imply that she has unfaithful intentions; her character and standing in the relationship is what determines that. As her boyfriend, you should know both of those better than anyone, so focus your trust towards the relationship and her character rather than towards the specific situation.

      Unrestricted time apart when everything is otherwise great in the relationship is actually a good thing. It is a chance to build on the trust you have for each other and test that it is genuine. I assume that she is enjoying herself and is full of positive emotions at the moment. Use those positive emotions to enrich your relationship and be equally happy and positive.

      Although many people rationalise cheating as a spontaneous decision, it rarely is. If your relationship is positive and you trust your girlfriend at other times, nothing should change when she is away. If she is willingly calling you whilst she is away, it implies that her thoughts, desires and commitments are still towards you and the relationship, in which case your fears are unfounded.

      Just like at any other time, assume that there is no doubting your trust for her unless she genuinely gives you a reason to doubt it. Conveying any unnecessary suspicions or fears when she calls or when she returns from trips alone may or may not faze her, but it will definitely have a negative affect on all the components of trust that are fundamental to a mutually fulfilling relationship.

      All the best and thanks for reading,

      Sam

  72. Kate says:

    Hey Sam,

    Amazing that this you are still receiving comments on this article two years later and still take the time to respond! This was a very helpful and informative article. My situation is like many others and I was hoping you could shed some specific light on it…

    I have been with my boyfriend for about a year now. He is absolutely amazing and has actually never given me a real reason not to trust him. If anything, he tells me more than I want to know about certain situations. The problem is, I have been really hurt by a past relationship, to the point where all my trust (and heart) was broken. Also, my parents are divorced and I feel like the adults in my life are not in the most stable of relationships. I think all of these things contribute to me having a really hard time trusting significant others.

    The reason I feel like this is becoming more of an issue now is that…at the beginning of the relationship, I felt like I didn’t know him well enough to “ask too many questions” or to act controlling, or basically any of those negative things that you don’t want to do anyway. But I feel like the closer we have gotten, the more I know he loves me, the more I -act- on these insecurities. When he goes out without me, I want to know every detail about who was there. When he gets a text from an old friend, I want the background of their history. When he even mentions the name of a girl, I tense up and my heart starts beating a mile a minute. He is a very attractive guy so he gets a lot of female attention. He also has a lot of female friends from college. And he is very kind and generous (which I think leads him to be almost too nice to girls- and then that sparks insecurities within me too (what if a girl takes advantage of how nice he is?))

    The thing is…he handles all of these questions of mine amazingly. He never gets angry, he never belittles me, he just reassures me. So all of that adds up to…I KNOW that my feelings are irrational. I actually in my brain don’t believe that he would do anything wrong. Whenever I get these feelings, which seems to be more and more often lately, I literally tell myself to stop, to not react, that it doesn’t matter. But I can’t. I just can’t. It’s almost like word vomit where I bring things up that I KNOW I shouldn’t. That I know will only cause an issue.

    Do you have any advice to deal with this? I want to stop this behavior and like you mentioned, I don’t want to push him away or actually cause him to do something because of my own insecurities.

    • Hi Kate,

      I’m glad the topic of trust is still so popular and that you and others are still getting value out of this article. I’m in the process of writing a comprehensive guide for all issues related to trust, so keep an eye out for that.

      As for your situation, trust issues are often more frustrating when they are solely mental projections. You know that they are irrational but that does not make them any less real!

      The good news is that you can use the tangible trust you have for your boyfriend (knowing that he is honest with you and that he has given you no reason to doubt his character) to purposefully shift your personal fears and insecurities.

      It is great that you quickly recognise the points where you are acting on insecurities, but to help make changes in the moment, it is useful to have a full visualisation of an alternative side of you. Trust issues are in a sense habits, regardless of how they formed. Overcoming them is a process of taking small steps that head away from your psychological comfort zones.

      An exercise that has helped people in similar situations is to visualise a detailed version of yourself (or an anonymous character for now if it makes it easier) that characterises exactly how you want to act with regards to trust and contentment. For every incident that relates to fears about trust, detail a counter-action that would typify that new person. By having a real comparison, it will be easier to shift your mindset, rather than just acknowledge, resent and later regret your thoughts.

      People with trust issues or troubled relationships are there due to circumstances within their control, even if the causation was not. Try as best you can to separate yourself from your past relationships or any other negative influences. It sounds like you have an amazing boyfriend, so try to consciously express gratitude that you have the ingredients for a relationship void of any trust issues, whilst simultaneously taking those small steps each time you have a choice about how to act.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  73. steve says:

    Hello Sam.
    Think ive just blew it with my girlfriend and wondered if you could give me some advice. in a previous relationship my wife never used to tell me anything which always caused arguments. Yesterday, my girlfriend of 6 months got a load of presents out to wrap for her kids which I never knew about. This set off a bad memory for me and unfortunately I said something about her not telling me she had brought them. this upset her very much and is now not talking to me. I know this sounds silly and it probably is, but to me it dragged up a bad memory and now my girlfriend is not speaking to me. I never want this to happen again, how can I control a feeling if its something that has hurt me in the past? This is the 3rd occasion now ive upset her because of things that have happened in my past. I love her so much but am not showing it when I upset her. Thanks.

    • Hey Steve,

      The example you describe is more about being able to express your feelings clearly and peacefully than anything else. The first thing to do when discussing something that is a result of past trauma is to realise that they are your feelings; your girlfriend is not to blame for unintentionally evoking them.

      If you avoid attaching blame or judgement to those discussions, you should be able calmly talk with your girlfriend about how it made you feel and how you want to overcome those feelings. Afterwards you can go away and properly analyse why you felt that way and how you can learn to not feel that way again if you so choose.

      Thanks for writing,

      Sam

  74. David says:

    hi sam i was wondering if you could help me with some trust issues me and my gf have with each other. We are always thinking the worst in each other when we are apart. We love each other very much and tell each other everyday but these negative thoughts we have is not helping. We don’t live together so only see each other once during the week and on weekends. i want us to have a healthy relationship and not have no negative/imaginary thoughts each time we are apart. Thanks

    • Hey David,

      If the issues with trust in your relationship are mutual, you should be able to empathise with each other and relate to how the other is feeling. The process for building more trust should be easier, as you can find a balance between reassurance and strengthening that you can both deal with.

      If you read through some of the advice given in the above article and comment responses, as well as advice throughout this website, you should be able to find tools that work for you. The added bonus in your case is that you can speak to your partner about your progress without coming across as weak. You can almost treat it as a net level of trust within the relationship that you are both working towards, rather than a personal issue to overcome on your own.

      Take care,

      Sam

  75. stephen says:

    hey there sam.
    here’s my jelousy issue. ive been seeing my gf for about 7 months now and we live together. the initial excitment seems to have died off a bit now so she’s not as touchy kissy cuddly as she used to be. my issue is with her 16yr old son. hes a nice lad but a bit of a mummy’s boy. myself and gf can be in the same room and we are just normal, when her son comes in the room, her face lights up, theyre play fighting, laughing and joking, now when i try this she pushes me away. this makes me jelous probably cause he can put that big smile on her face that i try my hardest to do. probably sounds silly, and he his her son, but i wished i could make her feel like he does. she says she is happy and loves me.
    thanks, stephen.

    • Hey Stephen,

      This is an interesting discussion you have raised. It is not a case of jealousy in the conventional sense of pair-bonding, but I can see how their relationship might seem opposing to your own. It is not just a case of making your girlfriend smile, but HOW you make her smile. A parent-offspring relationship is based on nurture and influence, whereas your relationship should be based on attraction and intimacy.

      Due to the above differences, the first thing to do is resist comparing the two relationships. Instead, the best thing for you to do is embrace their relationship as a separate entity, whilst doing your best to make her son an ally of yours and show that you are an addition to their relationship, rather than competing for affection.

      I imagine that the reason their relationship seems more fluid and natural is because her son interacts with her without an overriding agenda. That carefree attitude is difficult to force. At the moment it sounds like you are seeking a reaction when you try to engage your girlfriend in a similar manner, which weakens the authenticity of it all. Your thoughts and assumptions are what are restricting the relationship, and your girlfriend probably senses those reservations during such moments.

      There are three relationships of relevance to your situation: your relationship with your girlfriend, your relationship with her son, and your girlfriend’s relationship with her son. The first two are what you should be focusing on, independently and with confidence.

      You say that the initial excitement of your relationship seems to have died off a bit. Although many are led to believe that it is an inevitable consequence of a long-term relationship, the initial excitement can actually continue indefinitely; you just have to get creative and adapt the manner in which you achieve it.

      The most important thing is that your girlfriend is happy and loves you. That at least means there is nothing to worry about and you can work on the above at a comfortable progression.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Sam

  76. H says:

    Hi Sam,
    Great article. I have been with my gf for about 2 months now, I am 26 and she is 24. We both care about eachother a lot and she’s everything I’ve ever wanted. I know she is a good girl with good morals and values however I have always had trust issues. She has a guy friend who she’s had for about a year now. She admitted to kissing him once before we were together when she was drunk but swears she doesn’t see him as anything more than a friend but he does have a crush on her. When we first became exclusive she hesitated to tell him right away bc of his crush. This is where the problem started. According to her he said he doesn’t want to meet me until it’s serious between her and myself. This obviously also bothers me. Once again she swears she doesn’t see him as anything more than a friend and I know she really cares about me a lot but she does talk to him fairly regularly via text. The whole situation makes me very uneasy even though I know she has very strong feelings for me. After acting suspiciously, questioning her and doing things like going through her phone she finally broke up with me a few days ago. The last straw was me going through her phone. I tried to talk to her via text to fix the situation the day of the incident but she jut kept saying things like I’m sorry I can’t do it anymore, and finally said please let’s just stop I’m sorry I can’t do this I’m not crazy about you anymore and after that text I didn’t respond because I knew I just needed to give her space. The night before the incident we had a great time together and just last week she was saying how special I make her feel and how good she feels to be with me. I haven’t heard from her in about 4 days nor have I tried to contact her knowing that the best thing is probably to give her space but it’s so hard not to talk to her because I really miss her. After reading your article and others I realize that my actions have done nothing positive and have only pushed her farther and farther away. I know I need to work on my trust issues and I have been trying my hardest to suppress any insecurities by reminding myself the type of person she is and how much she cares but I can’t completely fix it over night. I’m really afraid that I pushed her away for good this time and I don’t know what to do because I really care about her and can’t imagine never seeing her again. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi,

      I know that a lot of the damage has already been done, but it is still useful to learn from this experience, whilst now working on automatically trusting anyone who has given you no reason not to trust them. You can still win your girlfriend back and I agree that giving her space is a good thing for now. The important thing is to show her indirectly that you are not still caught up on what caused the problems; something that was only ever a problem from your perspective.

      The main lessons to take away are to not make something that isn’t your problem into your problem, and not make something that isn’t a big deal into a big deal. These are two principles that are crucial to having more trust by default.

      If another man has an issue meeting you without knowing you personally, that is purely his own agenda and insecurities. Likewise, if he has a non-reciprocated crush on your girlfriend, that is his own problem to deal with. If you do meet him, don’t give him a reason or justification for disliking you. He can only ruin his own image further if he dislikes you without a genuine reason to.

      Although you want to convey that you are actively working on any trust issues you have, don’t let it change your core identity and the dynamics of your relationship. If you start begging for your girlfriend back, you are painting a whole new picture of yourself, one that is needy rather than attractive.

      Give her the time necessary to forget the raw emotions of the incident in question. After that, reconnect with her like the boyfriend she has always been attracted to. Trust issues aren’t something you can rid yourself of overnight, but they are something you can improve day by day. They are also something you can make a conscious effort to prevent from damaging your relationship as you make that progress.

      Take care and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  77. K says:

    Hi Sam,
    Love the article.
    Im in a relationship with an amazing guy. However, he has profound trust issues. His previous relationships ended with her cheating on him. I have never done anything to cause him to NOT trust me. He tells me that I should tell him everything but when I do, he takes it all the wrong way and makes up scenarios which never happened. He accuses me of cheating and lying to him constantly which isn’t true at all. I love him but I’m extremely frustrated upset and hurt by this. I get accused of things at least 3x a week and it’s getting old. I don’t want to leave him but my patience is wearing thin. I reassure him of the love I have for him and that I won’t ever cheat on him but it doesn’t work. Also, everything I tell him while we are not fighting gets twisted in his mind and comes back to bite me during the next fight. I don’t know what to do anymore. Please help!

    • Hi,

      Although it may seem like you are being accommodating when you tell your boyfriend overbearing details and constantly explain yourself, it actually feeds his insecurities. It is for his benefit as much as your own that you remain assertive, confident, and unwavering when he make irrational requests for honesty.

      Unless he has deeply emotional issues, I am sure that he wants to trust you; he just hasn’t learnt how to do so in a mutually respectful manner. Having said that, there is only so much you can do to encourage, influence and support him in gaining more trust. Your boyfriend can only change if he has a desire to do so!

      It may sound mildly patronising but if you want to help him, you actually need to teach him how to trust you. That starts by not succumbing to anything that makes you feel like he doesn’t trust you, and also pointing him towards useful resources and strategies without making him feel inferior. Without some kind of ultimatum, his trust issues will continue to control the relationship, and will lead to further resentment.

      All you can do is firmly reassure him one final time that you are trustworthy, and then continue to behave how you want to behave, based on how you think your perfect relationship should be. If he values the relationship and you remain patient towards him, he will hopefully be willing to accept his insecurities and work on overcoming them.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  78. Isaac says:

    Thanks man, this post has really been helpful, i mostly worry about my girlfriend. We are in a long distance relationship and its not easy at all, i worry so much about her and wonder what she is doing at every point in time, I sometimes enter her facebook account to see who is sending her messages and all, not that i dont trust her but i fear loosing her

    • Hey Isaac,

      I’m glad the article has been helpful.

      As I have said in some of the other replies, each time you feel the urge to act on insecurities, you have a choice between actually doing so or not. The respective results are the difference between being insecure and untrusting, and being preoccupied with being a great man and a great boyfriend.

      Each time you feel the insecurities in question intensifying and decide to act upon them, such as needlessly checking your girlfriend’s Facebook account, you are nurturing the insecurity and feeding the temptation.

      If you have that same level of insecurity but force yourself to apply trust and actively do something else with your time, you will subconsciously reassure yourself that everything is alright in your relationship.

      Reward yourself every time you follow through on this second option and the effect will be even greater. Eventually it will lead to you never feeling the need to act on insecurities, and your relationship will be solely about the positive attributes you bring together.

      Thanks for reading,

      Sam

  79. FD says:

    Great article. I hope u can help me. So I’ve been going out with her for 6 months. She grew up around the corner from me and we’ve known Eachother for several years. She has no parents. Her mom died and her dads not around. We live tigether. We are both 23 and I don’t trust her fully for the following reasons :

    1. One night about a month ago. She was out for her friends bday and apparently got really drunk. She was texting me all night but i could tell she was getting drunker by her txts. Anyway. I said I’m coming to pick you up and she wouldn’t answer. When she did she would mumble. She was beyond drunk and when I finally found her and picked her up I was upset so I looked though her texts. I found two texts:

    A) she texted her girlfriend “I’m sexting my bf while trying to bang Becky friends”
    B). She texted a girl “come out. I’m alone. My boy isn’t here”. I called the number and found out it was a guy in her phone as a girls name.

    Okay. This all looks really bad for her. We argued about it in the morning for hours and she admitted it looks bad. Her excuse was that the first text (A) was and inside joke to her friend taken out of context. And the second excuse was that test (B) was her friends friend she only met once. And he was in the phone as A girls name because it was and inside joke with her girlfriend. I left the house and she texted me that “she’s sorry. It’s will never happen again. I love you more than anything and will do anything for you not to leave . Please come back”.

    I went back to her. She said she never had intentions if having sex with some,one else and that she’s sorry and will stop drinking. I said I would give her a second chance to show shes trustworthy. Because after you break 100% trust. You can never get it back.

    What do you think. Dose she sound sincere.? What do u make if the txts and excuses. I’m still building trust up. But it’s a slow process.

    • Hi,

      There are different forms of trust. Trusting words and trusting actions may seem closely related but they are actually independent forms. Someone can say dishonest words but never actually cheat. Equally, someone could be cheating without saying words to the contrary.

      It is easy for the text message examples you have given to be taken out of context. Regardless of their true meaning, the most significant point is that your girlfriend does not seem to always treat the relationship or your feelings with respect. There is a big difference between acknowledging attraction for someone else and actively pursuing that attraction without consent.

      Her messages do not suggest that she was actually going to pursue anything physical, but it is important that you let her know how her implications made you feel.

      It sounds like she is going through a social learning process and alcohol consumption often coincides with this. If you have already discussed and resolved the issue and you trust her new words and actions for now, there is not much value in revisiting the topic with her unnecessarily.

      If it is still on your mind, think about how your relationship and your role as a boyfriend can influence her behaviour. You should be encouraging her to behave responsibly, respectfully and honestly, not through punishment or threats, but through positive communication and understanding.

      As long as you don’t cause her to resent or rebel against your handling of the situation, she will automatically mature and learn from the experience, which should help towards regaining full trust within the relationship.

      All the best and thanks for using the website,

      Sam

  80. Kane says:

    Hey great article ! I am a very jealous guy, and i have been trying to work on it recently, acknowledging that my insecurities make me look unattractive and ultimately will destroy the good energy in a relationship. My long distance relationship girlfriend only has guy friends , and maybe two girlfriends ( literally) , is it not perfectly normal that i get jealous ? I would of thought this the natural response of most men? Even if you trust her fully, an attractive lady surrounded by man in which the probability is almost certainly half of them want her and uncertainly but possibly all of them want her.

    I called off our engagement about 3 months ago , because i didn’t feel i was ready , i made sure to call it of months before rather than the day before. Ever since this moment she has been behaving differently with me. She used to talk to me constantly , and then suddenly she has met 5 new male friends and they have suddenly become a group. This was accompanied by less communication. She did get a late night job which does limit her time.

    My issue is that even before when she was busy , she would always try to get a word out to me . This form of communication has vanished from our relationship and it is something i really enjoyed and thought made our LDR strong! 5 new guys and her ex coming to visit , has led me to be feeling pretty insecure. I have had reassurances but the communication has not really increased and she has already got angry at me for bringing up the 5 new friends for a second time.. She is obviously upset i do not trust her , but what really gets me is she calls me a psycho for getting so jealous about ? She is not a jealous person so her empathy for such is non existent. I cant simply say imagine i had 5 new girl friends all of a sudden and communication suddenly dropped … her response would be ” i trust you fully so i have nothing to worry about ” ! I admire that strength and wish i also could perform so elegantly but the truth is this is eating away at me , and i have been holding back because i don’t want to appear so weak , this does not however fix the relationship!

    I love her so much but i can’t live like this ! Recently we made peace and came out of our turbulence , she explained how hurt she was for me postponing the engagement and therefore distanced herself from me! However her love and want for me stayed the same ! However she is still that new person , even after our peace talks she still is moving around her guy friend groups and talking to them more than she is to me ! She used to message me about everything all the time , and it was once me who was accused of lack of communication! It seems the tables have turned!

    P.S. i know i sound competitive in the way i phrase things but really im not seeing this as a battle. Its just im trying to account for why things changed so rapidly, yet im the only one who seems to have noticed!

    • Hi Kane,

      It is normal to feel jealousy at times, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it affect your relationship or your girlfriend’s overall perception of you.

      You have less to worry about if your girlfriend’s chosen lifestyle is to socialise with other men platonically. That is part of who she is. If she is honest and open about these friendships and never purposefully creates drama or suspicion, you should embrace the social dynamics. Your esteemed position as her chosen boyfriend in comparison actually reduces the likelihood of any amorous activity with her “friends”, as long as you live up to that boyfriend role.

      Don’t concern yourself with what those other men want; concern yourself with what you want and what your girlfriend wants!

      Calling off the engagement probably has more underlying repercussions than your comment suggests. Engagement does not signify an immediate marriage, but retracting an engagement would feel like an overwhelming reverse of validation, from the person she desires validation from the most.

      You say that you have since discussed the postponed engagement, but I am sure that at least some of the decline in communication is attributed to disconnect created therein.

      You can increase the communication, not by being needy and calling lots but by re-establishing the bond between the two of you and making communication in the relationship both desirable and necessary.

      If you truly want to be with her, you have to accept her personality and lifestyle wholeheartedly for now. Realise that it is your responsibility to change your perception of jealousy for the relationship, rather than vice versa. No logical explanation of jealousy is going to help your girlfriend empathise with you whilst she feels you aren’t being authentic with regards to the communication issues you describe.

      Your girlfriend will continually become a “new person”. It is a good thing and it means she is learning and growing. Your job is to make sure that you are learning and growing in conjunction with her, rather than passively observing and fearing those changes.

      Take care,

      Sam

  81. graham says:

    Hello sam.great article.heres my trust issue. I found out from a text message on my girlfriends phone that she owes someone money that she has not told me about. weve lived together about 8 months and one day she asked me to check something on her phone(nothing to do with checking her messages by the way) When checking I came across this message. Now this message which she must have forgotten was on there said that the person who had sent it regards my girlfriend as a friend but unless she paid back the money owed then the bailiffs would be involved. Now this got me thinking a little as she has never mentioned it. I checked her phone statement and she had made 1 return text message to this number. Ive since rang the number and a man answered so I hung up without saying anything. This was about a month ago and now im paranoid that she could be keeping all sorts from me. There is no way I can confront her about this without a major break up im sure. do I just ignore it? Ive asked if anything is worrying her and she assures me nothing is. I know she has not paid the money back as we have a joint account. Now im thinking has she paid it back in another way? My trust has been shattered because of this and its making me act different around her. I just want her to tell me whats what. She knows im understanding and would do anything for her so why is she not telling me. Thanks.

    • Hey Graham,

      The first thing to realise is that your girlfriend IS keeping all sorts from you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she is being secretive. Telling your partner EVERYTHING is an impossible task, usually requested by insecure and controlling partners. Trust is about knowing that your partner will discuss what needs to be discussed whilst never purposefully hiding information.

      As a general rule, it is fine for your girlfriend to keep things from you, as long as it is never done with the intention to manipulate or misrepresent. There are a number of possible reasons why she hasn’t told you about the money situation, but the main thing is to avoid jumping to conclusions.

      You can and should talk to your girlfriend about this, but it is important HOW you discuss it. If you have a joint account then it is probably important that you are candid about what each of you spends. Depending on your girlfriend’s personality and how you approach the subject, you should be able to find a way to discuss the matter without seeming judgemental, controlling or that you went behind her back. If you remain calm and positive, the discussion won’t escalate into an argument and you can solve the matter together.

      If she did keep it secret from you out of fear of judgement or repercussions, explain that it is the secrecy you felt hurt by, and not the actual matter of owing someone else money (which cannot be changed).

      Whatever the outcome, ensure that from now on your girlfriend feels that she can tell you anything. This is achieved by always being empathetic, non-judgemental and supportive in her eyes, not your own. This doesn’t mean that she will now tell you everything, but it does mean that she will feel able to tell you anything important. You can then trust that she is able to determine the difference therein.

      Take care and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  82. robert says:

    Hello Sam,

    This article is a bit old, but i saw that you replied recently. I have been with a woman for 7 years, and she is all I’ve ever wanted. She is not a fashion model by any sense, but she is beautiful to me. I live my life on the straight and narrow as best I can and have never lied to her. I have told her in the past that I wasn’t going to make rules in the relationship except that I expect to be hers and I expect her to be mine. Honesty above all is what I require, even if it means that I do not hear what pleases me all the time.

    We have been through some tough times together, financially and some time with doctors, and pushed on. I have never strayed from her. I have been offered, but declined because although there were times we weren’t happy together, I was still hers. We went through a rough patch about 9 months ago where I became distant, and pushed her away a little bit due to depression and anxiety about other issues. She in turn felt that she wasn’t getting enough attention, and started seeking it with others. This resulted in many text messages and emails and naughty pictures being taken. As far as I know it did not progress so far as to sleeping with another person, but it may have if I had let it persist. She said that she wanted to leave me, and I worked to convince her for the second chance. I spent so much time with her that she was my one and only thing in the world. I did not ask for anything other than she stop talking to those guys any more. She said that was reasonable and promised me that she would stop.

    Just recently, I guess I haven’t been giving her enough attention again, even though I spend all my free time with her, and she started talking to new guys again. I was willing to forgive this and just step up my attention giving, until one night when we were out, she received a phone call that made her stutter, blush and walk a little out of earshot to talk to briefly. When she stepped back towards me, I asked who it was, and she paused and then said someone from her work. I didn’t believe her, and it resulted in a very sleepless night after she left for work. That next day after I came home, I sat her down and asked for answers. She skated around the questions for a few minutes, and finally told me it wasn’t a co-worker, but one of these guys that she was talking to. I felt betrayed, and very angry. Not specifically that she had talked to these guys, to a lesser degree that one called her – which I feel is greatly out of line – but that she lied to me about who was on the phone. Her excuse was that I wouldn’t have liked the real answer. We spent several hours talking, and the end result was very angry sort of make-up sex. She said that she will stop again talking to these guys. I know at this point that will not be true. Again, I am pretty sure that she hasn’t been physically with any of them, but I feel it is only time until it happens.

    I love her, and want to stay with her, but my gut is yelling at me with the truths I know about leaving her boyfriend many years ago by cheating on him, about the lie she told me to cover her phone call, about the promise that was broken to not talk to other guys in the fashion she was talking to them. My gut is telling me its time to go. Is there room for trust again or at all? I don’t want to spend my years with her looking over my shoulder for the other man. I don’t want to monitor her email, phone, or text messages. I don’t want to tell her who she can and cannot be friends with, but I do not want her to talk to these guys any more. Is that fair? She knows I don’t send naughty pictures or messages to anyone but her. But I don’t know how to stay with her without trust, or trust myself to leave her. Do I leave?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Robert,

      Picking up on a phrasal choice of yours near the beginning of your comment, you say, “I expect to be hers and I expect her to be mine”. I know you have mentioned previous periods of emotional distance, depression and anxiety within the relationship, but it seems at least some of the issues stem from the general approach to trust and respect between you rather than the actual existence of it.

      Solid trust is actually about having no preconceived expectations: you trust that your partner will make choices based on mutual desires and with your best interests at heart. It is difficult to do that if you feel obligated to behave in a certain way. Possessiveness, jealousy and judgement are all traits that can easily prompt that unnatural obligation. Counter-intuitively, it can actually make that person act in a more suspicious manner to try and preserve what they believe is your method for trust.

      You make someone want to respect your trust by embodying someone that they respect full stop, in every aspect of the relationship.

      There is more to your girlfriend’s behaviour than simply texting other men (or indeed wanting to do so). The blueprint for a completely fulfilling relationship comprises of a lot more than simply balancing attention. Attraction, romance, intimacy, confidence and communication are just a few of the many vital components of a completely fulfilling relationship. I’m sure after seven years together you will have experienced each of the above and know which areas require the most focused effort.

      There is a difference between honesty and openness. Your girlfriend was correct in thinking that you wouldn’t like the answer when she lied about who was calling her. More to the point, she felt that you would be judging her, which would result in a negative spiral in the relationship.

      Of course that doesn’t justify her texting other men with intentions of infidelity (remember that is only an assumption of yours at this point and not fact). Her behaviour is an outcome of how the relationship has been recently and isn’t the causation of anything in particular. Demanding she ceases that behaviour will not prevent her desire to do so as things stand.

      You have the ability to mend this relationship and to lead it in the direction you want it to go. The only way your girlfriend will change is by changing the fundamental aspects of the relationship discussed above, which in turn will eradicate her original reasons for her behaviour. Her making promises without feeling there is any fundamental change will only make those promises temporary. She will still feel exactly the same as she did before, except probably now with slightly more guilt and slightly more resentment.

      Rather than focusing on what she must change, focus on what you can do to change the relationship as a whole. Trust is a by-product of a healthy and fulfilling relationship; working together to create that should solve anything that seems like a potential threat to trust long before it escalates.

      All the best and thanks for writing,

      Sam

  83. carla says:

    This was a nice article to read about relationships.
    My boy friend and i have been together for almost two years now,after going through all ups and downs cause of his trust issues i have stopped interacting with other boys even though it’s not being me but to get rid of every day’s arguments i had to actually isolate myself from my fellow guys but well he still seems to get this feeling that i am communicating with people in one way or the other,and this repeats every week in a different way but all showing his major trust issues.He keeps denying that he trust me completely like anyone but it obviously shows he has some major issues.He seems to get more curious every time i am out…being more aggressive i fail to deal with this sorta situations we have had lots of break ups already but due to our deep emotional involvement we couldn’t just part but his lack of trust in me hurts and i can’t deal with it anymore i don’t seem to assure him completely even though he may agree for some time but i can see he is preoccupied..
    I really want some help cause being a med student i can’t go through this all the time…it is very frustrating..i don’t like being asked for everything,i simply hate it!!

    • Hi Carla,

      You have already proved that restricting your social life is not the cure. By doing so you are somewhat justifying his behaviour, or at least accepting it. If you are not doing anything wrong (by mutual decision) then you should not stop doing what you innocently desire. Of course you should be empathetic towards your boyfriend’s trust issues, but not by conforming to irrational, controlling requests borne out of insecurity.

      The way to solve this is to have a peaceful discussion where you in turn discuss what you feel, why you feel that way and things you can do to feel secure without restricting the other person. To have more trust in a relationship you must add to it rather than take away from it; that is one of the things your boyfriend needs to understand to overcome his insecurity with regards to trust.

      Take care and thanks for reading the article,

      Sam

  84. Rob says:

    Hi, great page!
    I have had problems with lying since I was a kid, my family are aware of this and always have been, I used to exaggerate a lot! Or lie. Never hurtful or horrible but just as a kind of way to build my “self” up in the eyes of others.
    I have been with my partner for nearly 3 years now, the love is amazing, the feelings I have for her are incomparable but in the past I have lied to her. It started when we were first dating and I heard stuff that I didn’t want her to hear (some about her, some not) but I kept it from her and then she found out by going through my phone.
    We then had a temporary break from eachother after a very horrible experience, one that I don’t want to share on this page but in that week we both kissed people. She told me that a guy tried to kiss her and she freaked out and ran away. I didn’t tell her at all. I regret it so much as it made my actions look a lot worse!
    I also throughout this week felt this desperate need to feel wanted, but had no confidence (or in hind sight desire to actually fulfil it) so embarrassingly I signed on to this adult dating site thing, very very horrific to admit but it’s true and again I didn’t tell her. I was ashamed and from me not telling her she thinks I wanted to. After this has come out, she then admits she has lied about her actions and the “details” of what she did when we were apart. Of course it upsets me thinking of her with another man, but I’m aware we weren’t together so it wasn’t infidelity. I completely understand what it looks like to her about my situation and I am so lucky for still having her but now she checks my email, phone and Internet history a lot and although I have nothing to hide I feel there is a better way for us both to deal with it? I want her to trust me because I earn it and show that I have learnt, not from her getting bored of finding nothing on my accounts. I am more than aware I have planted this seed in her head and I want to help her and me move on from it respectfully and helpfully. I love her so much and I regret ever hiding anything from her but I would love some advice on how to be when she is checking my emails etc. I want to show her I have learnt.

    Thank you

    Rob

    • Hey Rob,

      It is understandable why your girlfriend feels the need to check your emails but as you have already stated, it is merely avoiding the issue and a temporary solution at best. It can also lead to her becoming more paranoid and you feeling like you have absolutely no privacy.

      You already seem very aware of the outcome of lying and indeed making choices that you know would seem suspect in your girlfriend’s eyes. Verbal reassurance will help but more so if it is directed towards your affection and desire for your girlfriend, rather than proving that you haven’t done anything wrong. It may take a while to regain full trust once more but as long as your actions are aligned with your mutual perception of the relationship from now on, your girlfriend will gradually become more at ease.

      When she expresses the urge to check your emails or anything similar, try to take her mind off it with something positive within the relationship (emotional or physical stimulus), whilst never implying that you have anything to hide. As with any past neglect of trust, it takes repetition of positive association to renew it, and you can only assist that by remaining positive, empathetic and true to your word from now on.

      All the best and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam

  85. Steve says:

    Hi Sam,
    I’m in a really tough spot right now with my girlfriend of 2 years. We both love each other deeply. However, in the past several months it has been not so great. It seems like we can’t even go a day without fighting and she has distanced herself from me more and more. Her problem is that she gets frustrated/mad at me over such miniscule stuff. I admit, some of the stuff she has good reason to be mad(i.e. my jealousy and lack of motivation). My problem is that I get jealous a lot over some of the stuff she does and says. I’ve pretty much fixed the lack of motivation part. I get upset/jealous if she wears provocative stuff because I guess I feel like she isn’t dressing this way for me but rather for attention from other men. I feel I have gotten better with the jealousy thing over the last year. But now she has started talking to one of her high school friends again that has given us issues in the past when she was talking to him then.
    History of this situation…
    When we were last having issues with our relationship about 6 months into it she started talking to this guy A LOT. She started to become very short with me all the time and getting mad/frustrated for no reason. I could tell something was up. I snooped through her phone over the period of about a week trying to get to the bottom of this. She would delete a lot of the texts before I could see them but I eventually found out that she was making me out to look like sh!t and there were some inappropriate things that were said between one another. So obviously I confronted her. She decided on her own terms that it was best to not talk to him anymore.
    1 1/2 years later…were starting to have issues again in our relationship, explained in the first paragraph. She then starts talking to this guy. I’m obviously very skeptical of this and defensive about the whole situation, especially given the state that our relationship is in currently. She is talking to him a lot like they are best friends and what not. Feels like she has put me on the back burner and him on the front and basically given up on our relationship. In the meantime she her and her mom book her a flight to California for 5 days before even consulting me. I felt betrayed. We’ve since talked about this and the guy situation and seemed like we were getting back on track with things, even though she was still talking to him a lot. My jealousy with this particular situation is hard to overcome and not be curious of whats being said. So I shamefully snooped again. There were some things that I probably misinterpreted and she did delete a picture that he sent to her of his back muscles. She says she only deleted it because she knew I would get mad if I saw it. I downloaded a spyware software onto her phone. Feeling stupid and ridiculous I backed out of doing this and deleted it off immediately. I instead decide to talk to her about it. We were fine afterwards and this was her last day her before her trip to Cali. I felt bad for even thinking of downloading the spy software so I fessed up to my actions. She was pissed beyond belief. I don’t blame her though. Even though I didn’t go through with it. She basically wanted me gone and us to break up. I convinced her to give it some time to think about. While she’s on vacation at home and what not. She is barely talking to me right now and I’ve said all the apologies and reassurances I could possibly think of. Not sure if she will be staying with me or not to be honest. I love her more than anything in this world and I know our relationship can be as magnificent as it once was.
    I told her straight up that I don’t trust her in that situation with that guy…simply because I don’t due to the past events between them and the fact that she used to have a thing for him before we even met. I told her that if she continues talking to him that I need reassurances and if he sends her something that she thinks I might get mad at to tell him not to do it anymore or to tell me so I at least know and so I know how she responded to it.
    What is your advice as far as overcoming this type of jealousy and showing her that I do in fact trust her. Because I really do its just hard in this situation and its hard to stop my mind from wandering and making up scenarios, ect.
    As a start, I’ve vowed to myself to never snoop again or anything like that in the future and I’ve been working on doing things we used to do to show her my love for her and how much she truly means to me, ect. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance Sam and sorry for such a long message.
    Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      First off I would like to say that frustration in a relationship is never over “minuscule stuff” alone. It is always underlying negative emotions that are triggered by those seemingly trivial incidents. It is a culmination of how your girlfriend is feeling in general, partly to do with having to handle jealousy, mistrust and insecurities on your behalf.

      This also works from your side: the individual incidents that seemingly cause jealousy or mistrust can easily be rationalised or justified, but they are merely triggering deeper, personal issues. If those triggers are recurring then a rationalisation process does help. For example, your girlfriend dressing provocatively is probably more likely a case of social conditioning, peer approval and external validation, as opposed to anything consciously manipulative or contentious. Reminding yourself of the reality or individual incidents (a positive reframe if you will) can help in the short-term.

      One of the fundamental traits of a lasting and mutually fulfilling relationship is that both people are adding to the relationship rather than restricting it. Trust issues have a habit or inciting the latter.

      Trust issues and jealousy are normal and something that is actually fairly easy to eradicate over time with the correct process, attitude and desire. Each time you are about to act on those insecurities, consider the following two questions: “Is this a result of my own insecurities or does this issue genuinely need addressing?” and “Am I enriching the relationship or restricting it?”

      I know that it was under a specific context but telling your girlfriend that you do not trust her is one of the worst things you can do. If you genuinely do not trust her then by definition you do not want a monogamous relationship with her. If they are your own issues and deep down you do trust her, have no shame in admitting as such. She is far more likely to respect and support you with any trust issues if she believes that you are aware of and taking responsibility for the reality of the situation.

      By making her feel that she has to report her friend’s behaviour to you and constantly be on alert for her actions being misinterpreted, she is likely to develop resentment, if she hasn’t already.

      It is great that you have made a promise not to snoop again and are now focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship once more. You can’t convince her of personal change and effort through words alone, but hopefully she will soon notice those positive changes through your actions, as long as you stick to that mindset.

      During that process, try to think of the male friend in question as no different to any other friend of hers, male or female. Replace him in your imagination with someone else if it helps but certainly do not put him on a pedestal that you’ve created predominantly in your mind. Whilst she is in a relationship with you, trust that she WANTS to be in a relationship with you. Any thoughts to the contrary are only going to push her away.

      If your girlfriend believes that you are genuinely working on resolving any trust issues and not simply covering them up or postponing them, you should both be able to concentrate solely on all the positive aspects of the relationship you have mentioned.

      Take care and thanks for reading the website,

      Sam