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6 Things That Lead to Distrust in a Relationship

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You want to feel like you can trust your partner and vice versa, but so many factors go into the equation that it isn’t always a cut-and-dried situation. Trust comes from balance and must be built with time, and there are plenty of reasons it might be broken. Distrust can sometimes break a relationship, but working through it can sometimes make you stronger. 

One of the ways you can work through your emotions is getting to the root of why there’s distrust in the first place. While it may be obvious, sometimes there is a combination of factors or an explanation lurking right below the surface. Here are a few reasons you might be experiencing distrust in a relationship.

  • The Past Seeps In

One of the most common reasons people experience distrust in a relationship is past relationships. Your fears about the past repeating itself can be enough to cause suspicion. For example, if you’ve been cheated on before, you might be afraid that your current partner will do that to you, even if there’s no evidence they will. In situations like this, it’s best to be honest and work through things together.

  • Miscommunication

Sometimes the root of distrust stems from how you communicate with one another. When you aren’t always clear or forthcoming about your feelings, it can create a sense of distance. Work on your honesty with one another and say more of what you mean, even if it’s hard. This is one of the primary ways communication can improve.

  • Hiding Parts of Yourself

Just like unintentional miscommunications, hiding things from your partner — or having a partner who hides things from you — can put a snag in the trajectory of your relationship. No matter what kind of information is being hidden, secrecy and distrust on one end can most certainly be felt throughout the relationship.

Even with boundary setting and comfort levels, you should not explicitly hide things from one another that you know can be harmful to the relationship. Secrecy makes it difficult for a partner to maintain trust in someone who lies, and it takes time and hard work to rebuild that trust – if it can be rebuilt at all. Get everything out in the open as soon as you can to work through any tension.

  • Flakiness

This one can amount to a bad habit, but it can also cause significant tension and distrust over time. Mending things as soon as possible is crucial for the health of any relationship. Whether it’s trouble-making commitments, sticking to plans, or simply remembering to keep things in order, being flaky can lead to your partner not trusting you with promises, which can become a problem over time.

  • A Bad Track Record

Unfortunately, things like flakiness, wandering eyes, and dishonesty can come to a head when one partner has borne the brunt of those bad habits over time. Of course, reassurance is always nice, but with a bad track record of unfavorable habits, it can sometimes lead to distrust until the person actually makes the effort to change their behavior.

This can be especially true if the other partner has heard those kinds of things before, only for them to fall through. No matter who it is or what those habits are, making the commitment to improve in the future is crucial.

  • Resentment

Distrust and resentment are much more related than you might expect, especially when looking at the overall picture of a relationship. Many things can cause issues, from past baggage to differing life goals. Even though these things aren’t inherently negative, they can blossom into resentment if there isn’t enough communication. These feelings can lead to mistrust because the relationship feels unstable. This is why it’s so important to make sure you address these things as they arise.

  • Being Secretive

Being secretive in a relationship can destroy trust, even if the secrets you keep aren’t necessarily harmful or deceptive. Putting up walls and barriers can make it more difficult to trust one another. You may not feel ready to tell each other everything, but remember that honesty can help prevent distrust.

  • Anxiety

This point is a unique one because it’s no one person’s fault when you happen to have anxiety. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of the relationship — especially if, historically, this tends to be a problem that you or your partner consistently deal with. Anxiety can be a little monster that tells you all kinds of deceptive lies, and it can lead to things like distrust and unease.

It’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to manage anxiety, as it tends not to be fun for anyone involved when it stands as a barrier to the health of your relationship. Instead of leaning into anxiety, try being honest and open about it, acknowledging it, and trying to move past it together.

Preventing Distrust in a Relationship

Many things can lead to distrust in a relationship. There are ways to work on whatever problem you are facing to maintain closeness and trust with the person you love.

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