It’s the cornerstone of a relationship, and a source of problems if there is none.
by Louis H. Primavera, Ph.D.
As it’s most basic features, trust provides stability and security — we believe our partner has our back and is loyal through thick and thin. We can also express our thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, because we don’t worry that our partner will judge, ridicule or reject us. Trust goes hand in hand with commitment: It’s only after you feel you can trust someone are you able to truly commit to that person.
Trust builds slowly as we learn about our partner and they become predictable to us. As we observe how our partner thinks and acts in a given situation, we develop a sense as to how they will think and act in future situations. If they are consistent and have our best interests at heart, we can believe they will continue to do so in the future, so we can trust them. There’s an element of faith operating with trust because we really can’t know what our partner might do or say before the fact. Having faith in your partner, meaning you believe they will do right by you before they do it, is a pretty good indicator of a trusting relationship.
The sense of security and predictability that comes with trust makes us feel good about our partner and these positive thoughts help to keep our emotions on an even keel. So we’re able to discuss problems openly and with little or no hostility, and have an easier time coming to solutions. We’re also able to keep many conflicts in perspective and not use any single event to judge the overall quality of our relationship. Additionally, it’s easier to forgive most indiscretions because we don’t believe our partner would intentionally hurt us.