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The best relationships are those built on trust. But after a rocky start or following previous hurt, creating trust in a relationship is often easier said than done.
We spoke to EliteSingles’ Psychologist Salama Marine about practical ways in which you can build trust in a relationship.
1. Honesty starts from within
When we talk about honesty the first thing that comes to mind is interactions with others. Not so fast! In fact, honesty should really start with being truthful to yourself. After all, if your main objective is to find someone who shares mutual relationship and lifestyle goals, you first need to look in the mirror and ask yourself what it actually is that you are striving for. What are the most important factors about a future partner? Should they be good parent material? Should they share your desire to travel? Should they be religious? By being honest about what you want and need, you will be more likely to find someone who sees the world as you do – and this creates the perfect foundation for mutual trust to grow.
Salama’s advice: “Knowing yourself and what you want is the first step towards building trust with your partner. If you are both truthful about what you desire from the relationship you will be able to trust one another whole heartedly.”
2. Actions speak louder than words
Those warm and fuzzies sentences – such as ‘I love you’ – feel so validating at first, but over time can become tired and feel empty. To bring meaning back into them, and to allow your partner to trust your love and affection for them, why not show them how you feel. And it needn’t be a grand gesture- sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Maybe you bring home their favourite chocolate bar, make a picnic on the weekend, or reserve tickets to your local cinema. Actions like these remind your special someone that they are still loved and appreciated – and that they can continue to trust in the longevity of your partnership.
Salama’s advice: “Show your partner that you love them with romantic gestures and kind acts, not just with words. And, if saying ‘I love you’ is becoming more of a habit, it might help to break out of your daily routine – spontaneity can be a great way to show your partner you love them.”
3. Vulnerability does not equal weakness!
Couples can gain huge amounts of trust in each other by simply opening up and allowing the other person to see deeply into their thoughts and feelings. If you are prepared to express your softer side – by sharing your concerns, your disappointments – it shows your partner that you trust them enough to confide in them. This expression of vulnerability not only brings two people closer together, it also reminds a pair that they are a team and face the world as a united front. Vulnerability is especially important when it comes to disagreements – instead of getting angry at your partner, explain to them why it makes you feel sad, disappointed, or lonely. By letting them see your point of view they will be more motivated to find a solution that works for both of you.
Salama’s advice: “If [for instance] you feel like you’re not seeing your partner enough because of their work commitments, instead of accusing them of caring more about their work than you, be truly honest and admit the reason you’re upset is simply because you miss them. Don’t be afraid of showing your vulnerable side.”
4. Criticize carefully
There’s certainly an art to constructive criticizm, and of course, the main component is that it’s constructive; it needs to be something that is a) within the power of your partner to change and b) explained to your partner in a reasoned, kind & calm manner. If the shoe’s on the other foot and you’re on the receiving end of criticism, the main thing is to listen openly to what your partner is telling you rather than going immediately on the defensive. Both partners need to listen as much as they talk; it’s in this space between talking and listening that trust grows and flourishes.
Salama’s advice: “The relationship will not work if communication is one sided – in order to build trust in a relationship you must be able to be truly honest with one another [including] criticising when necessary. The basis of a healthy relationship stems from the freedom to express your feelings to your partner without fear of the reaction.”
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