Learning to trust Bob, and every other man I dated, was difficult after my parents’ divorce. At the impressionable age of twelve, I found out my father, who I loved and cherished, betrayed my mother. The father I thought I knew, came crashing off his pedestal. I had always admired and looked up to my dad. In an instant, my trust in the most significant man in my life was shattered.
As I began to date and have relationships, I worried, “Can I trust him? How do I know if he is telling the truth? Will he cheat on me? Should I trust my gut?” I kept my guard up and avoided being vulnerable.
In my 20s, I realized I needed help to figure this out. Therapy helped me build my self-esteem, face the hurt and betrayal I felt as a child, and learn how to identify the signs of trustworthiness. It restored my belief in my ability to determine who to trust. It was only then that I met and married Bob. We have been together, in marriage and in practice, for 30 years. There is no one I trust more.
When determining the trustworthiness of a partner, here are the 10 signs to look for, and questions to ask yourself:
Does he follow through with what he says? Is he reliable with the little things? Do his words match his actions? Does he keep his promises? Is he consistent with others?
2. Caring and Respect
Do her actions show she takes my feelings into account; e.g., does she call if she is going to be late? Does she uphold commitments? Does she do the “little things” that make me feel cared for? Does she “hear me” when I tell her what I think and feel? How does she treat others?
Do they share personal information? Do they trust me with things they wouldn’t tell others? Do they acknowledge their faults and shortcomings? Do they talk about difficulties and hurts they’ve experienced?
Is he “present” when he is with me? Or is he preoccupied with his phone? Does he make eye contact? Does he listen well and appreciate my thoughts and opinions? Is he curious about me, as well as talking about himself? Is he connected with others who are trustworthy? Does he have longstanding friendships and relationships with others?
Do they tell me when they don’t agree in a kind way, especially when it is difficult? When our opinions differ, can they share theirs, while respecting mine? Do they make excuses when something goes wrong or “own” it and genuinely apologize? Do they tell white lies or exaggerate their accomplishments? Do they “conveniently forget” to tell me important details?
How does she treat other people? Does she leave tips for the server when we go out? Does she give to charity? Does she do “acts of kindness” for others? How does she respond when others need help?
Does he pay his taxes? Does he pay people back when he borrows money? Does it bother him when other people are not being ethical? Is he loyal to others? Is he humble? Does he feel the rules apply to him?
Does they introduce me as their partner? Have they acknowledged me on social media? Have they told their friends and family about me? Are they forthcoming or secretive when I ask questions?
Is she there when I need help? Does she appreciate when I and others give assistance? Does she willingly offer to support others?
Trustworthiness is a two-way street. Untrustworthy people are suspicious of other’s intentions. They may project their untrustworthiness onto others. Ask yourself, “Does he trust others?”
These are the signs of a person who is trustworthy. If you take a hard look at what you are learning about new people you meet, you will likely be able to tell whether they are trustworthy.
Your relationship deserves the highest level of support. Relationship Experts, Bob and Lori Hollander are committed to helping individuals and couples build connection and deepen bonds in a world that often makes it difficult.
Call them at 410-363-2825 or email them today, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit Ketut Subiyanto