No relationship can flourish without trust, and it means so much more than keeping your word. Find out about:
- Walking your talk
- Being tactful
- Trusting yourself
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’LL DO, OF COURSE
It should go without saying that you need to be honest with your dear one and keep your promises. Don’t be tempted to commit to more than you can deliver, to be somewhere at a certain time when you know you’ll struggle or to complete tasks you’re unlikely to achieve. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother, or stretch yourself for your lover – it means being realistic.
More importantly, those bigger issues such as where you live, employment matters, commitment, marriage, children – these shouldn’t be fudged. If you aren’t sure, say so, and explain why in a way that doesn’t blame your partner. Things can change and evolve, so don’t be stubborn. However, love between you can only grow from candour.
Your partner needs to be able to entrust you with their hopes and fears, to spill out their reactions to their day, or to a situation. They need to be able to express their emotions, and know that you will really listen. So put down your phone or tablet, turn off the TV and give them your full attention.
Being empathic means more than taking in the details of what they’re saying. Try to enter into their feelings, even if you believe they’ve got it wrong, or should have behaved differently. Show that you truly understand and care about them.
Once your partner trusts that you are with them, and on their side, then – and only then – can you make suggestions about how they could perhaps handle things better. But let go of the idea you have to ‘fix’ their problem. Being heard and supported will empower them, and they may find their own solutions.
WALK YOUR TALK
At the beginning of a relationship we all want to give the best possible impression of ourselves. As time progresses and you feel more relaxed, you’re bound to let that slip a little. You may show your bad moods, your carelessness, laziness or whatever. No-one is perfect, or totally consistent, and a reasonable partner will understand that.
However, to establish trust, it’s important to be genuine. Be honest about what you enjoy. For instance, you may like action movies and hate Rom-com, so don’t pretend to laugh when you’re cringing. Don’t strain to play sports if you’re more of a couch potato. Of course, there’s no harm going along with what your partner enjoys, and a happy partnership can often encourage you to extend your interests, get fitter etc. But do lay your cards on the table.
Even more important, be honest about your standards, beliefs and ideals. If your partner is active about green issues or animal rights, for instance, but you’ve never felt motivated that way, listen to their arguments thoughtfully, but don’t make out you’ve always been a secret hunt saboteur. Similarly, if you have deeply held views, share these even if you fear they won’t be agreed with. It’s important that a partner knows you thoroughly for the relationship to be strong and genuine.
TACT MAY COME BEFORE TRUTH
Trust isn’t always built on the simple, unvarnished truth – whatever that may be. There is no need to give your lover a blow-by-blow account of your feelings, if they fluctuate. For instance, if you sometimes doubt your love, there’s no need to say this unless you are consistently unsure, in a way that could affect your future.
Similarly, if your lover is insecure and asks if you love them as much as your ex, reassure them. Even if things with your ex were more intense, that was about the person you were then. Now you love the person you’re with, and it is a different story. Adverse comparisons will get you nowhere.
If your lover asks you if they look good in a new outfit, this may require honesty, unless you want them to be always wearing clothes you don’t like. But if you’re just rushing out of the door to meet friends, that question may need to be smoothed over, unless your dear one really looks frightful (and if you think that, why are you with them?)
It takes wisdom, kindness and common sense to be truthful in a relevant way. Tact is the talent for being kind and positive without being untruthful – fostering this will help your relationship no end.
NURTURE TRUST IN YOURSELF
In the end all relationship issues come back to the same point – your feelings about yourself. Do you like and trust yourself? Do you make an effort to sort out your beliefs and priorities? Do you try to stick to worthwhile principles that mean something to you, not just the people around you? If you feel you have personal integrity, you will give your partner something real to relate to, even if they don’t always agree with you.
HOW WE CAN HELP
In this article we have looked at honesty, empathy, walking your talk, tact, and trust in yourself. This should help you make a success of your relationships, but matters don’t always go so smoothly. If you are troubled about any relationship matter, our experienced Readers are always available to help, so put in a call today and give your love-life a tonic.
PUBLISHED: 17 October 2016