Do you ever get that nagging feeling that something just isn’t right in your relationship? You may not even realize what it’s about, but deep down, maybe you don’t trust your significant other. Instead of trying to deny your concerns, you should try to get to the root of the problem.
There are so many reasons why we might struggle to be more trusting. Sometimes, the problems are deep within us, and stem from experiences in our early years. Other times, it has to do with something our partner has done, whether it’s an overt betrayal or just behavior that makes us feel uncomfortable.
The topic always comes up in my social science classes and my students have been surprised at some of the signs of mistrust, especially when I’ve challenged them to reflect on their own lives. Here are some signs that you don’t trust your significant other.
You are hung up on details from their past
Your relationship seems to be going well and, for the most part, you feel happy. Why, then, can’t you stop thinking about specific details (or exes) from your partner’s past? Do you find yourself dwelling on certain situations and asking endless questions only to be left still feeling confused and unsettled? If so, it’s possible that there’s something about that topic that just doesn’t add up — at least, in your mind.
Pro tip: think about the issue you’re obsessing over and try to determine whether it’s because of something in your own history. If it isn’t, then talk to your partner and give them an opportunity to explain.
You don’t let your guard down
Years ago, I was listening to a client describing how hard it was to do certain things when her partner was around, when a realization about my own marriage suddenly shocked me — I refused to sing in front of my then-husband. I asked my client (and myself!) why it was hard to let her guard down. Upon reflection, I identified the fact that my husband always criticized my singing and I didn’t want to expose myself to his rebuffs any more. As a result, I clammed up (and, eventually, filed for divorce).
Pro tip: sit down and consider whether there are things that you prefer not to say or do if your partner is around. Is it just shyness or is there a more serious reason for your reluctance to be vulnerable?
You do everything yourself
Life seems busier and more exhausting than ever so it’s great when you have a partner — that way you can share the load, right? If, however, you find yourself feeling hesitant to delegate tasks to your significant other, it could mean that you don’t trust them to get the job done. Some of us just like to be in control of everything and that’s its own separate issue, but this dynamic can also be caused by feeling let down in the past.
Pro tip: think about the times when you’ve asked your partner to share the to-do list. Have they proven themselves to be responsible and reliable or have they come up with a million excuses?
You keep an eye on their social media activity
If you use social media, you will notice that there are all kinds of couples on there. Some tag each other in almost every post, while others rarely interact at all. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s fair to say that, if you are obsessing over their feed, something might be amiss. We are all guilty of the occasional stalker session but if you regularly (daily!) spend a lot of time checking out your partner’s profile and scrutinizing every comment or like, you may be having some trust issues.
Pro tip: if there are people on your partner’s friends list that make you feel uneasy, talk to them about it and let them know how much it bothers you (and why).
You also watch that phone
What we share openly on social media usually pales in comparison to what we send through text messages. For this reason, mistrustful partners may find themselves feeling particularly interested in the contents of a certain someone’s smartphone. Still, this does not give anyone the right to invade someone else’s privacy so, if you are snooping, do it with consent!
Pro tip: if you find yourself trying to check the phone bill to see who your significant other is texting, there’s a good chance that you suspect they are doing something behind your back. Be honest about your suspicions and give them an opportunity to respond.
You suddenly feel insecure
You know you’re a good catch and, in relationships, you tend to feel supported and confident. If, suddenly, you are feeling insecure with your current partner, there may be a good reason. Have you started picking apart your personal appearance? Do you wonder if your significant other really cares for you? When you start asking these types of questions, it’s clear that something has caused you to have doubts.
Pro tip: try to pinpoint when you started feeling the way that you do. Did something happen to shake your confidence? Do your best to figure out the basis of these feelings so that you can address it sooner than later. Your self-worth should not suffer for a relationship.
You are picky about their friends
As a general rule, we cannot expect to pick our partner’s friends. We may want to, and we may even try to, but at the end of the day, they have a right to choose their own buddies. At the same time, it is our own right to decide whether we want to be associated with them.
In any relationship, you will discover that you like some of the people in your partner’s life more than others. That’s normal. If you find yourself dreading the fact that your significant other is hanging out with certain individuals, you might be struggling to trust them to walk away from bad influences or situations.
Pro tip: pay attention to how you feel when your partner hangs out with their friends. Are you worried about his relationship with certain people? If so, ask yourself why, and then pick a good time to share your concerns.
You struggle to ask for what you want
No matter what, it can be a bit intimidating to ask for what we want in a relationship. Heck, it’s sometimes tough to even ask our server to correct a mistake they made on our order at a restaurant! When we feel comfortable with our partners, however, it becomes so much easier to express ourselves while explaining our desires, hopes and dreams. If you find yourself struggling to have these types of conversations, it’s possible that you don’t feel like your significant other will be supportive — and that’s a problem.
Pro tip: imagine asking for something important from your partner. What is their reaction? If you can see them mocking or ignoring you, it could explain why you are having a hard time trusting them.
Trust can be hard
Putting our faith in another human being can be difficult, even under the most ideal of circumstances. Most of us have been let down by someone, at some point in our lives, so it’s not surprising that building trust can take some hard work.
At the end of the day, only you will know if the problems you are having stem from something more serious about your relationship. If you are showing signs that you don’t trust your significant other, don’t dismiss it. Look for any red flags and address the situation. It’s better to confront your doubts than to deny them!