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The Breakdown Of Trust In Your Relationship- Trust: Part 2

After having overviewed basic steps that can be taken to provide a foundation of trust (Trust: Part 1) in your relationship you will now explore a number of common reasons that trust is broken. Some of these may not be new to you.

I like to believe that the trust established at the start of most relationships can go the distance and survive the natural life of a marriage. And of course this is the case for countless couples. However, as evidenced by relationship breakdowns and divorce statistics many couples are unable to withstand the challenges and obstacles that precipitate the demise of the modern day marriage. The loss of trust is one of these challenges.

With media emphasis on adultery and the sexual betrayals of both men and women, it is only normal that these thoughts are the first that come to your mind when discussing the loss of trust in relationships. And again statistics only validate the significant role adultery plays in ending many marriages. So adultery with the emphasis on sexual infidelity may be found at the top of your list of trust issues.

Infidelity is not just limited to the bedroom and many couples will feel a breach of trust by a partner who is an incessant flirt, has never ending txt conversations with ‘friends’ of the opposite sex, or who encourages the attention of secret admirers and acts as if they are not married.

Even the best of marriages are not immune to environmental influences such as work tension, extended family dramas, religious and political determinants and social responsibilities. These forces have an incredible amount of power and can crack the foundation of your partnership leaving your relationship exposed and vulnerable to the whims of change. The resulting lack of stability may make you and your partner more susceptible to behaviours that can lead to an abuse of trust.

Your partner unable to cope with this environmental turbulence may find solace in alcohol or may develop the temperament of an angry individual. Such changes in behaviour can leave you bewildered, not knowing how to relate to your partner, and even fearful as you do not trust their responses. In such cases if there are children involved your fear for their safety and well being can lead to you not trusting your partner alone with them.

Without a deliberate intent there has been a fundamental breach of trust as the person you are living with has little resemblance to the one you married.

During the honeymoon period of your relationship it is quite normal for you to be blind to or overlook suspicious behaviours of your partner, often labelling them as ‘cute mannerisms’. But after awhile the truth of these behaviours may begin to impact negatively on your relationship.

A partner who enjoyed shopping and modelling her purchases for you was merely having some simple fun in the early days of your relationship. Any concerns about excessive and impulse buying were swept under the table as she assured you that she could stop shopping any time. Now it is quite evident that she is a shopaholic addicted to spending. Not only did she abuse your trust by lying about her addiction, but she has also left you in a place where you can no longer trust her to go out on her own.

Likewise you may soon discover that your husband’s ‘cute’ hobby of playing with electric trains is more than a simple pastime, and now that your courting stage is over it has suddenly become an obsession. Originally your husband claimed that his trains were a minor diversion of no real significance, but now your husband no longer has time for you and is spending all his money on his trains. Trust has been broken as your husband has not been honest in the passion he feels for his hobby and it seems as if this interest comes first over you and your relationship.

Money problems plague many couples today and to be able to overcome them it is crucial for both partners to be united in implementing budgets and financial plans, and then in disciplining themselves to follow through on these. If as in the above examples one partner cannot be trusted to play their part you may find your relationship spiralling out of control due to financial stress.

Additionally if you or your partner has taken control of budgeting and bill paying and are inept in doing so your marriage may falter as it plummets into debt. Slowly it may become evident that a partner who has undertaken a responsibility that they lack the skills for can no longer be trusted to be honest and reliable.

The reality of building a life together can be a sudden shock after the initial high of the courting period. Eventually your marriage finds its rhythm as you and your partner both tackle your joint and individual commitments. There are household responsibilities to deal with, work pressures to battle through, social obligations to tend to and sometimes children to care for. With the passing of time there are not enough hours in the day to address all these facets and something eventually gives.

This something may be the emotional fabric of your relationship. As you and your partner both try to share your worries, fears and concerns, you soon discover that you have not got the time or the patience to listen to each other and offer the support and nurturing required to sustain your emotional bond, and you merely feign an interest. Eventually you both stop any pretence of sharing as you no longer trust each other to be present, available and sympathetic to your emotional needs.

Questions of concern and interest by either of you are diverted or answered by lies that all is well as neither of you want to address the emotional distrust you both feel towards each other. Once again there was no intentional act by either of you that brought you to this emotional vacuum- but here you are nonetheless, feeling frightened to expose your emotional self.

Perhaps the matter that I bring up next may seem rather irrelevant when compared to what we have discussed above, but some couples do feel significantly let down to the point of feeling betrayed by a partner who continuously promises that they will do ‘this or that’ and never does.

Your partner may promise to mow the lawn, mend the furniture, book the holidays, talk to the bank, pay the bills, clean the shed, buy the groceries, pick up the children from school and so on, but they never do. Initially you readily accept one or two tasks not being completed, but as time goes on and your partner fails to honour even one commitment, so that you are left fulfilling their obligations, you slowly lose trust in their promises and may begin to question the regard they have for your relationship.

The above examples have focused on drawing your attention to the various ways trust can deteriorate in relationships. In some cases your actions are deliberate and you consciously invoke feelings of mistrust and betrayal. At other times you may be totally unaware of how your behaviours are impacting on the dynamics of your relationship, and how you are slowly sowing the seeds of mistrust. Although I have addressed some common scenarios I am sure that there are others.

Once you are aware of this danger looming over your marriage you can take steps to manage your relationship so as to prevent a breakdown of trust and the possible disintegration of your relationship. This is the topic for the final article in this series.