Trust is, without a doubt, one of the crucial building blocks to any healthy relationship. As Stieg Larsson teaches us in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, “friendship… is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual.
“You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”
How do we know, though, if our partner truly trusts us?
Well, there are many obvious indicators to consider: do they listen to you and support you, for example? Are they sensitive to your worries, problems, and fears? Do they show compassion and genuinely care about you? And, most importantly of all, do they trust you to know what’s best for yourself?
If the answer to all of the above is a resounding “yes”, then you’re well on your way to building up mutual trust in your relationship.
However there is one red flag that experts have advised us to look out for – and it’s certainly a surprising one, as it can feel like a positive trait at first glance.
Everybody enjoys spending time with their partner (that’s why we decided to open up our hearts to them in the first place, after all), but, as ever, you can have too much of a good thing.
And the partner who positively smothers you with attention probably doesn’t trust you. At all.
Speaking to elitedaily.com, dating expert Jen Kirsch explains that, while your partner might seem as if they enjoy your company, their motives for spending so much time with could be more sinister than you first realise.
“In a healthy relationship, both partners need independence and have to have time and space apart,” she says.
“The [person] who wants to accompany you here, there, and everywhere doesn't trust you.”
Kirsch continues: “[Your mistrustful partner] wants to be around you to ensure you either don't flirt with others, or that they’re always top of mind.
“They might think that you have a wandering eye, and feel like, if left to your own devices, he'll be replaced.”
It’s worth pointing out here that a partner who demands you spend all of your time with them isn’t just mistrustful, they’re also controlling and emotionally abusive.
It can be difficult for many people trapped in toxic relationships to spot the warning signs, especially as many initially seem low-level and build up slowly.
These can include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Your partner constantly criticises, humiliates or belittles you
- Your partner checks up on you or follows you
- Your partner tries to keep you from seeing your friends or family
- Your partner has prevented you or made it hard for you to continue studying or going to work
- Your partner unjustly accuses you of flirting or having affairs with others
- Your partner has forced you to do something that you really did not want to do
- Your partner has deliberately destroyed any of your possessions
- You have changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you
- Your partner controls your finances
- Your partner talks down to you
- Your partner has strong opinions on what you should wear and your appearance
- Your partner has tried to prevent you from leaving your house
- Your partner has forced you or harassed you into performing a sexual act
- Your partner has threatened to reveal or publish private information
- Your partner threatens to hurt him or herself if you leave them
- Your partner witholds medication from you
- Your partner makes you feel guilty all the time
- Your partner blames you for their bad moods and outbursts
- You are afraid of your partner
Emotional abuse, essentially, sees your partner bully and berate you as they slowly chip away at your self-esteem. To others, they may seem charming – but, behind closed doors, it’s a very different story. And, all the while, they work hard to cut you off from the people you love and who might be able to recognise your relationship for what it is; toxic.
If you are worried that you might be the victim of emotional abuse, these signs of an abusive relationship sound all too familiar to you, or you have suffered domestic abuse of any kind, contact Woman’s Aid here, or call the free National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can also contact Refuge by clicking here.
Images: Next Entertainment World