What does trust mean?

Trust is an important part of a healthy relationship, but it’s something that many people struggle with, for a lot of different reasons.

Trusting someone means that you think they are reliable, you have confidence in them and you feel safe with them physically and emotionally. Trust is something that two people in a relationship can build together when they decide to trust each other. You can’t demand or prove trust; trusting someone is a choice that you make.1

How Do I Build Mutual Trust in a Relationship?

Building trust within a healthy relationship is something that happens gradually. In a healthy relationship it’s important for both partners to trust and be trusted, to open up and be vulnerable with each other. Building trust requires mutual commitment.

Are we both there for each other?

When there is trust, partners are there for each other not just physically, but emotionally as well. Does your partner listen to you and support you? Are they sensitive to your problems, worries and fears? Do they show compassion and genuinely care about you? A person who is trustworthy is able to demonstrate consideration and care of others. This also means that they trust you to know what’s best for yourself. A partner who tells you they know best, or that you don’t know how you really feel, isn’t showing that they trust you.

​It’s also important to keep in mind that in a healthy relationship, you can trust that no matter what happens, your partner won’t react in a way that threatens your safety or harms you. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship with someone who can resolve conflicts in a healthy, respectful way.

Are we both consistent with each other?

Each person in a relationship demonstrates their trustworthiness through consistency in their actions. The first behaviours you look at might be relatively small, like showing up for dates at agreed-upon times. Keeping private information just between the two of you and respecting boundaries even when it doesn’t make one of you happy are other clues someone is dependable. Again, learning these things in a relationship happens gradually, as you both show that you are consistent with your actions not just occasionally, but all the time.

Do we both say what we mean and do what we say?

Another way a person shows they are trustworthy is when their words and behaviour match up. For example, if someone says they love you, and then they act abusively toward you, their words and actions don’t match. When you love someone, you do not abuse them.

  1. National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2020). Trust. Love is Respect. ↩︎