Sliding vs Deciding in Relationships: Are You Making This Common Relationship Mistake?

Sliding vs Deciding in Relationships: Are You Making This Common Relationship Mistake?

Whether you’ve been with your partner for many years or have only been dating a few months, you could be at risk of sliding through important relationship decisions. So, what is sliding vs deciding in relationships?

The concept of sliding vs deciding was originally promoted by researcher Dr. Scott Stanley, who studied the ways that partners progress through significant milestones, such as sexual intimacy, living together and marriage. Dr. Stanley found that many modern-day couples move through big transitions not necessarily because they are an ideal match, but because they are succumbing to relationship inertia.

Understanding the difference between sliding (passively moving forward without deliberate decision-making) and deciding (actively choosing to advance with intention) in relationships is key, whether you’re moving in together, getting married, or just taking your relationship to the next level.

This understanding can not only help you more smoothly navigate big life transitions, it can ultimately impact the health and security of your relationship long term. Keep reading to learn more about relationship inertia and how you can focus on making clear decisions in your relationship.

What Is Sliding vs Deciding?

Your journey through relationship milestones can either be deliberate or passive. And research has shown that this distinction can significantly impact the level of commitment and satisfaction in your relationship.

Understanding Relationship Transitions

Sliding into relationship transitions can often occur without much deliberate thought or decision. This is when relationship inertia takes over, and couples just keep moving forward to the natural next step without having an intentional discussion about their future.

For example, couples may move in together or merge their lives more out of convenience or circumstance rather than a conscious choice to deepen their partnership.

This approach can lead to a series of events where one transition seamlessly feeds into the next, without explicit agreements or mutual understanding of the relationship’s future direction. 

Maybe one person starts sleeping over their partner’s house a few nights a week. Pretty soon, they’re leaving a toothbrush there and maybe even a few outfits and other essentials. They may even begin sleeping over more than they are sleeping in their own place. Later, when their lease is up, they decide it makes sense to just move in.

On the other hand, deciding involves an active choice to escalate the level of commitment in your relationship. Each transition is marked by purposeful communication and intentional decisions.

For instance, deciding to move in together after openly discussing what that step means for both of you can fortify your commitment, ensuring that both partners are progressing with clear boundaries and shared goals.

Defining Commitment in Modern Relationships

In modern relationships, commitment is a multidimensional concept.

It’s not just a matter of being exclusive or getting married; it’s about the continuous choice to prioritize and invest in the relationship.

When you are “deciding,” you are actively affirming your dedication to your partner and the relationship. This contrasts with “sliding,” where commitment might accrue by default, without a deliberate pledge or acknowledgment from the partners involved.

It’s no surprise, then, that researchers have found that couples who slide through big relationship decisions are more likely to experience infidelity and other commitment issues.

Two women embrace after discussing sliding vs deciding in their relationship

Common Relationship Transitions That Couples Slide Through

When you enter a relationship, there are critical moments where you either make a conscious decision or simply slide into the next phase. Each transition has its own implications and could significantly affect the quality and future of your relationship.

If you’ve been with your partner for many years, you may realize that you’ve already slid through a few of these relationship changes. This doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Instead, consider it a reminder to sit down with your partner and have a serious conversation about the future of your relationship, your commitments to each other and any boundaries you have in relationships.

Here are some of the most common relationship transitions I see couples slide through as a couples therapist:

Sex

You might slide into having sex before establishing mutual expectations. Without discussion, this can create ambiguity regarding the nature of the relationship. For example, you may only want to have sex with someone you believe you have a future with. Your partner, on the other hand, may view sexual intimacy more casually. Without a discussion, engaging in sex could lead one partner to feel more committed to the relationship than the other.

Exclusivity

Deciding to be exclusive is a milestone. Slipping into exclusivity without a conversation can lead to misunderstandings about the level of commitment. Without a clear understanding of what being exclusive means to you (and if you even want to be exclusive with your partner), there could be some pretty big heartache down the road.

Cohabitation

Moving in together is a major step. The line between sliding versus deciding in cohabitation can shape the entire dynamic of your partnership. Many couples sort of fall into living together without ever discussing what it means for the future of their relationship and what kind of commitment they are prepared to make. This can set you up to slide into even bigger transitions down the road.

Pets

Adopting a pet together often happens organically – especially if you’ve already started living together. However, the commitment involved is significant and should align with the shared vision of your relationship. Pets increase your entanglement with a partner and can make it harder to leave the relationship even if you really want to.

Marriage

Entering marriage can sometimes be a slide rather than a choice, without intentional discussions about the responsibilities and expectations that come with it. This is especially true for couples who have already been living together

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can occur unplanned. Deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy beforehand ensures both partners are on the same page regarding parenting and family life.

Parenting

The transition to parenting often comes naturally after pregnancy, but it should be a mutual decision to embrace the roles and duties of raising a child together. Many couples start a parenting dynamic based on how a baby is being fed (nursing or bottle-bed), who has a longer parental leave and other similar factors. But this can easily lead to resentment and further miscommunication between partners.                                                                           

A couple smiles for the camera in front of a brick wall

The Effect of Sliding vs Deciding on Relationship Outcomes

In choosing how to progress through significant relationship milestones, the way you make decisions can profoundly influence relationship satisfaction and quality. Whether it’s deciding to move in together, get married, or become parents, engaging in a mindful decision-making process can enhance your connection with your partner and reduce the likelihood of extramarital involvements.

Analyzing Relationship Satisfaction and Quality

Relationship quality and your satisfaction within it are often linked to how intentionally you approach transitions within your relationship.

A 2013 study by Dr. Stanley and other researchers suggests that individuals who actively decide on taking major steps together, rather than sliding into them, tend to report higher levels of dedication and relationship satisfaction.

For example, a mutual decision to live together is associated with stronger partnership bonds, whereas sliding into cohabitation—without a mutual commitment—may result in lower relationship quality and satisfaction later on.

This implies that clear, joint decision-making fosters stronger interpersonal commitment, which can be a critical factor that bolsters the overall health of your relationship.

  • Intentional Decisions: Often correlate with a heightened sense of commitment and relationship satisfaction.
  • Slide Transitions: May inadvertently lead to constraints that don’t necessarily reflect an increase in dedication between partners.

Understanding the Role of Communication in Relationship Transitions

Effective communication plays a pivotal role in your relationship’s dynamics, particularly during critical transitions.

When a couple discusses and aligns on their future together, this shared vision can minimize stress and foster better relational functioning.

Having an open exchange of information ensures that both partners are aware of their mutual interests and potential compromises.

Through transparent communication, you can prevent misunderstandings and reduce the risk of infidelity and other commitment issues, as both partners fully grasp what is at stake with each decision made.

How to Make Sure You’re Deciding, Not Sliding, in Relationships

To foster a robust relationship, intentional decision-making is crucial. Here are steps to ensure you’re actively deciding and not sliding into relationship milestones:

  1. Communicate Early and Often: Begin conversations about expectations and values right from the start, and maintain this dialogue as your relationship evolves.
  2. Set Expectations for Transitions: Clearly define how both of you will approach significant changes like cohabitation, parenting, or professional shifts.
  3. Regular Relationship Check-Ins: Schedule routine discussions to reflect on your relationship’s health and make necessary adjustments, ensuring both parties feel heard and satisfied. Consider taking a healthy relationship quiz, too, to get the conversation going.
  4. Acknowledge the Impact of Decisions: Understand that each step in your relationship impacts interpersonal commitment and relationship quality. Don’t let inertia make these decisions for you.
  5. Seek Professional Guidance: Engage with a licensed couple’s therapist if initiating or navigating through these discussions proves challenging.
Two men smile and laugh together after discussing sliding vs deciding in their relationship

Frequently Asked Questions About Sliding vs Deciding

Still have questions about navigating relationship transitions intentionally? Read our answers to some of the most common questions we get as couples therapists.

What is relationship inertia?

Inertia, in the context of relationships, can lead to a continuation of cohabitation into marriage without a deliberate choice, potentially resulting in less satisfying marriages.

What are the potential psychological effects of transitioning through relationship stages without deliberate decisions?

Transitioning without deliberate decisions can lead to increased ambiguity and uncertainty in the relationship, feelings of entrapment, and might contribute to lower levels of satisfaction and commitment.

How does decision-making affect relationships?

Every time you make a decision with your partner, you have the opportunity to form a tighter bond and become closer together. Of course, decision-making can also be a stressful process for couples, especially if you and your partner don’t agree on the best path forward. 

Still, even these difficult decisions are crucial for a successful relationship, because they mean both individuals are able to share their feelings openly, communicate their needs and set clear boundaries. All three of these things are critical for relationship satisfaction and long-term success.

Need Help Navigating Relationship Decisions?

Whether you’ve already slid through a few transitions with your partner or you want to ensure you make clear decisions in your relationship, a therapist can help.

A couples therapist can work with you and your partner to discuss big life changes and help you make determine the difference between sliding vs deciding in relationships. On the other hand, an individual therapist can help you work out how you feel about a relationship transition and determine what boundaries you would need to set to feel good about a big change.

No matter what kind of support you need, Couples Learn can help. Contact Couples Learn today to discover all of our online therapy options and find your perfect-fit counselor.

A couple embraces and kisses each other
The Real Reasons (That Nobody Tells You) Therapists Don’t Accept Insurance

The Real Reasons (That Nobody Tells You) Therapists Don’t Accept Insurance

When you’re thinking about starting therapy, it’s normal to have a lot of questions: What style of therapy is right for me? How do I choose a therapist? Do therapists take insurance?

Deciding to start therapy is a huge milestone in life. I’d even say it’s as big as getting married or starting a new job. I mean, think about it. What could be more important than committing to work on yourself and become the best version of yourself?

Unfortunately, finding a therapist can be challenging, especially if you’re looking for therapists that accept insurance. The demand for therapy is at an all-time high, and therapists nationwide are reporting long wait lists.

According to a 2023 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), more than half of therapists said they had no openings for new patients. More than two-thirds of psychologists who had a waitlist said the average wait was up to three months for a first appointment. The other third said their wait times were longer than three months.

If you’re looking for a therapist who accepts insurance, your wait could be even longer. The truth is, there are many qualified therapists don’t take insurance – and just as many reasons why they don’t. Keep reading to learn more about why therapists don’t take insurance (and why that might actually be a good thing).

Understanding How Insurance Covers Therapy

Whether your insurance covers mental health services – and how it covers it – depends on your individual policy. 

Some insurance plans cover a set number of therapy visits per month or per year. Others only cover services once you have an official mental health diagnosis, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression.

The need for a diagnosis is particularly common within the insurance industry and is a big part of why it can be hard to find a couples therapist who takes insurance or find a therapist if you just want someone to talk through life’s challenges with and have not been diagnosed with any specific mental illness.

This is also one of the reasons many therapists don’t take insurance – there is simply too much red tape to give clients the care they truly need. So how do therapists get paid?

Private Pay vs Insurance Pay Therapy

When therapists don’t accept insurance, they are typically referred to as a private pay practice. Private pay therapy refers to a payment arrangement where individuals pay for therapy services out of pocket, without involving an insurance company. While this means a higher cost for the client, it also provides more flexibility than insurance-paid therapy.

Understanding Out-of-Network Benefits

Even if your insurance does not cover mental health services, you may be able to get some financial assistance for your care through out-of-network benefits. PPO insurance plans typically include out-of-network benefits that help pay for care you get from providers who don’t accept insurance. 

In this scenario, your therapist can provide you with a detailed receipt called a “superbill,” which you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement. Out-of-network benefits typically don’t cover these services in full, but can cover as much as 60-80% of your costs (depending on your plan).

So, Do Therapists Take Insurance?

New therapy seekers with this belief are often confused and frustrated by the number of therapists they find that do not accept insurance. It can be really difficult to find someone who specializes in your area of need, is close to home, fits your personality, and accepts your insurance.

This can be discouraging. After all, you’re paying a premium every month for your insurance so why wouldn’t you want to use it? It can save you money on your session costs and it can help you narrow down your search by ruling out therapists who don’t accept your plan. You use your insurance for all other doctors so why not do the same for therapy, right?

So why is it so hard? Why don’t therapists take insurance? 

Many consumers don’t realize that there are several downsides for both therapists and clients when using insurance to pay for therapy.

So what do private pay clients who are shelling out big bucks for therapy know that you don’t? Let’s dig deeper into the question, “do therapists take insurance?” and figure out why many don’t.

Two women sit in an office talking about do therapists take insurance

Here are 5 reasons why you should not use insurance to pay for therapy:

1. Less Confidentiality

Everyone knows that what happens in therapy stays in therapy. Your therapist is required to keep everything you say confidential no matter what, right? 

Wrong! When you use insurance to pay for therapy, your therapist is required to provide your diagnosis and treatment notes to your insurance company in order to get paid. This undermines the basic premise of therapy and also gives a lot more people access to private health information about you. 

If this is news to you, you’re not alone. It’s all written into the HIPAA document you get when you start therapy (or go to any doctor’s office) but most people don’t read all the fine print.

2. Higher Insurance Premiums

Even if you’re okay with your information being shared with your insurance company from a confidentiality standpoint, you probably didn’t realize that sharing this information can have unintended consequences in the future.

As mentioned above, your therapist has to provide your insurance company with your diagnosis to get paid. But what if you don’t have a mental illness? After all, many people seek therapy for personal growth and exploration, not because they are depressed or anxious or have a serious mental illness.

In the eyes of your insurance company, these are not valid reasons for seeking therapy on their dime. If you don’t have an actual diagnosis, they aren’t interested in paying for your sessions and will not continue to authorize future sessions.

This puts your therapist in an awkward and ethically challenging position if you don’t meet the criteria for a mental illness. 

How do therapists get paid by insurance? 

If you don’t have a diagnosis, he or she is left with choosing between 3 options.

  1.  Assign a diagnosis you don’t meet the criteria for so that your insurance company will continue authorizing sessions.
  2.  Discontinue therapy.
  3.  Continue to work with you without assigning a diagnosis but risk having claims denied and not getting paid for the work.
A man and woman sit and talk to a therapist after answering the question, "do therapists take insurance"

At this point, you are probably starting to understand why so many therapists don’t accept insurance.

Ok, so you might be wondering how this all relates to increased premiums for you.

Let’s say your therapist opts for option 1 and assigns you a diagnosis so that your insurance company will authorize future sessions. Maybe you meet criteria for a diagnosis, maybe you don’t. Either way, you now have a diagnosis on record with your insurance company.

When it comes time to renew your insurance or switch plans, your premiums could rise as a result of your “pre-existing condition.” In addition, you may be required to share your diagnosis in future job interviews, which is awkward, to say the least. I would like to add that it’s rare to have to disclose something like that for a job but it can happen in security, government, and some other professions.

3. Insurance-Driven Treatment Plan

When therapists take insurance, they are required to use treatment methods that are covered by your plan. This means they have less say in how to treat you based on your specific and individual needs. 

Ironically, the people who work in your insurance company and decide which methods of therapy can be used, are usually not even therapists! And they certainly haven’t met and assessed you personally like your therapist has.

4. Supply and Demand Imbalance

Remember the high demand for therapists we talked about earlier? The one that has led to many therapists having months-long waiting lists? This is actually another reason many therapists don’t accept insurance.

Because demand for therapy is so high, many mental health workers (especially highly sought-after providers) don’t have to accept insurance because they already have too many patients interested in their services.

While accepting insurance for psychological services would open up their services to more patients, these in-demand providers don’t have space for more in their practice anyway!

So what does this mean for you as a client? While it’s not always the case, finding a provider who accepts insurance could mean they are new or their practice is not in high demand…which leads us to our next point.

5. Questionable Quality

Do therapists take insurance because they can’t build their practice otherwise? Possibly.

Let me preface this by saying that there are some fantastic therapists who take insurance. Sometimes highly skilled therapists accept insurance clients as a way to “give back” to society and offer high-quality services to those that wouldn’t be able to afford it any other way. 

If you don’t know anything about insurance payouts (and why would you if you’re not a therapist or a doctor?), this last statement probably doesn’t make sense. Bear with me while I help clear that up and give you some rarely discussed insider info from the therapist’s perspective.

The going rate for a great therapist in most major cities is between $150-$350 per session. Most insurance companies pay therapists between $40-$90 per session. This is a fraction of what therapists receive from private pay clients and it requires a lot more paperwork and time to get paid by insurance companies. Submitting insurance claims is time-consuming and confusing as is getting approved to be on insurance panels in the first place. Many therapists have to hire a billing professional to help them manage insurance claims and make sure they actually get paid.

So why do therapists take insurance if they get paid less and have to jump through paperwork hoops to get paid?

The answer is because they have to. Let’s explore this in more detail…

a man's hand writes on a white paper on a black clipboard while answering the question, "do therapists take insurance?"

Do Therapists Take Insurance Because They Have To?

Something that is rarely discussed with consumers is the fact that insurance companies provide a steady flow of referrals to therapists. Let’s take a moment to think about who might need a steady flow of referrals to their practice and would be willing to take a major pay cut for said referrals.

New therapists just starting a private practice. 

Therapists who just graduated usually have some serious student loans to pay off and they need to start making money fast. It can take time to build up a positive reputation in a community so getting referrals from insurance panels (even if it means making significantly less per client) is a great way to get started. 

Often, therapists who opt for this route will start phasing out insurance clients as their reputation grows and they start getting more organic referrals from satisfied customers.

Therapists who don’t want to market themselves.

Sometimes therapists get and stay on insurance panels for the bulk of their career because they prefer the safety of knowing they will always have referrals. Perhaps they don’t know how to market themselves, don’t want to invest in marketing, or are risk-averse and can’t or don’t want to risk having fewer clients when they are getting started as private pay.

Working with insurance long-term is more likely to lead a therapist to burnout because they are doing double the work for half the pay. There is a higher chance that this therapist will be overworked and less passionate about their work as a result.

Therapists in low-income areas. 

If there are very few clients that can pay full price for sessions in the area, therapists in private practice may opt to accept insurance or move to a community where there are more affluent people. For this reason, lower-income communities do not have a lot of therapists in private practice but they do have more government-subsidized community treatment centers where people can get help. 

This is a sad truth about the systemic issues and barriers that limit low- to moderate-income folks when seeking mental health care. If insurance companies paid therapists rates commensurate with the amount they have to spend on their education, many more therapists would opt to be in-network and many more people would have easily affordable therapy.

Therapists who do not have a lot of satisfied customers. 

As a therapist myself, this is a delicate situation for me to discuss and I suspect it will upset some of my colleagues. That said, the ones it offends are probably the ones who fall into this category. Many therapists who accept insurance do so because they are not good enough at what they do to facilitate referrals and command a higher fee.

Yep, I said it.

Satisfied customers talk. They leave positive reviews online. And tell their friends and family how happy they are with their therapist and they refer the people they love. They build their therapist’s practice for them by becoming walking billboards. Their friends and family start to notice positive changes in their personality and ask them what they are doing…and they tell them about their therapist.

Not only do satisfied customers refer to skilled therapists, other professionals do too. Medical doctors hear from their patients that they got great results working with a therapist and they send more patients. Other therapists who get asked by friends and family for referrals, send them to other skilled therapists in the community.

Why Therapists Don’t Take Insurance (And Why You Should Pay Them Anyway)

Therapists who don’t take insurance have to be really good in order to create and maintain a thriving practice. With therapy, you usually get what you pay for and if someone is charging a high fee, it’s usually because they are worth it.

Speaking of that price tag, I know it can feel scary to drop a couple of hundred dollars on a therapy session every week, especially if you don’t have a ton of disposable income. 

So, are therapists worth it?

What I’ve seen in my practice (and in many other settings besides therapy) is that those who pay the full fee and make a substantial investment, are actually more committed to doing the work than those who pay less.

Think about it. If you paid $20 for a meal or $200, would there be a difference in how you treated it? Would you rush through the $200 meal and then throw half of it away if you didn’t feel like eating anymore? I’m guessing not. You would savor that meal and ask to take anything you couldn’t eat home with you to enjoy later.

People who pay more for therapy are literally and figuratively more invested and it shows in their results. They make the most of every session, they do their homework, and they get great results. 

In my opinion, there is nothing worth more than your personal growth. If you take the work seriously, you will see your investment pay off in every area of your life. 

By the way, this is coming from someone who has spent a lot of money on personal growth. I truly feel it’s been worth every penny.

Two women sit and talk in chairs in front of a brick wall, enjoying a therapist session after determining, "do therapists take insurance?"

What to Do When Therapy Doesn’t Take Insurance

Ok, but what if you literally CANNOT afford to pay the full fee but you also want to make sure you get a great therapist? Fortunately, there is sometimes an in-between option.

Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get reimbursed for out-of-network benefits. This can mean savings of up to 20-60%. This is typically available with PPO plans. To find out, call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask how much your plan pays for out-of-network therapists.

Then, if you do have out-of-network benefits, ask your therapist if they can provide a superbill for you to submit to your insurance for reimbursement. You will pay your therapist for the sessions up front. Then, your insurance company will reimburse you for some of the session fees. 

Your therapist will still have to provide a diagnosis on your superbill in order for you to get reimbursed. Not every insurance plan has this benefit but it’s definitely worth a phone call to ask!

The other option is that you can use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for therapy. This allows you to save money because you are paying with pre-tax dollars.

Finding The Right Therapist for You

So there you have it. That is the good, the bad, and the ugly of using your insurance to pay for therapy as I see it.

Still not sure how to find the therapist that is right for you? Consider your mental health needs and your schedule to determine if a specific type of therapy might work best. For example, virtual therapy or couples therapy might be an option.

Do online therapists take insurance?

It depends. Just like in-person therapy work, online therapists have to go through many steps to accept insurance as payment for their services. Finding an online therapist will be unlikely to affect how much you pay for therapy. It can help make it more accessible.

Do couples therapists take insurance?

Some do! Just like individual therapists, there are many couples therapists who accept insurance and many who do not. While it’s very valid for cost to be a factor when choosing a therapist, when it comes to couples therapy the most important thing is to make sure your therapist has experience helping couples through the challenges you and your partner are facing. It’s also important to ensure both you and your partner feel comfortable with the therapist you choose. Not sure whether you truly need couples therapy? Take our healthy relationship quiz!

Explore online therapy with Couples Learn

Still have questions? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Couples Learn at any time to ask questions or book a free consultation.

Have you used insurance to pay for therapy in the past? If so, how did it go for you? Let us know in the comments on this Facebook post.

Resolutions For Two: How To Improve Your Relationship In The New Year

Resolutions For Two: How To Improve Your Relationship In The New Year

If you’re the New Years Resolution type, you might be busy getting your resolution ducks in a row. Maybe you’re hoping to read more in 2024 or finally write that novel you’ve been dreaming about. Perhaps you want to get to the gym five days a week or start meditating consistently. But have you considered any New Year’s resolutions for couples?

In 2024, in addition to making promises to yourself, you may also want to consider making them to your partner and your relationship.

The New Year is a great time to review your personal accomplishments and goals. But it’s also the perfect time to take stock of how the past year went for you and your significant other and to see what, if anything, you’d like to change. (And don’t forget to celebrate everything that went right in your relationship, too!)

So what makes for good New Year’s resolutions for couples? You want something that will help you make a shift or improvement in your partnership, but one that is also manageable and realistic.

The best way to make relationship resolutions is to sit down together as a couple and discuss your goals. Use the couple resolutions below for inspiration.

4 New Year’s Resolutions for Couples 

1. Power Down, Together

Between work, managing kids or other family obligations and also staying in touch with family and friends, it can be hard to give your partner your undivided attention. Throw your favorite TV series, social media app or smartphone game into the mix and you have even less time to spend with your special someone.

In 2024, commit to taking some time each day to focus only on your partner. Put away all electronic devices and pretend you are back in the 80’s. (Leg warmers optional). This is one of the most impactful (and simple!) New Year’s resolutions for couples that you can make.

Instead of staring at your phones together, practice empathic listening when you talk to each other. Focus on hearing and understanding your partner without being distracted. Avoid formulating your response while they are talking and instead focus on reflecting back what he/she is saying to you to make sure you fully understand their point of view. 

A smiling couple sitting on a couch and embracing after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples

2. Employ An Attitude Of Gratitude

All kinds of research shows that being grateful for your partner helps to improve your relationship. But of course, this is sometimes easier said than done. After all, it may be difficult to feel grateful to your spouse for taking out the trash if they walked in dirty shoes across your freshly cleaned floor to get it done.

But if you think about it, having an attitude of gratitude is one of the best New Year’s resolutions for couples. Of course you will feel better about your spouse if you focus on what you appreciate about them. In turn, it will also make them happier with you, and it will make it easier for them to accept constructive criticism if you’ve already showered them with the good stuff. It’s a win-win!

This year, find ways to not just feel more gratitude for your partnership, but to express that gratitude, too. Maybe you make it part of your nightly routine to express gratitude for something that happened during the day. Maybe you keep a gratitude journal together to read and reflect on what your partner shares.

No matter how you use this couples resolution, it’s sure to help you bring a little more contentment into your life.

3. Paint The Town

You didn’t get into a relationship to stare at a TV set together, did you? Try bursting past your comfort zones, at least once a month. 

Maybe you want to get out and move with each other by trying a new hiking trail or playing some ping pong? Or, maybe you want to cross some things off your bucket list like zip-lining or white-water rafting? Doing active and adventurous things as a couple will strengthen your bond, and definitely give you something to talk about over dinner!

Doing new things together is one of the best New Year’s resolutions for couples because it not only helps you have fun together (remember fun?!)It also gives you a chance to develop new interests and hobbies that you can enjoy together for years to come.

To make this relationship resolution sustainable, keep things realistic. Don’t commit to a full weekend away every month if you know a date night is much more likely to happen. Don’t stress about trying something overly adventurous if your partner is terrified of heights or gets terrible motion sickness. 

Want this resolution to have an even bigger impact? Take turns choosing an activity and planning the date. This will ensure no one is taking on more of the burden of planning outings and helps ensure each person gets to try things they truly enjoy.

A young man and woman dance together in a white kitchen, happy after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples

4. In-To-Me-See

One area that often needs help in relationships is the way in which each partner expresses intimacy. What is intimacy? Basically, it’s our feeling of connection and willingness to be vulnerable with our partners.

This type of connection can be sexual, romantic, or purely platonic. The key is finding out which type of intimacy your partner enjoys and being willing to offer more of that. It also means understanding what your own needs are, and expressing those needs clearly. 

Improving your intimate connection with your partner takes time, and requires trust, but doing it will give you all the warm fuzzies! That’s why improving intimacy is one of our favorite New Year’s resolutions for couples.

So, which one of these ideas sound doable to you? Could you commit to writing little notes of appreciation for your partner? Or, perhaps take Tai Chi classes with your love? Maybe you want to try some new techniques to spice things up in the bedroom.

Whatever intimacy means to you (both of you!), try to incorporate more of that into your regular lives. This is one example of couple resolutions that you definitely won’t regret!

5. Communication is Key

Resolve to enhance your communication skills as a couple. This includes active listening, expressing your feelings openly, and addressing issues calmly and constructively.

Communication isn’t easy – even for the most healthy relationships. It can be impacted by your attachment style or by past relationship issues. But improving your communication is possible, whether you work on it through couples therapy or on your own.

6. Celebrate Milestones

In 2024, don’t save celebrations for the big moments. Find reasons to celebrate your relationship and your partner regularly throughout the year.

Acknowledge and celebrate important milestones in your relationship, whether it’s bigger days like anniversaries or smaller moments like the day you first met or the day of your first kiss. These occasions are opportunities to reflect on your journey together and reinforce your commitment.

7. Set Shared Goals

Set joint goals and aspirations for the future with your partner this year. Whether it’s saving for a dream vacation, buying a home, or starting a family, working towards common objectives strengthens your bond.

When you work toward a goal together, you may also build new skills, try new things and learn more about each other. This is one of the best New Year’s resolutions for couples who want to achieve big things in 2024 but also want to strengthen their relationship.

8. Try Random Acts of Kindness

Make a resolution to express your love and appreciation through small, unexpected gestures. Whether it’s leaving a sweet note, surprising each other with thoughtful gifts, or taking on a task without being asked, these acts strengthen your connection.

9. Seek Counseling or Do Regular Relationship Check-ins

Consider seeking professional advice or participating in relationship counseling, even if things are going well. Regular check-ins with a therapist can help address any underlying issues, improve communication, and strengthen your relationship foundation.

If you’re not ready for (or able to do) therapy, then make relationship check-ins a regular part of your life as a couple. Set a weekly meeting with your partner to discuss your shared goals, work on conflict resolution and stay connected.

How to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

If you’ve ever had a gym membership, you’ve probably noticed how most “New Year’s Resolutioners,” give up by March. Don’t let that be you with your New Year’s resolutions for couples! Make small, manageable goals for the best results.

If you need help finding ways to incorporate these new habits into your relationship – or you want to make a big investment toward improving your partnership – then you might want to add couples therapy to your list of 2024 relationship resolutions.

A couples therapist can help you set – and stick to – relationship goals for the new year, and help you turn your couple resolutions into actual change.

Ready to make your 2024 resolutions? Contact us if you’d like some help getting back on track. We’d love to help you brainstorm new ideas for refreshing your relationship in the New Year!

A happy couple is laughing together on a beach after discussing New Year's resolutions for couples
How to Rebuild Trust After Betrayal

How to Rebuild Trust After Betrayal

Wondering how to rebuild trust after betrayal? Read our therapist-backed tips for moving forward (whether you do it with your partner or not).

Trust is the cornerstone of any strong relationship. It provides a foundation for reliance and confidence in one another. When betrayal shatters this trust, the emotional fallout can be profound. Betrayal changes everything – from your view of the relationship, your view of your partner, your view of yourself, and the life you thought you had and would have together.

Whether the betrayal is a breach of confidence, infidelity, or dishonesty, the resulting damage to the relationship is real and sometimes feels insurmountable. The truth is, you will never have the same relationship again. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many couples build a stronger, healthier, and more authentic relationship after a betrayal. Recovery is possible if both parties are committed to doing the work.

In taking steps to rebuild trust after betrayal, it’s essential to focus on open and honest communication. This process involves a willingness to express and accept the hurt that has occurred. It also requires a sincere effort to understand the root causes of the betrayal. 

As trust is not rebuilt overnight, both parties must be prepared to put in a consistent and long-term effort to restore it. It’s about setting new boundaries, exhibiting transparency in actions and intentions, and creating an environment where vulnerability is respected.

Restoring trust involves a delicate balance of forgiveness, personal accountability, and constructive actions that prove reliability over time. Creating a path forward means not just dwelling on past mistakes but also laying the groundwork for a renewed sense of mutual respect and confidence.

Types of Betrayal in a Relationship

Betrayal can manifest in various ways, ranging from infidelity to more subtle forms like lying or keeping secrets. Cheating in a relationship, whether physical or emotional, is one of the more apparent breaches of trust. 

However, betrayal might also stem from someone consistently lying about their actions or intentions, undermining the foundation of trust built between you both. 

Understanding the nature of the betrayal you have experienced is crucial for addressing the specific issues that have led to the loss of trust.

Understanding the Impact of Betrayal on a Relationship

Before you start working on rebuilding trust after betrayal, it’s important for both you and your partner to spend some time understanding the impact it has had on your relationship. Whether you are the one who has been betrayed or you have broken your partner’s trust, you should both take some time to feel your feelings and try to understand your partner’s feelings too.

Recognizing the Hurt and Anger

Betrayal doesn’t only result in sadness or hurt. You may actually experience betrayal trauma when a person you rely on for emotional support and security violates your trust. It’s typical to feel a range of emotions from shock and confusion to deep hurt; this is the body’s natural response to a psychological injury. Acknowledging that feelings of anger and resentment are justified allows you to start processing the event and its implications on your well-being.

Navigating Intense Emotions

It’s important to remember that anger and resentment are natural reactions to a betrayal of trust, and allowing yourself to feel these emotions is crucial for the healing process. Here are specific ways to navigate these feelings:

  • Grief: Accept that grieving the loss of the previous state of your relationship is normal.
  • Anxiety: Understand that feelings of anxiety about the future are common and that regaining trust will take time.
  • Anger: Allow yourself to feel anger without letting it control your actions or lead to regrettable decisions.

The Role of Mental Health

Your emotional health is the cornerstone of healing and learning to rebuild trust after betrayal. Addressing the impact of betrayal on your mental health can include:

  1. Recognizing depression signs, such as persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  2. Identifying if the betrayal has led to persistent anxiety, which could manifest as excessive worry about your relationship or other aspects of your life.
  3. Seeking support, which can range from talking with trusted friends to professional therapy, is essential in maintaining or restoring your mental health.
A couple fights after learning about a betrayal

How to Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship Step by Step

Once you’ve taken the time to understand the feelings at play, how can you move forward? If you decide to work on your relationship, rebuilding trust after a betrayal is a process that demands commitment and patience. It is not quick or easy, but restoring the bond is possible – if both partners are committed.

Step One: Taking Responsibility

You must acknowledge your actions and their impact on your partner. Admitting fault is the first step in rebuilding trust, and it’s essential to show true remorse for the hurt caused.

Step Two: Creating a Plan Together

Developing a joint plan is key in the trust restoration process. This plan should outline clear steps and expectations. Together, decide on actions that will rebuild trust and demonstrate commitment to the relationship’s future.

Step Three: Committing to Change

For trust to be rebuilt, changes must be made and sustained over time. Show your commitment to these changes by consistently following through on the promises made in your action plan.

Step Four: Communicating Openly

Open and honest communication creates transparency. Ensure you are engaging in regular dialogues where both parties can express their feelings and concerns. This helps to establish a renewed sense of security.

Step Five: Reconnecting on a Deeper Level

Rebuilding trust involves reconnecting emotionally. Spend quality time together and partake in activities that foster closeness and understanding. Genuine affection and empathy for each other’s experiences are crucial at this stage.

Step Six: Rebuilding Sexual and Emotional Intimacy

Betrayal often damages intimacy, making its restoration pivotal. Approach this gently and with patience as you both navigate through the complex emotions involved. Re-establishing physical closeness will take time and should be mutually agreed upon.

Step Seven: Working Through Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the final piece in the trust-rebuilding puzzle. It doesn’t mean forgetting but rather releasing the hold that the betrayal has on your relationship. This is a personal journey and can’t be rushed, as it’s essential for true healing to occur.

Seeking Professional Help with Overcoming Betrayal

When trust has been broken, navigating the path to healing can be complex and emotionally taxing. Therapists who specialize in relationship issues can provide a safe space for you to explore your feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Counseling options include:

  • Individual Therapy: Focuses on your personal emotional recovery.
  • Couples Counseling: Aimed at repairing the relationship if both parties are willing.
  • Group Therapy: Allows you to connect with others who have experienced similar betrayals.

It’s productive to approach therapy with a clear and neutral mindset. The process of rebuilding trust takes time, and a professional therapist can facilitate this process by providing the necessary tools for communication and understanding.

When selecting a professional, consider their experience with issues of betrayal and trust and the types of therapy they offer. Not all therapy modalities are created equal. When it comes to rebuilding trust, two types of couples therapy, in particular, can be helpful:

A couple discusses rebuilding trust after betrayal

Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy’s Approach to Rebuilding Trust After Betrayal

Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) offers a structured method for couples to mend trust after it has been broken. The approach aims to address the emotional underpinnings of trust issues and facilitate bonding through a series of targeted interventions.

These are the steps your EFT therapist can help you and your partner walk through after a betrayal:

Truth

In EFT, the disclosure of truth is the first step in the healing process. You and your partner are encouraged to openly share your experiences and perspectives in a non-judgmental environment. The therapist will guide you through conversations that let you express honesty without fear of repercussion.

Safety

Creating a sense of safety is crucial for trust to be rebuilt. EFT fosters a secure space where you feel safe to express vulnerabilities and where responses are predictable and consistent. Through this process, you learn to anticipate your partner’s support, which reinforces a secure attachment.

Trust

Trust is viewed as both the foundation and the goal of a healthy relationship within EFT. Techniques such as reflection and empathy exercises help you to build and experience trust in small steps, acknowledging progress and setbacks openly along the journey to recovery.

Vulnerability

EFT works with the element of vulnerability, helping you to express and respond to it in a way that builds trust. By sharing your innermost feelings, you create opportunities for your partner to show up and respond with care, which strengthens the emotional bond between you.

Intimacy

Lastly, cultivating intimacy is key in EFT’s approach to repairing trust. Emotional and physical intimacy is revisited, explored, and deepened through conversations and experiences that reconnect you and your partner at a more profound level. Practices from EFT can enhance intimacy, leading to more secure and integrated relationships.

By actively participating in these structured interventions of EFT, you take definitive steps towards a stronger, more trusting relationship.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy’s Approach to Rebuilding Trust

The Gottman Method offers a research-based approach to help couples navigate through the aftermath of betrayal. Centered around trust and commitment, it provides a practical framework for healing.

Here are the steps a Gottman Method couples therapist can help you and your partner walk through:

Atone

To atone is the first step in the Gottman Method to rebuild trust. Whoever committed the betrayal must take responsibility for it and express genuine remorse. It’s not just about apologizing; it involves understanding the impact of their actions and making reparations.

Attune

The attunement process helps you reconnect by turning toward each other and listening with empathy. You must communicate understanding and validate each other’s feelings. It’s through this attunement that insights about the relationship’s needs are gained. The Gottman Institute suggests that restoring trust involves paying attention to each other’s needs and nurturing emotional connection.

Attach

Finally, attachment solidifies the bond and reestablishes security within the relationship. You work to rekindle intimacy and maintain transparency going forward. This attachment stage is about committing to shared relationship goals and building a path toward a secure future together. Learning from couples who have successfully navigated trust rebuilding after an affair, consistent actions and upholding promises are imperative during this last phase.

A couple sits on a couch together after discovering a betrayal

Moving Forward After Betrayal

What happens after you’ve worked on rebuilding trust with your partner? Well, the process never really ends. You both have to commit to building trust in your relationship every day, through actions big and small.

Simple things like keeping your word, being able to count on each other and being a safe place to turn to can have a profound impact.

Working on finding yourselves again (separately and apart) is also helpful. This is not only about fixing what was broken but also about developing new, stronger foundations of trust.

You can try to:

  • Explore: Seek opportunities that bring joy and excitement into your life.
  • Engage in Fun: Incorporate activities that make you laugh and feel alive; it’s therapeutic.
  • Grow: Commit to personal development and stronger relationship dynamics.

Embrace these steps confidently and watch as trust gradually takes root in the fertile ground of your new beginnings.

Common Questions About Rebuilding Trust After Betrayal

When attempting to rebuild trust after betrayal, it’s normal to have some questions about the process. Here are our expert answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What are effective steps to regain trust in a marriage?

To regain trust in a marriage, communication and transparency are essential. Establish open and honest dialogue, take full responsibility for your actions, and consistently deliver on your promises.

What strategies can help overcome the pain and rebuild a relationship post-betrayal?

Overcoming the pain requires patient effort from both parties. Acknowledge the hurt caused, seek to understand each other’s feelings and engage in therapy or counseling together if needed.

Is there a typical time frame for healing and rebuilding trust after it’s been broken?

How long couples therapy takes to work – and how long it takes to heal – can vary significantly. Healing is individual and there is no set time frame for rebuilding trust. It can be a slow process requiring sustained effort, where patience and consistency are key.

What are signs that trust is being rebuilt in a relationship?

Signs that trust is being rebuilt include improved communication, greater emotional connection, transparency in actions, and a mutual willingness to forgive and work on the relationship.

What If I Don’t Want to Rebuild Trust After Betrayal?

After an intense betrayal of trust, you may not actually be interested in rebuilding anything at all. And that is 100% ok. There is no right or wrong way to approach betrayal in a relationship. The key, however, is that you still take the time to reflect on (and truly feel) your feelings of hurt, anger and resentment.

It’s easy to want to just break up and move on, without really addressing the trauma betrayal can cause. But without this time of reflection, you may never fully recover from the hurt of betrayal, which can impact future relationships and your mental health.

Even if you don’t want to move forward with your relationship, consider working with a therapist to help you navigate the feelings of loss and grief that often come with betrayal. 

A couple leans against each other while working on rebuilding trust after betrayal

Need Help Rebuilding Trust After Betrayal? 

Whether you’ve been betrayed or you are the one who has broken your partner’s trust, it’s not too late to get help. Contact Couples Learn today to learn more about our individual and couples therapists who can help you and your partner navigate the long road of rebuilding trust after betrayal.

How to Build Trust in Relationships

How to Build Trust in Relationships

Trust is a fundamental element in any relationship, fostering a sense of security and allowing for open communication between partners. Understanding how to build trust in relationships takes time and effort, but the benefits can lead to stronger, more satisfying connections with those around you. 

By being reliable, honest, and empathetic, you can help create an atmosphere where trust can thrive. Consistently demonstrating that you value and respect your partner’s feelings can also help to reinforce the bonds of trust.

So what does this actually look like in a relationship, and why is building trust so important? Keep reading to explore the many ways to cultivate trust in relationships, including actionable tools to deepen your connections and strengthen your relationship.

What Is Trust?

Trust is one of the most sought-after emotions in human relationships, and yet it can be hard to define (like a lot of our feelings!) What trust means to one person can be very different from what it means to someone else.

At a basic level, trust in a relationship is the feeling of security and loyalty between you and your partner. It’s built on a foundation of honesty, reliability, and consistency in words and actions. When you trust your partner, you believe what they say, and you don’t question their intentions – even in times of conflict.

The way people experience trust in relationships can vary depending on various psychological factors.

The Psychology of Trust

Some people enter relationships with trust issues, while others might be too trusting. Your approach to trust in relationships can be impacted by several psychological factors, including:

  • Attachment style: Your early life experiences, such as your relationship with your caregivers, can shape your ability to trust others.
  • Past experiences: Negative experiences in past relationships might make it difficult for you to trust your partner.
  • Personality traits: Traits like empathy, openness, and agreeableness can affect your level of trust in a relationship.

Whether you enter a relationship with a strong level of trust in others, or you have a hard time trusting your partner, it is possible (and important) to actively build trust in relationships. This process starts by understanding the elements of trust.

7 Elements of Trust in Relationships

Brene Brown, a renowned researcher, professor, author and speaker, is most known for her work on vulnerability, courage and shame. But in one of her Super Soul Sessions events, she also talked about the seven elements of trust. 

Trust, Brown said, is not built by grand gestures of love or friendship, but in the small moments of life that show you a person can be counted on. 

John Gottman, a well-known psychologist, founder of The Gottman Institute and creator of Gottman Method couples therapy, has found similar truths in his work, writing: “Trust is built in the little moments of everyday life, not with grand gestures twice a year.” 

Watch the video below for Brown’s perspective on trust in relationships, or keep reading to explore all seven elements of trust:

Boundaries

Establishing clear and honest boundaries in your relationship is crucial for building trust. When you set boundaries, you express your needs and limits, which encourages your partner to do the same. Mutual respect for each other’s boundaries helps nurture a trustworthy environment.

Reliability

Reliability is the foundation of trust in relationships. When you are consistently reliable, you ensure that your partner feels secure and confident in your efforts. Demonstrate your reliability by keeping your promises and following through on your commitments. 

Accountability

Taking responsibility for your actions and admitting when you’re wrong is an essential aspect of building trust. By being accountable, you show your partner that you value your relationship and are willing to address mistakes in order to progress together.

Vault

The “vault” refers to the safe and confidential space you create with your partner by not sharing each other’s private information with others. Practice discretion and protect your partner’s privacy, as this will reinforce trust in your relationship.

Integrity

Maintaining integrity means staying true to your beliefs and values, even when it’s challenging. Demonstrating integrity includes being honest, making ethical choices, and acting in the best interest of your relationship. By doing so, you foster a sense of trustworthiness with your partner.

Non-Judgment

Creating an atmosphere of non-judgment in your relationship allows you and your partner to be open and vulnerable. Emphasize empathy, understanding, and support when communicating, which encourages trust and emotional intimacy.

Generosity

Be generous in your assumptions about your partner’s intentions. Give them the benefit of the doubt in situations where their actions may not match your expectations. Practicing generosity in your relationship fosters trust and promotes a secure connection.

A couple cuddles on the couch happily after building trust in relationships

How to Establish Trust in Relationships

When a relationship is new – or if your relationship needs a bit of a re-set – it’s important to pay close attention to the ways you establish trust with your partner. 

You can build trust by:

Setting Boundaries

Establishing trust in a relationship begins with setting clear boundaries. Define your personal boundaries and understand your partner’s boundaries. This includes:

  • Emotional boundaries: Consider how much personal information you’re willing to share and expect from your partner. Respect each other’s feelings and emotions.
  • Physical boundaries: Discuss your comfort levels with physical affection and your respective needs for personal space.
  • Social boundaries: Share your expectations regarding friendships, family relationships, and social interactions.

Openly discussing these boundaries will help you build a strong foundation for trust by ensuring that both partners feel comfortable in the relationship.

Practicing Consistency and Reliability

Another crucial aspect of building trust is demonstrating consistency and reliability. Here are some tips to achieve that:

  • Keep your promises: Whether it’s a small favor or a significant commitment, make sure to follow through with your promises. This will show that you are reliable and trustworthy.
  • Communicate openly: Honest communication is vital in building trust. Share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with your partner regularly. Be open to listening and understanding their perspective.
  • Be supportive: Show your partner that you are there for them in times of need. Offer emotional support and encouragement when they face challenges.
  • Be punctual: Arriving on time for events, dates, or appointments shows that you respect your partner’s time and prioritize their needs.

By focusing on setting boundaries and maintaining consistency and reliability, you will create an environment where both partners feel secure and trust can grow in your relationship.

How to Maintain Trust in Relationships

Of course, it’s not enough to put time into building trust at the start of a relationship. It’s also critical to focus on maintaining that level of trust throughout the length of your partnership.

Maintaining trust in a relationship is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort from both individuals involved. Two of the most important aspects of maintaining trust in relationships include continuous improvement and conflict resolution.

Continuous Improvement

To keep trust strong in your relationship, focus on being true to your word and following through with your actions consistently. And hold yourself accountable when you fail. 

Here are some tips for continuous improvement in your relationship:

  • Communication: Regularly share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with your partner. Make sure to listen and understand their perspective as well.
  • Honesty: Be truthful and transparent with your partner, even when it’s difficult.
  • Empathy: Try to see situations from your partner’s point of view and validate their feelings and emotions.
  • Support: Encourage and support your partner’s personal growth and interests.

Conflict Resolution

Disagreements and conflicts are natural in relationships, but it’s essential to address them in a healthy and constructive way to maintain trust. Here are some strategies for conflict resolution:

  • Stay calm: Approach conflicts with a calm demeanor and focus on the issue rather than attacking your partner’s character.
  • Active listening: Listen attentively to your partner’s concerns and demonstrate that you comprehend their point of view.
  • Collaborate: Work together to find a solution that both of you can agree on rather than imposing your own opinion.
  • Take responsibility: If you’ve made a mistake or hurt your partner, acknowledge it and apologize genuinely.
  • Forgiveness: Practice forgiving your partner and letting go of grudges to strengthen trust in your relationship.

Remember, nurturing trust requires ongoing effort, so implement these strategies consistently in your relationship for lasting results.

A couple embraces after learning how to build trust in relationships

Trust Challenges in Relationships

Unfortunately, even partners with good intentions can break their partner’s trust – or have their trust broken by a partner. 

Dealing with the betrayal of trust in a relationship can be incredibly painful. When you trust someone, you open up yourself to their actions and decisions, which could potentially hurt you. 

When betrayal occurs, it’s essential to first acknowledge your feelings. It’s normal to feel hurt, anger, and disappointment. Remember, these emotions are valid and should be respected.

Next, take time to reflect on the situation. Ask yourself if the betrayal was a one-time mistake or a pattern of behavior. Sometimes people make mistakes, and it’s important to differentiate between a singular event and ongoing disloyalty. 

Also, consider if there has been a communication gap between the two of you, as clear communication is essential to trust.

Lastly, seek professional help if needed. Whether it’s individual or couples therapy, working with a professional can provide valuable insights and guidance for rebuilding trust after a betrayal.

Common Questions About Trust in Relationships

What are key psychological principles that help strengthen trust in partnerships?

Key psychological principles to strengthen trust involve honesty, consistency, and empathy. Being open and truthful about your thoughts and feelings is crucial to maintaining trust. Consistently showing your partner that you follow through with your promises and plans helps to reinforce the foundation of trust. 

Also, empathizing with your partner’s feelings and experiences helps you both to better understand each other and develop trust.

Can trust be repaired once it’s broken?

Yes, trust can be repaired once broken, but it requires effort, time, and commitment from both parties. Steps to repair trust include acknowledging the breach of trust, expressing sincere remorse, and rebuilding trust through consistent actions. The person affected by the broken trust should express their feelings and be open to forgiving their partner. Patience is key, as rebuilding trust takes time and effort from both parties.

What can help develop trust at the beginning of a relationship?

In the beginning stages of a relationship, actions that contribute to developing trust include open communication, vulnerability, and dependability. 

Share your thoughts and feelings honestly, show your commitment by following through with plans, and demonstrate empathy for your partner’s experiences. Establishing boundaries and respecting your partner’s boundaries can help build trust as well.

How does trust affect relationship dynamics and what are its core elements?

Trust is at the core of any healthy relationship and affects multiple aspects, such as communication, emotional intimacy, and conflict resolution. Trust enables partners to feel secure, allowing for vulnerability and openness between them. Core elements of trust include honesty, reliability, empathy, communication, and mutual respect. 

Developing these elements can create a strong foundation of trust that supports the relationship’s growth and longevity.

a couple works with a couples therapist to build trust in relationships

Need Help Building Trust in Relationships?

Whether you’re struggling to trust your partner or your partner is the one with trust issues, therapy can help. 

At Couples Learn we offer individual and couples therapy for relationship issues and use a variety of couples therapy techniques to improve communication, improve conflict resolution and (of course) build trust.

Contact us to learn more about online couples therapy and book a free consultation today.