I am not so secretly envious of couples who seem to have it all figured out. How do you even become one of those epic, romantic, disgustingly in love, and lasting forever type couples? Trust. In every relationship, trust is essential. If you want to last, you've got to trust each other. Of course, you don't just build trust overnight. It's a process. It takes work. It starts from the beginning, and it's integrated in everything you do. But what are the every day habits of couples who trust one another? How do people form habits that build trust?
According to relationship counselor and psychologist Elisabeth Graham, practice makes perfect. "Trust is something that's built over time," Graham says. If you've been burned in a previous relationship, or you're suspicious of your partner, partaking in a trustworthy relationship can be difficult. But Graham says it's not impossible. "Trust is the most basic of all bonds between people," she says. "It's important that you create habits that facilitate trust between you and your partner, even if it doesn't come easily to you." Sometimes, that's easier said than done. Luckily, Graham has 13 habits she suggests for building trust in a relationship.
1. You Don't Read Their Text Messages
Let their phone be their phone, and let that be that. "By respecting your partner's privacy, you show that you respect and trust your partner," Graham says. When their phone pings, resist the urge the sneak a peak and it'll get you a lot further in the long run.
2. You Encourage Their Friendships
"Encouraging your partner to create and participate in friendships outside of your own relationship is crucial to trust," Graham says. "It shows that you trust him, and that you want him to have a life outside of your relationship." Because in the end, no relationship is an island.
3. You Don't Glamorize Your Relationship
Letting your partner see the good and the bad is paramount. "Nobody is perfect,"Graham says. "Portraying a perfect image of your relationship, or in your relationship, just isn't realistic." The sooner you let your partner in on your flaws, the sooner your bond of trust will strengthen.
4. You Share Your Fears
Much like showing your less-than-perfect self to your partner, showing that you have fears will strengthen your trust, too. "Sharing your fears with your partner shows that you trust them," Graham says. When you share your fears, you're trusting your partner to take them into consideration, and not exploit them. By putting trust in your partner, they in turn can have trust in you.
5. You Don't Compare Your Relationship To Previous Ones
"Comparing your current relationship to any of your previous relationships is a huge hindrance to moving forward with your partner," Graham says. Translation? Let your exes be exes. How can you expect to move forward with your new beau if you're still hanging onto the old one?
6. You Spend Time Apart
It doesn't have to be a long distance relationship, but spending time apart from your partner is crucial. "Spending time with yourself is important to the health of any relationship," Graham says. "You appreciate time with your partner more if you're not together all the time." Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
7. You Don't Point Out Their Flaws
"Creating a relationship where your partner feels comfortable expressing himself means being kind," Graham says. "If your partner has flaws, as everyone does, there's no need for you to pick at them." If there's something your partner does that doesn't sit well with you, try approaching it gently. Graham recommends framing it as something you'd like to work on too, so your partner doesn't feel like you're putting them on blast.
8. You Don't Treat Everything As A Competition
Not everything is win or lose. "A little competition can be fun," Graham says. "But too much and it can get out of hand." From who goes to the gym more, to who's a better cook, to who makes more money — some things are better left alone. You don't need a ribbon for everything awesome thing you do, and neither does your partner. The important part of a relationship is what you can accomplish together, not who can accomplish more than the other.
9. You Don't Make Jokes At Their Expense
Making jokes at your partner's expense is not a love language, make no mistake. "Poking fun at your partner every once in a while is one thing," Graham says. "Making your partner the punch line to every joke is another, and it breeds negativity."
10. You Don't Sugarcoat Things
When things are going awry, don't try and make it seem like everything's fine. Graham recommends honesty, above everything. If you're sugarcoating your problems, they're only going to come around to bite you in the end. If you practice honesty from the start, you're better off.
11. You Don't Walk Away From A Problem
"When things get hard, don't walk away," Graham says. "You have to show your partner you're willing to put in the work when it comes time." Don't run away when the going gets tough. Put in the work, and your trust will blossom from the seeds you've cultivated.
12. You Don't Lie To Them
White lies, big lies; lies are lies. Don't lie to your partner, period. It won't get you anywhere but in a mess. "Lying to your partner is the ultimate act of distrust," Graham says. How is your partner supposed to trust you if you can't tell them the truth?
13. You're Open To Compromise
"Compromise is the most common issue among my clients," Graham says. "From daily chores to emotional needs, relationships require compromise." No relationship is a fairytale. There's no such thing as perfection. In order to create a long lasting relationship full of trust and love, you've got to compromise (and so does your partner). "When you and your partner are both willing to compromise, you show that you trust one another not to take advantage of that compromise." Give a little, take a little, and you'll be well on the road to creating a bond of trust with your partner for the long haul.