Trust in Relationships

Making Sense of Risk, Trust and Betrayal in Intimate Relationship

Karol Misso will be presenting the Acts of Trust workshop on the 28 April, click for more information: Acts of Trust

  1. What is Trust?
  • Is the ability to rely on, to have confidence in a relationship
  • trust is related to faith (fidelity); putting your faith in, remaining faithful
  • not absolute like child’s trust in the parent; the mature adult makes a conscious choice to trust; possible to trust naively
  • not a guarantee, warranty or certainty
  • personal & relational factors contribute to trust & trustworthiness
  • it is possible for a person to be trustworthy in one context but not in another
  1. Trust in a Couple Relationship
  • ability to rely on, have confidence in the relationship
  • an expectation that each partner will remain faithful to the ‘contract’
  • based on confidence in your choice and the level of mutual investment in maintaining and strengthening the contract
  • over time a couple co-construct trust in their relationship
  1. Consequences of broken trust (unfaithfulness)
  •  trustworthiness of the relationship has been damaged
  • to continue in this state is to exacerbate the damage: cannot build trust on mistrust
  • the relationship has to be renewed, restored or rebuilt depending on the extent of the damage, or terminated
  • as in the beginning so now this is a collaborative task – a joint venture (one partner can neither ‘give’ nor ‘make’ the other trust
  1. Trust Building
  • is a process not an act or event
  • it proceeds in the following order: actions – thoughts – feelings (act to invest in trust even if you do not feel like doing it)
  • the couple must develop an action plan to rebuild trust: to re-invest in their ‘trust bank’
  • as in the beginning, so now, there are no guarantees or certainties. However, there must be a belief in the potential to rebuild the trustworthiness of the relationship and the acceptance of the collaborative nature of such a venture
  1. Strategies for Trust Building (in the event of an affair)
  • the adulterer must terminate the affair and acknowledge that it is not an effective way of solving a relationship problem
  • the betrayed spouse must ‘let go’ of the affair and acknowledge that it must not be used as a weapon to chastise, as a tool to bargain or a means of scoring points
  • the couple must actively commit to eliminate the betraying spouse from triangulation in the couple system and to give no weight to his/her thoughts, feelings and actions
  • the couple must commit to actively re-invest in the relationship
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