Being a person with trust issues myself, I can’t tell you to just let go of them. Instead, I can teach you how to date with trust issues.
Trust issues run deep. They cannot be explained or willed away. They are caused by patterns, manipulation, our pasts. Recently, I got back into dating. Now, it wasn’t easy, but it is possible to learn how to date with trust issues.
Once you have been lied to, you don’t just lose trust in that person, but in yourself as well. From there, you don’t know who you can trust. You question your own judgment and feel scared to invest time and energy into dating when you know how things can turn out.
I get it. I have been there and am still struggling with it. In fact, I stayed single and disinterested in dating for years due to my trust issues. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your relationship]
Why not learn how to get rid of your trust issues
This is easier said than done. And even with hours on hours of therapy, you can never truly know if your trust issues are fading until you date again.
When you aren’t dating, you can put your trust issues on hold. But from experience, I can tell you they do not go away on their own. They need to be worked on and tested. You can pause them, but they won’t stop.
Trust issues creep up when dating, when in a relationship, and even just when swiping through a dating app. They can make you question everything. You wonder if someone is lying about their job, whether they’re single, and what their intentions are. [Read: 12 simple questions to ask yourself to know if you’re being lied to]
If you have been burned by a liar in the past, you know how easy it is to be fooled. You know how clever and charming people can be. And no matter how long you go without putting yourself in a situation where you need to trust someone and be vulnerable, when you finally decide to, those trust issues will take place right where they left off.
Trust issues follow you through each relationship. And the only way to truly work through them is to learn how to date with trust issues. [Read: 10 big problems in a relationship and how to fix it]
How to date with trust issues
Stepping into the dating scene with a fresh helping of trust issues at the forefront of your mind is hard. It is common to struggle opening up because you don’t want to get hurt. You may even be so used to being burned you have no trouble opening up because you already foresee the outcome and are numb to it.
That sucks. Even being able to get excited about dating when you have trust issues is nearly impossible. But, as someone who is working through this right now, hopefully, I can offer some advice on how to date with trust issues.
#1 Get a fresh perspective. This is the most rational argument when it comes to romantic trust issues. Although our past will always influence us, remember that everyone is different. Just because you dated a cheater before does not mean everyone you date will be a cheater.
I know how hard it is to grasp that concept. It makes sense, but to apply it to your dating perspective is hard. Simply remind yourself of this. [Read: Can or should a relationship without trust last?]
#2 See each person as they are. This should help with getting a new perspective. We carry our hurt and baggage with us from date to date. But if you can try to look at each date or relationship in their own light, you can see something brighter than you ever expected.
Of course, we should always learn from the past, but applying your trust issues and baggage onto a person that has nothing to do with that is unfair. I know it happens anyway, but live in the moment and loosen your grip on the pain of the past.
#3 Confide in people you do trust. This is what led me to become excited about dating again. I went on a few dates with someone I wasn’t sure about. I tried to overlook my gut feelings because I didn’t trust myself. Instead of faltering over my inner conflict, I talked to my best friend.
She has known me for years and knows where my trust issues come from. I shared my worries and concerns with her and she was able to sort them out. She was able to tell me if I was being judgmental and harsh due to my trust issues or if my concerns were valid. This helped me to trust myself more. [Read: What it feels like to experience anxiety in a relationship]
#4 Take baby steps. You do not need to trust someone from day one. Although some people trust until that trust is broken, we often do not trust someone until they earn it. While that can be pessimistic, you can make your way to the trust.
You can open up slowly to someone new. You can share small things and see how you feel before becoming more vulnerable. With each step you conquer, your trust will grow.
#5 Share your trust issues. This is a vital part of dating with trust issues. If you are dating someone that cannot accept that you have baggage and come with a history, it will never work. You do not need to go into detail, but sharing that you have been hurt and struggle to trust yourself will help you move forward.
Make sure this person knows it isn’t them that is making you hesitant but your past. Let them know that if they are willing to work with you, you can overcome it. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]
#6 Be patient. Just because whoever you are dating seems great does not mean your trust issues will disappear overnight. No matter how much you want them to, they just won’t. They may hide and fade for weeks at a time, but the second you see someone unknown pop up on your partner’s phone, your mind will jerk right back.
Accept that this is not an instant thing. You can successfully date with trust issues. You just have to be willing to work on them.
#7 Be reasonable. This is what makes dating with trust issues work. If your new partner knows about them, you can talk about anything that is worrying you. Instead of having a flash of rage or unprovoked jealously you can be honest with your new partner.
You can let them know what actions they may be doing that make you uneasy. Make sure to tell them it is not their fault, but it just reminds you of things you have been through. They should want to keep your mind at ease.
But be reasonable. Don’t expect them to change their lives to convenience your trust issues. They can alter habits and reassure you, but you have to be willing to meet halfway. [Read: How to rebuild trust after a betrayal]
#8 Let them take control. This is sort of like a relationship trust fall. It is what will let you know if you are ready to trust someone new or if you need more time for the trust to grow. Let your partner take control and make plans. Let them take you somewhere that you don’t know about.
Go from small things like that to bigger things. Let them go out for the night with their friends without checking in until they are home. If you can handle these steps, you are capable of more. And from there, the trust will only grow.
The purpose of learning how to date with trust issues is learn to overcome it. It may seem like a huge hurdle at first, but with the right kind of effort and an understanding partner, it is definitely possible.