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Addressing Trust Issues in Your Relationship Through Online Marriage Counseling

By January 23, 2024 No Comments

What are the leading causes of divorce or relationship breakup? According to a survey of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst professionals, these are the top reasons for divorce. 

  • Overall incompatibility
  • Infidelity/sexual problems
  • Financial issues
  • Emotional/physical abuse
  • Parenting conflicts
  • Addiction

That’s divorce, but what about relationships? Psychology Today lists these as the top 10 reasons for a break-up.

  • Unacceptable behavior
  • Infidelity
  • Misdirected anger
  • Lack of support
  • Toxicity
  • Lack of affection and attention
  • Dishonesty
  • Theft
  • Giving up
  • Failure to communicate

Each of these issues relies on a level of trust. If you don’t trust your spouse or partner to parent your children, pay the bills, not drink too much, or cheat on you, there’s little chance of building a solid relationship. How can a couple best address trust issues when there’s already a disconnection? Online marriage counseling is an ideal option for helping build trust and get a relationship back on solid ground.

Tips for Identifying Trust Issues

How do you identify when your relationship is failing because of trust issues? Possessiveness, secrecy, jealousy, and continual questioning are all signs. If you go out with friends and your spouse or partner is texting you every two minutes, there’s a problem with trust. 

Ask yourself these questions, and have your partner do the same.

  • Do you feel judged or validated?
  • Are you able to have friends without jealousy appearing?
  • Does your spouse or partner refuse to share things with you, such as a large amount of credit card debt?
  • Can you go out with friends without having to drop everything to check in or leave early because of your partner’s or spouse’s demands?
  • Do you feel appreciated?
  • Do you feel like one of you does more parenting than the other?

Here are some common examples of trust issues in a relationship taken right from TV shows that you probably know. You might relate to these fictional characters.

Cheers: Breaking In Is Hard to Do

Frasier and Lilith have a lot of ups and downs during their relationship. In this one episode, jealousy and parenting conflicts have a lot to do with another blow to their trust in each other. 

Lilith is determined that lack of proper parenting is the reason their son isn’t yet speaking, so she quits her job to become a stay-at-home parent, only she isn’t happy, so Frasier takes over. She’s jealous when it appears he’s doing a better job, but then she learns he’s been going to Cheers all day with their son. It becomes a snowball effect of jealousy, anger, conflicting parenting styles, and a lack of trust.

Friends: The One With the Yeti

Some of the episode in “The One With the Yeti” focuses on Monica and Rachel’s insistence that Bigfoot moved into their apartment building. But, a lot of this issue also highlights a key trust issue in relationships. Ross’s second wife issues an ultimatum that he ends his friendship with Rachel. She doesn’t trust their friendship given their history, mainly him saying Rachel instead of Emily during their wedding. 

Because he refuses, Ross’s wife brings up the decision to end their marriage. There’s jealousy over the friendship, an ultimatum, and a complete breakdown of trust.

New Girl – See Ya!

Cece and Schmidt come off as a very mismatched couple, but they’re perfect, except for Schmidt’s insecurity. When she gets a text and he sees it on her phone, he’s jealous and confronts her. Cece makes it clear he broke her trust, but Schmidt goes a step too far and points out that he can’t trust her because of her taste in men.

How to Rebuild Trust

Have you heard of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” from the Book of Revelation? Dr. John Gottman established the Cascade Model of Relational Dissolution. Through his research, he came up with the Four Horsemen of a relationship’s end. Those “Four Horsemen” are:

  • Criticism: Attacks and nitpicking leads to a breakdown.
  • Defensiveness: Barriers and walls prevent useful communication.
  • Contempt: Disconnection shuts down discussions.
  • Stonewalling: A complete shutdown because of overwhelming emotions.

Once any of these appear, it’s harder to rebuild trust, but it’s not impossible. First, you have to admit you are responsible for the breakdown of trust, too. It’s not a one-sided issue. After that, these steps help restore trust.

Explore Forgiveness

Before you can move on and rebuild trust, you need to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Even if you weren’t the catalyst, there’s going to be something you’ve done or said that hurt. If you apologize, it can open the door for meaningful discussions.

Both of you need to be part of this. If your partner isn’t interested or invested, it’s going to be difficult. At that point, you might want to work with someone who can negotiate the repair of trust with you both.

Become Vulnerable

It’s time to be really honest about how things make you feel, what emotions they evoke, and how those emotions and feelings create a negative experience. Don’t put up a wall and try to shield or protect yourself. Don’t bottle things up and hope for the best. Become vulnerable and let down your guard to ensure you can have the meaningful discussions that are needed to build trust.

Be Honest and Dive Into the Issues at Hand

Now that your guard is down and you’re showing your vulnerability, start talking. You want to cover every issue and listen as your partner does the same. If you need to work off a list, do that. Each one of you should write a list of the things that make you feel less valued than you’d want, that make you sad, anxious, depressed, and anything that you find reduces your trust.

As you talk, don’t lay the blame. No pointing fingers. You want to have these discussions in open, non-judgmental ways and figure out how to move forward in a way that is beneficial to everyone.

Establish a New Future

After apologizing and receiving an apology, put the past behind you. It’s time to move on. Leave the past where it belongs and don’t use it months down the road as a weapon. That’s not going to help anyone, and it knocks your relationship back to a distrustful state.

It’s time to start the new stage of your relationship. You’ve been open and honest. You’ve worked on what hurts and leads to distrust. Now, establish the boundaries for how things need to be going forward. Consistency is important, so consider making it a weekly habit where you spend time alone, just the two of you, and have open, honest conversations about how things are going.

The Benefits of Online Marriage and Relationship Counseling

When it’s just the two of you, it’s hard to avoid bias. You have your feelings, as does your partner. That automatically creates bias. This is where an unbiased third party is helpful. Work with a marriage counselor as you go over the lack of trust, hurt feelings, and strong emotions, and forge a path forward. 

Online marriage counseling is ideal, as you don’t have to be in the same room. When there’s a little distance between you and your partner, it’s easier to talk openly and honestly. Plus, it matches with busy schedules, as you could attend sessions after work or before work.

Ask Jaime Bronstein, LCSW, about her online marriage counseling services. If you’re considering a break-up or divorce, work with an expert in relationships and get the help you need to rebuild trust.