Authentic Dating: 5 Ways to Build Trust

Written by Stacy Ingraham, MSEd., LPCC-S
Individual & Couples Gestalt Therapist

When most people create a list of “must haves” in a relationship partner, “trustworthy” is typically at the top. Important to note is that earning trust and trusting someone takes time. Here are a few ways trust is built in a relationship.

    1. If you want to start a relationship out on the right foot, be honest and open from the start. Building trust begins the moment you introduce yourself – online and in person.
    2. Put your heart out there, little by little. Each time we share with another person, we give them the opportunity to care about, support, and know us. Of course, this comes with the risk of getting hurt or being rejected. By testing how the other person responds or reacts to our vulnerabilities, we can learn whether they can be trusted with deeper, more intimate parts of ourselves. For more on vulnerability, check out Brené Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.
    3. Working through tough moments together. Lean into conflict. Do not avoid it! The purpose of conflict in relationships is to protect the closeness. While bringing up something difficult can be uncomfortable and anxiety provoking, it’s another opportunity to build trust. Sharing concerns is another way of communicating “I care enough about me, you, and our relationship to try to reconnect and strengthen our bond, instead of build resentment, feel irritated, and vent to other people about you.”
    4. When you apologize, mean it and work toward change.
    5. Stay true to your word. When you say you’re going to do something, follow through. If you say you’re going to pick him up at 6:00, arrive by 6:00. If you say you’re going to pick up milk on the way home, pick up the milk. If something changes, communicate this with your person as soon as possible. Trust erodes when we say we’ll do something, and we lack follow-through.

If you find that you struggle with any of these ideas, a therapist can help if you are open and honest. If you care about your relationship and a foundation of trust was not built or has been shaken, seek guidance from a qualified couple’s therapist.

Are You Sabotaging your dating life?

Are You Sabotaging Your Dating Life?

By Stacy Ingraham, MSEd., LPCC-S

We date for a variety of reasons, primarily with hope of falling in love with someone who has similar values, interests, goals, and of course, chemistry. And when the topic of dating arises, a variety of feelings are evoked. There are more ways than ever to meet someone, yet so many of us are unsatisfied with and jaded about dating. So why does it have to be so hard?

Since we can’t change others, let’s take an honest look at ourselves. What might you be doing to sabotage your dating life?

-Do you listen to, and trust your gut?

-Are you a good listener? Be honest…do you tend to prepare your response while the other person is talking? Tend to talk about yourself and try to convince him/her that you’re a great catch?

-How are you at asking interesting questions?

-Do you put yourself out there (this can be especially tough for introverts)?

-Do you let the other person do all of the talking?

-Are you so jaded that you nit-pick every little thing that’s wrong, or could be wrong, about the other?

-Do you rush into relationship mode, instead of really take time to get to know someone?

-Do you date the same type of person, over and over again?

-Are you presenting yourself authentically? Or, are you making adjustments to fit into what others want, or you think they want?

How we meet someone becomes irrelevant when we don’t know how to engage people in meaningful ways, listen to our gut and do something about the red and green flags, and have clarity about what we really want. If you are struggling with dating, take some time for self-reflection and consider the following:

-Ask friends you trust for honest feedback.

-Meet with a therapist who will not only listen, but also give you feedback with support and compassion.

-Recommended books: Heart to Heart: Learning to Love, by Norman Shub and How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, by John Van Epp