The Importance of Trust in Relationships

The Importance of Trust in Relationships

No one can overemphasize the importance of trust in developing a successful long-term relationship. It’s the superglue for forming the strongest of friendships and the deepest of love. Without trust, no relationship stands a chance to thrive long-term.

In fact, a well-functioning relationship is one in which you trust your partner, are open to them, and are a source of support when they need comfort or help. The importance of trust in a loving relationship is probably why most experts regards it as the greatest antidotes to unfaithfulness.

The ability to trust in yourselves and in others during times of need, is a basic emotional and spiritual survival need. To live life fully, there’s the need to be able to trust your perspectives of reality and to also let important people matter to you.

What is Trust?

Trust is simply your belief that someone is reliable. This makes you to place confidence in them as you grow to feel safe with them emotionally and physically. Basically, trust is the act of an individual believing that what someone is saying is true because they believe in that person.

It’s something two people can develop in a relationship when they decide to be honest and rely on each other. Thus, individuals come to trust themselves when they become committed to each other. This is also dependent on them perceiving that their partners are acting in a positive manner.

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

Stephen Covey

Building trust in an intimate relationship is thus contingent on the honesty and openness expressed between both partners.

However, trust is something that you earn; it is never automatic. Trust develops slowly over time through all the thousands of mundane interactions you engage in every day.

At the same time, trust is not something you can demand or request proof for. Trusting someone is simply a choice that you make.

Importance of Trust in a Relationship

Couple on mountain swing looking at ocean below

Most couples in happy relationships have one thing in common. Going by several research, this is the fact that they have mutual trust for each other. This helps them to feel safe with each other and deepens their love. It also allows them to grow in their marital friendship while enjoying increased sexual intimacy.

Conversely, unhappy partners complain of their relationships lacking this fundamental element. Also, unhappy partners generally have lower levels of trust and exhibit more rigid and defensive patterns when handling conflicts.

The trust imperative is so woven into our being that there is actually a trust hormone, oxytocin, whose main function appears to give us the ability to trust.

Mira Kirshenbaum Author, “I Love You But I Don’t Trust You”

Thus, trust plays an integral role in the sustenance of any loving relationship. The quality of a relationship’s functioning further underscores the importance of trust in a relationship. This is because the quality of a relationship accounts for a large percentage of the partners’ daily well-being.

Just imagine the unnecessary amount of stress a lack of trust can easily bring into a relationship. Without trust, a relationship is basically dysfunctional as it is very unpredictable, chaotic, full of drama, and toxic.

In sharp contrast, trust helps to take away a huge source of stress. The reason is that it allows you to act with “incomplete information“. Thus, the complexity of your decision making process greatly reduces. This due to the fact that you no longer subject your mind and body to constant worry.

So, your overall well-being has a close tie to the people with whom you spend most of your time. Thus, sharing common values such as trust and having harmony in your relationship greatly affects your well-being.

Statistical Support of Trust

The Relationships Indicators Survey 2011[1] also underscores the importance of trust in a relationship. The survey listed financial stress, communication difficulties, different values, and lack of trust as the four major reasons why relationships fail. From the survey, lack of trust was the most common reason.

The Love and Trust Dilemma

On the surface and to most people, it seems that love is the most important thing that sustains a relationship. However, that would depend on the definition and type of love in question. And as we all know, that could mean a lot of things to different people.

Notwithstanding, whether it is a romantic or any other type of relationship, without the fundamental element of trust existing between those concerned, such love cannot last long-term.

Happy couples know the importance of trust in their relationship and how it has helped in strengthening their love. Love does not build trust; it trust that builds love.

Concerning “unconditional love” which most people will want to hang onto, in adult relationships, it is at best akin to being in a relationship without boundaries. And as experience has shown over the years, such relationships don’t subsist for long.

On a scientific level, Mario Beauregard and his colleagues carried out fMRI procedures on participants who were shown sets of images either referring to “maternal love” (unconditional love) or “romantic love”. The researchers reached a conclusion that “the feeling of love for someone without the need of being rewarded is different from the feeling of romantic love.”[2]

I trust you is a better compliment than I love you because you may not always trust the person you love but you can always love the person you trust.


Without reciprocity, no relationship can thrive. And we all know that the reciprocity between partners is a key component of any thriving long-term relationship.

Achieving reciprocity is based on each partner trusting that the other will return in kind, the love or gesture that they have shown. A one-sided love or “unrequited love”, is nothing but poison to the soul.

It’s the trust you have in your partner, that opens the floodgate of love into your relationship. Trust lets you feel free with your partner. It also allows you to be able to reveal the deepest and darkest part of your being to them. It’s trust that takes your love to its summit.

The Fragility of Trust

Most of us describe the trust in a relationship to be the superglue that holds it together. Yet, it is ironical that trust is also very fragile. Despite the importance of trust, a lot of people struggle with trust, and for a lot of different reasons.

It’s so fragile that the impact of a single negative action requires as much as twenty positive actions to offset. Once a partner breaks the trust in a relationship, rebuilding it can sometimes be a very daunting task.

Trust is something that is difficult to establish. It is very fragile that needs to be taken care of. Once trust breaks or shatters into pieces, it is very difficult to rebuild it.

K. Cunningham

It’s like putting the broken pieces of a glass together. Though it may be painstakingly restored, it may never fully be as it once was. Trust is not something you can fake or quick-fix.

And much like our physical heart, we can view our loving heart as a muscle, a trust muscle. To strengthen it, we need to use and exercise our trust muscle. If we injure it in the process, it will weaken or slow down.

Trust is like blood pressure. It’s silent, vital to good health, and if abused it can be deadly.

Frank Sonnenberg

The Transference of Trust

Importance of Trust - Vacationing couple verifying map directions

For a lot of couples, being in a trusting relationship remains an elusive dream. And many a shattered faith in love have been very devastating.

There are many people that simply don’t realize the importance of trust when starting even a new relationship. The romantic love often takes over most people and they forget the basics such as trust.

In general, the way an individual has been treated in the past by people they considered important – especially by romantic partners – reflects in how they subsequently view and think about relationships.

Transferring Hurt Feelings

For instance, people who have been hurt early in life might have developed a lack of trust in others. They consciously become self-protective, with a reluctance to trust others and fear being vulnerable and open to being emotionally hurt again.

Thus, such individuals find it very difficult to completely let go of their doubts and confidently relinquish control to a new intimate partner. The fear of being hurt again makes them unwilling to take the chance of being closely involved with someone else emotionally and sexually.

Not being able to let go and trust those around you can be incredibly stressful. You will be constantly questioning the actions of those around you, never feel in control and generally unhappy.

David Cannell

If care is not taken, they may become particularly intolerant of combining love, affection, and satisfying sex in an intimate relationship. However, such wariness can leave such an individual vulnerable to lifelong and profound loneliness.

Thus, it’s quite common for people to transfer their lack of trust into a new relationship because of fear that history might repeat itself. However, it’s important to realize that no two people are the same in whatever context.

Your previous spouse or partner made a choice. But no matter how painful the consequences of that choice might have been, it shouldn’t stop you from moving forward and taking responsibility for your future happiness.

Also, you need to come to terms with the true importance of trust in healthy relationships and find genuine ways to start learning to trust again.

Reliving Caring and Supportive Experiences

On the other hand, individuals who had caring and supportive experiences in prior relationships often have positive views of their current partners and relationships. Ultimately, such individuals experience better relationship functioning.

When an individual has such positive views, they are more likely to trust their current partner, disclose important information to them, and also be a good source of support when they need assistance.

Trust Developing Components

Trust in a relationship cannot be built if one person is willing and the other person is not. Building trust is a two-way street and requires mutual commitment from both partners.

In general, strong relationships depend on trust and effective communication. Then again, shared values between partners is what helps to foster trust and communication. Overall, trust is a fundamental function of character and personal trustworthiness.

It takes two to do the trust tango–the one who risks (the trustor) and the one who is trustworthy (the trustee); each must play their role.

Charles H. Green The Trusted Advisor

Shared Values

When you share similar beliefs with your partner, you feel a lot safer and also find it more rewarding sharing your thoughts and feelings.

We cannot actually overemphasize the importance of shared value when talking about trust. This is because your core values were formed a long time ago. And they are very to be yours for the rest of your life. This also applies to your partner.

Thus, considering the fact that you and your partner are not likely to change your core beliefs, it helps a lot if you’re compatible to a certain degree.


Being trustworthy means that you’re capable of demonstrating consideration and care for other people. To trust someone is for you to be responsible to them and care care for them, It also means sharing your resources with them and loving them.

For others to trust you, you must be deserving of their trust. You must prove yourself to be someone who people can rely on to do the needful or right at any given time.

Essentially, for people to trust you, you must show a certain degree of trustworthiness. Being trustworthy is a function of your character and competence.

Your character is what you are and is very related to your values. More specifically, your character is about you having integrity (ability to walk your talk), maturity (balancing of courage and consideration), and an abundance mentality (a paradigm that life is ever expanding).

In order to establish trust, it is first important that you be trustworthy. This means you should be forthright with all your dealings.

Paul Melendez

Regarding your competences, these include your technical (knowledge and skill to achieve results), conceptual (seeing the big picture), and interdependent (interacting effectively with others) capabilities.

However, competence without character doesn’t inspire trust either. Thus, both character and competence are necessary to create trustworthiness and thereby inspire trust.

Without having this foundation of essential trustworthiness, trust is tentative at best. Discussions between you and your partner will have a lot of posturing and positioning since both of you will be guarding your statements.

Conversely, trustworthiness helps to create flexibility and emotional reserve in your relationship. So, even when you screw up at times, it doesn’t necessarily ruin the relationship. The emotional reserves you’ve created will make your partner readily trust your basic intent. This exemplifies the importance of trust in a relationship as your partner already has an understanding of what you are inside.

Building Trust Through Vulnerability

Importance of Trust - Young ladies trusting friendship embrace

When you reveal yourself to your partner, and they in turn treat you with respect, love, and dignity, your trust in that person grows. By revealing more and more of yourself to your partner, you unconsciously invite them to be vulnerable as well.

Allowing your vulnerability to show gives your partner the courage to show the hidden or shameful parts of themselves. This environment allows both of you to experience a high degree of security and peace. This way, you both know that you have each other’s back.

With true emotional vulnerability, interactions become more trusting. It also allows for reciprocal disclosure and enhances mutual attraction. Being vulnerable makes both of you to feel both loved and respected and makes you truly value the importance of trust in your relationship.

We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.

Walter Anderson

Yet, a lot of individuals are too quick to trust others in the name of forgiveness and vulnerability. They quickly trust people without ensuring that the person is making trustworthy improvements.

Truthfulness is everything in a relationship. If there’s any kind of deception, it’s best to stop everything and resolve that issue first. When your partner is always lying to you, then there’s no relationship.

If this is in a non-committed relationship, the whole thing is a farce. You cannot downplay the importance of trust if you really want a thriving and happy relationship especially at its early stage. In fact, you would be better off on your own if there is not significant level of trust during initial dating.

It is foolish when you continue opening up yourself to emotional abuse when you’ve not seen any true change. True vulnerability requires setting proper boundaries and having a degree of connection. So, learn to forgive but at the same time learn to guard your heart until you see sustained change.

As a quick recap…

Whichever way you look at it; life will always be full of uncertainties. And we don’t own crystal balls that might have made things a bit easier by revealing compatible and trustworthy partners.

Despite the hurt from a betrayal of trust, you do not need to give up. It doesn’t matter if this was in your previous relationship or a current one. What you need to do instead is to continue trusting in yourself and in your instincts.

Get to grips with the act of true emotional vulnerability and setting proper boundaries. Always remember the importance of trust and try to establish the right environment for trust to grow. Being in a state of true emotional vulnerability with your partner, is where lies the key to the strongest trust you can experience in your relationship.