Sarah’s husband is jealous and has trust issues. She wants to know why he doesn’t trust her, and what she can do to help him?
Trust is one of the most important factors in healthy relationships. People with trust issues have a difficult time experiencing satisfaction in their marriage. All meaningful relationships must be built on the foundation of love and acceptance, and exercise a level of trust.
When one partner doesn’t trust the other it breaks the emotional connection.
Let’s look at the primary reasons for broken trust, and explore a few practical steps couples can take to resolve the underlying issues and rebuild the relationship.
Two Sources Of Trust Issues
While there are many reasons people have trust issues, for the sake of clarity I’ve put the sources of trust issues into two categories.
These are MY categories. You won’t necessarily find them in psychology books, although the principles are probably there. I like to break things down in a way that helps me understand what couples experience so I can help them find solutions.
Category #1: Psychological
According to Healthline, the fear of getting hurt by someone in a romantic relationship is called Pistanthrophobia.
It is an anxiety disorder (phobia) that:
Presents as persistent, irrational, and excessive fear about a person, activity, situation, animal, or object.
Often, there’s no real threat or danger, but to avoid any anxiety and distress, someone with a phobia will avoid the triggering person, object, or activity at all costs.
Category #2: Personal
Personal issues could also be psychological. I separate them on the basis of medical diagnosis. A psychological issue is determined by a medical professional. They fall into the phobia-disorder category. At least for clarification in this article.
A personal issue is based on an internal dialogue a person carries on in their mind. It is often based on past experiences. It can be rooted in a number of issues. Most of them are not as severe as a clinical psychological disorder. They are, however, painful and debilitating if not addressed.
5 Possible Reasons Your Husband Has Trust Issues With You
In dealing with hundreds of couples experiencing marital problems, I’ve identified five basic reasons people have trust issues. At least those that do not fall in the clinical disorder category.
When Sarah asked, ‘What can I do about my husband’s trust issues?’ we first have to identify why he is struggling to trust her.
Here are five reasons to consider.
Reason #1: He Did Something
We often project our own fears, wounds, and failures onto others.
I learned to swim at a very young age. We spent our summers in Louisiana on the lake. So I learned to swim before I could walk. At least, that’s how my dad tells it.
I did this in spite of my mother. She could not swim, so she didn’t want me near the water without a life jacket. She projected her fear of the water onto me. She thought everyone should be afraid because she was.
Sometimes we even project our failures and sins onto others. We accuse others of things we are actually guilty of. In psychology this is called transference. We transfer our guilt onto someone else.
I’ve seen this many times; a person who is having an affair gets jealous of their spouse and accuses them of cheating.
It can manifest as accusation, jealousy, fear, and lack of trust.
To diagnose the trust issue with her spouse, Sarah needs to figure out if he has actually done something that makes him feel guilty and ashamed.
This can be tricky. Accusing your spouse of an affair is a serious matter. Having an open conversation is necessary, but how you approach the subject can mean the difference in success and failure of your relationship.
If you think your spouse is cheating or you want help knowing what to do to get your relationship back on track, I recommend Dr. Lee Bascom’s program ‘Save the Marriage System.’
Also Read: Why Men Lie: 6 Reasons Men Lie To Their Wives And How It Impacts Your Relationship
Reason #2: You Did Something
It’s risky to bring this up but it has to be addressed if you want to get your marriage back on track and build trust; have you done something that would cause your husband to distrust you?
Sarah needs to be honest with herself. It doesn’t necessarily mean she cheated. Many things can cause distrust.
- Lack of communication
- Lack of intimacy
- A history of cheating or lying
- Secretive behavior
- Withholding information or being evasive
- A history of mental or physical abuse
- Money problems
- Family or friends that do not approve of the relationship
- Different values or beliefs
- Abusive relationship
Those are just a few of the things that can interrupt trust in a marriage. Any of these things practiced on a regular basis will erode goodwill in a relationship.
Sarah must be honest with herself, then be honest with her husband in order to get her marriage back on track.
Reason #3: His Childhood Environment
We all have a lens through which we see life.
I grew up in a traditional family environment. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was healthy. My mom was a stay-at-home mom (though she kept kids as a side hustle) and my dad worked a steady job until I was about eleven. Then we started a farm.
We were a family of strong values. We went to church, helped in the community, and had regular family gatherings. We valued friends and family.
I played sports as a young boy and man. My dad never (to my knowledge) missed an event. He was very present and involved in my life. He disciplined me when I needed it and he talked to me about real life issues.
I mention this because how I was raised painted a picture for me of what family should be. I’m old enough (and smart enough) to know that some of those pictures aren’t perfect. But they helped form my ideas about being a husband and father.
Not everyone has my background.
My buddy Tom (not his real name) didn’t. His father was absent most of his life. His mom had mental illness problems so he and his siblings were on their own. It was a very dysfunctional childhood for him.
This impacted his marriage. He is independent and doesn’t like being told what to do. This causes communication issues in his marriage. Among other things.
Again, I mention this, not to shame my friend (he is doing the work to be a good man), but to drive home the point that how we were raised influences how we approach life and relationships.
To help her husband, Sarah needs to understand why he does what he does. Are there things in his background that cause him to distrust people? How was he raised? What are his values?
There are many things to explore to determine how he views marriage and family. These are important factors that she needs to take into consideration.
Reason #4: Past Rejection
I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have a story of rejection. It is a part of life.
Yet, in spite of the fact that every human being experiences rejection in one form or another, it impacts our ability to relate to others if we do not deal with it.
There are women who hate men because their ex-husband abused them.
Men who despise women because their mother was cruel.
Boys and girls who were rejected at puberty and never opened their heart again to receive love.
Rejection hurts. It can leave a deep wound on the soul.Ironic that the thing we most desire – love, acceptance, and forgiveness – is the thing we push away because of past rejection. Click To Tweet
We often develop a defense mechanism to guard our heart and keep others at bay because we’ve been hurt or rejected.
Ironic that the thing we most desire – love, acceptance, and forgiveness – is the thing we push away because of past rejection.
Reason #5: Insecurity
Insecurity comes in many forms. It can be the result of a combination of the reasons listed above.
It blocks our ability to connect.
Insecurity usually comes from a place of feeling not good enough or feeling like you constantly have to prove yourself. This can then lead to a lack of trust because you are always doubting yourself and overthinking things.
Maya Angelou once said, “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”
Sarah needs to realize that her husband’s lack of trust could be the result of poor self-esteem and insecurity.
A Word About Feelings And Emotions
I make a distinction between feelings and emotions. This is not a professional distinction but one that helps me understand personal and relationship issues.
Emotions are driven (influenced) by events and circumstances. Situations can cause certain emotions to rise up.
For example, if someone says something mean and hateful, you may have an emotion of anger, resentment, or even fear. That emotion is directly linked to what you experienced in that event.
A feeling is something different. It is based, not on events, but on perception. Feelings are rooted in self image – how we see ourselves.
Feelings are not emotions. They may be triggered by events, but they are not linked to events. They are linked to the internal view you have of yourself.
Feelings are those deep things we think about ourselves.
Emotions can be easily changed. When you change what you focus on, your emotions change.
For example, a child that was just told no he could not have a candy bar is distressed. He is disappointed so his emotions display sadness.
If you tell that sad child he is going to a swim party with all his friends and he will get presents, he will become happy. Simply because he is thinking about something different.
He was sad when he thought about not getting the candy bar. He is happy when he thinks about going to a party.Emotions are determined by our thoughts. Feelings are determined by our perception of reality about who we think we are – what we think about ourselves. Click To Tweet
Emotions are determined by our thoughts.
Feelings are determined by our perception of reality about who we think we are – what we think about ourselves.
Feelings do not change just because you think about something different.
An adult may experience an emotion of happiness because he drives a new car, but deep inside he feels lonely, depressed, and rejected. His image of his true self doesn’t change with a new car.
Understanding this difference is important when dealing with trust issues.
Also Read: 7 Emotional Needs Of A Man
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Practical Solutions For Trust Issues
There is no ‘one way’ to fix trust issues. There are, however, practical principles and steps to take to move you in the right direction.
Trust issues often take time to heal. There steps can help you face the issue and work toward solutions.
Solution #1: Forgive and Amend
Thinking back to reasons #1 and #2, forgiveness and making amends come into play.
If your spouse has done something that triggers guilt and shame in his life, he needs to seek forgiveness and make amends for his actions.
I heard a wise woman once say:
Shame is like a roach. If you shine the light on it, it runs away!
In other words, we take the sting out of past failures when we confront them, confess them, and ask for forgiveness.
If you (as his spouse) has done something that makes him suspicious and jealous, it’s time to put it on the table and discuss it. Things come into focus better when we get them out in the open. Darkness keeps us wondering and in confusion. Honesty creates trust.
Making amends goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness. It means we are willing to undo something we did wrong (to the best of our ability).
Sometimes its impossible to amend for our behavior. Yet, willingness to do what is necessary to bridge the gap caused by our actions is a place to start.
I will explain this more in a minute.
For now, forgiveness and making amends is one of the first steps to take to rebuild trust.
Solution #2: Release the Past
I like the word release because it puts power in your hands. The past is not something that has to define you. You have the ability to let it go and look to the future.
This doesn’t mean we forget. It does mean we redefine.
Events of the past having meaning because we assign meaning to them.
Reminds me of the story of two brothers – one a pessimist, the other an optimist. For their birthday, their father gave them both a pile of horse manure.
The pessimist was discouraged and sad.
“This is horrible. Now I have to clean up this mess. It will stink and get me filthy. Obviously my parents don’t love me.”
The other – the optimist, was ecstatic. He jumped up and down, laughing and full of joy.
When his brother asked how he could be so happy, he responded:
“With this much horse manure, there has to be a pony around here somewhere!”
Moral of the story is it is all a matter of perspective.
Events only have the meaning we assign to them.
I’ve known couples who made it through the loss of a child. In spite of their tremendous loss, they assigned meaning to that event by helping others who experience the death of a child.
The meaning they assigned to their loss didn’t erase their sons life; in fact, it gave greater meaning to it. They chose to use it as a way to make the world a better place.
As long as we think the past has control over us, the longer we will be a victim to it’s torture and pain.
The minute we reassign meaning to our past, is the moment we find victory.
Solution #3: Make A Decision To Grow And Change
Nothing (generally speaking) good happens without an intent and decision to make it happen.
It’s a bad decision to fail to make a decision.
Don’t leave your life (and your marriage) in the hands of fate. The mantra ‘Whatever will be, will be’ makes a great song lyric, but it is a terrible life philosophy.
Sure, you can’t control everything that happens in life. But you can control some things. The big things that determine the course of your life ARE in your hands. It’s not the big events that shape your marriage. It’s the daily interactions and connections that do.
Its a mistake to think your past environment or past experiences control your future. They do not. You do.
If you make a decision. A decision to look to the future and not the past.Its a mistake to think your past environment or past experiences control your future. They do not. You do. Click To Tweet
And, while you can’t always control events, you can control your response to things. It is your response to life that determines the quality of life you experience. Not the other way around.
Some of the most successful relationships I see are those who have encountered incredible pain in their journey. Yet they build a strong marriage (one that helps them through those tough times) because they made good choices.
And they refused to allow events to define their lives.
Solution #4: Do The Work
This is perhaps the biggest step toward solutions to trust issues. Doing the work.
Theory will not solve the problems you encounter. Doing the work will.
Doing the work means putting in the energy, effort, and time to do whatever it takes to get your life (and marriage) on track.
An Important Question To Ask
It’s not enough to feel what you feel. You need to identify what you feel and find out why you feel the way you do.
Then you must take steps to break the cycle and change your internal dialog.
One question I often ask couples (and individuals) is:
What would you need to know or feel in order to change this area of your life?
This alone doesn’t solve the problem. But it forces you to identify, isolate, and discover solutions. It helps you shift how you think in order to change what you believe.
Beliefs (feelings) are changed by what we continually, consistently focus our attention on.
What you continually meditate on will eventually determine the direction and destiny of your life.
It takes work to explore these areas of the soul. But it is necessary work.Most of the couples who successfully improve their relationship are the ones who do the work. Click To Tweet
Most of the couples who successfully improve their relationship are the ones who do the work.
Those who fail, do so because they fail to do the work.
Results are connected to the work we put into our relationship.
I like to put it like this:
Marriage shouldn’t be work. But it takes work to make a marriage.
There is a difference.
Your marriage should be easy in the sense that your love for one another makes working on it a pleasure. But it does take energy, effort, and commitment.
If your spouse (in this article we talked about husbands) has trust issues, it’s important to identify the source of that mistrust and find solutions to move forward.
We looked at five reasons spouses have trust issues, and four solutions that will help you rebuild on a strong foundation.
- Two Sources Of Trust Issues
- 5 Possible Reasons Your Husband Has Trust Issues With You
- Practical Solutions For Trust Issues