The author and businessman Stephen R. Covey calls trust the “glue of life”. Yes, it’s central to all social interactions, particularly our romantic relationships. Broken trust might feel like the end but it can be rebuilt. Time and desire to move forwards are how to save a relationship without trust.
Can you save a relationship without trust?
If there’s no trust in a relationship, you’re essentially stuck. You can’t move forwards with your life plans because subconsciously, you don’t feel supported. Life comes with a host of challenges and you need someone by your side that you can trust.
So, how to save a relationship without trust? You have to start with small steps that first acknowledge your feelings and secondly, allow you both to be vulnerable in a safe way. Sometimes, that just means talking about the emotions connected with having mistrust in a relationship.
A relationship without trust is like a desert without sand. Deserts come and go and various environmental conditions can bring the sand back. Similarly, the right conditions can be created when looking for how to save a relationship with trust issues.
It all starts with communication and transparency. Couples often choose to go through therapy to help them with how to save a relationship without trust. Essentially, it can be hard for some people to trust depending on how they grew up or if they’ve previously been abused.
Of course, betrayal is a common source of mistrust. Nevertheless, as this mental health coach describes in his article ontrust issues from childhood trauma, many of us have trust issues because our emotional needs weren’t met growing up.
So, how to save a relationship without trust often starts by looking within. We can then get to know our emotions as well as our belief systems and how they’re blocking us.
Can a person love someone and not trust them?
A relationship without trust needs some work. Alternatively, you might decide it’s not worth your effort to save. Only you can make that decision. Regardless, such an experience is still a valuable lesson for yourself and how you relate to romantic partners.
For instance, people with trust issues since childhood can of course love someone else. InThe Road Less Traveled, author and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck describes love as “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”. You can do this despite trust issues.
Although, even within that definition, you still assume that both parties have the desire to grow together. That means resolving our trust issues and exploring how to save a relationship without trust. In the long run, you need trust to keep the relationship going.
When there is no trust in a relationship, you’re missing a core pillar of what makes relationships work. The more in tune you are with your partner’s emotions, the more likely you can respond wisely and increase trust.
And that’s how to save a relationship without trust. You nurture and support each other’s emotions and wellbeing.
15 ways to save a relationship without trust
Can a relationship work without trust? The short answer is that yes, it can in the short term but you need trust for longevity. So, how to save a relationship with trust issues starts by going through these steps and adapting them to your situation.
1. Communicate needs
A relationship without trust has broken down. Both parties need to change how they talk to each other. That means connecting to your own emotions and then sharing them with your partner before explaining what you need from them.
Of course it’s hard to rebuild relationships without trust. The hardest part is accepting that maybe we had something to do with it. Perhaps your partner has good intentions and has never done anything wrong. Is mistrust a story you’re telling yourself because of past experiences?
4. Understand your fear
Sitting with emotions is the first step in how to save a relationship without trust. Be honest about your fear and where it comes from. Perhaps your attachment style is driving you to feel rejected such that your protective inner walls are too strong.
For example, as thisstudy shows, anxiously attached people are more likely to get jealous. This often creates a vicious cycle of mistrust and conflict which leads to anger and possible a breakup.
5. Challenge negative thinking
When there is no trust in a relationship, both of you start becoming anxious. Your inner self-talk becomes negative and increasingly fearful. So, how to save a relationship without trust means challenging your inner dialogue. Try to find positive examples where there was trust.
Relationships without trust don’t provide the nurture and safety needed for facing life’s challenges. Sometimes though, our belief systems built up from childhood impact how we see romantic partners.
For instance, if your parents showed mistrust, it’s likely your subconscious can’t trust your partner. So, get to know your inner beliefs by trying the downward arrow technique as this article on core beliefs suggests.
Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, talks about how our relationships shape us and that the acronym PART is useful for how to save a relationship without trust. In short, we need Presence, Attunement to the other person’s internal world and Resonance, or interaction, to engender Trust.
7. Active listening
A relationship without trust tends to push both partners away from each other. Both become defensive. Instead, how to save a relationship without trust means suspending judgment and listening openly while trying to imagine their point of view.
8. Learn to be grateful for the differences
When there’s no trust in a relationship, we often forget the positives. It takes patience but we need to shift from a negative mindset to one where we can appreciate the differences. After all, that’s why we usually fall in love in the first place.
9. Talk about your assumptions
What is a relationship without trust? Some say that it isn’t a relationship. Although, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of it either. So, talk about how you define trust and what behaviors you expect to see.
10. Accept what you can’t control
In relationships with no trust, it’s tempting to try to control every minute of your partner’s day. While that can give you momentary peace, it stresses both of you. A wiser approach is to learn how much you can control and to let go of the rest.
When there’s no trust in a relationship, you’re often both in competing corners only looking after your own interests. How to save a relationship without trust means redefining problem-solving together. So, go back to your goals and talk about what they mean today.
Can you have a relationship without trust? The short answer is no. Nevertheless, you can rebuild trust and save the relationship. How to do that means looking for positive behaviors and celebrating them. Essentially, don’t get too lost in only seeing what’s wrong.
14. Process your emotions
How to save a relationship without trust means processing your emotions. You can do that by journaling about them in freestyle. Alternatively, you can use somejournal prompts to guide you.
15. Consider therapy
Perhaps you’re still asking yourself the question “can you have a relationship without trust”? If in doubt, therapy can give you the support and guidance you need to save you and your partner and get back on track.
What is a relationship without trust if not a desert without sand? All social interactions, including our romantic ones, need trust. Otherwise, we don’t have the mental and emotional support to navigate life’s challenges effectively.
If there’s no trust in a relationship, you can rebuild it step by step. It will take time, patience and mutual understanding as well as a lot of open communication. The effort can be worth it because you’ll also learn a huge amount about yourself and what you value in life.
Can a relationship work without trust? Essentially no, but as long as you have the desire to try something different, there is hope. Learn to process your emotions, talk about your assumptions and let go of what you can’t control.
Get a therapist to guide you through all this so that you never end up wondering “what if” about your relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Annes passion and purpose in life are to guide people to find their own path and contentment by learning about themselves. Only then can we build and nurture the deep connections we all deserve to have. With a background in psychology and neuroscience coaching, she has helped countless couples transform their communication from aggression to assertiveness and appreciation.
She is both an ICF certified coach and mindfulness-certified, while being a counselor in training, meaning that she offers a holistic approach. You can expect to transform your view of yourself, your relationship, and the world by better understanding the habits of your mind and letting go of the unhelpful ones. You have power over your mind but you dont have to do it alone.