It means respecting your partners’ privacy. There should be no monitoring, for example, no driving past their house, no checking their phone, or social media. No controlling behaviour - this is unhealthy for a relationship. Trust means giving them the space they need on the one hand, while expressing your desire to know how they are doing and spend time with them.
Trust in a healthy relationship also means staying faithful to them and respecting their thoughts on what ‘faithful’ means. Some people are fine with their partner flirting with other people. And other people don’t mind physical contact – such as hugs or kisses. And in some relationships, both partners are able to have sexual contact with other people – such as deep kissing or sex or anything in between. However, this is different in every relationship, so the best way to find out about your partners’ thoughts is to talk to them about what they are comfortable with early on in the relationship.
Another aspect of trust in relationships is your sexual history and your partners’ sexual history. In healthy relationships – especially if oral, vaginal or anal sex is going to happen – it is a good idea to talk to your partner about their sexual history. This should not be about how many partners, what sexual activities you did with previous partners, or how good previous partners were. However, this conversation should be about STI testing, contraception or pregnancy prevention, and negotiating what you feel comfortable about doing.
Two of the most important trust questions to ask in a healthy relationship are:
- Is my partner free to be themselves?
- Am I free to be myself?
If you don’t feel this freedom in your relationship, or you struggle to give freedom to your partner, you may need some extra help, like relationship counselling. Sometimes people are not suited to each other, and you might decide it's best to break up. For information about ending a relationship respectfully, click here.