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LDR 101: Trust in Long Distance Relationships

Photo Credit: Greg Jordan

Photo Credit: Greg Jordan

In the previous installment of LDR 101, we covered communication in long distance relationships. This time around we’re going to focus on trust.

When my fiancé and I first started getting to know each other, we established one simple, yet vital rule: we will always be open and honest. It sounds like it should be obvious, but the fact that we both acknowledged this from the outset helped shape our relationship and build a foundation of trust.

While I never told my fiancé this part, this is the rule I keep for myself: be trustworthy and trust your partner will do the same. This is slightly different than expecting trustworthiness. Expectation is not reciprocation; it’s a passive aggressive demand. I don’t know about you, but I’ve rarely seen demands work out in a healthy relationship.

But trusting someone is tough, right?

I get it. There’s a lot of letting go one has to do in order to trust another person. You need to let go of your own insecurities. You need to let go of prior experiences in other relationships. You need to let go of social influences. On top of all that, you have to do this while your LDR partner is in a different location.

Awesome.

So how do you make this whole trust thing work? Well, this is what works for me:

Trust Yourself – I know myself. I know why I do things. I know why I react certain ways in certain situations. I know what I need in my life to maintain happiness. I know to a point where I don’t feel the need to think about things the way I did as a moody teenager. Because of this, I no longer have to question or think about most of my life decisions. Everything comes naturally. But this took time to develop and is something I only achieved within the last few years of my life.

Openness Is Everything – How can you expect someone to trust you if you aren’t open? Sure, this leaves you vulnerable, but that’s what trust is all about. Be open about who you are and what you want in a relationship. Don’t be someone you think your partner wants because you’ll never be able to reliably reach that standard. Instead be you; any changes from there should be focused on the relationship.

Consistency – You can’t build trust by randomly not being the person your partner has come to know. For example, I used to go to clubs a lot when I was younger, but I don’t really have the urge anymore. My fiancé knows this about me. But imagine if I went a couple times out of the blue without any type of explanation. I could go the standoffish route and say, “I don’t have to explain my whereabouts,” but I already presented myself as someone who doesn’t like clubs anymore. Of course I should say something. Otherwise, I come off as sketchy or, worse case scenario, untrustworthy. This doesn’t mean you can’t be a random person. You just need to have good…

Communication – Yes, we’re back to this because trust is damn near impossible without communication. My fiancé and I have zero boundaries on communication. This was largely established when we first began dating. So, yeah, read up on my previous article regarding communication so you get a strong sense of how important I feel it is.

Don’t Judge – You can’t expect a person to be open with you if their actions are open to judgment. This holds ESPECIALLY true for past actions. You and your partners should know your trust game changers and be open about them in the early stages of your relationship. This way, you both know where you stand and it reduces the risk of hiding thoughts/actions because you’re not sure how they will be judged.

Realistically, there’s nothing I can tell you on how to have a trusting relationship. I can talk about the components until my face turns blue, but at the end of the day, you just have to do it. Trust is one of those things that can’t have a scale in a LDR. You either have it or you don’t.

Personally, I think people often look at trust as something that their partner should just give while it needs to be built on their end. Or maybe they feel trust, in general, needs to grow over time. I call BS on that.

Trust or don’t trust. If there’s any in-between there, don’t bother calling it a relationship because mistrust isn’t one of those things that go away. Not fully, anyway. If both of you are following the rule “trust and be trustworthy” this is easy as cake. Over-think it and you’ll see how difficult something as simple as trust can get.

Anywho, that’s it for now folks! In the next installment I’ll touch on making time.

Peace out, party people.

Part 1:  Welcome to Long Distance Relationships
Part 2: Communication in Long Distance Relationships

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