In a healthy couple relationship, trust is a fundamental value. It is based on dialogue and actions that demonstrate commitment to the other.
Advisor: Catalina Londoño Suárez
Psychologist, master’s degree in Family Therapy
It does not come out of nowhere or appear magically. Trust is built. From the very beginning, when you are falling in love, the couple must talk honestly about what is important for each of them, about the values they base their lives on, and about the relationship they want. They need to really know each other.
Actions are essential for building trust. “I must see behaviors in the other person that make me believe I can trust him or her. There are people that say, ‘We have been together for seven months and I do not know his family or I cannot call him at night.’ Sometimes, the other person starts to behave in a way that, if the two of them have already had the relationship talk, makes one of them think that something is going on. That is why it is important to validate what you talk about with your actions,” says psychologist Catalina Londoño Suárez.
Trusting enough to talk about their own fears, about what they do not like or consider disrespectful, explains the psychologist with a master’s degree in Family Therapy. They should also put complex issues on the table, “because if I do not trust in my partner, I will not get to this point of intimacy of being able to open up: for him to know me as I am and for me to know him as he is.”
There are topics that can cause difficult conversations, such as those related to money, sex, and family. “And we usually think it is better not to talk about them, because we have been taught that keeping quiet and pretending to ignore them is a way of solving problems.”
Also, talking about exes and your relationship with them is a topic many prefer to avoid. The therapist clarifies that when you are dealing with an ex who you were married to or had children with, it is difficult not to continue to share ties and issues of various kinds. However, Catalina Londoño Suárez insists that when the case involves those exes you have not been able to get over, it is very important to talk to your current partner and be clear about the foundations of the relationship.
“I should always put myself in the other’s place. If I would not want to experience a situation, be it an ex or anything that makes me uncomfortable, why do it to the other? If my partner feels bad because I am calling my ex-boyfriend a lot, I can stop. That is where trust comes in, bringing up what is bothering me or talking about doubts I am having.”
When you break up with someone, you also break up with their family and a series of routines, and for some, the pain can be slower and more complex. But, as with other processes in life, it is important to have closure.
“Every person comes into one’s life to teach them something. If I work individually, with a therapist or with a person who can listen to me, and I heal these wounds that I had or the pain that I experienced with my previous partner, I am going to have more clarity in my next relationship and not repeat the mistakes I made before. I will be stronger and more able to have difficult conversations calmly,” states psychologist Catalina Londoño.
Every couple is different, which is why there is not an established formula you can apply to have a bond based on trust. However, if there is security in a relationship you build, in the love you express to each other, and in what you have projected together, you will be more connected and be able to have spaces to talk about your feelings and to solve problems, thus avoiding opening the door to situations that can harm that.
How to have complex conversations
- Choose the right moment. It is not the right moment when they are tired, irritated, or distracted. It is important to set aside regular spaces to have real couple’s conversations and be able to open your hearts to one another, without complaints or contempt.
- Get rid of assumptions. Eliminate phrases like “Why am I talking to him if nothing will happen?” or “I know how you are going to respond.” Consider the other as a companion on a chosen path and the couple as a team.
- You, me, us. Understand the relationship in light of this triad. Generally, you fight for the “you” or “me,” but if you put the difficulties on a third party, which is the relationship, you will be working for its wellbeing.
- Change the language. Start the conversation with positive things. When talking to the other person, always think about the result you want to obtain: being fine, the evolution or the improvement of the relationship.
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