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February 12, 2013

Knowing When to Trust

In What Makes Love Last?, relationship expert John Gottman explains that trust is the fundamental requirement for long-lasting, fulfilling love.
  • Honesty. A person who lies to you or others can't be trusted. It may be tempting to imagine that there were misunderstandings or that the lies weren't really important. But if someone has been dishonest with you, or if you find yourself doubting his or her reliability, it's time to look elsewhere. Find someone who tells you the truth.
  • Transparency. Your potential partner's life should not be hidden from you. You should know where he or she works, and be introduced to family and friends. You should know what is going on in this person's life now, and what his or her dreams and plans are for the future. When you ask a question about where he or she has been or what the day's events were, the answer should be forthcoming.
  • Accountability. You need evidence that promises are kept. It should always be possible to confirm that everything was done, or that there is a reasonable explanation if it wasn't. You should always be able to get a verifiable accounting of any financial dealings that affect you. Don't trust someone who omits the details and expects you to take everything on faith.
  • Ethical Actions. Is this person consistent and fair? Do you share the same moral values? Don't get into a relationship with someone who is not playing by the same rules you are.
  • Proof of Alliance. Your potential partner should be loyal. If someone works against your interests, even in minor matters, this is not a relationship that should continue. Look for a person who cares about your needs and is consistently willing to back you up and make an effort on your behalf.
Of course, trust has some risks. Even in the best of relationships, there is a chance, however small, that a betrayal will occur. But without taking that risk we will never have the opportunity to find real, lasting love.

Get insightful relationship advice from the Gottman Institute's blog.
Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 fabulous comments:

  1. Excellent post, Rosemary! And this is precisely why I am really big on conditional love and conditional relationships. It all depends. It keeps people honest and trustworthy. Thanks for a terrific post!

  2. Hello Rosemary. This is a great post jam-packed with important information for anyone in or considering a relationship. I like how you emphasize not only the too-trusting but the too-skeptical. Your last line really resonated with me: But without taking that risk we will never have the opportunity to find real, lasting love.

    One of the best ways to build trust is to do it every single day!


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