You've probably heard it before — trust is one of the most crucial building blocks of any healthy, close long-term relationship. While it's way easier to lose someone's trust than it is it gain it, trust can be established in a relationship as long as both partners are motivated. Want to strengthen your romantic relationship but don't know where to start? Here are five ways to build emotional intimacy and trust in any relationship:
1. Say what you mean
When someone isn't truthful, that causes you not to trust the person quite as much the next time. If you want to increase trust and emotional intimacy in your relationship, it's crucial that you only say things that you can follow through on. You should also avoid saying things that aren't representative of how you truly feel about something. Bottom line: always be honest, even if it means facing hard truths and potentially hurting the other person, because hiding how you truly feel will be worse in the long run. Once the truth is out and you work through it together, your relationship will be stronger for it.
2. Show respect
One of the ways you can cause your partner emotional damage is by belittling them or making them feel less-than. To really get emotionally close to someone, you have to show them respect at all times. This means refraining from saying emotionally hurtful things, actively listening to your partner, and validating their feelings. If you feel like you can't be respectful during an argument, you must walk away from the situation.
3. Become more vulnerable
To really form an emotional bond with someone, you have to learn how to be vulnerable with them. Trust is built through vulnerability. Some of this vulnerability comes naturally with time and social interactions, but a lot of it is also intentional. Building trust takes a willingness to open yourself up to potentially getting hurt. As your partner demonstrates compassion and openness, your emotional intimacy and trust will grow stronger.
4. Talk about your feelings
Trust and emotional intimacy in any relationship are built by being able to express your feelings to your partner. You understand that they won't judge or dismiss you whenever you vocalize how you're feeling. This also entails the maturity of being able to talk about feelings without having it escalate into fighting. Work on ways to talk about difficult feelings together that feel collaborative, validating, and respectful.
5. Both give and receive
Mutual reciprocity is vital for any romantic relationship. Both partners should feel comfortable with the levels of giving and receiving within the relationship. This reciprocity may shift and change throughout a relationship, depending on circumstances, but there is an understanding that your partner will give when they are able to and vice versa. A huge component of building trust is to just let this process happen organically. Be willing to both give and receive.
- "9 Simple Ways to Build Intimacy and Protect Any Long-Term Relationship," Bustle, October 15, 2014.
- "7 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship," Psychology Today, December 12, 2018.