Monday, October 29, 2007

Why Do I Check My Partner's Email?

Rebuilding trust in a relationship

Question: Why do I have a compulsion to check my partner's email and voicemail?

This is about trust. Stop for a moment and think about how much you trust your partner. Can you honestly say that they wouldn't hurt or deceive you? Do you know in your heart of hearts that your partner is honest and sincere in what they say to you? You might not even realize it, but trust is an important and necessary aspect of any relationship. In order for your relationship to move forward, you need to develop and nurture a level of trust between the two of you. If you trust your partner, your inhibitions and worries will subside and you won't feel the need to check their email, mail or phone messages!

But what if you don't trust your partner? What if you feel the need to check your partner's email, mail and phone messages because you are worried about what they might be doing behind your back? At the beginning of a relationship, trust takes time to develop. Wait and see whether trust grows and expands over time. Plus, trust follows a clear pattern in most relationships: the more you trust your partner, the more your partner is likely to trust you.

Listen carefully

If you are not in the early stages of your relationship, then listen carefully. Whether you trust your partner depends on you. Do you have the ability and desire to trust other people? You may be unable to trust other people, including your partner, because you are still hurting from a previous experience or relationship.
Did you experience abuse in your childhood? Did you give and give to a former partner only to find out that they didn't love you in return? Remember, trust is difficult to develop and perhaps even harder to re-establish once it has been broken.

There also are times when people we trust do harmful or hurtful things to us. Such acts are what we call betrayals -- acts that violate the expectations we hold for our partners. There are hurtful things that we would all agree are acts of betrayal in our relationships, such as, if our partner has an affair or lies to us. These acts are painful because we are confronted with the fact that our partner, whom we trusted, is not as dependable, reliable or honest as we thought they were. Perhaps your partner did something to betray you in the past and you just can't forget it?

There Is Hope

Can you ever regain or strengthen trust in your spouse? The answer is yes. Trust can be rebuilt, but it takes a lot of work and commitment on both partners' parts. You cannot rebuild trust in your relationship alone. You must both be highly committed to working on re-establishing trust.

Here is some advice on how to rebuild or strengthen trust with your partner.

To get started, set a specific time period (e.g., six weeks, six months) to both work on the relationship and trust. Then communicate your lack of trust to your partner in a constructive way. Be sure you don't attack your partner (either physically or psychologically), and listen to their responses in any discussion or disagreement. It is very important both partners understand the other's perspective.

It may take time, but sit down together and make a list of the positive things in your relationship. Coming up with these qualities with your partner is important. The rebuilding or strengthening of trust takes a long time. Remember, when your relationship first started it took time to develop trust. To rebuild it takes even longer -- and that's a message you and your partner should both listen to.

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