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I Have Trust Issues: 18 Baby Steps to Start Dating & Open Your Heart to Love

When you have been hurt many times, it’s hard not to be paranoid when you date new people. So, here’s how to date when you have trust issues.

i have trust issues

Trust issues run deep. They cannot be explained or willed away. They are caused by patterns, manipulation, and our pasts. It’s not easy, but it is possible to learn how to date with trust issues.

Once you have been lied to, you don’t just lose trust in that person, but in yourself as well. From there, you don’t know who you can trust. You question your own judgment and feel scared to invest time and energy into dating when you know how things can turn out.

Many people have been there and are struggling with it. In fact, a lot of people stay single and disinterested in dating for years due to their trust issues. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your relationship]

Signs you have trust issues

If you have trust issues, it might be obvious to you *and other people*, but maybe it’s not. So, if you’re unsure if you have a problem trusting other people, see if you display any of these signs.

1. You push them away

When you start to date someone – even someone you really like – you eventually start to push them away. You don’t ask them out as much *or don’t accept dates as often as you used to*.

Your texting becomes less frequent, and you generally stop putting any effort into the relationship. And the other person might wonder if you are in the process of ghosting them.

2. You don’t communicate well

Because you are probably pushing them away, they are confused. They thought things were going well with you, and they don’t know what happened. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a better love]

You could just be upfront and direct and tell them about your trust issues and how you’re feeling. But instead, you just run away and don’t let them know that you are behaving that way because of your trust issues. 

3. Emotional mood swings about the relationship

One day, you might feel madly in love and walking on Cloud 9. But the next day, maybe you feel anxious and freaked out about the relationship. 

You don’t know whether to jump in with both feet or run away quickly from the relationship. This probably confuses the people you date because you seem very inconsistent with your emotions regarding them. [Read: Emotional stability and factors that control life’s highs and lows]

4. You snoop

Because you have likely been cheated on in the past, you have an urge to snoop around and do “detective work.” You might go through their phone whenever you have a chance to look for any incriminating information that would confirm your distrust in them. 

In addition, you might dig into their social media accounts, or even their dresser drawers, trying to find something they are doing wrong.

5. You bend over backward for them and expect the same

You don’t trust a lot of people. So, you think that if you give and give and give to people, then they will want to be loyal to you. In your mind, you are leading by example. [Read: People pleaser – 21 signs you’re one and how to stop people pleasing]

But because you are doing this, you expect your partners to do the same. And when they don’t, you get anxious. You don’t know why they aren’t putting in as much effort as you are. And then you think it’s because you can’t trust them.

6. You always assume the worst

When you are dating someone new, you always assume they won’t like you. Or that they will ghost you. Or that they will only use you for sex.

Your mind always goes to the worst-case scenario because you don’t trust anyone. It’s like your mind is trying to prepare you for when the person lets you down, just like you think they will. [Read: Stop freaking out! Signs he doesn’t want to break up with you]

7. You panic when you can’t reach them

When you text or call them, you want to hear back from them straight away. And if you don’t, you go into panic mode. You wonder where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with. What are they doing that is so important that they can’t text you back?

Your mind, once again, invents all sorts of stories as to why they are in the process of betraying you. And, of course, most of those stories – if not all – are not true. But you convince yourself that they are.

8. You even panic when you’re not with them

They might just be at work or hanging out with their family. But because they are not right by your side, you also go into panic mode. [Read: How to stop being needy – why people get clingy and 32 ways to fix it]

You feel a loss of control when you’re not with them because when they are in your presence, you know they’re not doing anything wrong. When they’re not, you have no idea what to expect.

9. Your mind is always in fight or flight mode

Fight or flight mode is a survival state of mind that someone is in when they either need to “fight the enemy” or “flee/run away from the enemy.” 

Because you don’t trust anyone, you are always trying to figure out whether or not you should stand up and fight for yourself or if you should walk away. Your mind is in a constant battle with itself.

10. You overthink even the smallest things

Overthinking will drive you crazy, and a lot of people do it. But because you have trust issues, you overthink every little thing – things that people with no problems with trusting others probably wouldn’t. [Read: How to stop overthinking – secrets to go from overthinker to relaxer]

Why not learn how to get rid of your trust issues?

This is easier said than done. Even with hours on hours of therapy, you can never truly know if your trust issues are fading until you date again.

When you aren’t dating, you can put your trust issues on hold. But they do not go away on their own. They need to be worked on and tested. You can pause them, but they won’t stop.

Trust issues creep up when dating, when in a relationship, and even just when swiping through a dating app. They can make you question everything. You wonder if someone is lying about their job, whether they’re single, and what their true intentions are. [Read: Simple questions to ask yourself to know if you’re being lied to]

If a liar has burned you in the past, you know how easy it is to be fooled. You know how clever and charming people can be. 

It doesn’t matter how long you go without putting yourself in a situation where you need to trust someone and be vulnerable. When you finally decide to, those trust issues will pick up right where they left off.

Trust issues follow you through each relationship. The only way to truly work through them is to learn how to date with trust issues. [Read: Big problems in a relationship and how to fix them]

How to date with trust issues

Stepping into the dating scene with a fresh helping of trust issues at the forefront of your mind is hard. It is common to struggle with opening up because you don’t want to get hurt. You may even be so used to being burned that you have no trouble opening up because you already foresee the outcome and are numb to it.

That sucks. Even getting excited about dating when you have trust issues is nearly impossible. But, hopefully, we can offer some advice on how to date with trust issues.

1. Get a fresh perspective

This is the most rational argument when it comes to romantic trust issues. Although our past will always influence us, remember that everyone is different. Just because you dated a cheater before does not mean everyone you date will be a cheater.

We know how hard it is to grasp that concept. It makes sense, but applying it to your dating perspective is hard. Simply remind yourself of this. [Read: Can or should a relationship without trust last?]

2. See each person as they are

This should help with getting a new perspective. We carry our hurt and baggage with us from date to date. But if you can try to look at each date or relationship in its own light, you can see something brighter than you ever expected.

Of course, we should always learn from the past, but projecting your trust issues and baggage onto a person that has nothing to do with that is unfair. Sure, it happens anyway, but live in the moment and loosen your grip on the pain of the past.

3. Confide in people you do trust

This can make you excited about dating again, even if you go out on a few dates with someone you’re not sure about. 

You might try to overlook your gut feelings because you don’t trust yourself. Instead of faltering over your inner conflict, you can talk to your best friend.

They know you well, and they probably know where your trust issues come from. You can share your worries and concerns with them, and they will be able to help you sort them out. 

They can tell you if you are being judgmental and harsh due to your trust issues or if your concerns are valid. This will help you trust yourself more. [Read: What it feels like to experience anxiety in a relationship]

4. Take baby steps

You do not need to trust someone from day one. Although some people trust until that trust is broken, we often do not trust someone until they earn it. While that can be pessimistic, you can make your way to the trust.

You can slowly open up to someone new. You can share small things and see how you feel before becoming more vulnerable. With each step you conquer, your trust will grow.

5. Share your trust issues

This is a vital part of dating with trust issues. If you are dating someone that cannot accept that you have baggage and come with a history, it will never work. You do not need to go into detail, but sharing that you have been hurt and struggle to trust yourself will help you move forward.

Make sure this person knows it isn’t them that is making you hesitant but your past. Let them know that if they are willing to work with you, you can overcome it. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]

6. Be patient

 Just because whoever you are dating seems great does not mean your trust issues will disappear overnight. No matter how much you want them to, they just won’t. They may hide and fade for weeks at a time, but the second you see someone unknown pop up on your partner’s phone, your mind will jerk right back.

Accept that this is not an instant thing. You can successfully date with trust issues. You just have to be willing to work on them.

7. Be reasonable

This is what makes dating with trust issues work. If your new partner knows about them, you can talk about anything that is worrying you. Instead of having a flash of rage or unprovoked jealousy, you can be honest with your new partner.

You can let them know what actions they may be doing that make you uneasy. Make sure to tell them it is not their fault, but it just reminds you of things you have been through. They should want to keep your mind at ease.

But be reasonable. Don’t expect them to change their lives to convenience your trust issues. They can alter their habits and reassure you, but you have to be willing to meet halfway. [Read: How to rebuild trust after a betrayal]

8. Let them take control

This is sort of like a relationship trust fall. It is what will let you know if you are ready to trust someone new or if you need more time for the trust to grow. Let your partner take control and make plans. Let them take you somewhere that you don’t know about.

Go from small things like that to bigger things. Let them go out for the night with their friends without checking in until they are home. If you can handle these steps, you are capable of more. And from there, the trust will only grow.

[Read: Helping your partner overcome their fear and trust issues]

The purpose of learning how to date with trust issues is to learn how to overcome them. It may seem like a huge hurdle at first, but with the right kind of effort and an understanding partner, it is definitely possible.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...