There are people I know who won’t hurt me. I call them corpses.
~ Randy K. Milholland
Trust. A potently strong sentiment, the likes of which the human heart cannot understand until it is broken. Describing what a person goes through when their trust is broken – The hurt, anger and self doubt which assault their core and the intensity of it cannot, and will not be put down on paper. Simply because they assume a part of your being. They reside in your head and cloud your every decision. They go with you wherever you go. You’d wish that there was a clean slate at the start of every new relationship, but that is most oft not possible. You’d wish the individually accumulated baggage would leave. But it never does. You’d wish that it were possible to trust again, but you don’t know how.
A relationship is built on trust and if that is broken there is not much to go by. But then there is also love, or something like that. And when the feelings of anger and pain dissipate and the life you’ll had together comes to the fore, it probably asks for a second chance. Whether you give the person and that relationship a second chance depends on many, many personal factors, and I know that rebuilding trust in a relationship after you’ve been wronged is not easy, but there is also the fact that we’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. (Walter Anderson).
At a time when a person wants to trust again in a ‘couple’ and does not know how, trust building exercises really help. Though this article will not be going into the likes of whether one should trust again, it shall be jumping one step ahead and telling you about some exercises that you can use for trust building. Such that you can strengthen the base that you have built. But then I assume that there has been the issue of broken trust involved, it may not even be that and may simply be the want to build a stronger base that is driving you to use these exercises.
Exercises to Build Trust in a Relationship
I know people who will probably find these trust building activities weird, and that is alright. When a person truly loves someone, there really should be no qualms about practicing these activities. In fact, I really don’t think it is something to be looked down upon, especially if it is something that is going to lead to a stronger base in a relationship, especially after there have been trust issues clouding a couple.
Take away your sense of sight by blindfolding yourself. Now have your partner guide you on a walk or a room in which a lot of ‘obstacles’ by way of generic objects (toys, clothes etc) have been placed. Let him/her guide you with speech and touch. Another great variation to this exercise is if you walk or run in a park blindfolded with your partner guiding you. This exercise, which interestingly, makes a part of the team building activities needs you to completely put your trust in the other person, without which this exercise cannot be fulfilled.
This one is tough, even if you trust the person, let alone if you have relationship problems. Have your partner stand about a foot in front of you and ask them to fall back into your extended arms. Tell them that they need to trust you enough to not look back or extend their arms out to break the fall. The challenge is to completely let go of your inhibitions and fear and trust your partner while doing it. When this is successful, increase the distance between yourselves and try it again. Trade places with your partner and let them be the one to catch you this time.
Sharing a secret that is close to you can never be easy. Share something with your partner that is difficult for you to share with anyone else. This requires that you trust your partner fully to know that they won’t go about squealing. Be mature enough and keep your end of the bargain.
Take a piece of paper and write down a couple of sentences that describe what you feel about your partner. Keep this list aside and take a second paper. Write the sentences down on this one while leaving out the emotions and verbs. Now ask your partner to fill in the blanks with their own choice.
For example – I need you because you make me happy. So the sentence will be – I ….. you, because you ……..
This exercise is a great way to express feelings and communicate to your partner what you may necessarily not be able to say otherwise. Similarly, you will have a clear indication of what your partner feels about you. It’s not just the positive comments that will make way but will also help communicate the negative emotions. This is a good thing because it will allow the partners to work on those, improve communication and get closer as a couple.
Building the path to open communication is undertaken with a frank and fierce need of knowing the other person from scratch. Have a question-answer round that is directed at learning something more about the person. Ask questions and share thoughts and mundane activities. These questions need not even be the really personal kind, they can simply be questions that help to know the other person better. Go on and share something like ‘why do men cheat on their girlfriends’ or vice versa. Sharing so much about yourself with someone else leads to feelings of trust and bonding.
Building trust to maintain eye contact is essential. Eye contact brings forth open communication, it lets you in on the other person and what he is. How to build eye contact? Stand face to face with a person, with a distance of a foot and stare into each others eyes. No smiling. Do this for 60 seconds. After which come more closer so that your faces are almost touching (you could even hug, if you want) and repeat the exercise. You’ll find that the intensity of the stare and the bond that you feel for the other person has increased. Now step back and maintain a 2 feet distance between yourselves and repeat the exercise. You’ll notice that the level of intensity, the bond and the trust levels suddenly dip. This should make it clearer how important eye contact as a part of trust building is.