6 Ways to Build Trust and Intimacy with a New Partner

Being able to trust your partner is the bedrock of an amazing relationship but it’s not easy to establish faith in a new partner’s intentions when you’re first getting to know each other. Also, it’s normal to bring baggage from past relationships and to project some of your feelings of mistrust onto your new partner without even being aware of it. For instance, Julia and Rick sought couples’ therapy because they were both in their second marriage and they were struggling with trust issues. Falling in love and getting remarried can be invigorating but can be scary at the same time.

Julia put it like this:

It took a lot for me to believe that Rick really loved me because my first marriage was so dysfunctional and my ex betrayed me by having an affair with someone in our friend group. But over time, with the help of our therapist, we’re building trust and I feel safer with Rick so I’m not walking on eggshells.

Rick reflects:

When I’ve had a tough day at work and can look forward to spending time with Julia unwinding at the end of the day, it lowers my stress level. I used to feel that we were missing the mark, but lately, we’re more in tune with each other’s day. She’s beginning to have confidence in me and to see that I’m a man of my word.

Couples who are able to achieve secure attachment and stay emotionally connected can risk being vulnerable. In other words, they can express their thoughts, wishes, and feelings honestly and openly. As a result, they enjoy sensuality, passion, and the closeness that goes along with intimacy.

However, it can take time to establish trust in a new relationship because you may have been betrayed in the past and fear being left, abandoned, or taken advantage of. Many people describe this fear of intimacy as waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Happy couples are able to identify whether their trust issues stem from their present relationship or are emotional baggage from past betrayals. If you understand your own history, and strive to understand your partner’s past, you can stop repeating toxic patterns. It’s possible to deal effectively with ghosts from the past by extending trust to each other through words and actions that are consistent with a loving intimate relationship.


A Sense of Secure Connection Is Key to a Successful Intimate Relationship

One of the most prominent authors on the topic of intimate relationships, Dr. Sue Johnson, explains in her landmark book Hold Me Tight that you might fear intimacy and lack connection with your partner when you don’t feel emotionally safe with him or her. And lacking confidence in your partner’s trustworthiness can cause you to feel disconnected and distressed – which can lead to insecure attachment in your relationship.

For example, Julia didn’t feel comfortable being vulnerable with Rick because she didn’t believe he truly loved her. By withholding her thoughts, feelings, and needs from him, she was playing it safe but put her relationship at great risk. As a result, it took Julia a couple of years to feel comfortable opening up to Rick and they lacked a sense of true intimacy.

However, Rick was patient and didn’t give up on Julia. He knew she lacked faith in him, and he believed that if he continued to reassure her through being loving, dependable, and thoughtful, it would pay off.

Julia reflects:

I didn’t want to be that rebound person since Rick was newly divorced, so I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable and tell him how I really felt until I felt secure in his love for me.

According to Sue Johnson, by being vulnerable, you can achieve a level of emotional safety with your partner. It’s the primary way to strengthen a bond and keep love alive. Thus, you’ll be able to re-establish a secure emotional attachment and preserve intimacy in your union.

In Hold Me Tight, Johnson uses the concept of “Primal Panic,” coined by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp, to explain why distressed people who are driven by intense fear of loss might resort to demanding behaviors when they to seek reassurance – or a sense of soothing and protection when they seek withdrawal. This is especially true for individuals who have endured infidelity and betrayal.

One way to change this pattern of demand-withdrawal is to focus on your part in the dynamic and stay in the present moment. This will allow you to bond with your mate through emotional closeness, conversation, touch, and sexual intimacy. It’s effective because you aren’t concentrating on your fears of not getting your needs met, and you’re connecting in a positive way with your partner.

Julia put it like this:

When I feel mistrustful, I tell Rick, just hold me, just be there for me. It’s the little things that matter. Like when he comes home and has had an OK day and I say I’ve had a tough one, and he makes dinner. It wipes all my mistrust away and we’re feeling close once again.

In the three years that Julia and Rick have been married, they have become masters at being vulnerable with each other and have established a satisfying sexual and emotional relationship. Instead of focusing on each other’s flaws and looking to blame each other, they spend their energy fostering a deeper connection.

Julia and Rick are learning to give each other the benefit of the doubt and have put an end to the toxic patterns so many couples develop when they’re filled with doubt and have insecure attachment. Fortunately, they’re shedding the baggage from their past relationships and healing together through taking risks, being vulnerable, and focusing on their positive qualities rather than each other’s flaws.


6 Ways to Build Trust and Intimacy with Your New Partner:

(1) Challenge mistrustful thoughts.

Ask yourself: is my lack of trust due to my partner’s actions or my own issues, or both? Be aware of unresolved issues from your past relationships that may be triggering mistrust in the present. For instance, did your parents model a healthy level of intimacy and trust? Are you afraid of intimacy due to your experience with partners who let you down or betrayed you?

(2) Learn to trust yourself.

In other words, trust your intuition and instincts. Have confidence in your own perceptions and pay attention to red flags. Be vulnerable and ask for reassurance if you feel mistrustful. Actions speak louder than words and will tell you whether your partner is dependable and trustworthy.

(3) Don’t assume the worst of your partner.

If he or she lets you down, it may just be a failure in competence – sometimes people simply make a mistake.

(4) Listen to your partner’s side of the story.

Believe that there are honest people in the world. Unless you have a strong reason to mistrust him or her, have faith in your partner.

(5) Tell your partner that you love them daily.

Be bold and declare your love openly. Intimacy is yours for the taking if you learn to express your love generously to your partner. This includes displaying love and affection for him or her in public.

(6) Focus on physical affection.

Holding hands, hugging, and touching can release oxytocin (the bonding hormone) and creates a calming sensation. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing a person’s sense of relationship satisfaction.

Emotional intimacy, trust, and vulnerability are essential ingredients that will help you feel securely attached to your partner over time. A new relationship is often exhilarating, intense, and exciting, but what sustains couples is fostering intimacy by being vulnerable and feeling more secure day by day.


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Enjoy is something a great deal of people talk about in romance novels, or on your favorite top 40 song. Does true love really exist? It will, but it could be somewhat different from what you think it is.

Love opens us up and leaves us vulnerable, and enhances our defenses and inhibitions. Should you get hurt, it frees you from pursuing other relationships and can ask you to wonder if true love is real.

Rather than dealing with potential psychological link (and following trauma), casual sex and hookups could be preferred instead of a relationship.

Enjoy without Gender, Sex without Love

We often struggle with differentiating love and sex. Recognizing love and what it can do to and for you is complex, but sexual attraction can appear more instantaneous (and consequently, a simpler option).

There’s also the idea that you can have sex without love, and love without sex. Some folks experience love through sexual intercourse, and many others understand love through non-sexual means and do not factor sexual intimacy in their feelings of love.

The reality is that sex feels like love, largely because of the release of oxytocin, which can be connected with compassion, confidence, and relationship-building. However, both do feel inherently different for everybody.

What if I am Incapable of Love?

Knowing the difference between love and sex is essential, but some can feel as they are incapable of love completely, despite knowing the difference.

Society generally tells men to contain their feelings, but this can make anyone look rigid, unloving, and possibly even fear commitment, which is laden with psychological facets. This does not necessarily mean you’re incapable of love, however. There are things which you can learn how to recognize and work on to attain true love, if you would like.

How to Recognize True Love

Understanding true love is not straightforward. The most important issue to knowing true love is exactly what it means to you, and understanding yourself.

True love should make you happy, and must be done with the best interests of your spouse and yourself together in your mind.

A number people are fearful of true love as it is such a powerful emotion. In case you have anxieties about love, consider these things to better understand how to experience it for yourself.

Work on Yourself Before You Attempt to Fall in Love

It’s important to concentrate on yourself before committing to another person.

You know that idea you will just love others following you love yourself? While you’re capable of loving others without actually loving yourself, it can help your future relationships if you have worked on (or are actively working through) bettering yourself in the methods you’ve always desired. You don’t need to have everything figured out, but it is great to make sure of where you would like to be and know that you are on your way there.

If you do not have goals in place, identify and set a few. Work on multiple aspects of yourself. Research goals on physical, professional, and psychological levels. Many take a step back from dating and falling in love while they are working on themselves, which is perfectly fine — it is far better to wait and feel much more confident than to dive in and just figure out everything all at once.

Don’t Attempt to Force Love When it Is Not There

If you’re with someone and you do not feel like them, do not attempt to force it. Realize when it might not be there, or if it just is not there. It is ok to not love someone you are dating — not everybody is compatible, or supposed to be. This can be a tricky realization, but true love should not force you to question things. There’s true love out there for you — and them — it just is not with each other, or right now.

Identify it in People You Know You Love

Learning how to love a possible spouse, particularly after a heartbreak or traumatic event, can be difficult. But if you have people you know you love, like your friends, relatives, and pets, find beauty in that love. Love does not always have to be romantic. 

 In case you have problems working through your feelings in romantic relationships, try to spot things that you love about people about you or that you’ve got strong feelings for, and recognize what it is that makes you think that way. Understanding? Support? These are things you could find in a possible partner, and you may grow romantic love from these foundational areas of your connection, once established.

If you have been hurt before and feel incapable of love, it will not hurt to find a mental health professional, if love is what you want. A therapist can help you sort out possible relationship and emotional problems, so that you can feel better about your current connection, or assist you to pursue love when you are ready.

True love is different, and it is very much possible that you fall in love in this modern day and era. While technology and internet dating can be confusing and frustrating, there’s definitely lots of good on earth also, and if you’ve ever feared devotion, or are reluctant about falling in love, know you are not alone, but you can find it someday.

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–Recently, there’s been a gush of articles in the media about a frequent issue in romantic relationships: mistrust between spouses that erodes positive feelings and love. While it’s not unusual for people to worry that their spouse has the capability to rove, girls are more likely to experience trust problems than men in relationships.As an example, at The Normal Bar analysis, the authors gathered groundbreaking data from 70,000 participants globally and found that only 39% of women in their sample (compared to 53% of men) fully trust their partners. The authors ask: What is wrong with this picture?Why are girls more mistrustful than guys? The solution may lie in what could be tagged insecurity or a lack of self-trust. Trust is about much more than catching your spouse in a lie or truth. It’s about believing he or she has your best interests at heart.An inability to trust somebody may take several forms — ranging from feeling they are being unfaithful, dishonest, or close to doubting they will keep their promises be dependable.Every man or woman is born with the capacity to trust other people but through life experiences, we become less trusting as a kind of self-protection. The separation of a long-term relationship or marriage can set the stage for feelings of mistrust. This might be particularly true for women that are socialized to put more value on proximity and mutuality than guys are.Enduring your parents’ divorce may also leave you with lingering feelings of mistrust because their relationship was your first teacher about love and devotion. It is no wonder because her father betrayed her mother several times and finally left the family and moved in with a family friend.But, Erik has not given Makayla any reason to mistrust him. He is a loving, loyal husband who matches his vows and hasn’t cheated on her. Makayla has a propensity to blow things out of proportion when she says”You are always late and inconsiderate of my requirements.” When Erik returns home a little late from running an errand or visiting the gym, Makayla is frequently full of suspicion and sends him multiple text messages. These activities show a lack of confidence in herself and fuel Erik’s feelings of anger and frustration toward Makayla.But since they have been attending counselling together, Erik is working on revealing Makayla through consistency in his words and actions that he is there for her. He is focusing his energies on being empathetic and listening to her feelings as opposed to becoming defensive or shutting down. Meanwhile, Makayla must learn how to analyze her thought processes. She has to be ready to forego self-defeating ideas — to free herself from the patterns of her youth.Before, Erik’s defensiveness about Makayla’s accusations caused her to become even more mistrustful. It was entirely the wrong approach but one of them were conscious of it. However, in order for her to construct trust with Erik over the long term, Makayla must be exposed and expose her true feelings. If she shuts Erik out or does not express her fears and insecurities, she will start to imagine the worst. They have both discovered that honest and open communication is the key to restoring love, trust, and intimacy in their relationship. Ask yourself: is your lack of confidence on account of your spouse’s actions or your own problems, or both? Ask yourself: is there congruence between my spouse’s words and actions? Does he keep significant promises and agreements? Gain awareness about how your responses may be having a damaging influence on your relationship and take responsibility for them. Do not always assume that your spouse’s behavior is intentional — sometimes people simply make a mistake. Be open to your spouse’s perspective. Ensure that your words and tone of voice are consistent with your aim of building trust. Exercise attunement with your spouse. Dating expert, Dr. John Gottman defines attunement as the desire and the capacity to comprehend and respect your romantic partner’s inner world. He writes:”Attunement provides a blueprint for restoring and building trust in a long-term committed relationship.” Remember that learning to trust is a skill which may be nurtured over time. It can be a slow procedure. With persistence and courage, you can turn hurts from past betrayals into classes. In his book, The Science of Trust, Dr. John Gottman challenges how the majority of us define hope. He states that trust is an action as opposed to an idea or belief — more about what our spouse does than what you or I do.You may enter a relationship with fractured trust for many different reasons. A recent separation or divorce isn’t necessarily the root cause. However, as you become more aware of your tendency to mistrust your spouse, you can end up and ask: Is my mistrust coming from something which is actually happening in the present, or can it be related to my previous? Trust is more of an acquired skill than a sense. When you sustain the loss of a connection as a result of broken trust, it makes you smarter and more keenly able to extend hope to people that are worthy of it. You can learn how to trust your instincts and your judgment once you really deal with your anxieties. If you can come to a location of self-awareness and understand the choices which were made that led up to trust being severed, you may begin to approach others with faith and confidence.While learning how to trust may be one of our greatest challenges as women, it is important to understand that doubts are common in relationships. Practicing being vulnerable in tiny measures will promote open and honest communication — a vital step to restoring faith in love. Trust is crucial to helping both partners feel protected and building a happy relationship that endures the test of time.–A version of the post was formerly published on Movingpastdivorce.com and is republished here with permission from the author. ◊♦◊Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here.–Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

The article 7 Ways Women Can Build Trust in Relationship With a Male Partner appeared on The Great Men Project.

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