8 conversation patterns that suggest a lack of trust in your relationship

Trust is the backbone of any healthy relationship. I’m sure you’ve heard that enough by now.

But sometimes, actions speak louder than words, and it’s the repeated patterns within our conversations that reveal the true state of our trust levels.

So yes, you can swear that you trust and promise all you want, but your tongue may well be betraying you…

If you’re catching yourself wondering if there’s a lack of trust in your relationship, it’s time to pay attention to your dialogue.

Because your conversations can often act as a giveaway, in reflecting the true dynamics at play in your relationship.

As someone who has been there, let me share with you 8 conversation patterns that could indicate a lack of trust in your relationship.

This isn’t about pointing fingers or laying blame, but about helping you come to turns with a lack of trust, so you can if anything choose to then rebuild it.

1) Excessively needing reassurance

We all need reassurances in our relationships from time to time. It’s a natural part of being human and having insecurities.

However, when “I love you” and “I trust you” become a constant mantra, it might be an indication of a deeper problem.

Especially if someone forgets to say it once or twice, and the whole world comes crumbling down.

Requiring excessive reassurances can indicate an underlying lack of trust between partners.

The need to constantly affirm the relationship’s security could stem from a sense of uncertainty or anxiety, which a few words remedy for a short period (before the trust then crumbles again.)

Listen to the frequency and context of these reassurances; if they’re more than just occasional expressions of affection, it might be time for a deeper conversation about the trust in your relationship.

And this isn’t about accusing your partner, but understanding and coming to terms with what’s really going on beneath the surface. 

2) Probing questions

Sometimes, it’s not about what we say, but how we say it. 

You can ask about your partner’s day, receiving one-word answers, so you grow a little anxious.

But you think you’re asking nicely and coming across kind and interested.

In reflection, you realize how much it sounded like an interrogation…

“What time did you get home?”

“Oh I thought that road was shut on Saturday night?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s a club not a bar…are you sure that’s where you were?”

These pinpointed questions stem from a place of insecurity and lack of trust, even if they’re dressed up nicely and presented as coming from a place of…interest.

Probing questions, while seemingly innocent, can often be a sign of mistrust. They can create an atmosphere of suspicion and doubt if they’re driven by a need to ‘check up’ on your partner.

So, it’s important to recognize when curiosity crosses the line into distrust. In such instances, it’s worth initiating a conversation about trust and how it can be nurtured in your relationship.

3) Avoidance of certain topics

Did you know that trust and openness go hand in hand?

When trust is high in a relationship, partners feel comfortable discussing a wide range of topics, even those that are sensitive or potentially contentious.

Conversely, when trust is lacking, you may find that certain subjects are avoided or quickly glossed over. This avoidance can take the form of changing the topic, giving vague responses, or even becoming defensive when certain topics are brought up.

This avoidance can subtly erode the trust further, as it signals that there are ‘no-go’ zones in the relationship.

A healthy relationship thrives on open communication, even when the topic is difficult, and it’s almost worth paying attention more to what is left unsaid, at points, as this can signal that trust needs to be re-established in those areas.

4) Getting frequently defensive

Defensiveness is a common response when trust levels are low in a relationship. It’s because when we don’t feel secure, we often feel the need to protect ourselves – even if it’s from our own partner.

If you notice that your partner is regularly defensive, especially when there’s no apparent reason for this behavior, it could be a sign of underlying trust issues.

They may feel the need to constantly justify their actions or decisions, even when not prompted to do so.

Similarly, if you find yourself being overly defensive, it may be worth reflecting on why that is and then working to resolve whatever underlying feelings are causing you to get on the defensive.

5) Lack of personal disclosures

subtle behaviors that indicate your partner is hiding something from you 8 conversation patterns that suggest a lack of trust in your relationship

Sharing personal information, thoughts, and feelings is a huge part of what builds up trust in a relationship, and what keeps couples together. It’s through these disclosures where we bare all that we show vulnerability and allow our partners to really get to know who we are, deep down.

However, when trust is amiss, you might notice a decrease in these personal revelations.

Conversations may stay on the surface level, revolving around mundane day-to-day topics rather than deeper, more intimate subjects.

This withdrawal can be a protective mechanism, born from fear of being hurt or betrayed – hence why if you notice this pattern, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding rather than an all out demand that your partner spills their soul.

Open up a dialogue about how you both feel and discuss ways to comfortably reintroduce personal sharing into your conversations.

And remember: rebuilding trust is a gradual process which really does take time, and cannot be rushed.

6) An air of secrecy

In a healthy relationship, there’s a level of transparency that allows both partners to feel secure. A mutual openness creates an environment where trust can flourish and grow.

However, when conversations become vague, and an air of secrecy seems to creep in, it can be a sign of eroding trust.

When details are consistently left out or stories don’t quite add up, it can stir feelings of doubt and suspicion. This lack of transparency can create an emotional distance, causing the trust to falter.

It’s heartbreaking when you feel like you’re on the outside looking in, especially when it’s about someone you care deeply for.

But being as candid and open as you can about your feelings and discussing the necessity for transparency can go a long way in mending the trust in your relationship, and airing out all the secrecy hidden in the corners.

7) Silent treatment

The silent treatment is more than just not talking. It’s a form of emotional withdrawal that can signal a lack of trust. When we stop communicating, we stop sharing ourselves with our partner, which can lead to feelings of disconnect and insecurity.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction for some to having trust broken or feeling overwhelmed, however it is also one of the biggest relationship-killers and trust-breakers out there.

So even if it’s difficult, it’s crucial to break the silence.

Open communication is an essential step towards rebuilding trust and nurturing your relationship.

It’s not always easy getting past your desire to shut down and stay silent, but I can promise you that it’s worth it in the end.

8) Frequent accusations

Accusations can be a clear sign of trust issues in a relationship.

When we don’t trust our partner, we may find ourselves jumping to conclusions before they’ve finished their sentence, or questioning every action they share with us.

These accusations, whether subtle or overt, can create a hostile environment and further erode the trust in the relationship. They can make your partner feel like they’re constantly under scrutiny, leading to feelings of resentment and defensiveness, and more of the silent treatment mentioned above.

Accusations are often a symptom of deeper insecurities or fears, so if you notice them creeping into your relationship, it’s important to address them head on.

By understanding and addressing these underlying issues, you can begin to rebuild trust and foster healthier communication.

Final Thoughts

Trust forms the essence of every relationship, weaving the fabric that binds us and fosters love and intimacy. Yet, it’s a delicate balance requiring constant nurturing and protection, as evidenced by the conversation patterns we’ve explored.

Recognizing these patterns is the initial step in rebuilding trust that has been broken or eroded.

It’s not an easy path, but also not impossible. Broken trust is something many of us encounter in all relationships, so it’s also worth getting to grips with at least some of the basic tools needed to rebuild once broken.

So know that it’s with patience, understanding, and open communication, that navigating these challenges and healing your wounds becomes possible.

Not by sticking your head in the sand, but instead noticing these little indicators of broken trust, and then being ready to do something about it.

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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