How Much Can You Trust Your Partner? (Trust and Loyalty = Counting on Each Other)

How Much Can You Trust Your Partner? (Trust and Loyalty = Counting on Each Other)

In a relationship, trust is based on two distinct aspects:

Your own personal integrity as a person, and being there emotionally for your partner.

For each one of us, personal integrity is based on our willingness to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Are you this kind of person? Can you rely on yourself to come through in this way?

For couples, trust is about coming through for your partner. It’s something you both need to be able to count on: that in that moment your partner feels he (or she) most needs you, you’ll be there. Every time. And that your partner will be there for you in your moment of pain or crisis.

John Gottman’s recent research has shown without a shadow of a doubt that when relationships become distressed, the central missing ingredient is the ability to build and maintain this trust with one another. On this issue, there’s really no compromise. As human beings in relationship with others, trust is the most fundamental need we have — to know that when we’re in trouble, hurting, or having difficulties, that our partner will respond empathetically. That we’re not alone.

Many unhappy couples feel their partners simply can’t be counted on to “be there” for them in these essential moments. Emotional injuries from a lack of trust over time create a deep, wide gulf of emotional distance between them. This leads to eventual betrayal or the quiet dying of their love.


Trust Builds a Bond

On the other hand, for happier relationships where trust between the two is present or has built up over time, its emotional presence creates safety, security, and openness for both partners. It deepens their love beyond its first passionate infatuations. As years roll by and love matures, trust ripens to a sense of mutual nurturance and moral responsibility for building a life together. In healthy relationships, love and trust are intertwined, growing together to form a lasting and powerful bond.


What are the exact ingredients of trust between a couple?

Here they are, couched in questions so that each of you can ask yourself of each other, discuss, and see whether there are any elements you might need to work on.


1. The Trustworthiness of My Partner as a Person:


Can I count on you to be a truthful person?

Are you as you appear to be?

Do you keep promises you make, and follow through on what you say you’ll do?

Are you transparent as a person?

Are you secretive? Do you hide aspects of your life from me?

Are you a good person who treats other people kindly?

Do you show goodwill towards others?


2. Your Couple Trust and Loyalty:


Can I count on you to be there for me when I really need it?*

(*This is an incredibly important question. If the answer is NEVER or OCCASIONALLY, stop and discuss it together until you are clear what you need to change to make this happen.)

Do I come first in comparison to others or to your goals?

Do others (or other things) take priority over me?

Can I trust you to choose me over your friends?

Can I trust you to choose my interests over those of your parents?

Can I trust you to care more about our relationship than about just yourself?

Can I trust you to be home when you say you will be?

Can I trust you to be motivated to earn money and create wealth for our family?

Can I trust you not to follow up on other sexual interests you might have?

Can I trust you to keep me as your closest friend?


Psychologist Interview with Deborah (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

relationship counselling sydneyDeborah is a registered psychologist and provides marriage and relationship counselling Sydney. She has worked for over 15 years in the private and public sector including education, rehabilitation and private practice.

To read more about Deborah or view her psychologist profile, click here.  Relationship counselling Sydney.


  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
    The most common relationship problems in my practise centre around communication, trust, conflict and intimacy.
    At the heart of many issues is communication: it can diminish intimacy, create conflict and compromise trust. A focus on effective communication can be key to understanding one another’s reality and to find safety to discuss issues knowing that the other may not like what is said but each are able to turn towards one another and feel safe to share what is important. Teaching one another about self but also taking the time to be a good student to learn.
    Becoming aware of negative emotional patterns and dynamics within relationships is another key area. These patterns may arise from our past disappointments and experiences and how we try to get these needs met in our current relationship and in doing so, place a lot of expectations upon our partner.
  2. What are the most common problems for women and for men in relationships?
    Common issues for women in relationships include intimacy, both physical and emotional, lack of communication or unhealthy communication and conflict style, not feeling a priority in the relationship be it around chores, work or children or in general. Other major issues revolve around trust and honesty, lack of commitment or progression in a relationship as well as unmet needs. As well, recurrent unhealthy dynamics created within the relationship or brought from past experiences.
  3. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?
    Common issues for men in relationships in my practice are not so dissimilar to issues for women. Be it a loss of connection or intimacy, lack of desire for their partner or vice versa is a common presentation as is communication difficulties, more specifically around withdrawal, feeling judged or attacked or criticised. An inability to manage conflict in a healthy manner is another as well understanding what the other person in the relationship needs and how to meet those needs.
  4. What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
    Understand that each person has an opportunity to share their perspective around issues that have brought them to seek counselling and that the aim is to create a non-judgemental, safe environment to talk and be honest without fear of shame, blame, judgment or who is right or wrong. It can be perfectly normal to feel nervous and uncomfortable speaking about very private and intimate issues to someone you have never met before. The aim is to create a safe space to work through concerns.
    It can be helpful to prepare some notes around issues you wish to discuss.
  5. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
    Children bring many rewards but can also place strains on a relationship, be it as parents of young children or navigating the demands of teenagers. Open communication with listening, healthy conflict management as well as being aligned is important for this next phase of your relationship. Try and make couple time a priority in a time constrained environment as connection can be compromised with all the demands of parenting.
  6. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
    What I find most fulfilling and satisfying is being with my clients in an environment that allows them to move forward and work through their issues and along the way develop self-awareness, self-reflection, embrace change as a positive not as a negative, to be able to reframe to see things from another perspective and to not fear vulnerability. And generally, assist individuals and couples through challenging times to get to a place that works for them in a healthy way.
  7. What are 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having?
    My friends and family would describe me as being kind, patient and trustworthy with a sprinkle of humour!
  8. What are three strengths you have as a psychologist?
    Three strengths I believe I possess are assisting clients to think about things in a different way, an ability to engage and relate with individuals in a warm and empathic manner and to help create understanding and acceptance through a non-judgmental and respectful space.
  9. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?
    Over 20 years of experience working with many different client groups including adolescents, adults, couples, LGBT, people from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as individuals with disabilities has created exposure to a very broad range of issues which has been an asset to my practise as a Psychologist to date. It is always a privilege to work with my clients, to have their trust, to hear their stories and to learn from them as much as I hope they learn from me.


If you would like to make a booking with Deborah or any other of our psychologists, you are welcome to fill out an enquiry form here, or call our friendly receptionists on 1300 830 552.