When thinking of reasons for divorce, many of us often think of infidelity, growing apart, and arguments over money matters as the main culprit. But the truth is, trust plays a large part in how successful your marriage will be.
A marriage that lacks trust is surely headed down the road to divorce.
Without trust, spouses will never feel comfortable in the relationship. They may be constantly expecting the worst from their partner. Not only is this an unhappy way to live, but it is also stressful and exhausting.
Is a Lack of Trust a Reason for Divorce?
Here are the biggest relationship problems that cause trust to break down, and advice regarding the role trust plays in a couple’s decision to get divorced.
Common Relationship Practices that Break Trust
1. Emotional or Physical Infidelity
Physical affairs: As a married couple, you are sharing your bodies and your lives together. You have vowed to love each other only, which makes cheating one of the most hurtful betrayals a person can experience. Being physically cheated on can leave you feeling empty, unappreciated, boring, ugly, and overall not good enough.
Emotional affairs: For some couples, emotional affairs can be just as painful or worse than a physical affair. While a one-night-stand, while painful, can often be written off as a mere sexual attraction, an emotional affair
Whether your spouse cheated once or is carrying on a full-fledged relationship with someone outside of your marriage, this act of disloyalty can destroy every last ounce of trust you once had for your partner.
2. Consistent Disrespectful Behavior
In a loving relationship, partners should be able to trust their spouse with their deepest secrets and biggest dreams without fear of judgment. They do not need to wonder whether their secrets will be used as fodder for gossip. They feel loved, respected, and supported.
One important piece of divorce advice regarding trust is that it isn’t always broken by some grand betrayal, such as cheating, but by disrespect.
Negative and toxic untrusting behavior include –
- Shares private/personal information about the relationship with other people
- Making big decisions without consulting a spouse
- Purposely sharing something their spouse would find embarrassing
- Confiding in others about matters before confiding in marriage mate
- Being verbally disrespectful and dismissive of a spouse
These are all characteristics and actions that can create a breakdown of trust in a marriage.
You have likely heard it said that the basis of a healthy relationship is honest communication between partners. Communication is how partners get to know each other on a deeper level, how they connect emotionally, and how they build trust.
Relationships cannot succeed when communication is lacking and lies are present.
Even small lies can block emotional intimacy between partners. Lying to a spouse about little things can pave the way for lying about more important things in the future, like your finances, attractions to someone outside the marriage, whether or not you’re happy in the relationship.
Even catching your spouse in a small lie can cause you to question whether they are being honest with you in the future, which can put you on edge and make you feel uneasy in the marriage.
4. Shift in Priorities
Sometimes trust is broken, not by a clear act of betrayal, but slowly over time. The daily behavior of a spouse can have a great effect on how we feel in our marriage.
A shift in priorities is one of the most common reasons for a slow breakdown of trust. For example, a spouse who no longer shows an interest in physical intimacy with their spouse puts their marriage in danger.
Studies show that regular physical intimacy is proven to boost trust, deepen emotional intimacy, improve verbal displays of affection, and reduce stress. Going without these important elements of a healthy relationship can send your marriage snowballing into disaster.
Someone who does not make time for quality time, intimate or otherwise, with a spouse is showing that they no longer value their partner. This can destroy trust and ruin a marriage.
Divorce Advice: Why a Lack of Trust Ruins Marriage
Once trust has been broken, it can be nearly impossible to get it back. Even if a couple manages to forgive and move on from a betrayal of trust, it can still take years to get back that bond they once shared.
Here are just some of the reasons why a lack of trust will ruin your marriage.
- Inability to be Vulnerable
You are vulnerable when you are physically intimate when you share your emotions, and when you communicate and problem-solve with your partner.
These are all extremely important aspects of a healthy relationship. Trust ruins your ability to be vulnerable with your spouse because you fear letting them in and being hurt again.
- Suspicion and Doubt
When your spouse breaks your trust, you feel constantly on edge. You no longer have that important foundation of trust and begin to question every text message they get or why they were five minutes late getting home from work.
The distrust hurts your heart and makes it impossible to fully connect with your spouse.
Not only is this an uncomfortable way to behave in a marriage, but it is emotionally exhausting and incredibly stressful to deal with.
- Communication Suffers
A lack of trust occurs when lies are present. If your spouse has the habit of lying (about things both big and small) it blocks your ability to communicate openly and honestly with one another. Without this communication, you will not be able to grow as a couple.
Trust is an important aspect of any relationship and it is easy to see how a couple could end up divorcing over the lack of it. The best divorce advice for couples on the brink of separating is to work on building trust back up.
Seek couples’ therapy, work on spending regular quality time together each week, and discontinue any dishonest practices against your spouse.
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.