What is Trust?
Baby Don’t Hurt Me…
Trust acts as the invisible glue that keeps a relationship together and thriving. Without it, you don’t have much, and yet, it can be harder to earn than we think.
Over 1,500+ of Couply members told us how trust plays a crucial role in their relationships, yet only 49.7% of individuals scored ‘my trust with my partner’ a 5 (out of 5). Through this survey we also learned that:
of individuals said their partner has broken their trust at some point.
of surveyors said that social media played a role in reducing trust in their partners.
The majority of trust is broken from lying (29.8%) and (20.6%) from sketchy or deemed inappropriate phone usage.
“If they had only told me, I would have understood”
Couples often revert back to communication as the main component that builds or destroys trust. “If they had only told me, I would have understood”, said one participant. Take another participant's explanation, “We communicate and talk about everything, I have complete trust in my partner.”
So how do couples gain or regain trust? How are we failing our partners, even unknowingly and what does trust look like in a modern relationship? How do couples combat the intoxication of social media or manage a fast-paced world where the practice of building trust takes time?
Of the Couply participants in this Trust Survey:
are from United States
9.7% are from Canada and the remaining percentages reach all corners of the world.
have been together less than a year
couples that have been together 1-2 years at 19.5%, and 2-5 years equal to 17.2%. Couples who have been together 25+ years in the survey make up 4.2%.
30.8% are male identifying, 2.5% are nonbinary, 0.7% are transgender and 0.5% marked nonconforming.
live with their partner
live with kids they are raising
Where we lose trust
Of the folks who participated in our survey only 49.7% gave their partner the highest rank when asked to ‘score my trust with my partner,’ meaning that the majority at 50.3% gave their partners’ a less than perfect trust score. This isn’t ideal, so it is important to see how couples lose trust, and it might be in unexpected areas.
Nothing but the truth
When we look at how trust was broken we see that most folks name ‘lying’ (29.8%) as the reason they don’t have full trust in their partner. Now lying isn't always what it sounds like, a handful of participants stated that white lies were just as damaging as being caught red-handed. We’ve learned that a great way to gain trust is to always tell your authentic truth, even if it hurts a little – it could save your relationship down the road.
Not so harmless ‘likes’
While liking a sexy photo on Instagram or Facebook might seem innocent to you, it might not feel that way to your partner. 20.6% of our participants said they lost trust in their partner from ‘inappropriate or sketchy phone usage.’ When asked if ‘social media has played a role in reducing trust in my partner,’ 69.3% of surveyors voted yes.
One participant said, “My partner was liking sexually provocative pictures of mutual friends and exes.” It is worthwhile to have a conversation about social media boundaries. This might mean unfollowing certain accounts, having clarity on what pictures it might be painful to see your partner liking, or types of comments that might feel demeaning or break trust.
There is a misconception that infidelity means having a physical relationship outside of consent in the relationship. However, many of our participants said that having and maintaining intimate relationships over the phone breaks trust. One participant wrote that they saw, “Conversations between her (their partner) and multiple other men,” on their phone. This broke their trust.
Even more extreme examples of distrust show up on the phone such as spending hundreds of dollars on OnlyFans, where the relationship can be quite personal not just transational. Another participant said their partner was regularly sexting and video chatting with others. To them, this was a huge violation of trust. These digressions showcase the gray (and not so gray) area of social media and redefine the meaning of cheating.
How we gain trust with our partners
Our survey shows that there are a variety of ways to build trust with your partner over time. Brené Brown, a research professor, told her daughter trust is like filling a jar one pebble at a time. Many acts build trust. There are events that might make the jar tumble, spilling some pebbles but we have to put the jar back upright and start filling it up again.
Communication is key
chose ‘honesty’ as the best way to gain trust.
Surveyors voted that ‘honesty’ (81%) is the best way to improve and gain trust. ‘Better communication’ (79.3%) came in as the runner-up for building trust. It is not enough to speak often, it is essential to communicate honestly. Communicating is a learned skill and doesn’t come easily. Couply has a communication course, which can be a great place to build a foundation.
said investing time in the relationship helps building trust.
Take the time to engage with productive feedback as a couple, it is a great way to increase trust and intimacy. 76.9% percent of couples said being invested in the relationship builds trust. Schedule recurring conversations in your calendars, either bi-monthly or even weekly to have relationship check-ins. Don’t count on your own internal clocks to have consistent and honest communication, put it in the books.
voted ‘owning up to past mistakes’ builds trust in their partner.
Keep it real
Lots of couples voted that ‘being more transparent’ (53.9%) and ‘owning up to past mistakes’ (61%) builds trust in their partner. So make sure that when you do have conversations around boundaries, desires, and hopes in your relationship that you are being as authentic, transparent and accountable as possible. Oftentimes we might shy away from our true desires, our mistakes, or our truth because it could hurt our partner, however, know that the truth is always the kindest thing you can tell your partner.
Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, it is a foundation that needs continuous maintenance. The good news is that trust is something we can build upon or regain, even if we have lost some trust due to unfortunate circumstances.