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13 Signs You Can't Trust Your Partner

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Intimate relationships require a foundation of trust. Whether the relationship is romantic or platonic, trust is an important part of relationship dynamics. It is of such importance that throughout the span of a relationship, we both consciously and subconsciously assess, test and cultivate trust. Sometimes, you're looking for signs you can't trust your partner, so what are they?

The ultimate goal is to have a secure functioning relationship, which consists of feeling safe and secure in all aspects of the relationship. Is your partner your go-to person for everything? Do you tell each other everything? Do you feel safe and comfortable to be yourself? Does your relationship come first? Do you protect each other in public and private? These are some questions to ask yourself to determine how secure your relationship is.

sings of untrustworthy partners both boyfriend and girlfriend

(Trust is an issue we deal directly with in our couples therapy sessions and individual therapy sessions for relationships)

Cultivating a secure functioning relationship takes time, just as building trust takes time. These processes are when to assess and recognize if your partner is trustworthy or not. People who are untrustworthy are likely to show signs that they are not worthy of your trust early on, but there are also those who gradually display their untrustworthiness.

The lack of trust is a significant component of insecure functioning relationships. Having doubt and questioning your partner’s trustworthiness ultimately leads to conflict and unwanted negative feelings and emotions. To help minimize or protect yourself from these experiences, here are some common red flags to look out for.

signs you can't trust your girlfriend

13 Conspicuous Signs of An Untrustworthy Partner

1. They are unwilling to admit or accept responsibility for their actions:

When a disagreement, argument or conflict occurs, does your partner accept the part they have played in the situation? Are they accountable for their actions, reactions, or behaviors? Are they able to admit when they are wrong? Do they apologize?

Or does your partner deflect and blame others? Do they blame you? Do they come up with stories or narratives that free them of responsibility or guilt? Do they have difficulty apologizing or saying they’re sorry?

When a person has difficulty admitting their wrongs, are challenged with being accountable for their part in conflict, and are easy to blame others, this is an indicator of minimal self-awareness and a lack of motivation to change.

If your partner lacks self-awareness and motivation to change, it is safe to say that you have a hard time trusting your partner’s credibility and level of trustworthiness.

Accepting responsibility and admitting when you are wrong, are traits of credible and trustworthy people. When these traits are missing, and these negative behaviors become a recurring situation, it is difficult to cultivate deep trust and a secure functioning relationship.

2. They are inconsistent with their actions and words:

We are all human; we forget things or are times too busy to follow through with our commitments or promises. There are many reasons why we may drop the ball. However, if your partner is consistently unreliable, and does not often follow through with what they say, there is room for concern.

When your significant other does not hold up their end of the bargain again and again, it can feel like you are not a priority or there is a lack of care and concern from your partner. If you constantly feel you are put on the back burner, a trusting relationship isn’t feasible. An important component of a trustworthy partner is that they have your back.

"Inconsistency and untrustworthiness are two sides of the same coin, and if you're consistently seeing this trait in your partner, then it may be time to reflect and ask yourself whether they are worthy of your trust," says therapist Eliza Davis, LMSW.

While it may not always be easy to come to terms with the truth, acknowledging and taking precautionary measures in a situation like this is the best way to go.

3. Have a distant and closed-off nature:

Having personal boundaries can be a positive thing, but if a friend or partner is being overly protective of their life to the extent that it creates a sense of uncertainty about their character or motives, then it may be an indication that they are hiding something. Trust is built on transparency and openness, so when an individual deliberately conceals important details or refuses to be open about their life and behavior, it raises a question of why and what is being hidden.

The same goes for their attitude towards communication; if they avoid direct conversations and don't seem to consider your opinions or feelings, they are likely not interested in sharing and understanding your point of view, which is essential for a healthy relationship.

4. Your gut feeling says something is wrong:

There is a lot of wisdom in trusting your gut instinct because it is rarely wrong. Noelle Cordeaux, CEO of JRNI Coaching, says, "Intuition is a powerful tool, and it often sends us messages when something doesn't feel right. Listen to your intuition because if you notice something is off, there may be a valid reason for it".

When you're looking for signs you can't trust your partner, in most cases, our gut feeling is usually right. Despite all the logical arguments one can put forward to justify someone's behavior, our intuition will always remain the best judge of character. Deep down, your subconscious knows if your partner is trustworthy or not. So if you feel like something is off, it's important to pay attention and not let fear silence your intuition.

5. You're snooping around:

Snooping around in someone else's private life is never a good sign. When you start going through their social media accounts or secretly checking their phone, it means that you are concerned about who they are talking to and what they're saying. It is a clear indicator that trust is absent.

signs you can't trust your boyfriend

It can also mean that you don't feel safe or secure enough to ask questions or have a conversation about how you’re feeling. Perhaps you feel uneasy about your partner's close ties to an ex, or maybe you are curious about who they are talking to or spending time with.

Higgins says, "If you are compelled to snoop around or if you find yourself constantly questioning your partner, consider it a red flag and find a way to communicate your feelings to them openly and respectfully instead of taking the detective's role"

While curiosity is natural, it becomes a dangerous sign when it starts to take over in a covert way. Constantly snooping around your partner's life and becoming paranoid about their activities is directly tied to a lack of trust.

6. They don't have time for you anymore:

Life can be busy, and it's normal for couples to find themselves in different relationship stages. There may be periods when you're both too busy to spend a lot of time together or times when one partner must take on more responsibilities than the other. However, work and responsibilities should never be a replacement for quality time together. No matter how busy life gets, if your partner is really interested in making the relationship work, they will find a way to make time for you.

A lack of interest or effort in spending time together is a sign that your partner may not be as invested in the relationship as you are. This begs the question, is your partner's busy schedule the real reason why they don't have time for you or is it something else?

If your partner is genuinely busy, they should at least make an effort to stay in touch and keep you updated. This will give you a sense of connection and assurance that they still care.

7. Their behavioral tendencies have changed:

If you notice a change in your partner’s patterns or behaviors and they have not shared with you the reasons why, this can indicate there is an issue you aren’t aware of. If displays of affection, date nights, communication, etc. start to diminish without explanation, it is rational to be curious as to why it’s happening and why your partner hasn’t talked about it.

A sudden behavior change is usually a sign that something isn't right. Your partner may be struggling with something personal or navigating a difficult issue. If you don't feel like they're being honest with you or if their behavior is a far cry from what it used to be, there might be a bigger issue at hand. Every action speaks louder than words, so pay attention to both obvious and subtle changes in their behavior.

why can't I trust her

8. You're having the same arguments over and over:

Arguments are a normal part of any relationship. When couples don't communicate, problems can linger and may become a recurring issue. You may find yourself having the same argument over and over again. The problem is not just the issue you're arguing about, but rather that it keeps resurfacing even after you both have had a chance to talk it out.

Four possible reasons for this are:

  • you're not addressing the underlying issue

  • one or both of you is not willing to compromise

  • you're not communicating effectively

  • you're not giving each other space to reflect

When you are questioning your partner's loyalty and commitment to the relationship, especially when they involve trust issues, it can be hard to recognize if you are making a mountain out of a molehill or if something deeper is going on. A constant loop of arguing can take a toll on your relationship and could lead to you questioning yourself or your worth in the relationship.

9. You have caught them in a lie:

Honesty is one of the cornerstones of any successful relationship, and one of the most obvious signs that something is wrong in your relationship is when you catch your partner in a lie. Lies can range from small white lies to more serious lies about a partner's whereabouts or activities. When you catch your partner in a lie, it can be hard to trust them again, and it can cause you to question everything else they say.

10. Your partner exhibits atypical conduct concerning tech:

Does their phone battery always seem to run out shortly after you send them a text message?

Are they suddenly more protective of their phone or laptop, even when it comes to minor things such as checking emails? Are your calls and texts going unanswered?

We are living in a digital age, and it's no surprise that our partners are attached to their technology. So when they can't consistently keep their cell phones charged, or they suddenly become defensive about sharing their screen, it causes you to become suspicious and ask questions, which at times can lead to arguments. This type of dynamic can ultimately damage the trust in your relationship.

11. You don't feel secure in the relationship:

One of the most important signs that there is something wrong with your relationship is if you no longer feel secure in it. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as your partner not showing enough affection or communication, not keeping up with promises, or not making you feel valued and loved.

"People spend more time concentrating on how they want to feel, how they want their home life to be, and how they want their relationship to work," says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, aka "Dr. Romance." When these expectations are not met, or when your partner fails to show you the same effort they used to, this can lead to feelings of insecurity and doubt.

i don't trust my gf

12. You don't have mutual respect:

A lack of respect is one of the key warning signs that your relationship may be deteriorating. Respect is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship, and when it starts to dwindle, it can indicate that there is something wrong. Mutual respect involves respecting each other's opinions, feelings, and needs, but more importantly, it involves treating each other with dignity and kindness. Without respect, there is no trust, leading to feelings of insecurity and fear.

13. You're not on the same page:

Being on the same page about key issues such as family, career, money, children, and values builds trust and strengthens the relationship. You develop a shared understanding of your roles as well as each other's strengths and weaknesses. When you're not on the same page, it can lead to conflicting opinions and disagreements over important decisions, causing tension and mistrust in the relationship.

When you're not on the same page, there is a disconnect in your relationship that can cause further issues down the line. When couples don't agree on core values, it can create stress and distrust, which are often indicators of a relationship in trouble.

i don't trust my boyfriend

Final thoughts…

If you notice any of the signs you can't trust your partner mentioned above are present in your relationship, take time to reflect and evaluate what you can do. Communication is key to any healthy relationship, and talking openly with your partner about these issues can help build trust and restore security in your relationship. A neutral third party can help the two of you identify unspoken issues, gain new perspectives and constructively work on any challenges facing your relationship.

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