While part of trust is simply taking your partner’s word, these little indicators make it easier to know you’re in a loving, stable relationship.
She shares all her feelings
Being honest about all of her thoughts and feelings is one of the biggest signs you can trust your partner, says Shaunti Feldhahn, social researcher and author of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference. “Openness and vulnerability in conversation—their willingness to really open up their heart and share what they’re really thinking, even if it puts them at risk for ridicule and being criticized for you—that is a scary thing in a lot of relationships,” she says. That said, just because your partner doesn’t immediately jump to tell you her thoughts doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to share. Talking helps some people process their emotions, but other people need alone time to sort out their feelings.
He admits when he’s wrong
Admitting small screw-ups—like when your partner put the wrong type of gas in the car—shows that he’s willing to be honest and trusts you when he’s vulnerable. “If you can’t take responsibility for the small things, you can’t take responsibility for the big things,” says Aniesa Schneberger, MA, LMHC, founder of Tampa Life Change. “When we hide things and lie and get defensive, we’re afraid to let that person in.” On the other hand, an apology shows the desire to build trust.
A partner with nothing to hide will give you consistent stories that don’t have big gaps of information. “There’s trust if they’re willing to talk about things, give you details, sometimes share additional details, and have no hesitations,” says Pepper Schwartz, PhD, co-author of Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls.
He looks for excuses to touch you
Sex isn’t the only sign of physical intimacy in a relationship. Holding your hand and giving you a kiss in the morning show that you have a deep connection. Your couple sleeping positions may also indicate how close you two really are. “How a couple is intimate with each other physically says a lot about how much they trust each other on a deeper level,” Schneberger says. “Coming behind you to give you a hug when you’re cooking is intimacy. It’s not just the sexual act of sex—it’s those little things.”
You share a bank account
“It’s become very common for people to hear when they get married, ‘Keep a bank account on the side so if he flakes out, you can support yourself,’” Feldhahn says. “A sign of trust is if they’re willing to totally put themselves ‘at risk’ and be very open about finances.” The act of hiding money from your partner shows that, at a certain level, you expect the worst from your partner. Even if you have separate bank accounts, being open about finances shows you depend on each other and trust each other enough to be left vulnerable.
She goes out of her way to put you at ease
Accept your partner’s gestures of faithfulness if you’ve been feeling insecure. For instance, if you feel threatened about her attractive business partner but she offers to introduce you to him, she’s going out of your way to prioritize your relationship. “It’s always important to show your partner that they come first,” Dr. Schwartz says. “It’s just going out of your way to make sure your partner isn’t feeling insecure and untrusting.”
He drops everything to talk to you
Turning around from doing the dishes or resisting the urge to get up for a glass of water during a discussion are good indicators that he cares about what you’re saying. “The front of the body facing the front of the other person’s body is a big indicator of trust,” Schneberger says. Closed-off body language like crossing your arms are putting your hands on your hips could do the opposite and tell your partner you’re not interested, she says. Even if that guarded position is just a comfortable stance for you, try to keep your body language open to show you’re listening.
She lets you do the talking
Sitting in silence while you’re venting about your bad day shows that your partner respects your feelings. “A lot of time we try to fill the space with suggestions or ideas of how to help that person,” Schneberger says. “That often doesn’t help, because the other person just wants to be heard.” If you’re the one doing the listening, try not to let the silence make you uncomfortable. When she’s let out her feelings, ask if there’s anything you can do to help rather than immediately volunteering your advice.
His questions don’t feel like an interrogation
Often—though not always—people get suspicious of a partner because they can imagine themselves making the problems they accuse their partner of, Dr. Schwartz says. So if your partner trusts you, he won’t give off those skeptical vibes. “You show support by displaying that you do, in fact, believe and trust that person by taking their word at face value, not grilling them,” Dr. Schwartz says. “Wholehearted acceptance of what that person is saying or asking follow-up questions that show interest in what happened as opposed to what did or did not happen show trust.”
She hands you her phone while she’s driving
You shouldn’t go snooping through your partner’s messages when she’s not there, but if she hands you her phone without being prompted, you’ll know he has nothing to hide. “It’s not like you should go and check up on somebody, because that makes you the police, and that’s not healthy,” Feldhahn says.
Conversation feels natural
A good liar knows that fibbers supposedly can’t look you in the eye, so a deceitful partner might overcompensate by looking you straight in the eye. “When someone’s telling the truth, they don’t have to be so dramatic,” Dr. Schwartz says.