Going Through Their Phone and Other Shenanigans: Why It’s Time to Evaluate Yourself if You Can’t Trust Your Partner

Let’s face it. Most of us have been cheated on by our partner or you know someone who has been. Being cheated on, or being left for someone else can leave a horrible emotional scar. Until you are able to grieve, and move past the pain and the loss that you felt when your lover left or cheated on you, the pain turns into “trust issues.” Those trust issues can carry over into other relationships and unconsciously you think “I can’t trust anyone. Anybody can leave me. Anyone can cheat on me. And they probably will.” When we think like this to ourselves, we go through life with a script in our minds, and we have already made up which says “it doesn’t matter who it is, they will hurt us.” Thus, relationship anxiety sets in and you are obsessed with the idea that your lover is going to leave you for someone better.

While obsessed, one can turn into a private investigator by going through our partner’s phone, constantly checking their social media accounts, driving by places where they said that they were going to be, inspecting their clothes for evidence, and making demands for them to constantly check in with us via text. In other words, you make attempts to keep your partner under constant surveillance and on a tight leash. If your partner doesn’t comply with your demands to inspect their things or if something seems off, then it’s only natural for World War III to begin with you being the initiator of battle. After the battle, the fear of your lover leaving still lingers. Thus, the vicious cycle begins again. Your relationship continues to suffer to the point where you are more focused on catching your partner being unfaithful then you are in being happy in the relationship. Your exhaustive detective work doesn’t guarantee that your partner won’t cheat. Ask yourself, do I not deserve to be happy and worry free in my relationship? Here are some reasons that you should evaluate your issues with trust before being in a relationship.

1. You have a pattern of dealing with untrustworthy people. Somewhere along the way, you have experienced a traumatic loss or being hurt in another relationship. The pain and your experience in the other relationship was emotionally costly. You were unable to express the pain of the loss or how the experience affected you. When we experience trauma, especially in our relationships, we tend to internalize it if we don’t have healthy ways to cope. We begin to think to ourselves, “it must have been something I did. Maybe I deserved this.” We internalize blame and sometimes we project the pain that we felt from the previous relationship onto current or future relationships.

2. You haven’t identified your true source of abandonment. When we are afraid of losing our partner in our relationship, it is typically because we have lost someone before early in our lives, and we have felt abandoned. The loss doesn’t have to be physical, such as death or someone leaving, but it can also be emotional and mental. In either case, you may have thought at an early age that you were not good enough or there was something about you that made that person not want to be a part of your life. Perhaps you had a father that was never in your life, or maybe your mother was physically present, but wanted nothing to do with you. Maybe your father married someone after he and your mom broke up and started a new family, and ‘forgot’ about you. Whatever the case may be, your loss left a deep emotional scar, and you haven’t been able to cope with your feelings around it.

3. Watching your parents struggle with trust. Our parents are our role models on what relationships are supposed to look like. And how our parents interact with people in their relationships, becomes “normal” to us, until we learn differently (if we ever do). After growing up and watching our parents, it is common to model their behavior.

4. Your story doesn’t change. Very often, when we experience people in our lives that have hurt us, we often allow the same types of hurtful people back in our lives. Different person, but the same behavior. There are various reasons that we do this: 1) We are used to unhealthy relationships. Maybe we saw our parents go through this, or maybe we have been through this so many times before in our other relationships. Regardless, we learn to find comfort in dysfunctional relationships because it is what we know. 2) It is our hope to rewrite our story of being left by or being lied to by a certain individual. We want to prove to ourselves that we do have the power to make someone stay and that we are enough. We long for the opportunity to make our fathers stay, or to make our mother’s love us, etc. We want that opportunity to write our story over, and this time with it ending happily.  Although we have this fantasy in our minds, the behavior doesn’t change. Thus, we often choose the same type of person, and we tend to act the same way in our relationships. Very often, you will see characteristics in your lover that are similar to the person that you lost.

5. You don’t trust yourself. When you are constantly doubting your partner, you are also doubting yourself and your ability to have good judgement in your partners. If you don’t trust yourself and your ability to make good, safe decisions; then the chances are not likely for you to trust anybody else.

Not trusting your partner is pain that goes deeper than just having “trust issues.” However, when you obsess over trying to find someone in the act of cheating or preventing them from leaving you; it is just not healthy. More importantly, by focusing your energy on finding faults in someone else, you avoid working on the issue that should matter the most – you.

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This blog was written by Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC. This blog is meant to be educational and not meant to diagnose anyone or to be used in place of therapy or treatment with a licensed mental health professional.

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© 2021 Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC

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