Trust can be the secret ingredient to smooth out the bumps in a relationship. According to a study published in "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," you're more likely to forgive a trusted partner for transgressions. Those who are trusting also tend to look back on their partners' mistakes as being less serious. A possible reason for this is that when we trust someone to look out for us, we think of that person's mistakes as isolated incidences, reports lead study author Laura Luchies, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer University College. On the flip side, when we don't trust our partners, we might think back on mistakes more often or assume they will happen again. Building trust requires commitment to certain behaviors. Stick to them to let your girlfriend know that you're a guy she can count on.
Share Your Life
Invite your girlfriend out to spend time with your coworkers and buddies, recommends psychologist and relationship coach Michelle Callahan, Ph.D., in "Men's Health." Even if you're just platonic friends with the women in your life, it's possible your girlfriend imagines them as threatening. Bring them together to kill the mystery and to reassure her that you're not keeping any part of your life a secret. Also try to be yourself around your friends -- you want your girlfriend to feel that you're always upfront no matter who you're with. So don't tell your girl that you got a little promotion while you boasted to your friends about a huge raise. Be consistent.
Make Smart Decisions
Make decisions that show you're trustworthy, dependable and supportive, says Luchies. For example, invite her out on date night and choose a place that she loves, not the steak restaurant you like to go to with your friends. When you make decisions with her in mind, she's likely to feel more comfortable with you. Be sure to be on time, too, recommends Joel Block, Ph.D., a certified couples therapist and author. Being on time shows that you're considerate and that she can count on you. If you happen to run late, call to apologize and set a new time to meet.
Act in a way that doesn't make it seem that you have something to hide, recommends Callahan. That means not taking calls in the other room or minimizing your screen when she walks by the computer. Even if you have nothing to hide, she's still going to wonder why you're being so secretive. Don't be afraid either to tell her if another woman hits on you. Telling her that you turned the woman down shows her you're dedicated to being her partner. Block recommends confiding in your partner whenever possible -- being open and honest will encourage her to be the same. Tell the truth too. White lies add up and weaken your twosome. If you spent a lot on your new gadget, be honest about the price if she asks.
Hold Back Judgement
Don't judge your girlfriend's actions. If she confides in you certain actions or feelings, it's important to hold back judgement, says Block. Being critical or dismissive weakens your intimacy and will make your girlfriend less likely to trust you with personal information next time. Instead, be empathetic, listen and offer solutions. For example, if she made a mistake at work, encourage her to talk about it and gently suggest solutions. Be open with your flaws as well. Maybe you're not a perfect cook or you can't do math in your head -- don't cover these flaws up. If she feels that she's seeing the real you, she'll be more comfortable revealing herself.
- Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images