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Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
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that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
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How to Earn Your Lover’s Trust and Improve the Relationship


young couple close

Last week I wrote about gaining the trust of our children. This week I’m focusing on earning the trust of our partner. There are similarities between the two but as adults we have had more relationships shape us over the years, thus our brains are chock full of ingrained patterns and expectations. We also view our partners more as equals in decision-making and emotional support.

Nevertheless, trust is a vital inroad to love and intimacy.

When I ask my clients about trust in their relationships, they usually give me some version of, Oh I know John would never cheat on me. He’s not that type. Or, Jennifer is completely honest. She doesn’t lie. I trust her. Or,  If I really need Dan I trust that he is there for me. Their ideas about trust center on fidelity, verbal honesty, and coming through when the going gets tough.

I admit, for years these ideas are what trust meant to me too. No doubt, trust would be compromised in a relationship where infidelity, lying and desertion take place, but there are other more subtle, everyday versions of trust that play a huge role in the success or failure of a relationship.

When we are in an intimate relationship we are in a place of vulnerability. We are in a position to give and receive love and trust, much like the position we were in when we were young and cared for (or not) by our parents. In this place of vulnerability, we have to count on another to come through for us.


Just like in last week’s post on earning the trust of our children, as adults we look for our partners to be strong. We want them to handle and even help navigate our big emotions. We want to know our loved one is not going to crumble if we get angry occasionally or cry once in a while. They have strength of character and a steadiness that we can lean on. When we are vulnerable, can they stay strong? Do they have enough personal self-respect and self-esteem to be OK if we are not by their side every second? Can our partner handle us if we do get a little clingy and need reassurance?

It’s one thing to be a happy stable couple when everything is going our way. It’s another when the chips are down and one or both of us is stressed. Can we trust our partner to stick by our side and fight with us? Will they protect us when we need it? Can we offer the same kind of strength when they need it?

One important point about strength, is that we need to be able to trust our partner will not use their strength against us. If someone is physically or emotionally stronger than us, we have to trust them to protect our vulnerability. A secure person uses their strength to build rather than destroy.


Dependability is another trait adults as well as children look for to gauge the trustworthiness of someone. We want to feel we can count on our partner. For example, we don’t want to get excited about plans with our loved one, only to have them scrapped at the last-minute because she decided to do something with a friend. That initial excitement we showed was vulnerability. Excitement and enthusiasm are kinds of social courage. We put our innocent hopes out into the world. We want to trust they will be honored.

Too many times of disappointment register as rejection or abandonment. Anyone with an insecure attachment style is going to be highly aware of such let downs. We are looking for them. Depending on our attachment style we may withdraw to avoid rejection or to self-soothe, as an avoidantly attached person would do. We may become more “clingy” and dependent if we have an ambivalent or anxious attachment style.

A secure person will do their best to not let their partner down. A secure person will also be able to handle if their female couple on chaisepartner occasionally makes a mistake and has to disappoint them. Consistency is key. We do our best even when we are stressed. We come through on everyday obligations — picking up the kids, listening to each other, hug at the end of the day. Not only can our partners count on us during emergencies, they can count on us to have their back for the smaller things too.

No one is perfect. We all have bad days and unexpected issues arise. Aim for an 80% success rate. Studies show that is enough to give others a sense of security.


Another characteristic that boosts trust is the ability to reassure our significant other. We reach out to them regularly. We respond to their texts, phone calls, emails in a timely fashion. Our nervous systems subconsciously register the time between sending a text and its response. Too much air time bodes badly on our nerves.

Being reassuring means coming from a team or “we” perspective. Our partner has our back and we have theirs. We will tackle obstacles together. We will share joy and excitement together. When a partner is down the other one makes it her job to respond with care appropriate to the partner’s needs, not her own.

For those wrestling with insecurities, a secure partner assures us of their acceptance of us even when we act distant or clingy. They do not make fun of us when we make a mistake. They cheer us on when we take risks. They let us know they are in it for the long haul.

When there is conflict, trustworthy partners lead with relief. They start discussions with statements like, “I know we are struggling right now, but I believe we can work through this together.”

Good intentions

According to marriage expert, John Gottman, couples with masterful relationships trust their partner has good intentions. They believe their partner has their best interest at heart. They are more apt to forgive small infractions because they believe their significant other meant well or at least meant no harm.

It takes time to build up such trust and beliefs. There have to be more positive interactions in the trust bank account than withdrawals. Secure and safe relationships are worth the effort and time because that trust is a relief to our nervous system.

Trust as relief

In my current relationship, it took about eight months for me to trust my boyfriend. In the beginning, I felt the same pangs of doubt I experienced in other relationships. I questioned how emotionally available he was. I wondered if I could count on him. I wondered if I would be a priority. I doubted I could be fully open and sensitive with him. We had a couple of serious discussions. He spent more time talking of collaboration than he did blaming me or getting defensive. He made me want to strive for collaboration too, and not fight to be heard. There were probably times when we both wondered if we were right for each other, but he kept reassuring me by listening and working through any issues. He consistently stood with me. He included me in his life. He began to trust my intentions. I began to trust his intentions. I began to see his strength of character. I began to relax. Right around eight months, I began to feel a sense of relief. That’s when I could fully love him.

We are better resourced and strong if we can self-soothe and trust a partner to comfort us. If we are well resourced, we have more energy. We handle ups and downs better. We love better.

Do you feel the relief of trust in your relationship? If not, what is holding you back? How do you reassure your love so they can trust you? 




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  1. […] an invaluable post from Brenda Knowles of space2live. Her site shares insightful articles catering to introverts and […]

  2. Nadine Marie Niguidula June 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much, Brenda, for such an invaluable piece! My situation doesn’t involve a lover but a best friend. This has helped me so much in gaining clarity as I continue to reflect on my experience and on my decision to discontinue the friendship based mostly on what you shared here. It is quite reassuring and validating. Thank you! Brightest Blessings to you, Brenda!!!

    • Brenda Knowles June 10, 2017 at 8:23 am - Reply

      I’m glad you found the post helpful Nadine.

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