It may sound a little backward, but according to a new study, your memory of those times that your BF annoys you might actually indicate how much you trust him.
College students participating in this study would check in and share anything their partner did that upset them. Kind of sounds like a gabfest with the girls, right? Only this time, it’s for research.
Each participant had to rate how the incident made them feel, including how much of a “betrayal” they felt it was. A few weeks later, the researchers would check in with those students and have them look again at what they’d said. They were then asked to remember how much their past self felt this incident was a betrayal.
In addition, all of the students took a separate survey about how much they trusted their partner. So how did this all play out?
Those who expressed a lesser degree of betrayal during the second go-around, also tended to report greater trust in their partners. For those whom the betrayal didn’t improve, their survey results also reflected low levels of trust. The researchers even checked out other factors that could be at play, but overall, trust came out the biggest indicator as to how the attitudes shifted.
When I first read this study, I was a little wary. Being manipulated into rationalizing a partner’s abusive behaviors is an unfortunate, but all too real thing that happens. However, the examples of responses the researchers shared are more of the kinds of disagreements or conflicts – jealousy, effort, etc – that naturally pop up in most relationships. The researchers even noted that a degree of “delusion” actually allows us to continue being trusting, and thus benefit our relationships.
Considering all this, I have to say that these findings seem totally in line with my own relationship. One of the things I get mad at my boyfriend about is spacing out when I am talking to him. It is so frustrating, and I will get really mad in the moment.
However, if you ask me maybe a couple days later, I won’t remember it as such a big deal. Even right now, I’m wondering if when he does that if it’s really that bad. I guess we can chalk it up to the fact that I trust my boyfriend more than anyone, and I’ve shared things with him that I’d never even consider saying to another person.
In the grand scheme of our relationship, I’m quicker to focus on all the ways he’s shown I can trust him, rather than on those little things he sometimes does that drives me a little nutty. It makes sense that once I remove myself from the initial situation, I’m more likely to remember those things and sort of erase the annoyed frustration from my brain.
It also got me wondering a little bit in the opposite direction. Whereas I’ll try to keep my comments to myself around other people, I am sometimes more open about being nitpicky toward my boyfriend. Now, I’m not saying this is a particularly good trait on my part, but I feel less worried doing it because I feel like he won’t go anywhere. Could I have been doing some reverse trust-testing by seeing how he reacts to my annoyingness, without even realizing it?!
In all seriousness, if you find yourself staying mad at things your boyfriend does that make you upset, maybe now’s a chance to re-examine trust in your relationship. Do you guys need to have a conversation about trust or try out new ways to build it? On the flip side, if you’re good about letting go of those little things that upset you, don’t feel like you never have to think about trust in your relationship ever again. Trust is something that requires mutual work to stay intact.
Overall, this is just one sign that may clue you in on if you really trust him, but just remember that being honest, open and talking things out, are the best ways to ensure that trust remains between you two.
Do you easily let go of annoying things your BF does? Would you say that you have a lot of trust in your relationship? Tell us in the comments!