My boyfriend hasn’t given me a reason to not trust him and yet I still have a compulsion to check his phone to see who he is talking to and what he's saying. How do I learn to simply trust? 

Trust isn’t the absence of mistrust. It is a long, slow process whereby one acts in a trustworthy way and gains trust.

And perhaps shockingly, your behavior gives HIM little reason to trust YOU.

There might be circumstances where we admit to our loved ones that our severe insecurities or past experiences pressure us to request intrusive access into their personal lives than we’d otherwise normally be granted.

In other words: “Honey, I know this is crazy, but do you mind if I have the passcode to your phone and without giving you notice, just check up on you? You know about that bad previous ex- who cheated. I can’t get it out of my mind that you will do the same thing...”

If this sounds like nothing in a million years you’d ask of him, you are stealing something that doesn’t belong to you: his privacy.

He should know he’s getting involved with someone who hides things and invades his personal space. That’s totally not cool.

Work with an individual therapist of your own and explore this sneaking and deceptive behavior you toss off as a “compulsion.” If you have other compulsive behaviors, these can be helped clinically. 

But try instead, if you only feel “compelled” to play detective with your boyfriend, own up to it and quit it. Today.

If you don’t want to ask for access, stop stealing it and calling it a “trust issue.” It’s actually a boundary issue; you have poor boundaries.

Apologize to him for your invasiveness and promise him you’ll do better. And then work diligently to regain his lost trust.

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Dr. Kathy McMahon

Dr. Kathy McMahon (Dr. K) is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist. She is also the founder and president of Couples Therapy Inc. Dr. K feels passionate about couples therapy and sex therapy and holds a deep respect towards those who invest in making their relationship better. She is currently conducting online and in person private couples retreats.

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