To Trust or Not to Trust?

To Trust or Not to Trust? One of the most challenging aspects of both online dating relationships and relationships in general is the topic of trust. Trust, from the Webster dictionary, is defined as "belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc." In relationships, trust involves believing the other will uphold essential principles and values including sexual fidelity, respectful and civil treatment, and willingness and commitment to follow through with responsibilities such as church, career, money, children, and so on.

Without basic trust in a relationship, it is very hard if not impossible to have a healthy, happy, successful, lifelong and eternal marriage. The problem? Rarely will an untrustworthy person come out and admit from the beginning that "I am untrustworthy, so you might want to reconsider dating me". Determining trustworthiness requires some strategic, purposeful assessment and detective work. So, how can you tell if someone is in fact, basically trustworthy? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Pay regular attention to what the other says, and then notice if they actually follow this through later with their behaviors. This is the most obvious, important clue showing how well you can trust the other: if they "say what they do and they do what they say". This principle is true whether the issues are big or small. A person who lies about small issues will likely lie about bigger issues as well and vice versa. Lying or telling the truth is a lifestyle. The more truthful the other person shows themselves to be in ways small and big, the more you can trust them in general. Pay attention.

2) Notice how the other's friends, family and other associates describe your dating partner--especially their family members. Are they complimentary about your partner's character and choices, or do you hear complaints and criticisms from them? Are their grudges or is there peace, for the most part? The more you hear from numerous people about your dating partner, and the more consensus you detect--positive or negative--the more accurate the conclusion tends to be. Multiple data points usually something you can trust.

3) Notice how your dating partner talks about others. Does he or she try to trust others, give the benefit of the doubt, and assume the best in others? Or do they mainly complain and criticize others, assuming the worst of intentions and actions? In general, the more cynical and even paranoid a dating partner talks of others, the less trustworthy they themselves tend to be. This phenomena is sometimes called "projection" or "displacement": a person hiding things, lying about things, and having their own secrets often assumes others are doing the same, leading to a lot of cynical assumptions of others and paranoia.

4) Notice the choices your dating partner makes in life that requires honor, integrity, and character. Character is sometimes defined as the choices one makes when no one else is looking. If it seems the other has a decent chance of getting away with a choice to lie, cheat, or steal in a given situation for gain, what choice do they make? Do they make the honorable choice, or the choice to cheat or cut corners? Areas like this you can look at include paying taxes/preparing tax returns, paying tithing and fast offerings, fulfilling church duties, treating others well in the workplace, handling estate issues, upholding signed business contracts, and so on.

In short, if you can trust those you date, you can trust they will be the kind of man or woman you need to spend the rest of your life and eternity with. Anything short of this will not be enough. If you cannot basically trust someone you are dating, please continue your search and find someone else you can. It's that important. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Best wishes,
Dr. G

2016-03-24 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Healthy relationships, Marriage preparation, Communication

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to