Study Finds That People Who Are Trusting by Nature More Likely to Enjoy Successful Relationships

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Marble Media LLC's blog site takes a look at the importance of trust in maintaining or repairing relationships.

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Trust is a must in a successful relationship

One of the ways that trust is so good for relationships is that it makes us partly delusional.

The subject of trust and its impact on relationships has been the source of many studies and discussions since the beginning of time. Part of the reason that relationships containing a healthy dose of trust are successful, according to researchers from Northwestern University, is that people who are highly trusting tend to let go of old transgressions that can poison their relationships. In the latest blog from Marble Media LLC’s dated August 19, 2013 and titled "When it Comes to Successful Relationships, Trust is Priority Number One", guest blogger Liz Ernst looks at how naturally trusting people have a better chance at maintaining their relationships.

A recent study out of Northwestern University and Redeemer University College in Ontario, Canada titled, "Trust Makes You Delusional, and That’s Not All Bad", is the first to systematically examine the role of trust in biasing memories of transgressions in partnerships. Researchers found that trusting people who are highly trusting tend to remember transgressions in a way that benefits the relationship. These trusting people remember partner transgressions to be less severe than they originally reported them to be.

People who aren’t trustful demonstrated the opposite pattern, remembering partner transgressions as being more severe than they originally reported them to be.

"One of the ways that trust is so good for relationships is that it makes us partly delusional," said Eli J. Finkel, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Northwestern University.

The study’s lead author Laura B. Luchies, assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer University College, says that the current psychological reality of your relationship isn't what actually happened in the past, but rather the frequently distorted memory of what actually happened.

"You can remember your partner as better or as worse than he/she really was, and those biased memories are important determinants of how you think about your partner and your relationship," she said.

Researchers have long known that trust is crucial to a well-functioning relationship. "This research presents a newer, deeper understanding," Finkel said. "It reveals that trust yields relationship-promoting distortions of the past."

Said Luchies, assistant professor of psychology at Redeemer University College: "If you talk to people who really trust their partner now, they forget some of the negative things their partner did in the past. If they don't trust their partner much, they remember their partner doing negative things that the partner never actually did.

"They tend to misremember."

The study offers an important new understanding of the impact of trust in relationships, according to Ernst. People who are blessed with a trusting nature are less inclined to carry the kind of toxic baggage that prohibits forgiveness and the ability to trust again.

"Trust is the foundation for any successful relationship," says Ernst. "If you live your life waiting for the other shoe to drop expecting your partner to let you down, you'll never relax, enjoy your relationship and be truly happy.

"Even worse, if you are constantly suspicious that your partner will cheat or lie to you, you may be setting yourself up for failure—that’s the self-fulfilling prophecy that breeds distrust and paranoia, and frustrates your partner to a point that drives a permanent wedge between you."

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