Trust Affects How Individuals View a Partner’s Past Transgressions

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Can you ever really forgive your partner’s past misdeeds? According to new research, that depends on how much you trust your partner in the present.

Conducted by Northwestern University and Redeemer University College in Ontario, the study found individuals with a lot of trust in their partner felt better about past transgressions as time passed, while individuals with little trust in their partner felt worse.


“Individuals with a lot of trust in their partner

felt better about past transgressions.”

Researchers had a group of college students, with an average age of 18, report on their relationship every two weeks for six months, noting when their partner did something to upset them.

Students then rated on a scale of one to seven how strong the transgression was, how they forgave their partner and how their partner made amends.

While the study focused on college students, researchers noted these results would repeat themselves among adults as well, especially once they controlled for other personality traits and found trust was the primary factor correlating with forgiveness.

“The tension between self-protection and relationship promotion exists throughout the time course of a close relationship,” said psychology professor Eli J. Finkel. “Given that trust varies among both older and younger people, it seems likely that high levels of trust should foster relationship-promoting memory distortions in a broad range of people.”

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