You can’t have a healthy, long-lasting relationship if you don’t have trust. Trust doesn’t come overnight and needs to be earned, but it’s a vital component for a relationship to work. when trust it’s broken, it can be very difficult to rebuild.
Your partner might make you lose trust by being infidel, lying or manipulating, withholding, not being there for you when you’re in need, or simply going back on your word or breaking promises.
But what does trust really mean?
In order to rebuild trust, you firstly need to understand what it means. Sometimes, trust is a choice, because you can’t force people to trust you, and you might not trust people until they prove they’re worthy.
While trust means different things to people, you know you can really trust someone when:
- You feel supported
- You don’t need to hide your feelings from your partner
- You feel understood
- You feel committed to the relationship
- You feel safe in their company
- You feel loved and respected
Now that we’ve established what trust is, we also need to make sure you understand what trust isn’t. Trust doesn’t mean you have to share with your partner every single detail that happens in your life or spend 24/7 with them. Trust doesn’t mean giving your partner access to your cellphone, social media accounts, personal computer, and bank accounts.
While you might not mind sharing this type of information with your loved one, you shouldn’t see it as a way to show you trust them, because it isn’t. Having faith in your partner is the most important way to show them that you trust them.
How to rebuild trust after being betrayed by your significant other?
As I previously mentioned, trust can be easily broken and it’s very hard to rebuild. Betrayal is not easy to handle, as it can feel like the end of the world. Everyone who’s been betrayed at least once in their lifetime knows that it can make you physically sick and the singular pain it causes.
If you want to rebuild your trust but don’t know where to start, read on to find the most important tips to get you through the most challenging times.
You need to learn how to communicate with your partner.
Betrayal can hurt a lot, and knowing how to communicate through an uncomfortable situation is not always very easy. But you can rebuild your trust if you can’t communicate with the person that betrayed you.
Firstly, you need to make sure your partner knows what hurt you the most, how you feel about what they did, and what they can do to regain your trust. Communication is the key in this situation. Give them a chance to tell you their side of the story, but pay close attention to how sincere they are.
Do they regret what they did? Do they apologize for their actions? You can see they’re truly sorry? Or they’re acting defensive and refuse to accept the fact that they did you wrong?
This conversation is not easy to handle and it can be very painful, if you feel like it’s too much, take a break and bring up the topic some other time when you feel more relaxed. According to relationship experts, “Talking about what happened is just the beginning. It’s perfectly fine, and entirely normal if you can’t work through everything in just a night or two.”
You need to consider the reason behind the betrayal.
Sometimes, when you’re hurt, it’s really hard to care about the reason behind the thing that hurt you. People tend to lie when they do not know what else to do. And that’s definitely not an excuse, but it’s always helpful to think about how you would’ve acted if you were in their position.
Sometimes, a partner will betray you to protect themselves, but there are also times when they have a different motive, and it’s worth finding out what it is. Did they have your best interest at heart? Did they want to protect your feeling by hiding bad news? They needed to help a family member and lied about money? Or did they make the best out of a bad situation?
There could be a lot of reasons, and it can even be the result of miscommunication or misunderstanding, that’s why it’s always important to consider the reason behind the betrayal. It’s never ok to lie or to break someone’s trust, especially when you love them, and you need to make this clear with your partner, but knowing the reason behind it might help you rebuild your trust, as you can understand the situation more.
Forgiveness is the key.
You can’t rebuild your trust if you don’t learn how to forgive the person that wronged you. Also, you need to forgive yourself, because sometimes, people tend to blame themselves for what happened. If you won’t learn to forgive, you won’t manage to repair the relationship.
Sometimes you might feel so betrayed and hurt that it’s hard to forgive and forget, but you need to do it in order to move past it. By forgiving, you’re not saying that what they did was ok, but you can manage to accept what happened and leave it in the past.
Leave it in the past.
After going through all the steps mentioned above, you need to leave the issue in the past. There’s no need to always reminding your partner about the situation. When you forgive someone, you shouldn’t bring up the topic again in future disagreements.
You need to learn to trust them again, and please, do not transform into a detective that is constantly checking in on their partner. After the trust is broken, you might feel vulnerable and fear that you’ll be lied to again, so it will be hard to trust them again.
However, if you feel like the relationship is worth another chance, you need to work on yourself and rebuild your trust. Maybe you’ll be able to trust them again if they prove to be worthy, or maybe you won’t ever fully trust them, but you need to try if you want them in your life.
If you can’t seem to let it go, it would be recommended to go to couple counseling or therapy. But it could also be a sign that you’re not ready to move on, and maybe they’re not meant to be part of your life.
Make sure to also check: 19 Expert-Recommended Ways to Be a More Thoughtful and Proactive Partner.
How to rebuild trust after you’ve hurt someone?
You did something wrong and messed things up. Maybe you lied about something, maybe you cheated or withheld something because you wanted to protect them. Either way, you need to understand that your actions can hurt other people, but you need to prove to them that they can trust you again.
Moreover, sometimes the broken trust can’t be repaired, and there’s nothing you can do. You need to accept the fact that you’ve messed up and learned from your mistakes. However, if your both willing to work on repairing what’s broken, there are a few steps you need to follow.
You need to consider why you did what you did.
Before starting the ‘reparation’ process, you need to understand why you did what you did. Maybe subconsciously you wanted the relationship to end but didn’t have the courage to say it, or maybe your partner didn’t consider your needs, or you simply messed up, we’re just human, after all. It’s not an easy task to understand why you did it, but it’s vital in rebuilding trust.
You need to apologize.
No matter what you did to hurt your partner, you either lied, cheated, or hurt them in any way, you need to make sure you offer a sincere apology. Also, a very important step would be acknowledging you made a mistake. But don’t expect to be forgiven right away. Also, if you want to explain why you did what you did, you can discuss it with your partner after you apologize, never before.
You also need to make the other person feels safe, assure them it won’t happen again, and that you won’t ever make such mistakes. You can ask them what they need in order to move on easier, and find out what you can do to regain their trust.
Give them time.
After apologizing, discuss what happened with your partner and make sure you tell them why you did it. You need to be ok with the fact that your partner might not feel ready to forgive you and move on, maybe they need a little more time to process everything that happened.
Even though you might feel bad, you should give them time and try not to pressure them into having a discussion until they’re ready. Let them know you’ll be there when they’ll be ready to move on.
Take into consideration their needs.
People process things in different ways, so your partner might need more time than others until they’ll be ready to discuss the issue. While it might be difficult to accept, you need to respect their decision and consider their feelings.
Additionally, even if they decide to forgive and give you another chance, it might take a while until they’ll be able to trust you again, so you’ll have to learn how to master the art of communication.
Understand the importance of communication.
You can’t repair what’s broken if you can’t open up to your partner or have an honest face-to-face conversation. You need to be a good listened, make them feel heard and understood, but also hear your feelings and express your point of view.
How long it would take for someone to forgive you?
When trust is broken, it’s not an easy task to repair it, so it might take some time until you’ll be able to trust each other again. Depending on the problem, it might take weeks, to even months.
Usually, in these situations, people want to move on as fast as possible and leave everything behind, but unfortunately, that’s not possible. No one can determine how much it will take for you, because people are different.
Most of the time, infidelity takes longer to resolve, while a lie is easier to forgive and forget, especially when the one that wronged you is truly sorry. You need to have patience and give the relationship time. Don’t allow the other person to rush you, if they’re truly sorry and regret what they did, they will wait for you until you’re ready.
But is it worth it?
Regaining someone’s trust or rebuilding other people’s trust is very hard, but if you truly love the other person, it’s worth giving them another chance. But the question is, will they learn from their mistake or will they do it again and again, and you’ll find yourself in the exact same situation later on?
The bad part is, you can’t know this if you don’t try. Maybe they will appreciate you giving them another chance and won’t ever repeat the mistake. Or maybe they’ll take advantage of your kindness and take it as a weak sign.
Also, if we’re talking about years of infidelity, manipulation, or lies, maybe giving them another chance isn’t the smart choice, but it’s up to you to decide. No matter what you choose, you need to pay close attention to their behavior, especially when it doesn’t match their words, an insincere apology, or the fact that even after you’ve forgiven them, they continue to lie and manipulate.
These are red flags that shouldn’t get overlooked. See also: 10 Early Signs Your Relationship Isn’t Going to Last.