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How to Rebuild Broken Trust

Rebuild trustIn my previous articles I looked at How to Strengthen Trust in Your Relationship and Three Reasons Why it is Difficult to Move on After There is Broken Trust. Click on the links to read these articles if you missed them.

In this article I will explain how to rebuild broken trust in your relationship.

Broken trust in a relationship cannot be fixed by confining the problem to the past and moving on. There is no simple way to undo the damage. To commence the process of rebuilding trust the untrustworthy party must show they clearly understand what their partner has felt and experienced.

The person betrayed is likely to be suffering from some or all the following and will require their partner to understand and accept that their suffering is real.

  • Shock and or Depression – They often feel numb and have difficulty functioning in day to day life.

  • Self-Doubt and Shame – Many betrayed partners blame themselves for not having seen what was going on.

  • Commencing Detective Mode – Betrayed partners often go through their partner’s mobile phone, credit card statements, wallets, and pockets, as well as asking endless questions, to understand what has happened.

  • Symptoms Such as Anger and Mood Swings – Betrayed partners will go on an emotional roller-coaster ride with no apparent reason for the mood swings.

  • Seeking Revenge – An anger driven partner may act in ways that they later regret as they try to hurt the one who hurt them.

The Repair Process

There are some steps that you can take to start the rebuilding process. These steps will not be quick and will require time to produce the required result of restored trust.

The offending partner needs to be willing to prove to their partner time and time again that they’re genuinely sorry and work on earning back the trust. Your partner is not going just to trust what you say but will need to see consistent changes in your behaviour. They will need proof that you’re serious, reliable and safe to love before they’re going to trust you again.

As the offending partner, you need to

  1. Take full responsibility for your actions and choices. This means taking a long, hard look at why you cheated and how you can make sure you never cheat again.

  2. The betrayed betrayed partner will want complete disclosure. If the relationship is to continue, full disclosure all at once shields the betrayed partner from the ongoing emotional blows which occur when partial truths are revealed over time. It also increases the odds that trust can be rebuilt. An unfaithful spouse who tells the full truth and then continues to be honest about his or her behaviour has a much better chance of eventually regaining the respect of the betrayed partner.

  3. Ask your partner what they need, do whatever you can to change the situation and make it better.

  4. Give your partner the time and space to vent their feelings. This includes crying, allowing them to ask you questions about the affair and giving truthful answers. All the while, you should stand firm, stay faithful, continue to apologise and reach out to them with compassion and understanding.

  5. Accept that sometimes it’s going to feel as if you’re moving two steps forward and three steps back. Put a plan in place that will help you stay calm and while you navigate through the inevitable obstacles, landmines and setbacks.

  6. Be sure that all the promises you make are promises you keep. Your words and actions must come from unwavering integrity. Make yourself and your agenda an open book.

  7. Practice the following daily: Affection, Attention and Appreciation. Show your partner how much you love and appreciate them in big and small ways every day.

  8. Ask your partner what they need to see to assure them that you are genuine in rebuilding trust. For example, they might ask for access to your phone or computer at any time without notice.

As the offended partner, you need to

  1. Allow your partner to prove themselves to you. Try to avoid being quick to assume that they will screw up

  2. Let them know that you appreciate every change they are making no matter how small. If they do not get supporting feedback, they will give up.

Rebuilding trust takes time and can be an involved process.

Need help? Tracey Janke is skilled in assisting couples in rebuilding trust. For a complimentary 15-minute phone session to find out how I can help you with your individual situation click the link below.

© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2019

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