Every relationship is built on trust. But what happens if trust is broken? Is it possible to rebuild trust in a relationship when it’s been shattered? And how do you go about doing so?
“Whether it’s a friendship or relationship, all bonds are built on trust. Without it, you have nothing.” – Anonymous.
Every healthy human relationship thrives on trust. If you’re not confident about an investment company, you wouldn’t invest in it. The same way, if you’re not assured of the good learning condition of a school, you wouldn’t enroll your child there. If you’re not so sure about a logistics company, you wouldn’t entrust them with your goods. It goes on and on.
Trust is the groundwork of every bond, but the moment that trust is broken, the bond is left to wallow in the shambles of mistrust, doubt, skepticism and even fear. Picking up the pieces from such brokenness and breach of credence can be considered a challenging feat, however, it’s not impossible.
What’s next after you find out you are being cheated on? What happens after your partner discovers the truth about something you told them a couple of days ago? Let’s dive right in!
What is Trust?
Trust is that confidence you have in your partner, where you solely believe they will always stay true to their words and try to live up to your expectations (note; expectations here isn’t about you wishing they become an attorney when they are really crazy about wearing lab coats).
Trust serves as the foundation of a healthy relationship as it gives allowance for vulnerability between partners. It’s what makes a couple feel happy, secure and safe with each other.
It is important to note that trust is deeper than giving your partner access to your phone or your social media account passwords. It’s seldom about having access to their credit card. It goes beyond all of that.
To trust someone is to be committed to the bond you share with that person. It is that feeling of safety you have when you are with them knowing that they will always respect physical and emotional boundaries.
Trust is when you know your partner pays full attention to you when you communicate your needs and feelings to them. It is when you support each other. Trust is when you don’t feel the need to hide things from your partner because they are your safe haven.
Trust in a relationship is about having a sense of respect for one another. It is when you know you can be 100% vulnerable together without getting hurt. Trust is also when you ask your partner to order a double cheese beef topping pizza and you’re so sure a pepperoni pizza won’t come knocking on your door.
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What Happens When Trust Is Broken?
It is very important that you understand what happens the moment broken trust walks through the door of your relationship. Having a concise knowledge about it would go a long way if you are willing to rebuild trust in your relationship.
When a breach of trust happens, two parties are involved, the one whose trust was broken and the one who broke the trust. For the former, it’s almost like the worst feeling in the world – the feeling that “Oh! I made a grave mistake by trusting this person”. The severity of the breach of trust, either makes it worse or a little less.
If it’s a case of infidelity, the offended will not only feel betrayed, but they will think they are not “good enough” and also not want to trust again. In the case of lying, they would give every word their partner says a “lie” pass mark and changing their minds might require some hours at the therapist office. Yeah, it’s that bad.
For the erring party, (who are repentant and willing to make a change) it’s also a terrible feeling to know someone’s hurt because of them. As a result of that, they might find it hard to forgive themselves and move on. Sometimes, they tend to “overcompensate” and be so sorry for the slightest mistake.
Now it’s time to let go of the past, rebuild trust and give your romantic bond another chance, how do you go about this?
1. Know The Why
This is one of the hard parts of rebuilding trust in a relationship. This is because, if you were lied to, listening to what they say about why they lied might seem like a lie to you.
During the first few days and sometimes weeks, you’d want to miss their calls, not reply to their messages and avoid every air they breathe in. You need not get worked up over this, it is absolutely normal.
However, do not let resentment and anger prevent you from knowing the truth and making the right decisions. If you’re willing to give your bond another try, then you should be willing to know why and perhaps how it happened.
If you were cheated on, you might not want to hear the whole hook-up-with-another-person story. Nevertheless, endeavor to know why they did what they did. This isn’t to justify their actions in any way.
While doing this, allow them to talk and give clear explanations without interruption. Ensure you pay close attention to their sincerity. Are they sorry and seem truly regretful? Or are they merely defensive and unwilling to own up to their betrayal? Does their “sorry” come with a cold shoulder or are they really apologetic about what they did?
Knowing the backstory will always help you figure out if you really want them or the relationship back. If you’ve had enough of it, make sure all is forgiven and let go of the hurt (if you have to seek professional advice, please do so). It will help you find peace with yourself and make better decisions in the future. If you’re willing to bury the axe and give your bond another try, ensure you communicate that effectively.
When you are done listening to their own side of the whole story, ensure you communicate your views about the whole issue to them. Understand that you are likely to get upset and be emotional during this conversation. These feelings are very legitimate.
However, if you feel your emotions are starting to get the best of you, and you are no longer communicating in a productive way, take a break and have the discussion scheduled for a later date. When you’re ready to have the conversation, make sure you ask questions for clarity purposes. Proceed to tell them what you expected of them, how they betrayed your trust and what happened to you after they did.
Don’t slack in letting them know what you want for the relationship and what you expect from them as you both are willing to re-bond and start things over with the demolished “trust tower”. It is important you do this to know if they are willing to rebuild trust in a relationship with you. It can only work out if all four hands are on deck. Don’t forget, it takes two to tango.
3. Learn To Forgive
“I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they are sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.”- Yolanda Hadid
A very crucial way to rebuild trust in a relationship is to learn to forgive. It can be hard at times especially in cases of infidelity, but that doesn’t make forgiveness impossible. The amazing fact is that it costs absolutely nothing to forgive and let go of hurt, but unforgiveness on the other hand requires a lot to thrive in.
Individually, unforgiveness will cost you your peace of mind and future opportunities. In it lies every iota of regret, fear of the unknown, doubt, restlessness and resentment. These are really toxic for your mental wellbeing. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior, it only prevents their behavior from destroying you.
Unforgiveness in a relationship will make that relationship a toxic one and would eventually lead to a break up. Hence, it is important to ensure that all is forgiven and forgotten even if you’re not going to try to rebuild trust in a relationship. It is very important to be all willing to forgive and let go.
4. Be willing to let go
Now that you have had “the talk”, it’s important that you let the past be in the past. You are not expected to take them down the memory lane of whatever happened some months back while arguing over a cup of coffee.
Some of us can be so petty that we like referring to past hurt during arguments. It is very bad and unhealthy. It’s more like an emotional blackmail. It does not only hurt your partner, but it also shreds whatever form of trust you’re trying to build into pieces.
Also, not letting go isn’t just about referring to past offences during a fight or scream match, checking up on what they tell you (like calling his friend to confirm that he’s with the boys after he told you he’s leaving for a guys night out) is also a sign that you are yet to move on.
It can be quite hard to want to trust someone who has lied to you before. However, if; you’re yet to forgive them, you’re still sulking about what happened at the hotel 5 months ago, you are willing to fight dirty to win points in an argument with them, and you don’t trust them; it simply means you’re not ready for the relationship and it’s better you give each other a break or just call it quits with them.
Continuing the relationship while all these are in sight is toxic and totally unhealthy. It is enough to break your heart over again. If you really want things to work out between you guys, try to seek couples counselling or therapy.
Nevertheless, for the sake of inner peace and a lasting and healthy relationship, it is important that you let the past stay where it belongs.
For the guilty party
Now, for the erring partner , it’s fine, you made a wrong choice and you messed up. However, the deed has been done and beating yourself up over it won’t change the past. Nonetheless, there are a few things you should understand:
- It’s important that you learn to forgive yourself. You are human and that makes you a candidate for mistakes and some erring, here and there. When you understand this, your partner’s forgiveness will make more sense to you.
- No amount of “sorry” can reverse what you did or said. In the light of this, ensure the mistake does not repeat itself.
- Your partner has the right to be angry about the breach of trust, therefore, do not take their emotions with levity. Say sorry when you should and ensure you’re not dishing out a cold shoulder apology.
- If you’re unwilling to rebuild trust in the relationship, kindly let your partner know, do not dish out silent treatments and make things worse than they are.
- In all that you do, ensure your ego is not speaking for you. Put yourself in their shoes, chances are, you are likely to get upset and more emotional if you were the offended.
- Always take responsibility for your actions. If there are, give reasons for those actions (e.g. why you lied) and try not to sound defensive.
- Understand that it takes time to build trust in a relationship. Now that it’s broken, it’s likely to take more time to rebuild it all over again. People process things differently and it might take a while for your partner to be able to trust you again. Give them time, be patient and optimistic.
Finally, ensure you both make efforts as a couple. Forget the past, make new memories, go out together and do the things that help you strengthen your bond. Also, you can consider going for couple’s counselling or therapy if things are still very sloppy. Be patient with each other, hope for and work towards having a better relationship.