Trust builds naturally in the beginning of a relationship. But once that trust is broken, whether it is through lying or infidelity, it takes time and effort to rebuild. Too often partners who are conflict-avoidant will choose to lie to avoid upsetting their partner. The problem with this strategy for avoiding conflict is that it actually leads to more conflict down the road. The lies are eventually discovered and then mistrust is heaped on top of other feelings. Trust can be rebuilt if you are willing to invest time and energy in the process. There are some specific things that each of you can do to help move you toward a happy future together.
If you have broken trust:
- Recognize that it will take time to rebuild the trust.
- Accept that you must change your behavior to rebuild trust (stop lying or cut off contact with other man or woman).
- Accept responsibility for your actions and make a heartfelt apology.
- Be patient with your partner.
- Avoid saying things like: “It is in the past,” or “Get over it already”.
- Listen to your partner's hurt, anger and frustration.
- Validate your partner's feelings.
- Accept that your partner has reason to mistrust you and that you must be consistent in re-earning their trust.
- Share your concerns about problems in the relationship, not as an excuse for your behavior, but to improve your relationship.
- Focus on the postives in your relationship.
- Choose to think about, speak to and behave lovingly toward your partner.
If your trust has been broken:
- Recognize that it will take time to trust your partner again.
- Express your anger and frustration is constructive ways—do not attack your partner physically or verbally.
- Be patient with your partner
- Do not blame yourself for your partner's behavior, they are 100% responsible for their choices
- Examine your own contribution to relationship problems
- Listen to your partner's concerns about problems in the relationship
- Validate your partner's feelings
- Share your concerns about problems in the relationship
- Focus on the positives in your relationship
- Choose to think about, speak to and behave lovingly toward your partner
Rebuilding trust can be extremely challenging. It can be difficult to break the cycle of hurting and anger. Seeking professional help may be beneficial.