Trust is a vital part of any romantic relationship, and when you lose it you must rebuild this trust. Rebuilding trust is not an easy process, and is in fact not even always possible. Whether or not you can effectively rebuild trust after your relationship has been damaged depends on you, your partner, the level of betrayal and the steps you both take to fix the problem. While the trust in your relationship can be rebuilt, it will be changed. Nevertheless, your relationship need not remain damaged forever.
Understand the feelings of your partner and ensure that your partner understands your feelings. Remember that the partner who has been betrayed will be hurt; the partner who has breached the trust may be defensive or try to make excuses for his behavior. Each partner must be willing to understand the viewpoint of the other before you can begin to rebuild trust.
Apologize honestly if you have betrayed the trust of the relationship; accept an honest apology from your partner if you have been betrayed. Don't ever apologize unless you really mean it. Make an apology only after you have had time to really reflect on your actions, not simply as a way to avoid trouble or as a reaction to being caught doing something dishonest. Trust cannot be rebuilt upon empty apologies.
Discuss what happened and what you plan to do about it. Explain the situation to your partner or allow your partner to explain the situation to you. Offer only explanations; never offer excuses for damaging trust in your relationship. Make realistic promises that you can keep. Promises must address the damaged trust and be kept in order for trust to be rebuilt effectively.
Keep all promises and adhere to all agreements. Never break a promise if you intend to rebuild trust in your relationship; breaking a promise while trying to rebuild trust can do more damage than the original betrayal.
Continue to discuss how promises are being kept and trust is being rebuilt. Talk often about the situation to ensure that both partners are regaining the trust that once existed and feel that the damaged relationship is being repaired. Only through continued discussion and effort can trust be rebuilt in a relationship where it has been lost.
- It is best to keep your promises small and go above and beyond what you and your partner agree on rather than to make a promise so large that you cannot keep it.
- It is easier to lose trust than to rebuild it.