After gaining 7 years of experience in the UK, Dr. Rima Mukherji set up the renowned Crystal Minds, a mental wellness centre (with a multidisciplinary team offering a wide range of psychiatric and psychological services for all age groups) in Kolkata. Over the past 20 years she has won several laurels due to her fierce passion and her vision for a safe society that is geared towards living without the fear of stigma and she believes in promoting positive mental health. She says a relationship takes a severe beating when trust is lost but it is possible to rebuild trust in a relationship.
Dr. Rima Mukherji MBBS, DPM, MRCPsych (London)
If you have had a break-up and decided to get back together you will realise rebuilding a relationship after a separation is not an easy task.
Healing the wounds and leaving the bitterness behind you takes time. But the biggest task is rebuilding the trust in your relationship.
What to keep in mind when you rebuild trust in a relationship
Counsellor Dr Rima Mukherji takes us step by step on how to rebuild the relationship that you don’t want to let go of. Along the way, she tells us to also take a look within and introspect; what could we have done differently the first time?
1. Your first step should be to stop the blame game
The first step to rebuilding a relationship is to let go of the baggage. The anger, hurt and tears. Leave it all. Drop it and don’t look back at it.
This will take you a long way in fixing your broken relationship. From now on, no looking back and no blaming. Yes, this is easier said than done, but the couple can achieve peace after attending therapy and counselling sessions.
2. To rebuild trust in a relationship introspect
We are all born with our own insecurities. This would be a good time to introspect if it is an old insecurity of ours that is leading to our issues, which are in turn affecting the relationship negatively. Analyse with a calm mind and seek relationship counselling if you feel the need. It is very important to see where you went wrong so that you can correct it.
3. You need to choose the good over the perfect
Why is your relationship at a stage where you are trying to rebuild it? Think just for a moment about if you were chasing an elusive ‘perfect’ relationship and in the process were not satisfied with the ‘good’ one that you already had.
Many of us have a notion of how a ‘perfect relationship’ should be and what ‘love’ should be. Once we let that go, we can see love and relationships for all the wonderful things they can be and are. It is easier to rebuild trust in a relationship then.
4. Identify the root problem dispassionately
What brought you to this stage? Abuse? Cheating? Angry fights? Alcohol/drugs? In-laws? Financial troubles? Incompatibility? Insecurity? Go past the frivolous fights and find the core issue. Lead yourself up to it. Away from all the noise and confusion all around, address that core issue and speak with your partner about it. Tell them, ‘This hurt me’ or ‘Please don’t drink so much’, ‘It hurts when you make fun of me’, ‘Let’s meet a counsellor for your addiction’, ‘Let’s discuss our finances calmly’, ‘I am facing difficulty trusting you after you cheated, we need couples counselling’, ‘I am sorry I strayed, let’s sort this out please. I want to be with you’ and so on…It takes time to rebuild trust in a relationship but it is not impossible to do it. You have to just focus on what you want and work on getting back together after a break-up.
5. To rebuild trust in a relationship be genuine in your efforts
Most couples know the point when their relationship begins to show cracks. They know exactly what mistakes they made in the relationship and exactly what they could have done to prevent things going wrong. So when they attempt to get back together, they more often than not, at some level know what they should do differently this time. When trying to get back together – be genuine in your efforts. If you say sorry, mean it. When you say you will control your alcohol, join an AA, if need be. If you say you will control your temper from now on, work towards it. When the spouse sees your efforts, the trust will rebuild. When words are followed up by concrete action, it reassures the partner about your commitment to the relationship.
6. Your efforts as a couple help to rebuild trust in a relationship
Work together as a team. Plan together. Discuss. Brainstorm. Attend counselling together. Decide not to be mean to each other, stay away from blaming and if you feel angry try to focus on other things to avoid the fight. You can sit down your partner later and tell him or her about your feelings.
7. Address the ‘reason’ why you got married
Both the individuals in the relationship must take their mind back to why they agreed to marry each other. Think of the good things and the positives. No point mulling over the negatives of each other.
8. You need to focus on your own growth
When individuals take charge of their own happiness, they respond better to being a couple and can rebuild trust in a relationship in a much better way.
Do not put the entire burden of your own happiness on your partner. Your partner cannot be your parent, friend, guru, source of entertainment.
Fill your life with your own joys, do things that make you happy. Your relationship will benefit from it.
9. Treat it as a new marriage/relationship
To rebuild trust in a relationship and come back together after a break-up the couple must treat it as a new relationship. It has changed due to whatever tore them apart (the affair/the differences/the in-law issues). It will never be what it was. But from our experience in years of counselling couples, we see that it can be a sounder and stronger relationship. One that has weathered the storm.
10. List the strengths and weaknesses to build trust in your relationship
Focus and celebrate the strengths (how you enjoy each other’s humour/how they respect your parents/how your partner always stands up for you) and work hard on removing the weaknesses (losing temper soon/saying bitter things to be regretted later/not spending time with children.. and so on).
I always say, positive change cannot be brought about by being negative. So you need to be absolutely positive to rebuild trust in your relationship.
(As told to Aarti Pathak by Consultant Psychiatrist Rima Mukherji)